07 March 2019, The Tablet

Praying in tongues: A kind of noisy contemplation

Praying in tongues: A kind of noisy contemplation

Pope Francis at the golden jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 2017
PA/© Evandro Inetti


Catholics may think of them as the preserve of evangelicals, but the gifts of the spirit are part of the apostolic tradition and are on the rise in today’s Church, as our home news editor explains

I am kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament on the ground floor of a flat in Clapham, beside the lay woman who explains that she has “baptised me in the Holy Spirit”. London traffic is thundering outside the window, and she is praying in tongues.

From the absence of a priest to the strangeness of her prayer language, everything about this scene feels subversive. But it is authentically Catholic, rooted in a tradition that predates the writing of the Gospels, was validated by the Church Fathers, blessed by the Second Vatican Council and is taught in seminaries across the world.


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