The term “Charism” stands for religious gifts or gifts of the Holy Spirit that is used by the entire church fraternity. Mainly, people receive these gifts for the benefit of other people. The Catholics embrace charism as a traditional process, where the congregation must stand to serve other people as Christ did to the church and his disciples. The church is taught how to remain devoted to the ways of Christ through charism. It teaches the entire community how to use what is within their means, such as their voice to foster the holiness of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church is often inspired by the stories of other religious groups of the past, such as saints and patrons showcased their gifts of the Holy Spirit, by leading a life similar to that of Christ. In the Catholic tradition, the charism is the Holy Spirit that pervades the church, as founded by a specific group of the faithful, norms and beliefs.
Charism can be explained as a belief system that integrates the use of direct or personal connection with Jesus Christ as people express their gifts of the Holy Spirit to the public and witnesses. In the Catholic Church, different parishes integrate charism worship sessions, which entail prayer ceremonies and gatherings, away from the normal mass (Boff, 2012). During these gatherings, the congregation is characterized by a moment of prophecy, healing, declaration of miracles, wisdom and knowledge and salvation. It is a moment where the believer is uplifted as they sing and speak in tongues (Cook, 2015). The congregation is defined by a session, where the members submit themselves completely to Christ, as a show of devotion and dedication.
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Today, some Catholic Churches are seen integrating charism in most of their services. In particular, they create sessions, where they interact with non-Catholic communities as fostered by charism. During these sessions, many charismatic Catholic churches carry out healing services, which include the power of the gospel, outreach programs and evangelism (Robles, 2015). The congregations are given a chance to feel the Holy Spirit, including miracles and the healing power of Christ. People are encouraged to talk to Christ directly and request for divine intervention.
Charism generates numerous criticisms, as well as views, concerns, and objections in the Catholic Church. There are those who agree with charism whereas those, who feel that it is going against the rules of the Catholic Church. Some believe that it is a misinterpretation of the biblical teachings, whereas others still contend that it is a violation of the teachings entirely. Many arguments, according to Healy (2015), are inclined on the reasoning that charism is an abject shift of focus from the Catholic traditional ways of worship, which entails the use of the Holy Communion and Eucharist and an introduction to emotional experiences.
Many believe that charism is not an important feature for the Catholics and perceive it as something that gives the worshipers a chance to act similar to the Protestants. Many devoted Catholics hold that Protestants go against the wishes of the Catholics and thus cannot be emulated. According to Cook (2015), the charism is a sure way of helping many Catholics to convert to Protestants, Pentecostal as well as evangelists instead of looking at building the Catholics fraternity. It is a system that intends to get rid of the traditional practices of the Catholics, such as Mass, in the name of introducing the real presence of Jesus Christ. Many antagonists argue that it is scrapping away vital Catholic symbols, such as the Cross and replacing them with more “modern” symbols. Many believe that charism is a new wave characterized by modernism and contemporary forms of worshiping that may direct the Catholic traditions to the drains.
Overall, the term charism is seen to originate from the holy gifts granted to the congregation through the Holy Spirit. The Catholic uses the charism as a means to create a direct connection with Jesus Christ, where the communities are given a chance to feel the miracles and healing, including prophecies. It is a session where the community or congregation involved feel even more connected to Christ than the traditional Mass. However, in as much as charism introduces a new uplifting feeling to the congregation, emotional inclusion and the holy spirit, it is further associated with conflicts and concerns of pulling the congregation away from the traditional Catholic ways of worshiping. Therefore, the importance of charism in the Catholic tradition seems to take the dimension of openness and liberated forms of worship, which are still debatable. It can be seen as well as a factor that may unite the Protestants with the Catholics anew – as a common mode of worship and understanding of Christ and his role in man.
- Boff, L. (2012). Church, charism and power: Liberation theology and the institutional church. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Pub.
- Cook, T. J. (2015). Charism and culture: Cultivating Catholic identity in Catholic schools. Arlington, VA: National Catholic Educational Association.
- Healy, M. (2015). Healing: Bringing the gift of God’s mercy to the world. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division.
- Robles, I. R. (2015). The charisms of the Holy Spirit and the new evangelization. Camarillo, Calif: St. John’s Seminary.