I grew up in a charismatic group like Amy Barrett. Here’s why they are a good thing.

Members of People of Praise engaging in worship (Photo Credit: People of Praise)

I grew up in a charismatic Catholic community much like the one Amy Coney Barrett belongs to. Neither one is a cult.

Much scrutiny has been placed upon Supreme Court shortlist nominee Amy Coney Barrett for her membership in the People of Praise, a Catholic charismatic community based out of South Bend, Ind. The veiled (or not so veiled) implication of many profiles of Ms. Barrett or of People of Praise has been that Ms. Barrett is a member of a cult. My own experience growing up in a similar kind of community might provide some insight.

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I have written before about the work of The Lord’s Ranch—a community similar to People of Praise—in these pages. Like People of Praise, The Lord’s Ranch was largely made up of lay people who lived in community and shared many things in common; emphasis was placed on group decisions rather than individuality. We also shared a strongly charismatic style of worship and discernment. I am quite proud of my charismatic pedigree and am happy to speak about it openly—which I am often called upon to do as a Jesuit in a religious order with very few charismatic members. I also speak about it openly in the classroom at The University of Notre Dame and welcome conversations about the role of the charisms of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. I pray in tongues, I rest in the Spirit, I take seriously for my own discernment the visions and “words of knowledge” that people share with me. I value prophecy as a crucial and underemployed charism essential for the life of the church.

I am quite proud of my charismatic pedigree. I pray in tongues, I rest in the Spirit, I take seriously for my own discernment the visions and “words of knowledge” that people share with me.

Granted, although I grew up in a Catholic charismatic community, I have never committed myself to one as an adult. I don’t fully understand the experience of those who have given their life to living in one of these communities and are encouraged to pass major decisions—where they live, where their children attend school, and more—through community leadership as part of their discernment process. On the other hand, as a member of the Society of Jesus, I think I understand pretty well what it means to accept another’s authority and abide by community decisions. While People of Praise are majority lay people (and an ecumenical community), their decision-making style is not foreign to anyone who is acquainted with Catholic religious orders.

As a People of Praise brochure explains, members of its community make a covenant to God, “resembling the permanent commitments made in Christian religious orders and in many other covenant and intentional communities around the world.” “Resembling” is a key word, since none of these communities embrace the structure of obedience found in religious life or a vow of celibacy or a commitment to shared property. The resemblance is found rather in the fact that since their foundations in the 1960s and 1970’s Catholic charismatic communities all over the United States have striven, similar to many religious orders through the centuries, to live a Gospel-based community life, further enriched by the experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The recent biography of Rick Thomas, S.J., the founder of The Lord’s Ranch community, does not shy away from criticism from those who left the community and felt that some decisions were made in ways that were too controlling or heavy-handed. But can any healthy Catholic community, religious order or otherwise, claim anything different about its own life? Communities go through growing periods, and I am sure that People of Praise has been no different than The Lord’s Ranch in that regard.

I have met with People of Praise members. I have attended their prayer meetings in South Bend. At the last one I attended, Amy Barrett was present with her family, and we extended our hands in prayer over them. The members I have met are deeply committed to the poor. They are insistent that Catholics have a personal relationship with Christ. They love the Eucharist and have strong Marian devotions.

The People of Praise members I have met are deeply committed to the poor. They are insistent that Catholics have a personal relationship with Christ. They love the Eucharist and have strong Marian devotions.

The charismatic movement in the church has been an answer to the prayer and the desire of many Catholics to live a more animated and evangelistic Christian life. It has been part of the antidote in a Western Church often described as having no place for the Holy Spirit in its theology or life. Just as Pope Francis, when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, had his skepticism overcome when he actually experienced charismatics at prayer, the best thing for all those who are skeptical is to get to know one. Pope Francis has since become very favorable toward the movement because he saw that charismatics have a living faith.

I cannot personally comment on the opinions or character of Amy Barrett, but I am confident that the Spirit-based nourishment of a Catholic charismatic community is not a matter for concern. Rather, it should also inspire confidence and joy in Catholics everywhere who have longed for the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into the lay vocation in the Catholic Church.

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J Cosgrove
2 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you. We had a Dominican pastor who tried to introduce charmsmatic events into our parish. We have a periodic healing Mass and a prayer group but that is it. People were fainting at the one I attended. About half at daily Mass are from the prayer group that runs the healing Mass.

Annette Magjuka
2 months 2 weeks ago

Did you go to ND? I may know you.

J Cosgrove
2 months 2 weeks ago

I graduated from a Jesuit college. Went to Notre Dame as a freshman but transferred after a few months to a Jesuit school. Had to do with sports not any religious/academic reasons.

Annette Magjuka
2 months 2 weeks ago

Did your charismatic group call women "handmaids"? That scares the hell out of this lifelong 62 year old Catholic. Is this group an Opus Dei group? I want more factual information, please.

Nathan O'Halloran
2 months 2 weeks ago

No it did not. And no, Opus Dei is not a charismatic community. Women typically had female spiritual directors and men had male directors. They were explicitly told not to have spouses as spiritual directors.

Nora Bolcon
2 months 2 weeks ago

Odd. Often the reverse is better. Having women have male spiritual directors and men have female spiritual directors. Although, yes a person's spouse should never be their spiritual director.

Sandi Sinor
2 months 2 weeks ago

I have read that this group (like most very conservative christian groups, mostly evangelical protestants these days) teaches that women are always to defer to their husbands and male "superiors" if there is a disagreement about decisions and issues. This is a very disturbing notion to many women.

Comments?

I have never known any charismatics in the Opus Dei community. However, Opus Dei definitely teaches that men have a superior role to women. Women are to be helpers to men, handmaids if you will.

Andrew Wolfe
2 months 2 weeks ago

Did it scare you when the Blessed Virgin Mary called herself a "handmaid"? Or when Paul introduced himself as "a slave of Jesus Christ"?

Nora Bolcon
2 months 2 weeks ago

Where are you getting this handmaid nonsense. I lead a Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group and no one is referred to in any sexist or insulting or demeaning manner. Other than we are all sisters and brothers in Christ, there are no titles given anyone. Who told you this junk? I feel like I am talking to a southern Baptist asking me do our priests keep their own private wine cellars and do they have horns.

Charismatic prayer is just that - Prayer! to God Almighty thru His Holy Spirit by baptized Christians in Jesus Christ in our church. There is praise in tongues but this is calm spiritually fortifying prayer and generally it is followed by someone with the gift of interpretation who gives a loving spiritually powerful, Holy Spirit interpretation of what was said in tongues but in the vernacular of the group. Both gifts are a blessing and they teach and uplift the prayer group. I would suggest checking out a charismatic prayer group before passing judgment. It is a form of worship that changes many people's lives for the better. Many people also gain healing and freedom from addictions during these meetings over time.

Nicole Perez
2 months 2 weeks ago

Hi Nora, I believe the previous commenter was referring to the fact that People of Praise used to refer to female spiritual advisors as “hand maids”. They stopped using that terminology when they perceived that the commonly understood meaning of the term shifted in our culture. When the group concluded that “handmaid” was no longer commonly understood to be a biblical reference, but rather a description of a subservient woman (ala The Handmaid’s Tale), they stopped using the term.

Nora Bolcon
2 months 2 weeks ago

Oh - I think you are right. I missed what she was implying and perhaps the person commenting back to her. There is nothing wrong with the term hand maid or hand servant of the Lord if one is choosing to call themselves that without provocation from others leading them to believe this is a title they should take because they are female. When persuaded to take on titles based on gender, then the leadership of that group can be accurately accused of promoting sexism and that is always wrong and harmful.

Jessica Pegis
2 months 2 weeks ago

Safe to say Mary never called herself a handmaid. Only Gabriel and Mary know what she said . . . or shouted, or whispered. Maybe nothing at all.

Nora Bolcon
2 months 2 weeks ago

Actually Jessica, it is likely that Mary did as she was quoting the psalms in doing so. There is nothing demeaning in calling oneself a handmaid as according to the old testament this is the same exact sentiment as calling yourself a fully devoted servant of God - not a servant of men or under men - but only a servant wholly of God and under only God. This is appropriate respect to show God by both men and women equally. Sexism is only implied when the group or group leaders are promoting this as title that all women should take on themselves because of their gender rather than men and women choosing to call themselves hand maids or hand servants without provocation or bias. I agree though hand servant is probably the better choice in modern times as it suits both genders with no possible bias being present in the title.

Lisa Weber
2 months 2 weeks ago

Everyone regards their own upbringing as "normal" until they have more experience in the world. Amy Coney Barrett strikes me as being from the far right in the Catholic Church. I would not want to see her in a position as influential as a Justice in the Supreme Court. Packing the courts with "conservative" judges is merely an attempt to allow the minority to impose its will on the majority. I can only hope the attempt fails.

Andrew Wolfe
2 months 2 weeks ago

"Far right" is a term of politics for unbelievers, not discussing Barrett's standing in the Church. And if by "conservative" you mean adhering to Church teaching on sexual morality, you are likewise mistaken. The Church's teaching on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality is correct, but it is not "right" just as her preferential option for the poor is not "left." These teachings were given by God very clearly over millennia and In the sphere of the Judiciary, it is different. In the Judiciary, "conservative" usually means "deliberating rather than legislating." Because of this, I also can hardly understand your concern. When Neil Gorsuch was confirmed, he said that following the law sometimes means rendering judgments that are against one's personal inclinations or interests; he demonstrated this in voting against the Administration in Sessions vs Dimaya—not to make new law, not because he wanted to liberalize immigration, but because he found a statute was too vaguely written. This means his deciding vote pushed the decision back to Congress. That's not a minority imposing its will on the minority.

Lisa Weber
2 months 2 weeks ago

Saying there is no "right" or "left" in the church is just an attempt to smother conversation. And yes, church members have political views about church doctrine. Couples mostly ignore church teaching about contraception. Catholics use contraception of the same types, at the same rate, as the general population. That means that ignoring church doctrine about contraception is not a "leftist" view, it is solidly a centrist view. Belonging to a group that states a belief that men are the head of their wives is peculiar at best, scary overall, and is accurately described as "far right".

I put "conservative" in quotes because so much of what is labeled conservative currently is merely dishonest. Much of this current conservatism is aimed at abolishing the rights of workers to organize, the rights of all to clean air and water, and the rights of women to have equal opportunity. That is only the start of the rights that "conservatives" want to abolish.

The majority of people in this country want Roe vs. Wade to remain law. To overturn it would be imposing the will of the minority on the majority.

Jay Zamberlin
2 months 2 weeks ago

That ignoring Church teaching is now "centrist" is a very odd way of viewing that. One has fidelity or one does not. Numbers don't equate to "correctness" that would be an "ad populum" argument, a logical fallacy. The problem in the Church is today, the secularist world view too often dictates which views of Catholicism some of its members would now find acceptable, instead of the Church having an influence on the world. Marginalizing Catholics who follow their faith "religiously" and not superficially is just another tactic of the political left wing. We need both political wings to keep our system honest, but Catholics vilifying and marginalizing other Catholics for actually following the teaching of the Church speaks pretty clearly as to where one's allegiances lie, and that spectrum is not "left to right" but God centered to world centered, or self centered. Have a great day everyone.

Henry George
2 months 2 weeks ago

Lisa,

The majority of the people in America do not want Roe vs Wade to remain as a law.
The majoirty would like to see it modified to limit when, in terms of the developement of the babe in the womb,
and how abortions are approved.

If Roe vs. Wade is overturned on Constitutional grounds, as it should be, then the States will decide the issue.
I would pray that they limit abortions in all but medical emergencies and that they provide uniform Pre/Post Natal care
for the babies and the mothers and families,

Jackie Garnett
2 months 2 weeks ago

If you believe the idea of "far right" and "conservative" doesn't exist in the church, I don't know where you live or how old you are. Since Vatican II, there has been a greater divide between those that welcomed the changes in the church and those that believed they were somehow let down by the church by making these changes...these are the "conservatives." I was raised in the church and parochial school prior to Vatican II and welcomed the changes. I worked as a parish secretary for 10 years and came to learn the priests and nuns are no different than I am, despite the fact I was told that everything out of father's mouth was a "pearl of wisdom" and that having a vocation was the closest thing to God until I got married, had children, lost children and learned my life was far more stress filled than the priests or nuns. You, Mr. Wolfe, sound like you still live in pre-Vatican II times.

You state the teachings of abortion, contraception and homosexuality were given by God. Where in the Bible have you read about abortion. Contraception was the result of an Encyclical written by a Pope and while lying down with the same sex is in the Bible, the church doesn't refuse admittance to homosexuals. This is Biology. And as Ms. Weber states church members, as a whole, practice some form of contraception and don't believe they are sinning. If so, they confess and are forgiven.

Ms. Barrett's membership in the People of Praise is disturbing. Her belief that abortion is wrong is hers and she is entitled to it, but has no right as a Justice to impose her beliefs on others. I have known several Pentecostal groups like POP and they are defiant in their thinking and beliefs and I wouldn't trust her not to try to overturn Roe vs Wade if it came up for a vote before the Supreme Court. I'm not for abortion, but have no right to impose my beliefs on others. When all is said and done, I will only have to answer for myself and the way I conducted my life!

Sandi Sinor
2 months 2 weeks ago

I agree completely. It is also very worrying when someone who is intelligent and educated joins a group that asks for a "covenant commitment" that they will accept the direction of another lay person in the group. Belonging to groups, religious or other, that keep their oaths and some activities secret pose serious concerns when their members hold great power in the general community.

Joseph J Dunn
2 months 2 weeks ago

Father O'Halloran's article is both interesting and informative, on a topic that is certainly getting attention, and he clearly avoids any statement, pro or con, regarding Amy Barrett as a prospective Supreme Court Justice.
"I cannot personally comment on the opinions or character of Amy Barrett, but I am confident that the Spirit-based nourishment of a Catholic charismatic community is not a matter for concern."

Whatever our thoughts may be on the major religions, or segments such as Reformed, born-again, evangelical, charismatic, etc., let us keep in mind the injunction in Article VI of the Constitution, "...no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." It is the test itself that we, and Senators considering any candidate, must avoid, not any specific answer to the test.

Crystal Watson
2 months 2 weeks ago

I would say that a religious group like the People of Praise which treats women as subordinate to men is suspect, but then the Catholic church as a whole already does this.

Whether the group is creepy or not, the idea that someone who has minority religious beliefs that will influence how they rule on laws for a pluralistic society is disturbing.

Andrew Wolfe
2 months 2 weeks ago

What in the world does "minority religious beliefs" have to do with anything? There are many "Peace and Justice" groups in the Church—by the numbers, these are very much a minority as well. You understand that Catholic means "universal"? We have everybody in our Church, charismatics, penitents, people helping the poor, hermits, parents, monastics... Aren't you really just setting up a wall within the Church to exclude people you're uncomfortable with?

Crystal Watson
2 months 2 weeks ago

I'm ok with people having minority religious views. But we are talking about a possible Supreme Court Justice who has written that she wants to overthrow Roe v. Wade based on her religious views. Most people in the US are not Catholics, and even among Catholics, the majority want abortion to remain legal.

J. Calpezzo
2 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you for your observations Father. My concern is for a strict wall of separation between church and state. I could care less about Coney's personal beliefs. But when they dictate her decisions on public law then there is a problem. When she interferes in the relationship between somebody else and their god, then there is a problem. Where was she on the crime of the century, the clergy abuse crisis?

Andrew Wolfe
2 months 2 weeks ago

The crime of this century, as of the last, is abortion. The clergy abuse crisis was actually a crime of the last century. And what is the litmus test you propose for her views on the clergy abuse crisis? Citing it is little more than a straw man to oppose her nomination without mentioning what it is you're really defending. What is that? Intact extraction abortion? Gay marriage? And while I understand many believe there is some kind of "strict wall of separation between church and state," does that mean the state should no longer follow Christian sensibility in helping the poor and the immigrant?

Nora Bolcon
2 months 2 weeks ago

This is an interesting article. I am pretty left of the middle as a Catholic but still I lead a small Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group.

When I first came to Charismatic Renewal it was after having enjoyed, originally, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a 15 year old in my Catholic Parish. Soon after this life transforming experience, God called me to be an ordained priest in our church. Since I am female and our church condemns this vocation in women, I left Catholicism, crushed, but still desperate to understand and gain expertise in faith and function in these exceptional gifts from God. I joined an undenominational fellowship where I learned more about these wonderful and powerful gifts in the Holy Spirit of Christ. A few years later the fellowship's pastor left and the fellowship somewhat dissolved. Just before my marriage, God pulled me back into Catholicism and in prayer told me to return to the church I was born into and pray and work for change. Work to see women gain full and righteous equality and same sacraments, and work to teach my siblings in Christ more about these gifts which can do so much to help build up the church and the individuals who use them in faith. I work ongoing for both causes now and teach anyone who wants to know about this amazing form of worship which our church does still undervalue far too greatly. There is sadly still too much fear of the unknown regarding these gifts and this form of worship. I get far more strange looks when I tell Catholics I lead a charismatic prayer group than when I tell them I was and still believe I am called to ordained Catholic Priesthood.

Unfortunately, I can 't support any conservative pick for Supreme Court because conservative justice usually results in injustice for certain groups.

Roe v. Wade being turned over would be a nightmare for justice, especially for women, regardless the possible good intentions, and it would almost absolutely result in greater amounts of abortions and maternal deaths occurring in state's that criminalize abortion or heavily restrict the procedure. That is simply the facts. The harder the access to abortion the greater amount of abortions occur in that country and the greater amount of maternal deaths too - this has been proven, globally, to be the case, in virtually every country. I can't ignore those facts and neither should any decent Christian or Catholic. Illegalizing abortion does not result in anything resembling Pro-Life, in reality, anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, what hurt Charismatic Renewal was the people involved in renewal thought that if they supported far right conservative ideas then the bishops and Pope would be more accepting of this form of worship. However, renewal then became something that progressives, politically, and even moderates felt uncomfortable taking part in because there were often talks at the meetings pushing highly sexist or conservative teachings and this was a turn off for many members so they left the groups.

Charismatic renewal has nothing in its nature or as form of worship that leads to conservatism or sexism and can be taught, as I do, with full belief in egalitarian worship structures and full inclusiveness. In fact, this is the way it thrives most. The Holy Spirit repels unnecessary rules and restraints being placed on anyone.

RANDELL BUSBY
2 months 2 weeks ago

The author says that the Lord's Ranch people "are insistent that Catholics have a personal relationship with Christ." Do not all Roman Catholics have a relationship with Jesus through the sacrament(s) and The Church (koinonia and epískopos)?

While their intent and lifestyles are often commendable, these fringe communities (charismatic and not) often strike me as wannabe protest-ants (Marian devotion and a taste for rituals and accoutrements of the 19th century, notwithstanding).

Aided and abetted by the "contemporary" music craze in too many protest-ant churches, these groups are unwittingly embracing the "Jesus-only" theology held by many in the "contemporary" Christian music movement (or, as one well-known "worship leader" said, "it's all about me and Jesus").

Are not Roman Catholics called to be in relationship with God the Creator, through the sacrifice of Jesus, Christ, while aided and guided by the counsel and comfort of the Holy Spirit? And, are we not called individually and corporately to incarnate Jesus?

Nora Bolcon
2 months 2 weeks ago

Hi Randall,

Hopefully, this is of comfort for you. I don't know of any Catholic or Evangelical even charismatic groups or churches who deny the Holy Trinity as the one God they are worshipping. In our group we pray to God, the Creator, and to The Holy Spirit as God (perhaps most in this name or person due to charismatic gifts being specifically considered Holy Spirit Gifts), and we pray for the gifts in the name of Jesus Christ (as God due to his being God's only begotten son) as Christ taught all of his followers to do in the Gospels, without excluding the person of God Almighty or the Holy Spirit. I think you are worried about semantics not any actual belief difference. Our groups consider themselves members of the Body of Jesus Christ thru baptism, faith and Eucharist, and who belong to that body due to the Holy Spirit given on account of that faith in Christ, and in God the Father who sent His own Holy Spirit as a response to those who choose to believe in his Son as the Savior. It is all about "me and Jesus" since only Jesus can truly lead me to God Almighty who in turn sends His Holy Spirit to reside in his only son's followers, re-creating them into Children of God the Father.

RANDELL BUSBY
2 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you for your comment. Are you representing some group in your comments, or do you just prefer the royal “we”?

Alas, there are entire denominations in the U.S. and internationally which espouse Jesus-only theology, and most are Pentecostal/charismatic. More accurately called "modalism," the heresy of Oneness / Jesus-Only is not new and was first dealt with by The Church in the 2nd century. The core doctrine of Oneness / Jesus-Only is that Jesus is the Father and Jesus is the Spirit. There is one God who reveals Himself in different "modes."

Let me take extreme exception to your comment about semantics; they absolutely matter. Jesus said, "as a man thinks, so is he." I would posit that we ought to also say "as a person reads and/or sings, so is he." The protest-ant reformation would have failed without reading material and singing. Martin Luther said as much.

Our theology is absolutely shaped by what we read, sing, hear and say, and are the most effective catechetical tools available to followers of Jesus. Words matter. And we need to be much more attentive to what our short-hand comments communicate.

BARBARA LEE
2 months 2 weeks ago

Whatever her religious experience, I am more concerned about her understanding of the Constitution, and I do not think she is qualified to be a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Jay Zamberlin
2 months 2 weeks ago

She's not qualified? Based on what? And Sotomayer was "qualified?"

Lucie Johnson
2 months 2 weeks ago

I have reservations about religious community members serving in an office like Supreme Court Judge. "People of Praise" is too close to that for comfort. No, I don't think they are a cult, but it seems to me there is a conflict between the group's mission and charism, and the way a Supreme Court Judge needs to function --with an independent integrity, not so tightly connected to a group's particular agenda.

Cipriano Garibay
2 months 2 weeks ago

"I grew up in a charismatic Catholic community much like the one Amy Coney Barrett belongs to. Neither one is a cult."

I lived in the community he grew up in, for a year, and that place was definitely a cult. Back then (in the early 90s), I knew the author as "Nate Halloran," and he was about 10 or 11 years old.

When it comes to issues like this, precision of meaning is essential. Most people think "Charles Manson" or "David Koresh" when they hear the word "cult." However, it's not always that dramatic. The International Cultic Studies Association (yes, that's a thing) offers this information as a guideline of what characterizes a cult:

"Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused."

Again, the control, manipulation, exploitation, and abuse was not very dramatic, but it was clearly present. And just because we volunteered for it, that doesn't make it okay. As a matter of fact, I recall my time at the Ranch with fondness, and it was a good experience for me. But I was a stupid kid (around 19 years old). Now, as an adult (45 years old...and presumably a little less stupid), I understand that some of the things that went on there were all kinds of wrong.

It's understandable that Nate Halloran was not able to see this; it's unfortunate, however, that Fr. Nathan O'Halloran is not able to see it now...perhaps his perspective is permanently skewed by his upbringing and conditioning.

That being said, the Ranch is a far cry from some of the other atrocities that have passed for Catholic Charismatic covenant communities over the years. The defining characteristic of the Ranch has always been their tending to the poor, sick, and imprisoned across the border in Mexico. It stands out from other covenant communities in its dedication to and hard-core implementation of service to those in need, and to the eschewing of material comforts and possessions.

But People of Praise, on the other hand, is just another bourgeois experiment in lay living, as is the case with most other Catholic Charismatic covenant communities that have existed in the US (many of which have faced disciplinary measures by their local bishops for various abuses - some were even disbanded).

What really bothers me about those types of conservative Catholic communities is that they practice a skewed version of the faith - one which suffers severely from a lack of global awareness and context. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of the members of these communities (in the US) confuse political conservatism with moral conservatism; they believe that being a good Catholic is synonymous with being a Republican.

That's one of the things that makes the Ranch stand out, actually - because of the nature of their mission, they're forced to embrace the fight for social justice as a paradigm of what it means to be a good Catholic in the US. While folks at the People of Praise are promoting fundraisers for Republican candidates, folks at The Lord's Ranch attend local meetings of Democrats For Life and protest for immigrant rights (among other things).

But for all the good that comes from the Ranch (which is exemplary among Catholic Charismatic communities), it's still definitely a cult. Just because all of its members willingly submit to it, that doesn't make it any less so. The community that Amy Coney Barrett belongs to, on the other hand, doesn't really have any redeeming qualities to it, though. It's a far, far worse proposition to be a member of that group than to be a member of The Lord's Ranch, because that group is primarily concerned with being counter cultural and forming its members into following a peculiar brand of Republican enmeshed Catholicism. While they're busy slinging "SJW" as if it's pejorative, or an insult, Ranchers are busy being actual social justice warriors, and understanding that it's the stuff of Christ.

Lisa Weber
2 months 2 weeks ago

Thanks for an inside perspective on the group that Fr. O'Halloran grew up in.

Nora Bolcon
2 months 2 weeks ago

Unfortunately, the following from the above comment can definitely describe the entire Catholic Religion and all main stream religions for that matter: "Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused."

What I believe makes all Christian Religions and groups harmful is the idea that rather than teaching morals based on sound scripture and Gospel, and proving our faith thru action, even what we choose to vote about as individuals based on our personal morals, is the insistence in the religion's or group's involving themselves directly with the politics and law making in any country or state. This desire within religious groups to gain themselves political power is extremely harmful both for the secular states and countries and for the well being of the religious groups. Teach and do what is right is what Jesus taught but never did he tell his followers to make any laws in any country about any subject and he never advised them to seek political power anywhere in the world.

Ultra conservative, republican political preaching is what sucked the life out of the Charismatic Movement in Catholicism and there is so much distrust still present in our church it is very hard to convince people to give it a second chance or imagine it with a different purpose.

Baron Corvo
2 months 2 weeks ago

Where did my comment go ?

I asked what kind of a Jesuit claims to speak in tongues while he "prays," and I want to know why this wannabe Baptist didn't just join their cult if he wants to babble like they do.

Cipriano Garibay
2 months 2 weeks ago

What are you so angry about that compels you to trash talk strangers on the Internet with no provocation? ...why you gotta put prayer in scare quotes and make demeaning remarks?

Tony Champion
2 months 2 weeks ago

I shook the hand of Father Bob MacDougall. Am NOT Catholic, but Christian, no other denomination. Charismatic Catholics in my experience are simply Bible believing Christians. Food For Life television program in Canada. Excellent! Pentecostal or any Bible believing Christian is similar to Charismatic Catholics in my opinion.

Cipriano Garibay
2 months 2 weeks ago

"Am NOT Catholic, but Christian"

Catholic and Christian are not mutually exclusive. Also, Catholics and Protestants have very different perspectives about where Christian authority comes from; a lot of Protestants tend to believe that it comes from the Bible alone, while Catholics believe it comes from tradition, essentially, manifested in the teaching authority of the Church (the Magisterium)....which is basically just the worldwide collective of bishops (the Pope being the head bishop).

So it's a gross oversimplification to negatively compare Catholics as lacking, compared to "Bible believing Christians." Catholics *are* Bible believing Christians - they're just not all about the Bible, exclusively, like fundamentalists. Catholics have a sacramental theology that a lot of fundamentalist Protestants (and other self professed "Bible believing" types) would probably consider to be idolatrous (ironic, given their near idolatrous obsession with the Bible).

It's interesting, though, because this very issue has been a major factor in the development of Catholic Charismatic covenant communities over the past 20 years. At their peak, in the 80s, these communities had a very Protestant style, bible based approach to things. Franciscan University even published a formal, door to door evangelization process (yes, just like the Jehova's Witnesses) in the late 80s / early 90s that you could get trained and certified in (I took the course at my home parish in Midland, TX, while I was in high school). They trained you to deliver a 45 minute spiel of Old Testament and New Testament Bible quotes filled with generic Jesus stuff (intertwined with personal testimony)...then at the very tail end of the presentation, they'd tack on a bunch of stuff about the Eucharist and Sacraments (core tenets of Catholic faith and identity) and attending Mass. This was indicative of how other similar covenant communities nationwide operated. Then came the scandals and criticisms, and Bishops got involved and reprimanded / disbanded / generally castigated. Then the move towards a more Catholic identity began gaining momentum.

Nowadays, the Catholic Charismatic covenant communities have gone to the opposite extreme - they're all super-Catholics now, focused on the Sacraments and the Eucharist. A good example of this is the way P&W (Praise and Worship) sessions have changed over the years. In the 80s & 90s, P&W was all about singing and chanting, and promoting the feels with bright and energetic modern music (guitars & keyboards). Nowadays, they tend to be combined with Eucharistic adoration and other Catholic points of focus (with more traditional music, sometimes in Latin, with less instrumentation), and they tend to be more contemplative and all about "building up the body of Christ." It's like they did a 180 on their approach to Christianity - from Protestant to Catholic.

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