10 - 13 November 2001



The Pontifical Council for the Laity, with the collaboration of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services, convened the International Colloquium on Prayer for Healing and the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church in Rome. The PCL President, James Francis Cardinal Stafford, presided over the assembly of some 87 invited participants mostly from the worldwide CCR and 12 Vatican representatives. The Colloquium specifically focused on the Catholic Church’s understanding of the healing ministry, taking the Instruction on Prayer for Healing by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as the basis for the discussions and reflections.

This Colloquium likewise was a momentous venue for the leaders of the CCR to exchange personal experiences in the healing ministry. This was the first time the PCL officially collaborated with the ICCRS on an issue that is of common concern for both. Aside from the official Acts of the Colloquium that will be issued jointly by the PCL and ICCRS, ICCRS has decided to use the materials from this Colloquium to draw up some practical guidelines on the healing ministry for the use of CCR prayer groups, communities and ministries.

A depeened report on this Colloquium will be published on the next issue of the ICCRS Newsletter.

Taken from the ICCRS Newsletter January-February 2002

Colloquium on “Prayers for Healing and the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church”

By Matteo Calisi

“No more healing gatherings”…”Vatican has forbidden the prayers for healing of the charismatics…” . These are more or less the words used by many newspapers, even catholic, to introduce their readers to the Instruction on Prayers for Healing, which was decided and promulgated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith on 14th September 2000.

Actually the Vatican Instruction, is far from heralding a list of “Commandments against miracle-masses” or “against the prayers for healing in the Charismatic Catholic Renewal”(!).

In this respect, it is significative the fact that the Vatican organized an International Colloquium on “The Prayer for Healing and the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church”. It took place in Rome at The House of the Pilgrim of the Sanctuary of the Divino Amore from 10th to 13th November 2001.

The Colloquium was promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in collaboration with ICCRS, the organism which represents the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church on the international level. There were about 120 attendants coming from all around the world. Among them some historical leaders of RCC.

Authoritative theologians and Bishops from the Vatican, as well as specialists and experts in the ministry of healing in the RCC, intervened in the discussion. The themes were Theology, Patristic, Liturgy, History of the Church, Ecumenism and Canon Law.

During the Colloquium, every day specific time was intended for testimonies and for mutual sharing among the participants. The subject was about the ministry of healing in the context of the evangelisation in the different cultures and continents.

The main aim of the Colloquium was to highlight the teachings of the Catholic Church on the ministry of healing and the way in which it was practised by Jesus, the Apostles and the church throughout the centuries, making particular reference to the experience in the Charismatic Catholic Renewal.

The Colloquium was the first official experience of collaboration of Pontifical Council for the Laity and ICCRS about a subject of common interest. Both PCL and ICCRS decided to publish and to spread out in the church the Official Acts of the Colloquium in order to offer practical orientations on the ministry of healing to the communities, to the groups of prayer and to the ministries in the RCC. Both ICCRS and PCL hope that these orientations will be a contribute for a more qualified, incisive and authentic pastoral action in the Catholic church.

The main speakers of the Colloquium were Cardinal James Stafford, Archbishops Tarcisio Bertone, Francesco Pio Tamburrino, Bishops Stanislaw Rylko, Albert de Monleòn, Sam Jacobs, Jaques Perrier, Joe Grech, the theologians and the experts P. Albert Vanhoye, P. Libero Gerosa, P. Fidel Gonzales, P. Raniero Cantalamessa. P.Mihaly Szentmatony, Sr Briege McKenna, Dr. Philippe Madre, P. Rufus Pereira, Jean Pliya, Charles Whitehead and P. Matteo La Grua. The moderators were Prof.Gzmàn Carriquiry and Prof. Matteo Calisi respectively Under-Secretary of the PCL and Vice-President of the ICCRS. At the opening of the Colloquium the President of the PCL, Card. Stafford, and the President of the ICCRS, Allan Panozza, sent their greetings.

In his speech at the Colloquium, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, presented the main orientations of the Instruction promulgated by his dicastery. He gave an objective interpretation of the document pointing out that, rather than a list of prohibitions, it is an enlightened representation and promotion of a practice of prayer which has been a part of the spirituality of the members of the mystic body of the Lord from the very beginning of Cristianity.

In the History of the Church of the beginnings, it was considered normal for the believer to ask God not only for the good health of his soul, but also of his body. The Acts of the Apostles tell most of all about the miraculous healings by individual preachers of the Gospel. St. Paul mentions the presence of a healing charism given by the Holy Spirit to some of the faithful. And these charisms, given for the benefit of the others, must surely have led to prayers, which accomplished results.

Archbishop Bertone pointed out that a particular section of the document is dedicated to the “charism of healing” in the present day (I.5), a context described in the Introduction as a “phenomenon, which is somehow new. It has to do with the proliferation of prayer meetings, combined at times with liturgical celebrations, for the purpose of obtaining healing from God”.

The Archbishop emphasised also the importance of the document as a mean for the discernment, useful to pastors and believers. The Instruction is, then, a help not a list of prohibitions. It gives pastoral and doctrinal explanations not abolitions. These explanations are about the charism of healing in itself and how to practice it, as well as about the various ways of holding a prayer meeting with the purpose of asking for healings.

The best attitude towards this Instruction from the Holy See, is that suggested by the certainty that all the teachings in it have been dictated by pastoral charity.

Looking at the specific experience within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the world, the speakers pointed out, with humble and peaceful mind, that “the prayer to obtain the healing of those who suffer in their souls and in their bodies” is being carried out (with increasing effort demanded by our way towards ecclesial maturity) more and more within the Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church - as it is recommended by the Instruction.

Taken from the ICCRS Newsletter March-April 2002



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