Pentecostal Growth Challenging Catholic Traditions

Catholic clergy and lay leaders recently met in Manila, Philippines, to discuss ecumenism in the Asian church. One key subject during the seminar titled “The Search for Christian Unity: Where We Stand Today” was the rapid growth of Pentecostalism in Asia and its affect on the Roman Catholic Church.

“Since the appearance of the phenomenon of Pentecostalism in Asia, profound changes, both positive and negative, have been taking place within the churches,” the Archdiocese of Manila said in a statement released at the conclusion of the seminar.

The Catholic Church is urging its priests to implement various Pentecostal practices into their historically solemn services.

“Indeed, there are very attractive elements in Pentecostalism: their joyful and spontaneous worship; the intimate, friendly nature of their community life; and the opportunity for all believers to contribute their talents and charisms for the spiritual benefit of all,” the statement said. “These are factors in drawing Christians from other churches into the Pentecostal fold.”

In response to Pentecostalism, the archdiocese has outlined positive attributes from charismatic and Pentecostal churches and is encouraging Asian Catholic churches to implement them. The document also cautions against the negative trends within the Pentecostal movement, particularly its perceived emphasis on wealth and health, and worship services being entertainment-orientated rather than focused on helping congregants encounter Christ.

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