Pope Francis for the Feast of Pentecost with New Movements.
Charismatic is sort of a dirty word for traditionalists - they usually associate the Charismatic Movement with liberalism and modernism, indifferentism and liturgical novelty and abuse. Nevertheless, the Church has had Her eye on the movement since its 'revival' in the late 1960's, and it has been praised by the Popes as well. So, is Pope Francis 'charismatic'? Hmmm. I think it more appropriate to say... the Pope is Catholic.
Very shortly after my conversion I encountered friends in the Renewal - I went to prayer meetings with them. My spirituality was more contemplative, Eucharistic and Marian - at the time, Charismatics were not so centered in that respect - Eucharistic devotion was centered around the Mass, the rosary and Marian devotion was present, but not prominent. Prayer meetings were more or less comprised of praise, prophecy (mostly scriptural witnessing) and healing. I always felt inwardly strengthened, but preferred solitary, quiet adoration to communal prayer meetings. Did I see abuses? Of course, but I saw abuses anywhere I cared to look in the Church. In my opinion the movement changed, or matured under John Paul II and most especially after Medjugorje began. Charismatics were very much attracted to Medjugorje, and it was around that time that Marian devotion became a focus in the movement. (M. Angelica was instrumental in promoting Marian devotion in the Charismatic Movement as well.)
That's my brief experience on the Charismatic Movement, along with my opinion. I see nothing wrong with it, as with any spirituality, it simply needs the guidance of the Church. That said, Catholic World Report has an interesting article regarding the Pope(s) and the Movement - especially it's Catholic roots. Who knew Pope Leo XIII initiated it?
First, Pope Francis.
When the newly elected Pope Francis appeared at the window before the cheering crowd in St Peter’s Square, and promptly bowed down asking the people to pray for him, most of the public at large was charmed, but puzzled. Pope Benedict too had asked the people to pray for him from the outset, but without the bowed head. To some spectators, however—including the members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and their counterparts in the Protestant and Orthodox worlds—the gesture came as something surprisingly familiar. In the “charismatic” galaxy, prayer is offered and asked for in this way by people of all levels—specifically, prayer for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis’ frequent mentions of the Holy Spirit—whom he has described as someone who “annoys us”and “moves us, makes us walk, pushes the Church to move forward”—as well as his unprecedentedly frequent references to the devil (rather than to a generic“evil”), indicate his affinity for the Charismatic Renewal. The election of such a back-to-basics man as Supreme Pontiff provides us with an opportunity to look at the road traveled by the Charismatic Renewal and to “hold on to what is good” (1 Thess 5:21).
Before Francis, Pope Leo XIII
January 1, 1901, Pope Leo XIII ushered in the new century by solemnly invoking the Holy Spirit over all of Christendom.
One of the chief ends that Pope Leo had explicitly dedicated his long pontificate to was the reunion of all Christians. Now, he was asking the Holy Spirit to bring his work to maturity and to bear fruit, with a renewed outpouring of his gifts not just over Catholics, but over all the disciples of Christ. Very few in the Protestant and Orthodox worlds—indeed, not even many Catholics—are aware of this historical fact. But to believers who attach such specific meaning and tangible effects to the invocation of the Holy Spirit, it can be no small matter.
It all started with a nun in Lucca, Italy, Elena Guerra (1835-1914), the founder of the Oblate Sisters of the Holy Spirit, whom Pope John XXIII was to beatify and give the title “Apostle of the Holy Spirit “in 1959.
Over a period of eight years, around the turn of the last century, Blessed Elena Guerra wrote 13 letters to the Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII, urging him to establish an institutional devotion to the Holy Spirit. Leo was thus prompted to call the faithful to a novena in preparation for Pentecost 1895, in an apostolic letter entitled Provida Matris Charitate, in which he called particular attention to one of the fruits of the Paraclete, “the unity and unanimity” described in Acts 4:32: “The whole group of believers were united, heart and soul.” Two years later, he wrote his short encyclical on the Holy Spirit, Divinum Illud Munus, (“He is the substantial, eternal, and first Love, and there is nothing more lovable than love”), explaining the Spirit’s unity with the Father and the Son in the Trinity and making the novena to the Holy Spirit public and permanent. - Read more here.
Fascinating stuff, huh? That's why I try not to criticise - and never condemn - the new movements in the Church, and wait - and allow - the Magisterium to rule upon them. The Holy Spirit moves where He will, when He will, and how He will.
It is the Paraclete Spirit, the “Comforter”, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission? - Pope Francis, Pentecost Homily, 5/19/13The Pope is so Catholic.
Update, just discovered late Sunday night: As usual, Fr. Angelo covered the subject better than I could. Read his post from May 10, Pope Francis the Charismatic. It's excellent.