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Iuvenescit Ecclesia: “criteria” to recognise real charismas

“Recognising the reality of charisma is not always an easy feat, but it is a duty that pastors have to fulfil”. This is recommended in the letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, “Iuvenescit Ecclesia”, which calls to “discernment”, a task that is “the responsibility of ecclesiastic authority”, and lists “a few criteria” to recognise a real charismatic gift: “Primacy of every Christian’s call to holiness; efforts for the missionary spreading of the Gospel; profession of the Catholic faith, in compliance with the magisterium of the Church; evidence of a factual communion with all the Church through a filial relationship with the Pope and the bishop; recognition and respect of the mutual complementarity of other charismatic features of the Church; acceptance of moments of trial in the discernment of charismas; presence of spiritual fruit, such as charity, joy, peace and humanity”. The last criterion recommended in the letter is the “social dimension of evangelisation”, which, in the wake of the social doctrine of the Church, is prompted by the awareness that “concern for the integral development of the socially outcast cannot be missing in a real ecclesial situation”. Ecclesiastic authority, the preliminary recommendation, must “be aware of the actual unpredictability of the charismas arising out of the Holy Spirit, and promote them according to the rule of faith, with a view to the building of the Church”. “It is a process that lasts long and requires proper steps to be authenticated, via a serious discernment through to the ecclesial recognition of their authenticity”: hence the need for the pastors’ “support” “all through the reviewing process”, because “the associative world that is inspired by a charisma must properly have time to be tried out and settle down, a time that goes beyond the first enthusiasms and moves towards a steady settling”.

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