Charismatic renewal must help dioceses with lay formation, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Charismatic renewal movements should provide support and advice to bishops and priests by accompanying, guiding and deepening the faith of all those who take part in their initiatives and communities, Pope Francis said.

Addressing participants at a meeting of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service, also known as "Charis," the pope thanked them for their service and reminded them to "never forget that your task is not to judge who is or is not an 'authentic charismatic,' this is not your task."

"This is a temptation in the church, from the beginning: 'I belong to Paul' -- 'I belong to Apollos' -- 'I belong to Peter'," the pope said in his address at the Vatican Nov. 4. "No, this is not right."

"Rather, you are called to provide support and advice to bishops and priests by accompanying all groups and the varied realities that make up the charismatic renewal," he said.

Those who genuinely experience renewal in their life can be seen by their ability to smile, the pope said. "And this smile will help you stay on guard against the temptation to exercise power and influence, or to be competitive or overbearing."

"The real task is to serve," he said. "It is important to make room for the new generation of leaders," which calls for "constant attention to the formation of the young, from whose ranks those future leaders will come."

"Charis is called to accompany and guide all charismatic communities, in communion, on the path ahead," Pope Francis said.

He encouraged them to continue to expand their "Life in the Spirit Seminars," which let people "encounter the living Jesus, in his word and his Spirit, and at the same time to experience his church as a welcoming environment, a place of grace, reconciliation and rebirth."

Charismatic groups should make the seminars more widely available, especially "in small and more remote places, and among the poor" and those who are marginalized, he said. Instead of only holding seminars "in large venues and with well-known leaders," he said, "small parish groups and local leaders can organize them and present them to people in their area."

The seminars also "need to be followed up by suitable methods of continuing formation that can fan into flame the graces received and encourage ongoing growth in faith and prayer, the moral and sacramental life, the practice of charity and cooperation in the church's mission," he said.