The laying on of hands and the building up of the Catholic Charismatic Movement

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Theological Studies


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Sandra A. Yocum


The Catholic Charismatic Movement, inheriting the use of the laying on of hands from the Neo-Pentecostal movement, was able to grow and flourish because the laying on of hands was seen as a channel by which one could experience a spiritual renewal. The Catholic Charismatic Movement's own rationale behind the use of the laying on of hands has fallen short in assessing its value during the early growth of the movement. The appraisal of the laying on of hands as a symbolic gesture or a sacramental is challenged in this study, and a new interpretation of the use of the laying on of hands is offered: the laying on of hands is a charism that built up the Catholic Charismatic Movement. The personal spiritual journeys of William Storey and Ralph Keifer are analyzed to understand what led them to their encounter with the Protestant Pentecostal prayer group, where the Catholics first received the baptism in the Spirit by the laying on of hands. The subsequent Duquesne Weekend" retreat and the growth of the movement on the campus of Notre Dame are also studied in respect to the prevalent use of and the sought-after nature of the laying on of hands. My interpretation of the laying on of hands as a charism relies on the pneumatology of Heribert Muhlen. Muhlen's description of the Church as the continuation of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit, and his understanding of the Spirit as the divine self-giving supports the idea that in the laying on of hands the two parties are surrendering to the church and the Spirit. Ultimately, the laying on of hands in this context is a charism for the community where the public witness of the act edifies and strengthens."


Mühlen, Heribert Philosophy, Imposition of hands, Pentecostalism Catholic Church, Biblical Studies, Religion, Theology, History, laying on of hands, renewal, catholic charismatic movement, william storey, ralph keifer, pentecostalism, Heribert Muhlen, duquesne weekend, charism, sacramentals, jervell, acts 8, wolfgang vondey, baptism in the Spirit, pneumatology, trinity, Laurentin

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Copyright 2016, author