NEW WEBSITE: www.ephesians-511.net JULY 2004
Items, or contents of items published in Mumbai’s THE EXAMINER and THE NEW LEADER of
Chennai during the period 1st January to 30th June 2004 that do not belong in Catholic periodicals
In The Examiner, Ronita Torcato‘s Film Reviews. She describes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as a “dark film” with a “dark tenor“, June 12; Lord of the Rings, February 14; Peter Pan, May 15, which, she agrees, “discards innocence in favour of malice and violence.”
HARRY POTTER is about witchcraft, sorcery and divination. The books and the movie series have spawned children’s’ games about levitation, spell cards, green-slime oozing snakes, wizards’ hats, magic wands and potions, flying brooms, spell-casting and chanting of incantations. Guide books to Potter include education about reading tea-leaves, astrology, banshees, dark arts, trolls, vampires, werewolves and zombies [the living dead].
It may come as a surprise to Christians to learn that Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
is “equally dark and includes the use of sorcery.” [The New Leader, Sep.16-30, 2000].
Reviews of Starsky and Hutch, and Duplex, April 24. According to Torcato, Starsky‘s characters Hutch and Feldman are “immoral” and a “womanising killer” respectively; Duplex, she says, is “crammed with down-right mean-spirited gags on foul-odours, puking, voyeurism, and what-have-you. It blatantly violates the Scriptural exhortation ‘Love thy neighbour’.” / March 27. The Missing is a “violence-saturated Western… I hope that the faint-hearted won’t be taken in by the occult mumbo-jumbo even as the graphic violence, not to speak of the shots of a tangled mass of serpents, makes your skin crawl.”
Underworld is all about “creatures of the night battling for supremacy,” werewolves, vampires, covens, and a “rush of blood and gore” and scary moments when Torcato jumped out of her seat. In Four for Venice, “between the heavy breathing…”, “the adulterous pair discovers an ability to communicate beyond lusty trysts.”
Darkness Falls is about Matilda, her name probably inspired by the “woman in that dark Aussie tune” who is killed and whose “spirit returns, vengeful and vindictive… Nine year old Michael is traumatised by an evil spirit”. Torcato, it seems, has an obsession with the “dark” side, and seeks to communicate it.
Now, is she advising readers of The Examiner to avoid these movies, or to make sure they watch them?
I am hard put to find reviews by Torcato of films that are suitable for Christian viewing.
HOLISTIC HEALTH AND NEW AGE ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Article on Holistic Health
by Ms. Suzan Walter, President of the American Holistic Health Association, The Examiner, February 7. It is adapted from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Body-Mind Disciplines, discusses its development from ancient Indian and Chinese healing traditions, the connection of body, mind, spirit, the [monistic] oneness of the universe and its reflection in the human person, and the term ‘holistic medicine‘.
It stops short of naming alternative medical practices which, I am certain, are included in the larger work.
Recommendation by Dr. Neville S. Bengali, Letters to the Editor, The Examiner, January 24, the use of “holistic systems like magnet therapy, homoeopathy and Bach Flower Remedies” for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. He uses the term “complementary systems”, a synonym for New Age “alternative therapies”.
Advertisement by Jivan Jyot Acupressure Centre, The Examiner, April 10, for acupressure and massage.
News report Medical Mission Sisters train village women in health care, The New Leader April 10:
“The nuns use ‘some ‘modern’ medicines and traditional herbal treatments… Sr. Vadassery says the nuns encourage all types of healing including alternative methods. She maintains that proper health care needs a holistic perspective that takes body, soul and mind into account.”
These Medical Mission Sisters
offer “Holistic Health Training” and “Intensive Healing” in and with New Age alternative medicines reflexology, Touch for Health, acu-yoga, acupressure, acupuncture, homeopathy, zen shiatsu, energy transmission, dream workshops and more [advertisement in The Examiner, March 20], at their Centre in Pune, where reiki
and pranic healing are the chief occult therapies taught by the sisters.
In the “scientific sessions” prior to the 10th Annual General Body Meeting of the Sister Doctors Forum of India
[SDFI] in Chennai on February 29th, Dr. Palan MD “exposed the techniques of clinical hypnotherapy- using hypnosis
to cure illnesses.” The New Leader, March 16-31. [A detailed report on the referred Holistic Health Centre was submitted to the concerned Bishops and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in June 2000.]
EASTERN MEDITATION SYSTEMS AND PERSONALITY TYPING TOOLS
VIPASSANA. Discussion on Vipassana and Prayer, Letters to the Editor, The Examiner, January 24 by Sr. Philippa. Though the letter does not conclusively support vipassana meditation, and in fact raises questions as to its suitability as a form of Christian prayer, the writer does not definitively reject the possibility of some benefit in it. In fact, she finally recommends a combination of both. Also, The New Leader, February 1-15.
A Vipassana Retreat directed by Fr. Joe Pithekar SJ at Vinayalaya is announced in the October 11, 2003 issue of The Examiner under News- Local.
YOGA, BHARATANATYAM, NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING and ENNEAGRAMS
News report on Patna ICM nuns making strides in Women Empowerment, The Examiner, March 6. As part of this empowerment of women “we teach them modern psychosomatic techniques including yoga
to help them get rid of fear and depression…”
Relieve Your Stress, an article on yoga
complete with picture of a woman in yoga posture, by Sunita Chelam, The New Leader, March 16-31.
Article on Hindu-Christian Dialogue by Fr. Benny Aguiar, former editor of The Examiner, who reports Dr. S. K Somaiya, the host of the 5th December 2003 seminar, as saying that “Dhyana or meditation is the search for the Ultimate Reality and transcends the frontiers of the different religions. It is their meeting ground. It concentrates the mind on one idea, rising from the mundane, through the chakras to the Transcendent. AUM
is its most powerful symbol.” Dr. Pankaj Chanda said that “the objective of meditation was the realisation of the unity of the individual with the Ultimate Reality.” The “occasion was also a celebration of Christmas… There was also a Bharatya
Dance on the Krishna theme.” The Examiner, January 3.
With the increasing use of ‘New Age’ psychospiritual techniques in Catholic retreats [The SVD Fathers of Atma-Darshan, Andheri regularly advertise for Vipassana retreats as well as Enneagram workshops in The Examiner], one wonders what the following courses, for example, are really about:
Sneha Yoga Dhyana, The Art of Loving Meditational Retreat conducted by Fr. (Acharya) Snehadas OFM Cap. in Chennai. Advertisement in The New Leader, February 1-15.
Devopasana, ‘a one-year course on formative spirituality’; and Athmopasana, ‘a three-month intensive course on intra-personal transformation’ conducted by Siddhi Vihara National Centre for Human Wholeness, Mysore. Among the topics are Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Enneagrams. Ad. in The New Leader, March 1-15.
CONYBIO. Advertisement for “Imported ISO Company’s Bio Ceramic FIR products”, The Examiner, March 6.
Their ad. in the February 7 issue named the product as ‘Conybio’. Conybio’s treatment with ‘bioceramics’ is nothing more than a pseudoscientific therapy that uses the occult universal energy ‘chi’ for healing.
The advertisements were discontinued after this writer contacted the Catholic advertiser in Mumbai and sent him this ministry’s report on Conybio. See http://ephesians-511.net/articles_doc/CONYBIO.doc
AND NEW AGE CHRISTIAN MEDITATION
The Venerable Bede, an article on Fr. Bede Griffiths OSB by Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB, spiritual director of the World Community for Christian Meditation [WCCM], London, in The Examiner, May 8.
Article on the spiritual errors and dangers of the WCCM: http://ephesians-511.net/documents/KRIPA_WCCM.doc
Fr. Freeman relates Bede’s “study of modern science… guided by mentors like David Bohm and Fritjof Kapra (sic)” through which “he found signs of a reunion of religion and science.” Bohm and Capra are leading proponents of the synthesis of religion and science in the New Age Movement.
Bede attended a New Age conference in Europe, and Rupert Sheldrake, a prominent New Ager, wrote his New Age thesis New Science of Life while at Bede’s Shantivanam ashram. Fr. Lourdu Anandam [The Western Lover of the East] says that the use of New Age terminology is to be recognized without ambiguity in Bede’s A New Vision of Reality that Fr. Freeman refers to in his article. [The writer has written in detail on the aspect of Bede’s New-Age connection in his August 2003 report on the Dharma Bharathi organizations and in the report on New Age in the Catholic Ashrams, of October 2005.]
‘Venerable’, incidentally, is the honorific given a century after his death in 735 AD to the original Bede, the abbot of a monastery in England, who is regarded as the foremost historian of the Middle Ages, not the New Age Bede.