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Pope Francis responds to a question about the CCR
In the return flight from Brazil, one hour after taking off from Rio de Janeiro on the evening of Sunday, 28th July, Pope Francis met with reporters aboard the plane in a long press conference. Marcio Campos, one of the journalists asked Him:
[...] In Brazil, the Catholic Church has lost faithful over the years. Is the Charismatic Renewal Movement a possibility to avoid the faithful joining the Pentecostal churches? Thank you very much for your presence, and thank you very much for our being on your flight.
To this question, His Holiness said:
What you say is very true about the loss of faithful: it’s true, it’s true. There are statistics.
We spoke with the Brazilian bishops about the problem, in a meeting we had yesterday. You asked about the Charismatic Renewal Movement. I’ll tell you something. In the years, at the end of the 70s, beginning of the 80s, I couldn’t stand them. Once, speaking of them, I said this phrase: “They confuse a liturgical celebration with a samba school!” I said this. But I repented. Then, I got to know them better. It’s also true that the Movement, with good advisers, has gone on a good path. And now I think this Movement has done so much good to the Church in general.
At Buenos Aires, I met with them often and once a year had a Mass with all of them in the Cathedral. I’ve always favored them, after I was converted, when I saw the good they do.
Because at this moment of the Church — and here I lengthen the answer a bit — I think the Movements are necessary. The Movements are a grace of the Holy Spirit. “But how can one stop a Movement that is so free?” The Church is also free! The Holy Spirit does what He wishes. Then He does the work of harmonizing, but I think the Movements are a grace, those Movements that have the spirit of the Church.
Because of this, I think that the Charismatic Renewal Movement not only serves to avoid some going to join Pentecostal confessions. But no! It serves the Church! It renews us. And each one seeks his Movement according to his charism, where the Spirit takes him.