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Be witnesses of love pope tells Catholic charismatic movement

VATICAN (CNS): Addressing participants at a gathering of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service— known as Charis—on June 8, Pope Francis said that through their “baptism in the Holy Spirit, unity in the body of Christ and service to the poor,” they can bear witness to God’s love and evangelize the world.
 
He noted, however, that without love, establishing evangelisation offices or implementing carefully planned programmes “is useless.”
 
The pope encouraged “an evangelisation that is not proselytism but first and foremost a witness: a witness of love. ‘See how they love one another.’ That was what impressed those who encountered the first Christians. ‘See how they love one another.” 
 
Unfortunately, he said, when outsiders look at some Church communities, they say, “See how they gossip about one another!” Pope Francis said. “This does not come from the Holy Spirit.”
 
The Vatican announced last year that Charis would take over the roles previously played by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships. The two organisations ceased to exist on June 9, Pentecost Sunday.
 
The pope praised both previous organisations for “the mission they have carried out in the past 30 years” and said the creation of a single entity is a new stage “marked by communion between all the members of the charismatic family in which the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested for the good of the entire Church.”
 
The presence of the Holy Spirit “makes each one equal, since each has been born of the same Spirit: great and small, old and young, engaged on the worldwide or local levels, all form a whole that is always greater than the part,” he said.
 
Acknowledging the uncertainty that always comes with changes and the temptation to “leave things as they are,” the pope said that the changes in the organisational structure, which are characterised by service and “not governance,” comes from God who “makes all things new.”
 
Pope Francis also encouraged members of the Catholic charismatic renewal movement to be witnesses of God’s love and not centre their evangelical efforts on “ideology or methodology,” which come from the “spirit of this world, not the spirit of God.”
 
He noted, “It can happen that in any human organisation, secular or religious, there is a temptation to keep looking for personal gain and the ambition to stand out, to lead, to make money. That never changes. Corruption enters that way.” 
 
The pope said, “Service is not about filling our pockets—the devil enters through the pockets. Service is about the giving of oneself.”

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