William Newton on Aquinas and the Charismatic Renewal
William Newton, ‘The Catholic Charismatic Renewal through the Eyes of St. Thomas Aquinas’, in The Downside Review, 137.2 (2019), pp. 31-46.
Dr. William Newton discusses the Catholic Charismatic Renewal through the lens of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and his extensive treatment of the charisms in the Summa Theologiae. After relating his own broad experience of the Charismatic Renewal, in both its European and American forms, and the great evangelical benefits to be found in the exercise of the charisms, Dr. Newton explores potential avenues of rapprochement between the practice of the Charismatic Renewal and the theological investigations of St. Thomas. By in this way comparing these relatively recent developments in the life of the Church with St. Thomas’ late medieval presentation of the charisms, Dr. Newton attempts to assess whether the Charismatic Renewal is truly an innovation in Catholic practice, or rather, whether principle features of the Renewal can be found in the Catholic tradition exemplified by St. Thomas. Dr. Newton also examines the phenomenon of the Baptism in the Spirit, describing it as something of an ‘event horizon’ in the life of the individual, something that leads to renewed vigor in the practice of the faith, and argues that Baptism in the Spirit is best understood as a new sending of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual. Dr. Newton cogently maintains that the charisms themselves and the Charismatic Renewal are genuine features of the Catholic faith that are entirely ordered toward the fruitful spread of the Gospel.