Pope John Paul II Acknowledges the Power of the Holy Spirit
The Catholic Church has a long history of support for the charismatic movement dating back to Vatican II, where in 1965 Cardinal Leo J. Suenens of Belgium argued against those who said charismatic gifts were only for the early church.

?No,? Suenens said, ?these gifts are for today. You may not see them yet, but the Lord has them for the church.? His words appear in the text of the council documents as a prophetic statement that prepared the church for what was going to happen two years later, in 1967.

Although some priests are uncomfortable with charismatic renewal, the Catholic hierarchy is quite supportive. In 1969, just two years after charismatic revival hit the Catholic Church, the Theological Committee of American Bishops issued a statement saying that the charismatic ?movement has a sound scriptural foundation? and that ?the effect on the participants is good.?

The pope is ?very, very supportive of the charismatic renewal movement,? says Jim Murphy, who has met with the pope on several occasions. On May 30, 1998, the eve of Pentecost Sunday, the pope invited all renewal movements in the church to meet with him in St. Peter?s Square.

A record-breaking crowd of 500,000 showed up. In his speech the pope made a number of statements in support of the charismatic movement. According to L?Osservatore Romano, the pope?s words at that historic gathering included the following:

?Whenever the Spirit intervenes, He leaves people astonished. He brings about events of amazing newness.?

?Today the church rejoices at the renewed confirmation of the prophet Joel?s words, which we have just heard, ? ?I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh?? (Acts 2:17).?

?Today I would like to cry out to all of you gathered in St. Peter?s Square?Open yourselves docilely to the gifts of the Spirit! Accept gratefully and obediently the charisms which the Spirit never ceases to bestow on us!?