Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2003
CCCB theology queries charismatic direction, leaders
By ART BABYCH
"Many have observed that after 35 years, the charismatic renewal in Canada has lost some of its original vitality,
- CCCB theology commission
"Some people bring wholeness through carrying their own suffering," it said. "Others, building on nature, have brought their medical skills under the aegis of Christ. Still others have received the rare gift of charismatic healing. All of these gifts are celebrated and summed up, as it were, in the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick where the Church's ministry of healing is joined with its ministry of reconciliation."
"The rich potential of these various forms of healing ministry in the Church should be promoted and celebrated, to the exclusion of none," it said.
As well, a healing prayer service must not be introduced or take place within the existing Eucharistic celebration, the commission said. "The Eucharist has its own ritual structure that must be respected. A healing prayer service, however, could conceivably be held before or after Mass for those who desired or needed such a healing prayer service."
The commission also said that when oil is used in the non-sacramental anointing of a healing prayer service, "care must be taken to clearly differentiate it from the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick."
On the issue of priests in the renewal, the need for closer collaboration between clergy and the laity remains, it said. "We therefore urge all priests and seminarians to study and make every effort to become ever more proficient in the art of spiritual direction. Faith is an arduous journey in the best of times, but today more than ever the lay faithful require competent guides and mentors in the ways of the Spirit."
The charismatic renewal would also do well to re-examine the ways that leaders assume and discharge their duties, the commission stated. "Many have observed that after 35 years, the charismatic renewal in Canada has lost some of its original vitality, that commitment to the renewal has diminished, and that some leaders at the local prayer group level are getting tired after years of leading these groups."
The commission asked, "Might the prolonged burden of leadership at the local level not be one reason why the renewal has lost some of its initial vitality, dynamism and capacity to attract the younger members of the ecclesial community?"
The commission also recommended a periodic review and evaluation of the charismatic leadership.
"Without such a continued re-assessment of its leadership, a movement can lose its initial vitality, élan, and contagious appeal," it said. "Such an honest review would re-examine the criteria by which leaders are chosen, the manner in which they exercise this responsibility, the extent to which they are afforded opportunity for ongoing formation, the time-frame of their tenure in office, and the procedure or mechanism by which a smooth and timely transfer of leadership can take place within the movement."
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