top of page

Ten Years of Francis, the Charismatic Pope

Charles Whitehead tracks the 'significant support' Pope Francis has given to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal over the last ten years of his pontificate.

Francis-Our Charismatic Pope

The election of Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope in 2013 has been a great blessing to the worldwide Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Since 1967, when the Charismatic Renewal began amongst Catholic students on retreat at Duquesne University in America, every pope has supported this Renewal in the Holy Spirit, but Francis is the only one who has been an active participant since his days in Buenos Aires as the episcopal leader of the Argentinian Church.


His most significant show of active support has been the setting up of CHARIS at Pentecost 2019 to promote the Charismatic Renewal throughout the worldwide Church. This is the clearest sign of the great importance Pope Francis gives to this Spirit-inspired movement for the blessing and empowering of millions of people worldwide.

A Current Of Grace

To prepare for CHARIS, Francis wrote to the presidents of ICCRS and of the Catholic Fraternity asking them to reflect on the advantages of forming one single service for the worldwide CCR, and then to enter into the process of doing it which would lead to CHARIS. In Francis' view, the Charismatic Renewal needed to understand itself as a pastoral instrument in the service of the Pope, not belonging to its members but to the Church.

Francis describes it as 'a current of grace' which goes beyond individuals and is confirmed in its ecclesial identity by the pastors of the Church. So CHARIS was a new phase in its ecclesial maturity.

As Cardinal Farrell expressed it, the birth of CHARIS is the fruit of a profound understanding from the Church itself of the identity of the Charismatic Renewal as a current of grace, which is a unique service, excluding no-one. 

Service Not Government

It was Francis himself who wanted this to reach everywhere in the world, whilst remaining open to the impulse of the Spirit and avoiding a hierarchical leadership in relation to the countless expressions of this stream. CHARIS is an organism of service in obedience to the Holy Spirit - not one of government. It is a service of unity in diversity, of Communion. It provides a new structure within the Church to support all those who are working to share this current of grace everywhere. In order to promote CHARIS, and receive maximum benefit from it, the leaders of the Charismatic Renewal have renamed their central office in Rome CHARIS and have established regional CHARIS Leadership Teams, as well as CHARIS National Service Committees and CHARIS Diocesan Service Committees. 

A More Effective Charismatic Renewal

All of this is making the Renewal more official and more effective worldwide, and it is very unlikely that this would have happened unless our Pope was personally part of this amazing outpouring of new life in the Holy Spirit. This is certainly the principal contribution Pope Francis has made to the life of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, but of course he also continues to welcome groups to Rome, to encourage events all over the world, and to join in with whatever is happening, whenever he has the opportunity.

We are indeed blessed to have a genuinely charismatic Pope


bottom of page