(As usual, this is only the edited gist of the Archbishop's talk. The content of this talk he expressly asked to be distributed far and wide.)
Australians are a practical people. In Rome you mix with all sorts, and you get to know the qualities of various nationalities. You can depend on Germans to have precision, and upon Italians to have a party with drinks and pasta. Us colonials, being practical, bring the drinks and the glasses to drink them from.
In this talk I would like to make 6 points with practical application for our lives.
The whole Church is charismatic
When the charismatic renewal began 50 years ago, it was a wide spread explosion; a tsunami of the Holy Spirit. The whole Church is charismatic because the whole Church is animated by the Holy Spirit. We are part of the same Church begun under the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and prefigured by Mary - the one overshadowed by the Holy Spirit when she said Yes to God. Mary was the original charismatic.
Expand your minds. Much depends upon the hope you have that the Holy Spirit can bring light into our darkened world.
St Francis of Assisi and St Benedict all started movements. Their response to God started when they were lay people and developed into a religious vocation. The CCR has been mainly led by lay people, which is something distinctive about this movement. It has been a grass roots 'bottom-up' movement. These last 50 years have seen the start of many lay Catholic movements, and most of them have origins in the charismatic movement.
At Vatican II Pope St John XXIII prayed for a new Pentecost, and this prayer has been echoed by subsequent popes. John XXIII was very wise and had a great sense of humour. When asked how many people worked at the Vatican, he replied, 'about half'. In the documents of Vatican II the Holy Spirit is frequently mentioned.
We belong to the Latin Rite of the Church, but there are 27 different Rites. The Eastern Rites have a far more developed understanding of the Holy Spirit than we have. The Ukrainian Rite understands the Trinity this way: God the Father is the source of the river; God the Son is the shape and banks of the river; God the Holy Spirit is the water of the river which flows.
This flow of the Holy Spirit can be seen in Rublev's icon of the Trinity, based on the story of the three men who came to visit Abraham. In it there is a circular movement. Others express this dynamic flow of the Holy Spirit as a circle of a dance.
Marriage is another way to understand the Trinity, husband, wife, and the love between them. Not too long ago I went out to Temora to share in the 65th wedding anniversary celebrations of a couple – a couple still holding hands! When asked what their secret was, the answer came, 'The secret is not the me, but the we; not the mine, but the ours'.
Catch the wave!
Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour. That is the initial proclamation of the Gospel, our kerygma.
Finger wagging doesn’t make people disciples.
People can go through Catholic schools and all the sacraments of initiation and not come out the other side with a relationship with Jesus. A personal encounter with Jesus does not happen automatically on this 'conveyer belt'.
First we need to invite people to open their hearts to Jesus; everything else will follow after that crucial first step. Jesus won't come in unless He is asked, so our invitation has to include, 'You have to ask Jesus to come into your life and into your heart'.
It is only after people have asked Jesus in that we find that they want to know more about Him. That's why catechism has to come after kerygma. We have to give them a thirst for Jesus before we begin any kind of teaching.
A bishop is the kerygmatic and catechetical leader of his diocese.
Young people are tribal, they want to feel like they belong. Give them a chance.
Example vs Testimony
Hearing testimonies of the action of Jesus in people's lives has helped me a lot over the years.
The Catholic instinct knows that there is a difference between witness and testimony. A gothic cathedral gives witness to the faith of the people who built it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. But the cathedral cannot give testimony.
You can only give the answer when people ask the question. If people are not asking you the reason for the faith and hope and joy that you have, then you are not living your faith properly.
Catholics are not proselytizers, but we are inviters. We don't impose, but we propose. As Pope Francis said in his 5 Oct 2016 General Audience, 'The real mission is never proselytism, but rather attraction to Christ, beginning with strong union with Him in prayer, adoration and concrete works of charity, which is service to Jesus present in the least of our brothers'.
We take the scriptures seriously, but not literally in a fundamentalist way. We take Jesus as our model. Look at Him with the woman at the well (John 4). As a Jew He shouldn't have been talking to a Samaritan, let alone talking to a woman on her own especially one coming for water in the hottest part of the day (indicating that she was a social outsider) and asking her for a drink. Notice that He didn't start by saying, 'You should be a Jew and worship at the Temple'. He started in a non-threatening way, with easy conversation and dialogue – waiting for her to be intrigued enough to ask questions.
In a similar way with the man born blind (John 9), Jesus is patient. When the man is healed, he doesn't know what Jesus looks like. But when he has become hungry enough to want to know more who this Jesus is, Jesus comes quietly and introduces Himself.
There are good Catholic commentaries on the scriptures out there. Go looking for them.
Healing and Holiness
These things are not just for canonized Saints, they are universal calls and gifts.
Experientially in the charismatic renewal we learn what Vatican II taught, praying for healing and growing in holiness is what normal believers do.
Holiness is a gift from God. The closer you come to Jesus, the warmer your hearts are.
Here's what normal holiness looks like: In Melbourne there was a taxi driver who belonged to one of the early prayer groups. He would pray before he started work – for safety and for all the passengers of that day, and kept his taxi clean and sweet-smelling. He played gentle, uplifting background music. Around the inside of the taxi were various holy pictures. He took care to be a safe driver and a good listener. If his passenger wanted conversation he would take part. Many times he was asked why he was so happy and contented, or what this or that holy picture was all about – and that was his opening to talk about Jesus with them and sometimes to even pray with them.
Open to all
The charismatic renewal has been quite ecumenical and generally quite youthful. There has been a sense that everybody is welcome – especially in the early days.
Keep being open. Don't let your prayer groups devolve into places where anyone under age 70 isn't welcome. Be places where I can send our young people after their World Youth Day experiences, places where they can grow and be accepted and not be told verbally or non-verbally that 'we don't do things that way, and don't want to try' and they get the message that they are not wanted.
Mary, our model of the charismatic dimension of the Church is a great gift. The Peter dimension is hierarchical, and we need both. It is the interwoven circle and the triangle. The circle has the charisms and the gifts to share and serve; it has a Marian dimension of gentleness and motherliness. The circle softens the triangle.
Your deference to authority is good. Bishop Long asked me after Friday night's big Mass at the cathedral why there wasn't any sounds of the charismatic gifts. I told him, 'that's because you didn't give them the green light to go for it, they were just waiting for your signal of permission'.
I know you love the pope, and your bishops and priests. Keep loving them.
Don't get discouraged. Catholics think and work in 100 year blocks. It is a huge ship and it takes time to turn. We are not on a speedboat. The last 50 years is just a blink in time to the Church. Be patient as the Church comes to a greater understanding of the charismatic renewal and God's purpose for it.