Charismatic Catholicism slow to take hold in Ethiopia

Today about 300 Catholics in Addis Ababa are said to belong to the charismatic community, according to one priest who has worked with them. The group may have been slightly larger in the past, but certainly has not grown in recent years, even as the number of Pentecostal Christians in Addis has grown significantly, and as Pentecostalism has come to seem like a significant competitor for both the Orthodox and Catholic churches. 

Many charismatic Catholics are in recovery from some form of addiction, and find the notions of rebirth in the spirit that are so central to charismatic belief to be centrally important in their own recovery and self-image. Those connected with the charismatics in Addis Ababa claim that there are not any charismatic groups in Ethiopia outside of the city.

Some Catholics report that when charismatic practice was introduced, it was practiced in ways that seemed too Protestant, and did not build on the Eucharist and the sacraments or provide a role for the priests, so it was resisted by clergy. 

Most Ethiopians interviewed in Addis Ababa seem to find charismatic religion to be a bit of a puzzle, given the much more restrained, quiet, and slow pace of worship in the Ge’ez rite in particular, and also in the Latin rite.