Marian devotion is increasingly dividing the Catholic charismatic movement, especially in Europe, according to Charisma magazine (August).
Charismatic Catholics both in the U.S. and Europe have in recent years adopted a strong interest in the Virgin Mary, as evidenced by their involvement and leadership in the Marian apparition movement in Medjugorje in the former Yugoslavia. Tomas Dixon writes that in the “Catholic heartlands of south and central Europe, a significant number of charismatic Catholics — who 10 years ago partnered with Protestant charismatics — are now devout Marianists.
Their spirituality is a mixture of the traditional and the charismatic. They attend Mass and pray the rosary many times a week, but they also sing Vineyard worship choruses [from the independent charismatic Vineyard Fellowship] and pray for the sick.”
The issue of Marian apparitions and devotions is also stirring divisions in Catholic charismatic ranks. The Community of the Beatitudes, a fast-growing Marian movement in south and central Europe, has become an “unofficial headquarters” for Marianism. The community recently left the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal because of differences with charismatic leaders over how much emphasis should be placed on Mary.
The charismatic Marianists often speak of having a personal relationship with both Jesus and Mary. The more “traditional” Catholic charismatics strongly emphasize the role of Jesus, although they would claim that Mary leads one to such a Christ-centered relationship.
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