Pope Francis calls on Catholic charismatic groups to work for justice

Pope Francis called on Catholic charismatic communities to work for social justice amid the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a video message released on May 30, eve of Pentecost Sunday, the pontiff said it is the duty of every Christian “to build a new reality.”

Addressing the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service (CHARIS), the pope said the Church needs to be alongside the poor as the world is about to face a post-pandemic era.

CHARIS is a Vatican-based organization established in December 2018 through the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life to serve the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement worldwide.

“All the suffering will have been useless if we do not build together a fairer, more equitable, more Christian society, not in name, but in reality, a reality that leads us to Christian conduct,” he said.

The pontiff called on the Catholic Church’s charismatic movement to work “to end the pandemic of poverty in the world.”

“If we do not work to end the pandemic of poverty in the world, with the pandemic of poverty in the country of each one of us … this time will have been in vain,” he added.

“We live in a very wounded, suffering world, especially in the poorest, who are discarded, when all our human securities have disappeared, the world needs us to give Jesus,” said Pope Francis.

“If we do not live to be judged according to what Jesus tells us: ‘Because I was hungry and they gave me food, I was imprisoned and they visited me, a stranger and they received me,’ we will not get better,” he said.

The pontiff invited the Catholic charismatic movement to be guided by a theological reflection on charismatic renewal that was written in the 1970s by Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens and Bishop Helder Camara.

Bishop Suenens of Mechelen-Brussel was a leading voice at the Second Vatican Council and advocated “aggiornamento” in the Church.

The document “Charismatic Renewal and Service of Man,” which he wrote with Bishop Camara, an advocate of Liberation Theology, calls on the renewal movement “to be faithful to the call of the Holy Spirit” and to be at the service of Christian unity and social justice.

“Be faithful to this call of the Holy Spirit,” said Pope Francis, adding that “Today more than ever we need the Father to send us the Holy Spirit.”

“We need the Spirit to give us new eyes, open our minds and hearts to face this moment and the future with the lesson we have learned: we are one humanity. We are not saved alone,” he said.

He said that the pandemic had underlined that, despite their differences, Christians are one, united by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“From the great trials of humanity, and among them the pandemic, one comes out either better or worse. It is not the same.”

“I ask you: How do you want to come out? Better or worse? And that’s why today we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit so that He may change our hearts and help us to come out better.”

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