Conference in Rome Studies Baptism in the Spirit

Pontifical Council for the Laity Sponsors Event

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ROME, APRIL 1, 2011 ( According to the preacher of the Pontifical Household, the first consequence of a baptism in the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming desire to proclaim Christ.

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said this at an international colloquium on baptism in the Spirit, held March 17-20 in Rome.

The event was attended by some 150 theologians and sponsored by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, president of that dicastery, celebrated the Mass on Friday. 

Father Cantalamessa, in addition to his address, also led Eucharistic adoration.

The colloquium considered the contemporary experience of baptism in the Spirit from biblical, theological and pastoral points of view, especially in its relationship to the sacraments of baptism and confirmation.

According to an ICCRS report, Father Cantalamessa noted “that in contrast to many other charismatic and prophetic groups in Church history, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal has had a strong ecclesial bent. It aligned itself with previous renewal movements through the capacity it brought for a change of life, but differed from them in its fidelity to the institutional Church. He emphasized that credit for this belongs not to the Charismatic Renewal alone but also to the hierarchy, and particularly to the courage of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.”

Father Denis Biju-Duval, a professor at the Pontifical Lateran University, looked at baptism in the Spirit in relation to the sacrament of confirmation.

He lamented “the secularized atmosphere of Western culture [that] does not favor the integration of faith into a person’s life” and thereby restricts the effects of the “sacrament of Pentecost.”

The ICCRS report noted his affirmation that for spiritual growth to take place, it is necessary that the graces of baptism and confirmation unfold at the level of experience. 

Bishop Michel Santier of Créteil, France, spoke about baptism in the Spirit in the writings of the Church Fathers, while Beatriz Spier Vargas, a leader of the Charismatic Renewal in Brazil, shared about the impact of the Renewal in her country. 

Other lay leaders and priests shared about the impact of the Charismatic Renewal in India, Malta, Guatemala, Benin, Cameroon, England and Korea. 

According to Oreste Pesare, director of ICCRS, the colloquium will be followed by the publication of a document on baptism in the Spirit.

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