Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the Roman Catholic church? When I search online, I mostly find stuff about filioque. But I want to know specifically what he does. What is his role? How does he affect our salvation?

share|improve this question
    
Good question, there's a lot of answer to be had here. –  Peter Turner Nov 16 '11 at 19:30
    
Are you saying my question is probably too broad? Would it make a difference if I asked specifically what is unique about the Catholic belief? I'm sure there's a lot of overlap with other denominations. –  JustinY Nov 17 '11 at 4:11
    
It's a really good question. The Holy Spirit is often not given His credit due in the Catholic Church. I just remembered all the interesting things that I learned last year in a Catechist training class. The problem is that the 'role' of the Holy Spirit requires a little clarification because in Catholic teaching, where the Spirit is, there also is the Father and the Son. So you always need to preface the answer with, there is not role assigned to the Holy Spirit, but X.Y.Z. are the roles assigned to the Holy Spirit, which makes a confusing answer. –  Peter Turner Nov 17 '11 at 14:41
    
@PeterTurner Feel free to add to my rather sparse answer. –  DJClayworth Nov 17 '11 at 21:42
add comment

3 Answers 3

The theology of the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost - the two terms mean the same thing) is a huge subject. This article gives a systematic explanation from the Catholic point of view.

Catholic theology of the Holy Spirit is very little different from general Protestant or Orthodox theology of the Holy Spirit, with a few notable exceptions, which I will attempt to list:

  1. It is generally accepted that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to guide the interpretation of the Scriptures. There is variation in how the Spirit is believed to do this. Protestants believe the Spirit does this either through Christians in general, or through the community of the church. Catholics believe that the Spirit does this through the church and its structures - specifically the Catholic church.
  2. Catholics would fall in with mainstream Protestants (but not Pentecostals) in believing that the supernatural gifts of the Spirit (tongues, healings etc.) are not given to all Christians, and are relatively rare.
  3. One important but obscure belief specific to Catholics is the belief that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the God the Father and the Son. This beliefs is notable only because it is the nominal cause of the split between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

There may be others that I am unaware of.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, an Anglican who converted to Catholicism, was the author of the First Vatican Council's definition on papal infallibility in Dei Filius. He wrote an excellent book exactly on the question of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Roman Catholic Church:

The temporal mission of the Holy Ghost : or, Reason and revelation (1865)

Briefly, His role is to

  1. guard the deposit of faith or Revelation in all its truth,
  2. prevent the Church from teaching error,
  3. guide the development of doctrine,
  4. give council to the church (and all His other gifts, too),
  5. enable the Church to interpret the true sense of Scripture,
  6. ensure the infallibility of the Pope when he defines dogma pertaining to faith or morals,

etc.

share|improve this answer
add comment

If you attend a mass in a catholic church, the priest usually talks about the gifts of holly spirit and what it does to you. You receive it and it stays with you from the time of your babptise. We do talk about the holly spirit in catholic faith all the time! Here are some suggestion for you: The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude (or courage), knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. You can find an in-depth discussion of each in The Gifts of the Holy Spirit. If you read the rosary prayer every day, you can see it in our holly rosary prayer and book, there are a lot of indications about holly spirit in our bible etc... when god sends the tongues of fires to his desciples...and what they are for, what they can do for you....

share|improve this answer
1  
Could you please edit this to fix some typos and missing capitals etc? –  curiousdannii Jun 13 at 12:22
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.