Catholic philosopher connects devotion to the Holy Spirit with the traditional Latin Mass

Photo by Mary-Grace Byers

Theresa Balick


A philosopher talked about the differences between the charismatic and traditional viewpoints in relation to the Holy Spirit to show the beauty of the Latin Mass on Wednesday outside the J.C. Williams Center.

Peter Kwasniewski, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, addressed a tent packed with students and faculty. Kwasniewski pointed out how the traditional Latin form of the Mass gives more reverence to the Holy Spirit than the post-Vatican II liturgy and said charismatics seek out that same awe of the spirit.

“The greatest concentration of spiritual charisms that ever existed or could ever exist is the traditional sacred liturgy,” Kwasniewski said. “This is what charismatics want.”

Kwasniewski used examples such as the traditional Church calendar devoting eight days to celebrating Pentecost instead of just one Sunday and the old rite of the sacraments compared to the new, particularly Baptism, to show how the traditional rite provides a stronger devotion to the Holy Spirit.

“This business about the third person (of the Trinity) being forgotten is just one more of the ‘black legends’ of the post-Vatican II period,” Kwasniewski said. “It is easy to find substantial doctrinal and devotional attention to the Holy Spirit in the preaching and prayers of all eras of the Church and manifestly in the traditional Roman rite of Mass.”

Kwasniewski also spoke about the strengths and errors of charismatic spirituality. He warned particularly against the fervor to obtain the charismatic gifts since false feelings mistaken for these gifts can easily arise from psychological and emotional frenzies or even demonic influence.

“As we mature in the spiritual life, God weans us from consolations,” Kwasniewski said. “When it comes to the charismatic gifts, the best attitude to have is one of indifference.”

Sophomore Tanya McInnis liked how Kwasniewski showed that the traditional liturgy contains aspects of the newer mindset of the Mass.

“He demonstrated that there has been a strong emphasis on both the Holy Spirit and the participation of the whole person within the liturgy since long before the charismatic movement,” McInnis said.

Kwasniewski’s talk was sponsored by the Juventutem Club.