Pope Francis the Charismatic

Pope Francis is a Charismatic.

Though I made the case for this in a HuffPost blog almost a year ago, the Argentine pontiff’s penchant for Spirit-centred Catholicism has been one of the most underreported aspects of his dynamic papacy.

Francis’s spirited participation in the 37th Annual Convocation of the Charismatic movements along with some 50,000 Catholics at Rome’s Olympic Stadium leaves no doubt that he is the first ever Charismatic pope.

Like their Pentecostal brethren who inspired the movement, Catholic Charismatics practice a pneumacentric form of Christianity centred on the transformative role of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Charismatic worship is a high-octane affair involving, upbeat music, dancing, speaking in tongues and even unsanctioned exorcisms on occasion.

While the Catholic Charismatic Renewal enjoyed papal endorsements from both of Francis’s immediate predecessors, the Argentine pope became the first to attend an annual Charismatic convocation.

Through both his actions and words, the Latin American pontiff wholeheartedly embraced the Renewal.

Francis participated in the worship service in Charismatic style, kneeling in prayer, waving his hands in rhythm to the emotionally-charged songs of praise and in singing Charismatic hymns.

Verbally, the dynamic pope called the Charismatic Renewal “a great force” for the Catholic Church, repeating the phrase that at first in Argentina he viewed them as a “samba school,” a typically derogatory expression in his native country that conjures up the unrestrained exuberance of Brazilian carnival. Continue reading.

R. Andrew Chesnut, Ph.D., holds the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies and is Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Source: Huffington Post

Image: VCU/YouTube

Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

Tags: , , , , ,