It was an impressive picture. During the first week-end of June 50.000 people gathered together in the Olympic Stadium of Rome not for a football match but instead to see Pope Francis as he joined the Catholic Charismatic movements for their annual celebration. In his speech the Pope gave a bit of an auto-biographical story of his encounter with these Renewal movements. Today, one Catholic out of ten claims to be charismatic (120 million people on the whole) and most of non-Western Roman Catholicism is heavily influenced by Charismatic spirituality.
From Skepticism to Full Endorsement
In his speech, Francis candidly recalled that his first impressions of the movement were rather mixed. The charismatic way of singing and worshipping seemed to him more of a “school of samba” than a properly defined Catholic liturgy. His reservations, however, were overcome as he better understood the movement. From a skeptical observer, Bergoglio became a staunch supporter of it.
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