Speaking in Tongues: The Catholic Perspective

I was born and raised a catholic and I speak in tongues. Many people question about the belief of Catholics when it comes to speaking in tongues and I am here to answer that.

Someone may argue that I am not qualified to speak on behalf of Catholics because I no longer attend Catholic Church but I was taught and baptized in Catholic.

Do I stop being a Catholic because I no longer attend church there? I was taught the Catholic doctrine and got baptized there. I can’t deny my Catholic roots.

Catholic Church’s View of Speaking in Tongues

I was in Catholic for a long time and I don’t recall hearing any teaching about speaking in tongues. Most teachings were about family and human relations which I really loved.

To those who claim that Catholics don’t believe in speaking in tongues, I am here as a witness. I never heard any teaching that forbids speaking in tongues when I was in Catholic.

While there was no teaching forbidding speaking in tongues, there was also no teaching promoting speaking in tongues either.

It was as if speaking in tongues never existed. And we can’t blame the Catholic Church for that. Every church has issues that it overlooks.

From my understanding, Catholic Church left the issue of speaking in tongues for individuals to decide.

But although nothing was said about speaking in tongues, there were subtle rules that I observed in Catholic Church concerning Speaking in Tongues.

1. No Speaking in Tongues in Catholic Church during Mass

I never heard anyone in Catholic Church say that people should not speak in tongues during the mass. I also never heard even a single day someone speaking in tongues in church which made me conclude that there was a subtle law forbidding it.

In Catholic we were taught to pray decently. The prayers we made were organized and professional. In the Pentecostal churches I attended, prayers barely had any rules. We used to pray as we wanted. If you wanted to scream, well and good.

Because of the nature of speaking in tongues, it is obvious that it can’t fit the Catholic Church’s approach to prayer. Catholics who want the free style praying of Pentecostals can only do that in private.

One time I asked about the free praying approach of the Pentecostals when I was in Catholic and I was told if I wanted to do that I was permitted but not in Church.

I’m naturally curious and when I got an opportunity to attend a Pentecostal Church, I went there to experience the free style praying and singing.

Catholics are not forbidden to speak in tongues but while in Church, it is definitely forbidden even if no one talks about it.

2. Speaking in Tongues is not necessary in Catholic Church

As I mentioned before, Catholic Church values modesty. Speaking in tongues is often dramatic and so it is not something Catholic Church is keen about.

It is true that we can have a fruitful relationship with God without speaking in tongues. I had a solid relationship with God for many years without speaking in tongues.

Catholic Church subtly teaches that speaking in tongues is a luxury you can do without based on their silence on this topic.

Most Pentecostal churches I have attended encouraged speaking in tongues and would even offer to pray for people to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

When I compare how Pentecostal Churches view speaking in tongues to how Catholic Church views it, it is clear that Pentecostal churches see speaking in tongues as a necessity while Catholic Church sees it as a luxury.

I am not here to say who is right because both the perspectives are right. Speaking in tongues is necessary if you want certain spiritual experiences but at the same time speaking in tongues is not a requirement to be saved.

Catholics that see the need to speak in tongues can receive the gift and practice it privately. I once met a devout Catholic woman who had the gift of speaking in tongues and she advocated for others to have it too.

3. Catholic Church Perceives Speaking in Tongues as a Pentecostal Practice

We all know that there are doctrinal differences between Catholic Church and Pentecostal churches. Some spiritual practices suit Catholic Church while others suit Pentecostal churches.

Catholic Church puts strong emphasis on the breaking of bread as Jesus commanded us to do in remembrance of Him. In every Catholic Mass I attended, there was the breaking of bread.

I have even attended funeral services presided over by Catholic Church and there was a session of breaking bread. Wow!

Catholic Church is so invested in the command that Jesus gave us to break bread as often as we can in remembrance of Him and it is a beautiful thing.

Just as breaking of bread is viewed primarily as a Catholic practice, so speaking in tongues is viewed primarily as a Pentecostal practice. Even from the name of the churches, ‘Pentecostals’, there is the mention of the day of Pentecost which was the day the disciples of Jesus received the power of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

Nobody ever stood up during the days I was in Catholic and said speaking in tongues was for Pentecostals but deep down that is what was believed.

Catholics who end up speaking in tongues obviously have to overcome the belief that speaking in tongues is for Pentecostals only.

The Catholic Perspective on Speaking in Tongues: Conclusion

I have given my honest view of the catholic church’s perspective of speaking in tongues based on what I learned when I was there.

In search of more spiritual experiences like speaking in tongues, I began attending Pentecostal churches and I am glad that I took that step.

I have come to realize that we are all children of God, Catholics, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Baptists etc. God has so many blessings for us. If we are in Christ, we are eligible to enjoy all the blessings that God has.

Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit and there are many other gifts. Putting all the denominational tags aside, in the words of Apostle Paul, “I desire that all of you speak in tongues”.

Why would anyone not want the gift of the Holy Spirit? There is wisdom, knowledge, performing miracles etc.

If you feel they are unnecessary, then don’t attack those who deem them necessary. Find your position in Christ and let everyone be at peace.

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