Monday, January 31, 2011

Former Catholic Priest, Francis MacNutt

Slain in the spirit.
In 1976 some Franciscan friars in Boston encouraged me to accompany them to Notre Dame for the annual Charismatic Conference.  They offered to pay my way, so I couldn't refuse.  The most positive experience was walking into the basilica as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was underway.  Young people - my age - were sitting all over the sanctuary steps, praying silently, reading scripture, praying in tongues, and so on.  It was an incredibly beautiful, mystical experience and I felt as if I were on the Mount of the Beatitudes with Jesus truly present.  There seemed to be a heavy mist wafting around everyone and I recall everything feeling almost suspended in time and space, in complete silence.
At the end of the Conference was the big Mass of course, and amongst the famous Catholic Charismatics who were there, was the Dominican, Fr. Francis MacNutt.  Father had conducted a healing service earlier and called out many people who were being healed as he spoke.  I was impressed by his charismatic appeal.  He was a very handsome man as well.  I distinctly recall whispering to one of the friars with me, "We need to pray very much for this man - he won't be a priest for long."  Call it prophecy or a good guess, I just knew that an attractive, famous charismatic priest is going to have a hard time remaining celibate.  Sure enough, MacNutt left the priesthood and married outside the Church a few years afterward.
It was my understanding MacNutt initially went over to the Episcopal church after an invitation to continue his healing ministry.  Not long ago I found out he had been reconciled to the Roman Catholic Church, and his marriage validated in 1993.  Currently he and his wife continue their healing ministry and operate a well known Christian Healing Ministry Center.  MacNutt has recently published a 'how to' guide for Catholics on healing titled, "The Practice of Healing Prayer".  Spirit Daily is offering the book on their website.
I doubt I would ever recommend anything from Francis MacNutt.    


  1. Terry, I was at that same conference in 76. I was very hurt when McNutt got married the way he did in 78. But he did get reconciled with the Church & he is a Catholic in good standing. He does speak at Catholic events & has even done some appearances with Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR of FSU

  2. So, basically, he's the 70's version of Father Cutie minus the reconciliation to the Church. I'm assuming his departure lacked the same scandalous entanglements found so prominently is Cutie's exit.

  3. michael r.6:48 AM

    My older sister was at that conference at Notre Dame. Me, any time I heard anything about the charismatic renewal, I ran the other way.

  4. Thanks Al - unfortunately I continue to have reservations. The impression I get is that the ministry is a business.

    Tom - I don't think MacNutt is comparable to Cutie - Cutie is more of a celebrity. As for charismatics who left the Church, I always got the impreesion they felt they were holier than the Church, as if they had a special deposit of the Spirit... that they were called to restore the primitive vigor of the faith sans all the accumulated baggage acquired throughout the centuries.

    Michael - is your sister still charismatic?

  5. i've read mcnutt's book on deliverance prayer and found it readable/educational. no red flags.

  6. Here is a great BIG red flag for you from his web site bio:

    In 1967, Francis was invited to a week-long charismatic Protestant retreat.

    (and then Satan entered him)

    Among the leaders were Rev. Tommy Tyson and Agnes Sanford. It was at this retreat that Francis asked for prayer to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

    (Satan took over command of his Priesthood)

    Not long after, he experienced a dramatic turning point in his ministry. Mrs. Sanford told him that he would be used to bring healing prayer back to the Catholic Church.

    (I didn't know it had ever left us)

    He began praying for the sick and many were either completely healed or noticeably improved. More and more he realized that a very important part of Jesus’ ministry (healing and deliverance through the power of the Holy Spirit) had been commonplace in the early church, but had been largely overlooked or ignored in the modern church. In 1977, Francis was one of the speakers at the famous conference at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium.

    Pray and do penance for these Sheppards that have fallen.


  7. Anonymous1:46 PM

    I will just quote our Lord who is the sorce for true discontent

    Judge not lest you be judged

    Love one another...

    If you do not believe in me believe in the things I do

    He who is not against us is for us

    Ending with my comment. If the Lord is still working through him and loves him enough to What does that teach us ?

    1. Thanks for the fraternal correction - who am I to judge. God have mercy.

  8. I know this is an old post but I was just checking up on something on Francis McNutt and your post came up. I notice that Francis McNutt wrote the foreword for a book by Neal Lozano on the deliverance ministry called 'Unbound'. I think myself this ministry is dangerous for anyone to dabble into. But this book helps people to pray these deliverance prayers themselves and also discusses 'how to handle manifestations' if and when they occur. I think that is seriously misguided and very dangerous especially for people who are emotionally vulnerable. Can you imagine someone with a nervous disorder praying these types of prayers and then perhaps having to deal with a manifestation afterwards. As Catholics we need to realise the power of the Sacraments which I feel these types of ministries (when they are not done properly) undermine. I am not sure if you have ever come across this ministry of Neal Lozano but you can read part of his book 'Unbound' on Google read and it is quite unsettling.

  9. Thanks Anne - I will look into it. In my opinion, Deliverance ministry SB limited to priests.

    The emotionally unstable need not apply. ;)

    I'll try to check out the book you mention.

  10. Anonymous12:14 AM

    I trust the judgment of the Church, but how can he be a Catholic in good standing, given "once a priest, always a priest"? Please explain.



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