ED. The author of this piece was born in Ireland and trained by Jesuits for the Roman Catholic (RC) priesthood in which capacity he served for 21 years (see ABOUT THE AUTHOR below). Richard now 73 years of age is planning to visit Australia for a brief CWM tour probably next September (2012). Those interested in hosting a meeting should contact Clive Leembruggen email - firstname.lastname@example.org For more information visit www.bereanbeacon.org
Dear Friend, The Papacy is ever looking for ways to implement its ecumenical agenda. Its goal is to draw all Evangelicals into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Vatican Council II officially proclaimed this objective in its documents in the mid 1960’s. However, the Papacy’s problem was how to find entry points into Evangelical circles to begin implementing their new ecumenical policy. In 1967, a major event occurred among some of the Roman Catholic (RC) students of Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA) as they attended a retreat. That event was dubbed by some of the professors as “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” The news of such a “move of God” quickly spread to the Notre Dame University (another private RC university) in nearby Indiana. Cardinal Suenens was sent by the Papacy to estimate the rapidly growing movement. With Cardinal Suenens’ favourable report, the Papacy had a major entry point into Evangelical circles, which they exploited.
This article documents the sinister power behind the Papal outreach to the Evangelicals of the modern Pentecostal movement especially among the Italian people. It also shows that what Rome means by “baptism in the Holy Spirit” is utterly different from what the Bible and Evangelical Pentecostals mean by that same term. Factual knowledge of the power behind the RC experiences shows the snare that is hidden in the RC ecumenical outreach to Evangelical Pentecostals. Please forward this article as widely as you can – obtainable as a PDF, html and E-Book article at www.cwm.org.au.
The modern Pentecostal movement arose from the holiness movement of the late 19th century. As part of that movement, there was an outbreak of what was called the “baptism in the Spirit” at Charles Parham’s Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas, USA on January 1, 1901. In 1906, similar events began occurring at the
Azusa Street Mission
in Los Angeles. The Pentecostal movement generated great excitement from those claiming that God was moving in the signs and wonders that were taking place at these gatherings. As news of these happenings spread, the excitement over these events increasingly drew people out of various settled denominations to join with those who desired “baptism in the Spirit” and the signs and wonders that were associated with the movement.
Nearly simultaneously, in 1897, Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical on the Holy Spirit. The occasion was to dedicate the work of his pontificate to the Holy Spirit, “that He [the Holy Spirit] may bring it to maturity and fruitfulness.” In his encyclical, the Pope stated that the two chief goals of his pontificate had been,
…in the first place, towards the restoration, both in rulers and peoples, of the principles of the Christian life in civil and domestic society…and, secondly, to promote the reunion of those who have fallen away from the Catholic Church either by heresy or by schism, since it is most undoubtedly the will of Christ that all should be united in one flock under one Shepherd.
Thus, in 1897, Pope Leo XIII had stated officially the ecumenical agenda behind what would become the policy of Vatican Council II of 1963-1965. Pope Leo’s conclusion was,
We decree and command that throughout the whole [Roman] Catholic Church, this year and in every subsequent year, a Novena shall take place before Whit-Sunday (Whit Sunday is the seventh Sunday after Easter, when Christians celebrate the sending of the Holy Spirit to the first followers of Christ), in all parish churches…[to] duly pray for Our intention.
Thus, the main thrust of the Pope’s encyclical was his decree that an annual series of Novena rote prayers were to be recited for nine days straight in all RC churches. The intention of these novena rote prayers was to pray to Mary that the Holy Spirit would unify Christendom under the Catholic Church in a new outpouring of His power. Consequently, the encyclical finished with this call,
Unite, then, Venerable Brethren, your prayers with Ours, and at your exhortation let all Christian peoples add their prayers also, invoking the powerful and ever-acceptable intercession of the Blessed Virgin….
While purporting to call upon the Holy Spirit to unite all Christendom under the RCC, the Pope was in fact commanding Roman Catholics to invoke through novena rote prayers the one they call the Queen of Heaven, in order to obtain the success of his ecumenical agenda.
The Vatican’s 20th Century Ecumenical Agenda
The objective of Pope Leo XIII’s ecumenical agenda of 1897 was officially and more fully decreed in the documents of Vatican Council II in 1964. At the time, implementation of the Papacy’s agenda meant finding the necessary entry points into the Evangelical world. A major one soon presented itself.
In 1967, two years after the close of Vatican Council II, an event occurred at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA) initiating claims of Pentecostal happenings within the RCC. These claimed “baptisms in the Holy Spirit” at Duquesne caused a great stir in Roman Catholic circles. News of that event quickly spread to students and professors at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana (USA) where similarly claimed spiritually powered events occurred in rapid succession. The Vatican then sent Cardinal Leon Suenens to the U.S. to analyze the movement. The Cardinal approved and enthusiastically advocated the U.S. Renewal Movement, as it was called. With the advent of the Catholic Renewal Movement, the Papacy found that it had been given a major entry point by which to implement its ecumenical agenda within a growing group of non-Catholics. The organization and infrastructure of these non-Catholic groups were nothing compared to that of the Papacy. Thus, it was seen by the Papacy that the Pentecostals could easily be used as a liaison to make the RCC more acceptable to Evangelicals in general.
The spiritually powered events at the universities of Duquesne and Notre Dame were apparently the beginning of such events happening in many countries across the world. Different Popes authenticated the movement, as in, for example, 1975, as Pope Paul VI greeted 10,000 Roman Catholics at the 9th International Renewal Conference, he stated,
The [Roman Catholic] Church and the world need more than ever that ‘the miracle of Pentecost should continue in history’...How could this ‘spiritual renewal’ not be ‘good fortune’ for the Church and the world?
And soon after becoming Pope, John Paul II declared,
I am convinced that this movement is a sign of the Spirit’s action…a very important component in the total renewal of the Church.
Later, in 1984, he stated,
Because of the Spirit, the church preserves a continual youthful vitality, and the Charismatic Renewal is an eloquent manifestation of this vitality today, a bold statement of what ‘the Spirit is saying to the churches’ (Rev. 2:7) as we approach the close of the second millennium.”
An Analysis of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Experience
In 1967, there is a first-hand description of the events at Duquesne given by Roman Catholic Patti Gallagher Mansfield in her book, As By A New Pentecost. The book is rather unique because it is endorsed by Cardinal Leon Suenens in the foreword and by RC Bishop Sam Jacobs in the epilogue. Ms. Mansfield, like others in the book, participated in the activities of that February weekend in Duquesne. In it she outlines in detail what happened and what the participants perceived was the meaning of the events. She also outlines many of the basic traditions of the Papacy and includes the testimonies of seventeen Charismatic Roman Catholics. Of her own experience, she recounts,
Before each presentation we sang “Veni Creator Spiritus" in English, using the Gregorian chant melody. One of our professors told us…it was a prayer. He wanted us to sing it repeatedly as an invocation to the Holy Spirit. It was as if he were saying, ‘We’re going to keep on praying this until the Holy Spirit comes.’
Friday night in the chapel, our other faculty advisor held up a statue of Our Lady which depicted her with her hands lifted up in prayer…In God’s plan, it was necessary for Mary to be ‘with us’ in an explicit way as we experienced a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit that Weekend. The Fathers of the Church call Mary ‘the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.’ How can she fail to be present when the Holy Spirit is at work? ...After the meditation on Mary I experienced my first communal Penance Service, and I was quite moved… (p. 35).
[Later] with expectations high, I wrote on a sheet of paper: ‘I WANT A MIRACLE!’ and tacked it up for everyone to see. I didn’t know exactly what the miracle would be; I just wanted God to act with power (p. 38).
Thus Ms. Mansfield testifies that she was thoroughly engaged in RC religious ritual and seeking a demonstration of spiritual power. However, without seeking truth, i.e. biblical truth, primarily, one is not in a position to discern the source of the desired demonstration of spiritual power. This is precisely what Ms. Mansfield’s testimony shows,
When I entered the chapel I saw a few people sitting on the floor praying…I’d always believed by the gift of faith that Jesus is really present in the Blessed Sacrament, but I had never experienced His glory before… As I knelt there before the Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, for the first time in my life, I prayed what I would call ‘a prayer of unconditional surrender.’…When I prayed that prayer, I was kneeling before the altar. The next moment I found myself prostrate, flat on my face, stretched out before the tabernacle. No one had laid hands on me. I had never seen such a thing happen before. I don’t know exactly what took place…. (p. 39).
Ms. Mansfield had bowed down before an idol and prayed “a prayer of unconditional surrender.” She sincerely thought her surrender was to the Lord Jesus Christ, who she thinks is in the communion bread. However, the message to which her book plainly testifies is that she surrendered to a strange spirit, which answered by showing its power in laying her out prostrate before the communion bread that she worshipped as God. Of this experience, she says,
Although I just wanted to remain and bask in the presence of the Lord, I knew that I needed to share this experience with others. Like the apostles after Pentecost, I wanted to ‘proclaim His marvellous deeds,’ to give witness to the Living God…[o]ne of the professors entered the chapel and commented, ‘What’s the bishop going to say when he finds out that all these kids have been baptized in the Holy Spirit’
Fruits of Desiring to See Power Rather than to Seek Truth
Ms. Mansfield states that she “wanted to ‘proclaim His marvellous deeds,’ to give witness to the Living God.” But in fact, she did the exact opposite. While she does give an historically valuable first-hand account of the Duquesne Weekend, the book simply teaches traditional RC doctrine. For instance, it teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the communion bread, which is gross idolatry. How does such idolatry align with her desire to “proclaim His marvellous deeds?” Then how could one of the professors conclude that the event regarding her prostration before the communion bread be deemed “baptism in the Holy Spirit?” What is missing in all this is “the love of the truth” and the desire for it at all costs – which in this case would mean giving up the apostate RCC with its false gospel and unbiblical doctrines.
Instead, Ms. Mansfield states,
Immediately after the Weekend Fran told me she didn’t like ‘the whole operation,’ and was afraid that we were leaving the Church. Quite the contrary, I felt that I was discovering the Church in a wonderful new way. One of the first things I did after the Weekend was to take The Documents of Vatican II and look up every reference to ‘Holy Spirit,’ ‘charisms’ and ‘spiritual gifts.’ As intense as my experience of the Holy Spirit on the Weekend was, if the Church tells me this is not authentic, I would rather renounce my own experience than ever leave the Catholic Church.
Sadly, twenty-five years later Ms. Mansfield still did not know what happened to her in the recounted experience nor did she know the source of the power by which she was struck. Rather than turning to the Bible as her sole authority to interpret this event, she bowed without question to the teaching authority of the RCC. And the whole sordid event is labelled by the Papacy as “baptism in the Holy Spirit.”
Catholic Charismatic Activity Invested with Papal Dogma
The interpretation, of what the book endorsed by the Papacy, described as “Baptism in the Spirit” is poles apart from what biblical Pentecostals believe is the interpretation of such events. Ms. Mansfield explains,
The most common understanding of the Baptism in the Spirit among [Roman] Catholics is that it is ‘a release’ of the graces already received in Baptism and Confirmation.
Such an interpretation of the “Baptism in the Spirit” works nicely with traditional RC doctrine and has readily been accepted as such, according to Ms. Mansfield and the other Roman Catholics whose testimonies are in the book.
Another major RC doctrinal teaching from the account of the Duquesne Weekend falls under the heading, “Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit.” That section of the book states,
Mary has a continuing role as Mother of all God’s children, Mother of the Church. And her spiritual motherhood is intimately linked to the work of the Holy Spirit….As we entrust ourselves to the heart of Mary, she will lead us faithfully to the heart of Jesus her Son.
Jesus Himself, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, are in essence one God, the trinity of Persons in one nature. The nature of God is totally separate from all persons and things that He has created. Thus, the teaching that the person of Mary has an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit as His spouse is utter blasphemy. It is a sacrilegious deception of Satan. While the Scripture states, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light,”(2 Corinthians 11:14) it still comes as a shock to see the Prince of Darkness, the one most alien to the light, misuse Mary until he has her appearing like a goddess married to the Holy Spirit. In fact, the book manifests what Scripture calls “another spirit,” a spirit that is utterly opposed to God the Holy Spirit, who leads lost sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ; it is “another spirit” that leads souls to hell.
It is the same demonic deception that is seen in the official Papal adoration of Mary as, “the All Holy One, and worship of the communion bread with “the worship which is due to the true God.” Indeed, these facts demonstrate that a demonic spirit transmits these neo-pagan doctrines. In this scenario, true believers must
…. be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour - 1 Peter 5:8.
Satan is the chief deceiver, and the Papacy’s ecumenical ploy to use Pentecostalism as a vehicle into the broader Evangelical camp is sinisterly evil and, yet sadly, has been highly successful.
Acceptance of the Catholic Charismatic Movement
From the late 1960’s, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal was presented as a movement that from the outside looked like Evangelical Pentecostal spiritual power events. The terminology, “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” used by the RC authorities to describe these new power events in the RCC was borrowed directly from the Evangelical Pentecostals. However, the interpretation of those same events was advanced by the RCC with a very different message than that which the same terminology carried within Evangelical Pentecostal circles. The RC Pope, cardinals and bishops who before Vatican Council II arrogantly disdained Evangelicals as heretics, after the Council spoke softly concerning them. Evangelicals were no longer called “heretics” but rather “separated brethren.” Further, after Vatican Council II, Roman Catholics were allowed to go to Evangelical Bible studies, churches, and other events. Most of these people had no understanding other than what the RCC had taught them. Consequently, many RCs, suffering under dead religious rituals, were excited to take part in a movement that seemed to be from God through the gatherings held outside RC authorized places.
David du Plessis, known as Mr. Pentecost was a key figure in ecumenising with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He played a leading role in developing ecumenical ties with the RCC. Dennis Bennett, a priest in the Episcopal Church (USA), was a leading advocate for the charismatic renewal within the
and also with accepting Roman Catholics who were believed to be “filled with the Spirit.” The movement had great influence through The Positive Confession teachings propagated by Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Charles Capps, and others. More Charismatics surfaced in the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, outside the RCC the Latter Rain movement saw itself as a returning to the “full gospel” of the early days of the Christian church. However, what was being taught was the falsehood that a person could virtually become God (directly experience God). Scripture states, “for there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” This means that there is no person who can emulate God (can directly experience God). Nevertheless, pious experiences that looked and felt so mysteriously spiritual were like a net cast over the unwary and the unbiblical. In this scenario of feelings, the Papal ecumenical overture was quite successful with some Word of Faith leaders, among whom were Paul Crouch, David Mainse, John Arnott, C. Peter Wagner, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and Benny Hinn.
Papal Ecumenical Participation Documented
An example of a Pentecostal leader reaching out to the RCC happened on May 25, 2011. The headline, Pelle, Pentecost and the Pope, on the front page of the May 25, 2011 edition of the Swedish newspaper Dagen was followed by this report,
The director of the Swedish Pentecostal Churches was one of the selected to shake hands with the Pope during a Pentecostal delegation study tour to Rome and the Vatican together with a delegation from the Catholic Church in Sweden. The visit was part of the dialogue between the two churches which started in 2003. During the audience, which gathered up to 50,000 persons, the Pope talked about prayer and delivered a special salutation to Sweden, a gesture which gives expression to the interest in the ecumenical process in Sweden by the highest leader of the Catholic Church.
The Word of Faith leaders in the Pentecostal movement also continually endorse the RCC. The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is one of the most powerful and persistent of the TV ministries in the USA. It promotes almost exclusively the Word of Faith Pentecostal leaders. Paul Crouch, the director of TBN, has been closely associated with the Papacy for many years. On his Website, one finds such announcements as,
Pope Honours Fr. Michael Manning of The Word in the World on TBN and Celebrate Easter with TBN’s Premiere of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.
His Website explicitly states that its programmes have an appeal to those in the Roman Catholic Church. TBN, in fact, promotes RC doctrine and offers a wide range of RC books and other literature for sale. Furthermore, in Canada, the radical Pentecostal David Mainse welcomes Roman Catholics on his 100 Huntley Street television show. Also, John Arnott of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship shared with his followers the news that videos of the Toronto Blessingmeetings have been taken to the Vatican. Moreover, C. Peter Wagner, the self-proclaimed founder of the New Apostolic Church and the New Apostolic Reformation, is a key figure in Word of Faith circles. He was at one time a close associate of Vineyard founder, John Wimber. Wagner and Wimber created a course called Signs and Wonders and Church Growth, which has impacted churches all over the world. Wagner endorsed the Catholic Charismatic movement when he wrote,
Traditionally, the message of the Gospel in Latin America has appealed to the working class. But changes have begun to take place, and many middle and upper-class people are now opening their hearts to Jesus Christ. Some of this is happening through the Catholic charismatic movement.
Wagner does not differentiate between the false gospel of RC Charismatic movement and the true biblical Gospel.
Another Pentecostal, Benny Hinn, is a well-known Word of Faith leader. In Christianity Today magazine, he emphasized his RC state of mind saying,
My upbringing, of course, was Catholic in that I attended the Catholic school in Jaffa, Israel. And so my mentality basically is a Catholic mentality. When I was born again, I was Catholic in my ways. I was very Catholic in my ideas, in my behaviour.
Papal Difficulties Arise within Catholic Ecumenical Outreach
In 1967, the Papacy began to implement their ecumenical agenda through the Catholic Charismatic Renewal; however, ecumenism with Evangelicals had its problems. In the opening years, a number of the Renewal’s Catholic Charismaticsaccepted the Evangelical teaching on the supremacy of Scripture as the only source for Christian faith and practice. This was noticeable to some former RC priests, including the author of this article. Bob Bush, also a former RC priest, wrote in his testimony,
It was August 1970 when God’s grace truly touched me. I began working in the charismatic movement, which was a fresh movement in the Catholic Church. While there were all kinds of decrees and dogmas coming out of Rome, the movement at the beginning tried to have just one manual, the Bible…We were stressing praise and worshiping and glorifying God.
At the time, as priests we did not fully realize that this position directly challenged the RCC on the basis of truth. Papal Rome’s position is that,
The Church does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the Holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.
Thus, quite soon in the opening years, the Papacy imposed its strict dogma that,
Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture then are bound closely together and communicate one with the other.
Thus, while some RC Charismatics had a correct biblical position in the opening years, most did not. The Papacy vigorously upheld its traditions, and those of us who were priests and leaders within the Renewal were told to remain faithful to the Church and to avoid exposure to non-Catholic teachers and evangelists. Nonetheless, some of us who were ardent RC Charismatics discovered that the teachings of the RCC were unbiblical when we had the opportunity to hear the teachings of Evangelical Pentecostals. While we realized that there were some difficulties in doctrine within Pentecostalism, by the Lord’s truth and grace, each of us came to biblical faith; and while several of us have gone to be with the Lord, most of us are alive today rejoicing in our salvation.
Unsuccessful Attempts to Stem Roman Catholic Exodus
The Papacy has tried to overturn this exodus out of the Roman Church by different means. For example, eighteen years ago the Vatican set up the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Thus, its website states,
September 14th is a milestone for the life of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal [CCR] in the world. Eighteen years ago the Pontifical Council for the Laity of the Holy See enacted the recognition of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service (ICCRS) as an entity for the promotion of CCR.
While the Institute is supposed to be a liaison between Charismatic affairs and the Vatican, in fact it is but one more level of dictatorial Papal authority. It is mostly a disenfranchised movement not having any meaningful influence in the Catholic Church’s hierarchical system. Consequently, some Catholic Charismatics are beginning to wake up.
Every person’s greatest problem is that he is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). This is the reason we need to be in right standing before God on the terms He prescribes. We have a spiritual debt of infinite proportions that we are unable to repay. The Gospel, however, is that by His grace we can turn to Him in faith alone for the salvation that He alone gives, by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, based on Christ’s death and resurrection for His own people, and believe on Him alone. As the Scripture states,
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast - Ephesians 2:8-9.
Therefore, the Catholic Charismatic or otherwise, must recognize that the Papacy’s sacramental system is “another gospel,” which is no gospel at all. Rather, a person must have personal faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. This faith is given to him by God’s grace alone. Thus, while the Papacy has attempted to exploit Pentecostalism, it has in many cases backfired. Quite a few Roman Catholics, who have awakened to some things biblical and met genuine Christians, have prayed and sought the Lord and have come to Him—by grace and through faith alone.
We are all, as human beings, initially cut off from God and are spiritually dead, as a condemned malefactor is said to be a dead man. Water cannot flow uphill, nor can the natural man act contrary to his corrupt nature.
What then can you do, just how can you be made right with God?
You must first acknowledge that you are spiritually, “dead in trespasses and sins” and cry out to the Lord God for help. It is the Holy Spirit who awakens within the human heart a sense of need. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that overcomes the pride of the natural man, so that he is ready to come to the Lord Jesus Christ to receive life. In the Lord’s own words,
….the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
As the Lord also explained,
It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Richard Bennett originally comes from Ireland. He was trained by Jesuits in his early years, and received eight years of theological instruction and preparation for the priesthood with the Dominicans. He completed his education at the Angelicum University in Rome in 1964. He spent twenty-one years as a Catholic parish priest in Trinidad, West Indies. He had, therefore, the best of academic training in things Roman Catholic, plus twenty-one years of being a parish priest applying Roman Catholic teachings to everyday life. After a serious accident in 1972, in which he nearly lost his life, he began to seriously study the Bible. After nearly fourteen years of contrasting Roman Catholicism to Biblical truth, he was convicted by the Gospel message. In 1985, he saw that justification is not being inwardly just as Rome taught, but being accepted in Christ. He was then saved by God’s grace alone and formally left the Roman Catholic Church and its priesthood. He has founded an evangelistic ministry to Roman Catholics called Berean Beacon. Webpage: www.bereanbeacon.org
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