APRIL 22, 2013
Fr. Paul Vaz, S.J. – Enneagram- and Earth-Centred Healing- Retreats
Recently, I received the following emails as well as a couple of phone calls from concerned lay Catholics in Goa about two different New Age programmes conducted by Bombay province Jesuit Father Paul Vaz in Goa.
1. From: “DYF – Pedro Arrupe Institute (Raia-Goa)” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Programs for April and Sunday Reflections
April 12, 2013
Deepen your Faith Programs…
Prayer and Enneagram:
conducted by Fr. Paul Vaz SJ
Discovering the Enneagram, an Ancient Tool for a new Spiritual Journey
Using it helps remove false perceptions in each of our personalities. The Enneagram study can be a tremendous help in our personal lives of prayer. It is a gift that clearly names for us our masks of protective stances before one another which becomes for us our ways of hiding from God.
Open to all lay people
April 26 (6:30 pm) to April 28 (4 pm) at Pedro Arrupe Institute, Raia, Goa
More details on our website – www.deepenyourfaith.in
Deepen Your Faith (DYF)
Pedro Arrupe Institute, St. Xavier’s Street, Damon East, Raia-Goa, India
+91 8805570108 [Fr. Shanon Pereira S.J.], +91 (832) 2776917, 2776998, 2858323 www.deepenyourfaith.in
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:22 PM
Subject: Fwd: GEM-3/42-GASPING FOR AIR
——— Forwarded message ———-
felix rebello <email@example.com>*
Date: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 5:07 PM
Subject: GEM-3/42-GASPING FOR AIR To: felix rebello <firstname.lastname@example.org>
72nd Earth Centered Healing Retreat at Xavier Retreat House, Baga, Goa
May 2nd–May 6th, 2013
An attempt to develop a dynamic personal relationship with creation as the embodiment of God.
An opportunity to heal your body and refresh your spirit.
Experience the gifts of Western & Oriental healing.
At Xavier Retreat House, Baga, Calangute, Goa, Tel: 0832 – 2276048
Conducted by Fr. Paul Vaz, S.J., Director-General, XIMR, Mumbai
The Retreat commences at 7 p.m. on Thursday May 2nd (come before 6 pm), and ends with lunch on May 6th. Participants are requested to bring loose fitting trousers/salwars for the exercises.
Prepare yourself for the Riches of SILENCE
Registration: Rs.2000/- per person: (Includes materials and handouts & Boarding and lodging at the Xavier Retreat House for four days)
Extra: 6 CDs: Rs.100/- (each); Cassette: Rs 100/- each. Amount once paid will not be refunded. Love offerings collection for the preacher’s travel and teaching. First come, first served.
Xavier Institute of Management & Research (XIMR)
St. Xavier’s College Campus, 5, Mahapalika Marg, Mumbai 400 001, email@example.com; Tel: 022-6522 1909, 6522 1911
Visit http//: www.paulvaz.blogspot.com.
Fr. Levis Gomes (XRH) 09850460046
Sr. Nicacia I/c (XRH) 0832-2276048
Sr. Prisca Vaz (Siolim) 0832-2270304
Philomen Dias (Panjim) 0832-2222110
Joyce Pinto (Porvorim) 09890237916
Jimmy Abreu (Porvorim) 09823050625
Cecilia Lourenco (Brittona) 09763062442
John Fernandes (Miramar) 09823353512
Tensing Rodrigues (Santa Cruz) 09422062408
Priscilla Travasso (XIMR) 022-65221909/11 [This is Fr. Paul Vaz’s secretary]
Xavier Pires (Amboli) 9821918586
Bernadette Pimenta (Thane) 9820584643
Sr. Melba (Andheri) 9833255821
Goretti Xalxo (Naigaon) 9769900998
Annie Aranha (Byculla) 9769573202
Cynthia Nesamani 9881691693
Augustine Nesamani 9890716774
*SOME NOTES ON FR. FELIX REBELLO AND THE GREEN EARTH MOVEMENT
The Green Earth Movement [GEM] Green Living
e-newsletter is published by
Fr Felix Rebello, Editor,
St Xavier’s Community Centre, St Francis Xavier Church, Panvel, Mumbai, Tel: 2745 5556,
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
The GEM e-Newsletter Facebook Link is:
This is the masthead of the parish web site. Note the prominent display of symbols of major world religions.
Page 2 of all recent copies of the Panvel Parish Pulse carries the following image on the left, below:
On the right, above, is an image in the December 2009 Panvel Parish Pulse put up by the parish Bible cell.
The parish even has an “Inter-religious cell”.
Under Fr. Felix Rebello, the parish “strives to build a
new social order based on values“, not on “Gospel values”. The parish “co-exists” with other religions; “co-exist” is a passivist expression; would they consider including in their parish mission something Pope John Paul II called for in the post-Synodal exhortation Ecclesia in Asia during his 1999 visit to India: evangelization?
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 3:41 PM
Subject: ASTRID LOBO GAJIWALA/GEM. FR FELIX REBELLO
Dear Mr. Gordon D’Souza,
President, Bombay Catholic Sabha
I received an email originally sent from your office concerning the Astrid lobo Gajiwala-led Bombay Archdiocesan Women’s Commission and the “37 Million Diyas” campaign.
Assured that you are already aware of the mission of my ministry, I must inform you that Astrid Lobo Gajiwala can in no way be considered Catholic, no matter what your local bishops may say. Some of her teachings are heretical, she has not married her Hindu husband in a Church ceremony, she worships his Hindu deities, and her children have not been schooled in the Catholic Faith. I have reported this in two of my detailed reports on her co-worker Virginia Saldanha and their movement for the ordination of women priests [through the Ecclesia of Women in Asia and the Catherine of Siena Virtual College]. A separate report on Ms. Gajiwala is overdue from this ministry as all the data for it has been compiled.
Even something innocuous like the “37 Million Diyas” campaign is in reality a smokescreen for their true agenda.
I would also like to bring to your kind attention another issue, Fr. Felix Rebello’s Green Earth Movement e-magazine of St. Francis Xavier’s Church, Panvel. It is tending towards New Age in the sense that it promotes what Rome, in a Document, has described as “Deep Ecology”.*
A report on that issue is under preparation.
It is good if the name of the Bombay Catholic Sabha is not associated with such people and their erroneous programmes.
Catholic apologist, Chennai
*Just two weeks after this letter, GEM/Fr. Rebello advertised Fr. Paul Vaz‘s Earth Centred Healing Retreat.
I randomly selected and telephoned three of the above numbers as instructed in the two emails, see page 1.
One was that of Fr. Levis Gomes S.J. who informed me that he is no longer at the Xavier Retreat House, Goa; another was that of Sr. Prisca Vaz who happens to be the sister of Fr. Paul Vaz, S.J.; the third was that of Fr. Shanon Pereira S.J.,
of the Pedro Arrupe Institute, Goa. Both programmes are to be conducted in Goa.
What I learned from them is that the programmes are approved by the Archdiocese of Goa and that
they are open to people of all religious traditions. There was no need to bring along my Bible. Loose fitting clothes are required because retreatants would be taught “simple yogic exercises and breathing techniques” [asanas and pranayama]. Spiritual healing would include a general type of repentance but not sacramental confession.
Of his own initiative, Fr. Shanon Pereira S.J. added that the programmes are NOT New Age. We shall see about that.
On an earlier occasion, I have talked to Ms. Bernadette Pimenta* [one of the contact persons for the Earth Centered Healing Retreats] of the parish of St. John the Baptist Church, Thane, Mumbai. Her residence is one of the five Bombay archdiocesan centres for the weekly [Thursday 7:30 pm] meetings of the New Age World Community of Christian Meditation [WCCM] which is operative in Mumbai under leading yoga expert Fr. Joe Pereira with the official approval of the Archdiocese of Bombay. The WCCM programme is 100% New Age.
See the report at FR JOE PEREIRA-KRIPA FOUNDATION-WORLD COMMUNITY FOR CHRISTIAN MEDITATION
*See more on
on page 7.
There are two different issues here, both of which are New Age, no matter what the promoters may claim.
1. THE ENNEAGRAM “RETREAT”
The first is the Enneagram retreat programme. Sr. Prisca Vaz informs me that this is the second one that Fr. Paul Vaz is conducting. It has been a long time coming, but through this priest, the occult personality-typing tool, the enneagram has now finally arrived in the Indian church, commencing with the Pune-Bombay-Goa belt. Details are also available at http://www.deepenyourfaith.in/documents/Enneagram_Prayer.pdf.
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-01
Since sufficient information on the spiritual danger of the enneagram is available in those two documents, I would just like to mention that the enneagram was first promoted in the USA by the JESUITS. One of those leading Jesuits was Don Richard Riso who left the Order after 13 years as a priest.
A majority of the critiques of the origins and practice of
typing are written by Catholics, mostly priests. The most referred-to such work is Catholics and the New Age by
Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, S.J.
He should know. Introduced to
in the Jesuit theologate by
Fr. Bob Ochs, S.J.
in a workshop that included “yoga, Zen and Sufi meditation techniques”
[New Covenant, February 1991] and having himself once been a promoter and given
enneagram “retreats”, he finally abjured the practice when he “discovered the truth about it”, and he has since hosted a series exposing the
nature on Eternal Word Television Network [EWTN]. Fr. Mitch Pacwa said, “No Jesuit from my class, except myself, who took the enneagram typing, is still a Jesuit today. All have left the priesthood.”
Ex-Jesuit priest Don Richard Riso
has authored books on the
enneagram. Fr. Bob Ochs, S.J. brought the enneagram methodology from the world’s leading New Age centre Esalen to the Jesuit seminaries
To cut a long story short, the 3rd February 2003 Vatican Document Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life, A Christian Reflection on the ‘New Age’ included the enneagram in their list of New Age psycho-spiritualities. In fact, it speaks more about the enneagram than it does about any other New Age practice.
In May-June 2013, Fr Paul Vaz is scheduled to do “Praying the Enneagram” in Malaysia http://www.paulvaz.blogspot.in/
EARTH CENTRED “RETREAT”
I first came across the “Earth Centred Retreat” in an advertisement for it in the “Local News” of The Examiner, in its issue of January 20, 2007. It must be noted that The Examiner is the archdiocesan weekly of Bombay. Therefore, it follows that the
programme has the seal of official approval from the Cardinal, Archbishop Oswald Gracias.
Held thrice a year at the Jesuits’ Xavier Retreat House, Baga Beach, Goa, “it is an attempt to develop a dynamic personal relationship with Creation as the embodiment of God. It provides an opportunity to heal the body and to refresh one’s spirit – to experience the gifts of Western and Oriental healing… and to surrender all thought because though the conscious knows, the unconscious knows better and the spirit knows best. Some of the sessions conducted at the retreat include tuning the body exercises, yoga asanas, inner healing, meditation, Scripture reading and sharing at meal times to the accompaniment of devotional music.” The dates of the “retreats”: January 24-28 and May 9-13, 2007.
programme also has the seal of official approval from the Goa Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao, according to the priests I spoke to.
It is evident that the meditations would employ philosophies and practices from Eastern [oriental, pre-Christian] systems and probably include non-Christian religious texts as well, since the Bible or the Catechism, the Early Church Fathers or the Lives of Saints do not figure in the advertisement for the programme which the Jesuits and the archdiocese are promoting..
For details, one had to contact the Xavier’s Institute of Management, Mumbai. The fee, now Rs 2000, was then Rs 1000.
The Examiner, January 27, 2007, informed Catholics that “this healing retreat is conducted by Fr. Paul Vaz SJ, former Provincial of the Jesuits in Mumbai, and currently Rector of several Jesuit institutions in Mumbai.”
I had met Fr. Paul Vaz at a post-ordination get-together at the home of friends in Mangalore on December 29, 2001, and I had presented him with a bunch of my articles and reports [weighing around 300 grams] to take away with him when he was flying back to Mumbai. He declined to accept them with the excuse that he was a heart patient and so could not carry anything heavy! He was fully aware of my ministry, as the newly-ordained Jesuit priest and I were having a long, fruitful discussion on the New Age, and the then Provincial wanted to maintain a safe distance from the subject. I also vividly recall that he was most unfriendly when I tried to engage him in conversation and he didn’t evince the slightest interest in discussing my ministry.
I must add that, after meeting with me for a second sitting the next day, the newly-ordained priest — who is a brilliant academic and who is today a professor of theology — admitted to me that he had been exposed to error in his seminary days. He was referring to New Age oriental meditations as well as alternative therapies.
I do not remember his exact words, but he expressed his appreciation of my work and for opening his eyes to the truth. I am constrained from sharing in greater detail to protect the identity of the priest. The priest is today purged of the poison that he was injected with in the seminary as well as from his Jesuit superiors.
Though I am only getting down to writing this report on Fr. Paul Vaz in 2013, I had initiated inquiry in 2007:
MY LETTER TO THE EDITOR, THE EXAMINER [THERE WAS NO RESPONSE]
Sir, I refer to the information on the “EARTH-CENTRED RETREAT” of May 9-13, 2007 [The Examiner, Jan 20 and 27, 2007]. We called both the given Tata Indicom numbers 022-56221909 and 56221911, but we get a message that the numbers have changed.
We then wrote an email letter to Fr. Paul Vaz SJ at the given email id email@example.com asking for information, but there has been no response after nearly three weeks. This is for your kind information. Michael Prabhu
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 10:38 AM Subject: EARTH-CENTRED RETREAT
Dear Fr. Paul Vaz,
I am interested in your “EARTH-CENTRED RETREAT” of May 9-13, 2007 [The Examiner, Jan 20 and 27].
I called both the given Tata Indicom numbers 022- 56221909 and 56221911, but I get a message that the numbers have changed. Please send the brochure or pamphlet to…
[The pamphlets were sent to me but I have misplaced them.]
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 7:30 PM
Subject: EARTH-CENTRED RETREAT
Dear Fr. Paul, As discussed with you on the ‘phone [022- 2262 0661] this morning. Michael, with copy of letter of Feb. 7
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; anthony.Pacheco@db.com
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 12:23 PM
Subject: Sorry our Phone numbers & email id have changed.
Sorry the phone numbers have changed. New Phone Numbers are: 022-6522 1909/1911
The new email id is: email@example.com Thank you. Warm regards, XIMR Mumbai.
From: “Paul” <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: “prabhu” <email@example.com> Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: EARTH-CENTRED RETREAT
the changed phone numbers are: 65221909 and 65221911. You can phone my secretary Priscilla and she will give you all the details…Please hurry and do your bookings since the seats are getting filled up… the new email id: is firstname.lastname@example.org… She will post the brochure to you. Wish you all the best… Paul sj
I wrote to a Jesuit priest who knows Fr. Paul Vaz, expressing my concerns, and he replied to me:
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 1:42 PM Subject: FR. PAUL VAZ [Edited]
Dear Fr. Name Withheld,
I wonder about this advertisement for an “Earth-Centred Retreat” in the “Local News” of The Examiner, January 20, 2007… The Examiner, January 27, 2007, informs us that “this healing retreat is conducted by
Fr. Paul Vaz SJ, former Provincial of the Jesuits in Mumbai, and currently Rector of several Jesuit institutions in Mumbai.” It seems to me to be
Any comments? Love, Mike
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 4:48 PM Subject: Re: FR. PAUL VAZ [Edited]
I have never done his earth centered retreat and so really cannot comment on it. Yes the advertisement may seem new age, but the reality at his retreats will have to be experienced by oneself… I really don’t know his stand on it.
Name Withheld Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007 8:19 PM Subject: Re: FR. PAUL VAZ [Edited]
Dear Fr. Name Withheld,
[…] Recently there has been a spate of statements from Catholic Church leaders on ecology and the environment, and the current trend to accord more status to and emphasis on creation rather than the Creator. I have prepared the outlines of an article on this subject.
I am afraid that Fr. Paul Vaz is the first person to ‘import’ these retreats, which are VERY common in the West, into India.
Information retrieved from the blog of Fr. Paul Vaz
Paul Vaz is a Jesuit priest and an experienced facilitator and retreat guide for young adults. He was born in Mumbai and ministers in India and abroad. Since 2003 he has successfully facilitated 75 retreats in South Africa, Australia, Philippines, Germany, Vienna, Malaysia, Indonesia and India. At present he is the Superior of the Socio-Educational Research Centre, Seva Niketan & Director of the Loyola Institute of Spirituality, Ecology and Leadership (LISEL).He is also the Director-General of the Xavier Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai, India.
Photograph of Fr. Paul Vaz [http://www.blogger.com/profile/18369756937768268845]:
Earth Centred Healing Retreats for all faiths
A Four-Day experience to help you step out of the busyness of your everyday life and be aware of the inner rhythm of your Being!
FOCUS ON TWO ASPECTS:
1. Discovery of the Self and Self-Possession
2. Earth Consciousness and Rooted-ness
Self Discovery and Possession:
To get in touch with the Self; to heal the hurtful experiences that continue to bind and dominate our lives
Exploring One’s Self
Relaxing and Unwinding
Healing the fragmented Self in a hurting world
Healing the whole person (Body-Mind-Spirit)
Gaining control (mastery) over Self
Earth Consciousness and Rooted-ness:
Finding the Sacred in all things!
Growing in Consciousness of the beauty and wonder of Mother Earth/Creation
Understanding our connection (therefore rootedness and not alienation) with Creation
Caring for Mother Earth and sustaining her for future generations
Meditation, Painting, Dancing, Celebrating, Quieting…
Advised complete SILENCE during sessions!
Fr. Paul Vaz’s squatting Mass
This appears to be the altar/table at a Mass which is presided over by Fr. Paul Vaz
At the 62nd Earth Retreat, Bangalore, December 2011, there were 30 participants: Catholics, Hindus, and other Christian denominations. Contact Person: Alwyn Lobo: 9845014927
We find these startling entries in two of Fr. Paul Vaz‘s blogs, http://www.paulvaz.blogspot.in/search/label/breath
and http://www.paulvaz.blogspot.in/search/label/centering, under tags “breath” and “centering”:
WE DO NOT FIND OUR OWN CENTER; IT FINDS US.
Our own mind will not be able to figure it out.
LIVE IN THE PRESENT! IS BREATH GOD?
The Examiner of Bombay archdiocese in its issue of October 2, 2010 once again carried a seventeen-line advertisement for the October 27-31, 2010, Earth Centred Healing Retreat of Fr. Paul Vaz SJ in Baga, Goa.
In The Examiner issue of December 4, 2010, there was this letter to the editor from Nivette Lasrado, Mumbai which was carried under the title “The Power of Quietism”:
Sir, The Earth Centred Healing Retreat at the Baga Retreat House in Goa was conducted by Fr. Paul Vaz, SJ, XIMR, Mumbai, October 27-31, 2010. He addressed the big, real world in such a simplistic way. We were surprised to learn that this was Fr. Vaz’s 56th such retreat, the others having been conducted across South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Germany, Australia and Thailand. He has been giving these retreats to professionals, youth and people of all faith. It covered Mind, Body and Soul. “Let go…relax… surrender…” was the mantra of the retreat. Here we saw both ecology and spirituality so very intimately linked. The spiritual insights in these sessions were so very inspiring, they also had a mix of Western and Oriental healing. In introspect we understand what he meant when he said, “Silence will reveal yourself to you, in that revelation you will find gifts that money cannot buy – Wisdom, Serenity, Peace, God.”
The Earth Centred Healing Retreat, so very aptly titled, taught s how we can have a blend of both, Spirituality and Ecology.
Spirituality, which is earth grounded is so very related to our day to day living and so is Ecology. Nothing could be more “down to earth” than the preservation of our planet, which is often overlooked. What made this retreat exclusive was the focus on the Ecological crises of our time, and has also inculcated in us that we must respect our planet Earth and the living systems and take charge to undo all the mistakes we have done in the past each in our own little way. One way to do it would be to give our youth/children a chance to educate and experience this retreat.
We left the retreat feeling rejuvenated in body and spirit, confident of our desire to heal our planet, and each one of us making a personal commitment to follow something we learnt, in our daily life.
Having one’s letters published in The Examiner is an achievement of sorts. It usually means that the editor, Fr. Anthony Charanghat, subscribes to/endorses the views of the published material. To put it in plain English, Fr. Anthony Charanghat is biased, which a journalist, and a Catholic one at that, must never be.
In some issues of The Examiner, I have read his statement that he reserves the right to “select and edit” letters. The “selecting” part has been bitterly experienced by us. Mumbai’s crusader against New Age, the late Errol Fernandes, used to write perfectly Catholic anti-New age letters to The Examiner under blind copy to me. As always correctly predicted by Errol, they were never published. In the initial stages of my own interaction with The Examiner, my letters were always published by Fr. Anthony Charanghat, until July 2008, which was when this ministry initiated a crusade against the controversial commentaries of the St. Pauls New Community Bible which had been endorsed by Fr. Anthony Charanghat as well as the bishops of Bombay.
My own letters as well as the letters of twenty-one other Catholics were not “selected” for publishing!!!!! See
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 07-UNPUBLISHED LETTERS AGAINST ITS ERRONEOUS COMMENTARIES-THE EXAMINER
Since then, I have not wasted my precious time writing to The Examiner. However, The Examiner continues to be a leading promoter of error, especially New Age error in the Indian Church, and I am preparing a report that will expose the wide range of these spiritual errors over the years 2004 through 2013.
Since the Bombay bishops read The Examiner [which is their archdiocesan weekly], contribute articles to it and also intervene in controversial matters as one of them did in the case of the alleged Irla miracle, one can conclude that whatever is published in The Examiner is endorsed by them and they find no error in it, especially if the same information continues to appear over a period of weeks, months or years as is the case with Fr. Paul Vaz’s Earth Centred Healing Retreats.
One must remember that even if the ecclesial authorities erroneously dismiss the Earth Centred Healing Retreats as not New Age, all those who attended these programmes are potential candidates for the Enneagram workshops which are inarguably New Age.
The Examiner issues of October 15, 2011 and March 17, 2012, in the column, News-National, carried what was basically not news but as usual an advertisement for the 61st and 66th Earth Centred Healing Retreats respectively of Fr. Paul Vaz SJ in Baga, Goa.
They provided potential retreatants with a long list of contact persons in Bangalore, Goa and Mumbai which included the nun-sister of the priest, three fellow priests and Bernadette Pimenta [see page 3].
From News-Local in The Examiner of November 24, 2012, “Spread The Light”, we learn that Bernadette Pimenta is the founder and director of the NGO Seva Dham in Thane, and she held the 2012 Inter-Religious Prayer Meeting at which people of all faiths quoted their scriptures. One paragraph in the report reads:
Dr. George Pattery SJ, former Jesuit Provincial, Kolkata, and current acting president of
[JDV]…placed Christ’s message in a scientific context. He traced the cosmic evolution story 13.5 billion years ago, and the explosion of space, time, and energy to a single, divine spark –
teaching us that we are all inter-connected, inter-dependent and inter-related. The same divine spark is in each of us.
Now, if I claim that the above statement of Jesuit Father George Pattery is New Age, I am certain that I will be criticised with being, tunnel-visioned, biased and judgemental.
But, in my September 2008 report NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 02-THE PAPAL SEMINARY, PUNE, INDIAN THEOLOGIANS, AND THE CATHOLIC ASHRAMS, I wrote, “George Pattery accuses the Church of using “age-old rationalizations” and “traditional Christian vocabulary”. He believes that “the New Age Movement is the best bet for the survival of religious faith for this century“,” about his trashing the February 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age. Read his scathing critique [Is New Age Wisdom Provisional?] of the Church and her Document at
THEOLOGIANS LAMBAST THE VATICAN DOCUMENT ON THE NEW AGE
http://ephesians-511.net/docs/THEOLOGIANS_LAMBAST_THE_VATICAN_DOCUMENT_ON_THE_NEW_AGE.doc. His closing sentence is,
“The labouring God of the New Age Movement may not rejoice with this document“.
Fr. George Pattery SJ
is also one of the contributors to Catholic Ashram leader Vandana Mataji‘s thoroughly occult/New Age collection titled
Shabda Shakti Sangam.
It is not surprising then that he same Bernadette Pimenta who invites Fr. George Pattery SJ to her event is also a contact person for Fr. Paul Vaz SJ whose Earth Centred Healing Retreat programmes must necessarily fit the same [New Age] mould or fail to attract her interest.
The Jesuits are, it appears, in the forefront of the eco-spirituality movement in India.
Now, it must be made clear that ecological concerns in themselves are not New Age by a long shot. The Examiner has carried several good articles on the Christian approach to ecological issues such as in the January 6, 2007 cover story ‘Towards a spirituality of the earth’ by Fr. Luke Rodrigues SJ and ‘Live simply’ by Fr. Allwyn D’Silva, Chairperson, Commission for Justice and Peace, Archdiocese of Bombay. [However, Fr. Allwyn D’Silva was associated with Bernadette Pimenta‘s aforementioned programme. The line is thin!
The editorial of the January 27, 2007 issue was a summary of extracts from the Pope’s message for World Peace Day, 2007, the cover story. Benedict XVI spoke of the Christian duty to protect the environment.
However, in the New Age, the earth is deified, and this is what is brought out in the Vatican Document JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE, A CHRISTIAN REFLECTION ON THE NEW AGE, #2.3.1, #220.127.116.11, #18.104.22.168, #6.2, etc. There was an excellent Catholic-oriented full page report titled “Workshop on climate change” in The Examiner of September 15, 2007, followed by “The Green Pope”, The Examiner of May 31, 2008, celebrating World Environment Day, June 5, and again by Vera Alvares, “Vote to Save the Earth”, The Examiner of March 21, 2009, celebrating World Water Day, March 22.
The Examiner of July 11, 2009 announced in News-Local a Conference of Religious India [CRI]-Mumbai seminar, “An invitation to live eco-spirituality in our religious life” conducted by Fr. Dr. Oliver Inchody, CMI, [email@example.com] at the Don Bosco Provincial House, Matunga.
Using audio-visual presentations, Carmelite Father Oliver Inchody, director of CRI’s Social Concerns based in New Delhi, has conducted several seminars on eco-spirituality in different Indian cities.
In October 2008, the representative group of 50 Major Superiors and specialists from 12 CRI Regions of India met at Tarumitra, Patna, to chalk out the programmes for the next year, 2009. In that National Consultation of CRI, they emphasized the need of integrating earth and environment into the holistic spirituality of the religious life today. It was the ardent wish of all the Major Superiors who assembled at Tarumitra that our Religious and spiritual dimensions of life should not forgo an ecological consciousness by which we may able to build up a cosmo-theandric community of love, harmony, respect, fellowship and peace, ‘Earth-People’… under the leadership of National CRI Secretary, Bro. Mani Mekkunnel of Gabriel Brothers.
Fr. Oliver Inchody
took his Ph. D. in Environmental Theology from Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, and taught there for eight years in the departments of Theology and Environmental Studies. I have briefly perused the CRI Draft Document on Eco-Spirituality, September 27-October 2, 2009, “Greening Consecrated Life Today” at http://www.cridelhi.org/assembly/assembly_draft/bookl/Book-1%20inside.pdf, but I am not presently able to determine for sure whether the CRI programme is New Age-free; I doubt that it will be, because:
Bro. Mani Mekkunnel, SG,
is pro-women’s ordination and openly critical of Rome [I have documented this in several of my articles]. Radical environmentalism and eco-feminism go hand in hand.
Fr. Oliver Inchody
was director of the Sacchidananda Ashram, Narsinghpur [firstname.lastname@example.org], near Bhopal, from 1991 to 1993 when the Bhopal province CMI congregation took over its operations after the untimely death [rumoured murder] of the acharya Swami Amaldas.
The spirituality of the Catholic Ashrams movement is New Age and their theology is heretical. If that statement scandalizes the reader, you are invited to read CATHOLIC ASHRAMS http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CATHOLIC_ASHRAMS.doc.
The activities at the Sacchidananda Ashram, Narsinghpur as retrieved from http://www.cmibhopal.in/houses.php?show=19 are:
“Dialogue with different traditions and cultures, Inculturation of lifestyle and worship models, Promotion of Indian Christian Spirituality and Theology, Healing ministry through prayer, Counselling, Herbal medicine, Acupressure treatment and Yoga Therapy, Yoga Sadhana, Silence and contemplation for expansion of awareness, wholeness and harmony. Courses on Indian Christian Spirituality, Yoga for holistic life, Yoga for physical and mental health.“!!!!!
On the above page, there was a mention of “Tarumitra“, Patna, the organization where the CRI met.
The Examiner of December 1, 2012, carried a news report titled “Jesuits seek eco-spirituality”. I quote:
“Twenty-four Jesuits from eight provinces spent eight days in the lake town of Sawantwadi to seek what they said was an earth-building eco-spirituality relevant for modern times. Bishop Alwyn Baretto of Sindhudurg, who inaugurated the eco-retreat, said the Church needs pioneers to investigate the spiritual realms related to ecology. Ecological problems are getting more and more, and the Church needs to be part of the solution, he added.
A team from Tarumitra (Friends of Trees), a green group based in Patna, Bihar, animated the retreat… The group spent quality time with the Earth and spent most of the day outdoors. They celebrated Mass in the open… [Source: UCAN]
If Bishop Alwyn Baretto had read the Vatican Document on the New Age, he surely would have cautioned the gathering about the fine line separating genuine Christian eco-spirituality from New Age “deep ecology”.
Incidentally, acupressure is also listed as a New Age alternative therapy in the Vatican Document, see
ACUPUNCTURE, ACUPRESSURE, SHIATSU AND REFLEXOLOGY
There are two Vatican Documents that discuss yoga as a New Age spiritual danger for Catholics, and so does the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2011, #355 and #356, see
YOGA-WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM SAY ABOUT IT
So this whole eco-spirituality business being promoted in the Indian Church is unavoidably and undeniably New Age. A report on New Age Deep Ecology has been long overdue from this ministry and I am now constrained to work on bringing it out seeing that the movement is active in the local Church with blessings from powerful organisations and bishops. We are but a step away from radical environmentalism.
I searched my archives for any information on Fr. Paul Vaz SJ in the Chennai-based The New Leader.
I found a letter to the editor in the issue of July 1-15, 2011 from one Agnes Fernando, Chennai. Here it is:
A group of twenty people gathered at the Baga Retreat House, Goa from 4th to 8th May for an
Earth Centred Healing Retreat
Fr. Paul Vaz SJ… They were from Goa, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai.
Within the framework of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, they were taken through a process of centring
[sic] themselves on God through His creation. Examining one’s relationship with others brought about an awareness of sins that produce toxins in the body. Purgation of these harmful toxins was through forgiveness. A forgiveness walk helped convert negative thoughts into positive ones creating an aura of health and well being. The meditation on the Energy Centres in the body related to the Lord’s Prayer energised and rejuvenated all… Those who wish to experience healing and become healers are invited to attend the next Earth Centred Healing Retreat in Baga from 2nd to 6th of November, 2011.
The letter is replete with New Age language even though the writer might not have realised it. New Age is, as the letter brings out lucidly, a synthesis of Christian thought and practice with that of eastern religions as well as with pure New Age. The Earth Centred Healing Retreat is neither Christo-centric nor sacramental, though I am sure that Fr Paul Vaz ensures not to exclude them completely. I am confident that if I were able to attend one of Fr Paul Vaz‘s Earth Centred Healing Retreats, I would be able to expose the New Age and syncretism in them.
The programmes are touted as body-mind-spirit healing retreats. The Vatican Document on the New Age defines such “holistic” healing programmes as New Age, #2.2.3, etc. While conventional medicine may be used to heal the body, it is only God who heals a person spiritually through the ministry of the Church. The use of any other system could be spiritually dangerous for the Christian; hence the warnings given in the referred Vatican Document about the New Age, the occult, the esoteric.
Sr. Prisca Vaz, the sister of Fr. Paul Vaz, and a priest who I talked to, informed me that health problems continue to dog Fr. Paul Vaz. Apparently, conducting seventy-one Earth Centred Healing Retreats has not done Fr. Paul Vaz himself much good. I wonder if his foray into enneagram personality-typing has improved — as opposed to my 2001 experience with him — his demeanor towards others who attempt to build bridges with him outside of his “retreats”.
UPDATE APRIL 24, 2013
An example of ecology-related New Age in the Catholic Ashrams movement:
Fr. Sebastian Painadath, SJ, the founder-director of
Sameeksha Ashram, Kalady, Kerala, wrote in “The Spiritual and Theological Perspectives of Ashrams,
A Tribute to Santivanam, 50 Years“:
Satsangs and spiritual discourses often take place under an auspicious Tree thus recognising that the Tree is the primal teacher of humanity. For meditation one sits on the floor: earth is experienced as the body of the Lord and as the primordial mother of all living beings.27
27Bhavavad Gita, 11, 10ff, Atharva Veda, X11, t, 1-63.
Divinization of Nature as Ecological Sin – A Professor Outlines Traditions of Christian Thought on the Environment
ROME, March 9, 2005 (Zenit.org) Contemporary radical ecology has divinized nature and relegated human beings to a secondary role, participants at a symposium on original sin were told.
“The sin in contemporary radical environmentalism consists in divinizing nature, in suffocating the importance of the human being as custodian of creation, and in forgetting God as author of man’s natural surroundings,” said Joan Andreu Rocha Scarpetta, professor of theology of religions at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University. The institution sponsored the symposium. Rocha’s address, entitled “Radical Ecology and Original Sin,” was one of the addresses delivered at the March 3-4 symposium, whose theme was “Original Sin: An Interdisciplinary Perspective.” Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, opened the event.
“Contemporary radical environmentalism has forgotten divine transcendence; it has placed man on the same level or below nature” and, in forgetting the created character of nature, “has given it a magical, almost divine value,” said Rocha.
The speaker illustrated the three models of relationship between God, man and creation, which Christian theology has developed in its history. The first, or “iconic,” model arose from the tradition of Eastern Christianity. It recognizes God’s traces in creation, and emphasizes “sin as unbalancing factor of this relationship,” Rocha said. This model, she explained, developed by authors such as St. Simeon in the 11th century, is being studied in-depth today by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The second model of relationship between God, humanity and creation is called “stewardship” “for creation,” and has been developed, in particular, by the Benedictine tradition, according to which “creation belongs to God and for this reason, we must take care of it,” Rocha continued. This intuition is the basis of the theological anthropology of creation. “If the iconic model of the Eastern Fathers, such as St. Basil, emphasizes the element ‘God,’ in the relationship God-man-creation, the Benedictine model emphasizes the element ‘man,’ outlining a spiritual path that begins with the awareness of knowing oneself to be a creature, and of sin,” explained Rocha.
“Starting from the awareness of sin, the monk ascends the different steps of humility to a ‘Christification,’ refining a balanced view on creation, not only as gift, but also as responsible duty,” indicated the speaker. The last model is the “Christic,” or Franciscan, professor Rocha said, recalling that the figure of St. Francis of Assisi is so linked to the relationship with nature than even radical ecologists see in him a paradigmatic figure of the relationship between the human being and nature.
“Unfortunately, the Christocentric importance of the relationship of St. Francis with creation is often forgotten, robbing the transcendent meaning of his mysticism of nature,” Rocha lamented. These “models show that sin manifests itself when the relationship between God-the-creator, man-custodian, and created nature is unbalanced,” she said.
Rocha added: “When God’s creative action is forgotten, man is placed at the same level as the rest of creation, or a transcendent or magical character is attributed to created nature.”
Antichrist is pacifist, ecologist, ecumenist, Cardinal tells Pope
March 2, 2007
Addressing a Lenten retreat for the Pope and top Vatican officials, Italian Cardinal Giacomi Biffi has cited a Russian philosopher’s “prophetic” warning that “the Antichrist presents himself as a
pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist“.
Cardinal Biffi, who has been leading this week’s retreat for the Pope, cited the warning presented in the work of Vladimir Solovyev, a 19th-century Russian philosopher, about the modern guises of the Antichrist, according to a Catholic News Service report. The retired Cardinal says Christians tempted to set aside their belief in Christ as the only saviour in order to promote dialogue with others are being tempted by the Antichrist.
While the Vatican has not published Cardinal Biffi’s talks to the Pope, Vatican Radio provided a daily summary and some quotations from his presentations. The Cardinal, who wrote the introduction to an anthology of Solovyev’s work, said the philosopher’s most important message was that Christianity cannot be reduced to a collection of values.
In one of the philosopher’s works, Cardinal Biffi told the Pope, “The Antichrist presents himself as a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist. He convokes an ecumenical council and seeks the consensus of all the Christian confessions, conceding something to each one. The crowds follow him, except for tiny groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants. Chased by the Antichrist, they tell him, ‘You have given us everything except for the one thing that interests us, Jesus Christ,'” said the Cardinal, according to the radio’s report. Cardinal Biffi said the account should be taken as a warning. “Today, in fact, we run the risk of having a Christianity that puts Jesus with his cross and resurrection into parentheses,” he said. The 78-year-old Cardinal said that if the church were to speak about only those values that it shares with others it would find great acceptance “on televisions shows,” but “we would have renounced Christ.”
Obviously, he said, the church does espouse values that it shares with other people of good will.
He said there are “absolute values such as the good, the true and the beautiful. One who perceives them and loves them also loves Christ, even if he does not know it, because Christ is the truth, beauty and justice. There also are relative values such as solidarity, love for peace and respect for nature,” he said. “If these are given an absolute value or uprooted from or placed in opposition to the proclamation of the fact of salvation, then they become the basis for idolatry and are obstacles on the path to salvation.”
Source: Antichrist tempts Christians to place dialogue above Jesus, Cardinal says at Vatican retreat (Catholic News Service, 1/3/07)
Official Warns Against Idolizing Nature – Concludes Conference on Climate Change
VATICAN CITY, April 30, 2007 (Zenit.org) A Vatican official warned against idolizing the environment and losing sight of the dignity of the human person, in the wake of a conference on climate change and development. Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said this Friday, at the end of the dicastery’s two-day conference. It brought together some 80 experts and focused on various aspects of climate change and the development of peoples. “Nature is for the human person and the human person is for God,” Cardinal Martino said. “In considering the problems associated with climate change, one must look to the social doctrine of the Church,” which “neither supports the absolutization of nature, nor the reduction of nature to a mere instrument.”
“Nature is not an absolute, but a wealth that is placed in the person’s responsible and prudent hands,” he added.
Indisputable superiority The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace explained that the human person cannot be placed on an equal plane with other creatures.
“The person has an indisputable superiority over creation and, in virtue of his personhood and being gifted with an immortal soul, cannot be placed on an equal plane with other living beings, nor can he be considered a disturbing element in the natural ecological equilibrium,” the 74-year-old cardinal said. He continued: “The person does not have an absolute right over nature but rather a mandate to conserve and develop it in light of the universal destination of the earth’s goods which is one of the fundamental principles of the social doctrine of the Church.”
The president of the Vatican dicastery noted the problems associated with climate change, and said that “the social doctrine of the Church must deal with the many modern forms of idolatry of nature that lose sight of the person.”
“Similar views of ecology emerge in the debate on demographic problems and on the relationship between peoples, environment and development,” he added.
Cardinal Martino recalled the 1994 international conference in Cairo on population and development.
There, “the Holy See had to oppose, together with many Third World countries, the idea that the increase in population in the coming decades would cause the collapse of the earth’s natural balances and would impede development,” he said.
Refuted “These theses have been refuted and, thank goodness, are in regression,” said the cardinal. He explained that the proposed solutions for these erroneous ideas were abortion and mass sterilization of the poor. “The Church proposes a realistic view of things. She has faith in the person and in his ability to look for new solutions to the problems that history places before him — an ability that enables him to refute recurring and improbable catastrophic forecasts,” he added.
The cardinal recalled that “according to the concept of human ecology developed by Pope John Paul II, ecology is not only a natural emergency, but an anthropological emergency, in which what is valued is man’s relationship with himself and above all his relationship with God.” “An anthropological error is therefore a theological error,” underlined Cardinal Martino. “When the person wants to take God’s place, he loses sight of himself and his responsibility to govern nature.”
Our Pantheistic Sisters
By Anne Barbeau Gardiner, New Oxford Review, February 2008
Anne Barbeau Gardiner, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She has published on Dryden, Milton, and Swift, as well as on Catholics of the 17th century.
Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology, by Sarah McFarland Taylor, Harvard University Press, 363 pages, $29.95
Sarah McFarland Taylor, an Episcopalian and historian of women’s religious history, started her research on the Catholic green sisters in 1994. She spent two summers at Genesis Farm in New Jersey, then visited more than a dozen similar centers, attended four conferences of the Sisters of Earth, conducted over a hundred interviews, and examined their newsletters, poetry, artwork, cookbooks, correspondence, prayers, and rituals. She sent a draft of her book to some leading green sisters for their approval and documented her findings in 60 pages of endnotes.
Throughout the book, Taylor is in total sympathy with the green sisters, whom she regards as “some of the best-educated women in America.” She says their network includes sisters from these religious orders: Sisters of St. Joseph, of Loreto, of Charity, of Notre Dame, and of the Humility of Mary, as well as some Franciscan and Dominican Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Medical Mission Sisters. In 1995 there were a dozen earth ministries; in 2006 there were at least 50, which Taylor lists in an appendix.
Green sisters complain that “right-wing Catholic critics” — among them Michael S. Rose of the New Oxford Review — have unjustly charged them with pantheism, but on the basis of this book, the charge seems justified. Pope Pius IX defined the “error” of “pantheism” thus: “No supreme, all wise, and all provident divine Godhead exists, distinct from this world of things,” and “all things are God and they have the same substance of God” (Syllabus of Errors, Denzinger, #1701). As Taylor reveals, this is the green sisters’ core principle, that God and the cosmos are fused.
At the Sisters of Earth conference in 2002, the 150 participants chanted, with regard to the earth, “All is holy, so holy. All is sacred, so sacred. All is one.” Then, at the 2003 assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)*, with 76,000 members in the U.S., 900 sisters chanted, with regard to the earth, “Sacred is the call, awesome indeed the entrustment. Tending the Holy, Tending the Holy.” The LCWR invitation featured an image of the planet with the caption: “Tending the Holy.” In her presidential address, Sr. Mary Ann Zollmann declared, “we women religious are living out of and growing more deeply into an ecofeminism that is a communion of companionship, responsibility, and accountability to the whole web of life.” *The LCWR are now under apostolic visitation by an order of the Holy See
Thomas Berry, Spiritual Guide
Thomas Berry, a 90-year-old Passionist priest and disciple of Teilhard de Chardin*, is “indispensable” for understanding the green sisters, writes Taylor. He is the “prophet” who played a “pivotal role” in creating this movement. Taylor notes that Fr. Berry, unlike Matthew Fox**, has not been disciplined by the Church and can administer the Sacraments. He proposes as the “Great Work” for our age to “midwife humanity into an Ecozoic era,” where our species and the earth will be “mutually beneficial.” Green sisters have taken up this “sacred mission,” which they see as larger than the Church or Christianity itself. The natural world, Fr. Berry teaches, is God’s “primary revelation,” from which every other revelation derives. This was also the teaching of the pantheist philosopher Spinoza. Fr. Berry wants the Bible put “on the shelf for at least twenty years” so people can read “the primary scripture of the world about us.” Following this guide, green sisters work to create a shift of consciousness from human-centeredness to a “biocentric norm.” That is to say, they have exchanged a “primary preoccupation with humans” for “a primary concern” with the “total Earth.” For green sisters, as for Fr. Berry, the world is a community of “subjects” all divinely related to one another.
*Jesuit paleontologist and world’s leading New Ager **excommunicated
Dominican priest, New Ager and
promoter of Creation-Centred Spirituality
Fr. Berry considers the biblical “creation story” meaningless because it fails to give humanity a sense of “communion” with “a universe that is alive, sacred, intelligent, and still being created.” (To regard matter as alive and thinking, of course, is the foundation of pantheism.) Since Western science cannot convey the “sacredness of the cosmic evolutionary process” either, Fr. Berry proposes a “New Story” to give us a sense of the “cosmic communion” of “all things.”
Greening Their Vows
Green sisters have reinterpreted their vows in light of Fr. Berry’s “new evolutionary cosmological consciousness.” Sr. Gail Worcelo, who studied under Fr. Berry and took her final vows in his presence in 1991, declares that when he gave her the ring of final profession, she felt wedded “to a passionate love affair with the Divine as revealed in the universe story.” This is not quite the same as becoming the bride of Christ.
As for the vow of chastity, Sr. Elaine Prevallet says it means a “moral commitment to ease ecosystem stresses caused by a burgeoning human population.” Other green sisters likewise speak of this vow as a “lifetime commitment” not to give birth and as a “gift that sisters have given the earth community throughout the history of religious orders.” Tellingly, at the 1998 Sisters of Earth conference, Stephanie Mills was the keynote speaker: she is notorious for harping on the connection between “unchecked human population growth and ecological crisis” and, though not a sister, for having vowed herself to a “nonprocreative life.”
Green sisters do not accept a dichotomy between temporal creation and eternal Creator. They see their vows in relation to a divine creation. Sr. Cathy Mueller sees them as “natural choices that enhance Earth,” and Sr. Mary Southard, as choices made in the context of “an evolutionary universe.” Sr. Janet Fraser remarks that “since the earth and the cosmos are the Body of God,” her vows make the natural world “primary”; and Sr. Barbara O’Donnell believes they make “Earth’s story our story.” Thus, their vows do not refer to the Kingdom, which is “not of this world.”
When Taylor asks about the “spiritual dimension” of these vows, Sr. Maureen Wild replies that for them there is no dichotomy between “matter” and “spirit.” (In Pius IX’s definition of “pantheism,” we find this very phrase: that “God is one and the same as the world, and therefore, also, spirit is one and the same with matter.”) With this principle, is it any wonder that some green sisters are “certified in massage therapy and various forms of bodywork” to help “nurture” the bodies and spirits of the sisters? In one of their centers, there is a hot tub with a view of Texas hill country, in which “we all soaked our muscles and restored our bodies” after a day’s work. Taylor comments, “This hot tub, which clearly soothes the flesh instead of mortifying it, is a far cry from sisters’ wearing hairshirts and doing daily penance.”
Praying to the ‘Cosmic Mother’
Green sisters protest that they have not departed from Catholic Tradition, but are “caretakers” of its deepest “essence as it has evolved over time.” Not so. At the Green Mountain Monastery in Vermont, Sr. Gail Worcelo prays to Mary as “Holy Matrix” who reveals the “sacredness in all matter” and holds the universe in her womb, instead of the child Jesus. This is depicted in the image “Mary of the Cosmos,” inspired by Fr. Berry. The sisters pray to Mary as “Matter impregnated with Spirit” — a far cry from Catholic Tradition!
Just how dangerous it is to invoke a false goddess became clear at the 2002 Sisters of Earth conference, where Charlene Spretnak, a radical feminist, gave the keynote talk on “Mary as Premodern and Postmodern Cosmology.” Spretnak was in the middle of her paper when a woman in the audience began to moan and shriek and fight off something invisible. Then she grew quiet and started talking in a voice much “larger” than her size, declaring, “I am Mary. I am pleased. I am very pleased. You all are my daughters. You understand. You are in the presence of Grace.” Taylor was “frightened and unsettled,” sadness filled the room, yet no one suspected that this might be a sign that they were opening a door to the abyss and attracting the demonic.
For where is Jesus Christ in their worship? In the “Liturgy of the Cosmos,” Sr. Worcelo explains, there is a fusion of “the story of Jesus, the story of the earth, and the story of the cosmos” into “one vast intertwined evolutionary epic.” Here Jesus is “embodied in cosmos and thus never separate from it,” and He suffers another “Passion” in the “wasting of the planet.” What an absurdity! Jesus Christ cannot be fused with His creation: He has ascended into Heaven and cannot be “embodied” in the material cosmos so as to be inseparable from it. Such a gross error in a Christian puts one’s salvation at risk.
Greening the Eucharist
Green sisters not only grow food as “priestly practice,” but cook it as a “daily Eucharistic ritual” to affirm the human body as an “extension” of earth’s body. Ordinary food, they claim, is a “blessed sacrament” uniting them to “the more-than-human world” and nourishing them “by the Divine directly.” One sister declares, “We are the earth nourishing itself.”
With few exceptions the sisters are vegetarians. Why? Let Sr. Jeannine Gramick explain: “I no longer believe in the old cosmology I had been taught — the hierarchical pyramid of creation in which human animals, near the top of the pyramid, are assigned more worth than non-human animals and other beings toward the bottom.” After studying with the Trappist monk Colman McCarthy, she became a vegetarian because she stopped seeing “non-humans” as “inferior to humans.” Taylor notes that such “biocentrism,” common among the green sisters, is “identified” with deep ecology. What Taylor does not point out is that deep ecology is a neo-pagan movement. No one can reasonably deny that we should be good stewards of the natural world, but biocentrism and deep ecology are wrong to put human beings on a par with other animals and as inferior to the ecosystem. This view is a pillar of population control and so part of the Culture of Death.
Green sisters eat organic food because they think it still has the divine life-force in it. Sr. Wild explains that the important thing is the “spirit of the food” we eat: “I go for quality of Spirit in my food.” Eating dinner for her is a daily “eucharist” with the “body of the earth and sun.” Similarly, Sr. Miriam MacGillis remarks, “If we truly saw the Divine in a potato,” we would not commit the “sacrilege” of “turning it into Pringles.” Since they consider it already blessed and a “manifestation of the Divine,” green sisters do not bless their food. Hard to believe, but some actually “ask the food to bless them.”
They regard cooking as a source of “resistance and even power.” Since the Church will not let them celebrate Mass, Taylor says, they bring “the essence of that ritual into a daily mindful practice available to all.” Sr. MacGillis explains that Transubstantiation “is a very sacred word referring to Jesus Christ speaking over the bread in which the outer form didn’t change but the bread itself transformed on the inner plane where God was present. This has been going on all along. This is not an act confined to specially designated human beings….” In short, Sr. MacGillis sees the Catholic mystery of the Eucharist as nothing special: the same thing has been happening all along with ordinary food. She once had a mystical experience in which she recognized “eucharist” in a bowl of organic vegetarian chili: “It was gospel and eucharist in a sacrament so simple, so holy, my heart brimmed with gratitude.” Despite all their protests to the contrary, the green sisters are surely departing from Catholic Tradition in their view of the Real Presence.
Taylor observes that the green sisters retain many traditional words of Catholicism — vows, Mary, Transubstantiation, Gospel — but they mean radically different things to these sisters.
Greening the Stations of the Cross
Doubtless the most egregious departure from Catholic Tradition is the Earth Meditation Trail at Genesis Farm, which has been imitated across the land. The Trail is made of “stations” to evoke, in Taylor’s words, “the Catholic paraliturgical activity of walking the ‘stations of the cross.'” It is a “series of prayer stations” that depicts not Christ’s Passion, but “the earth’s Passion.”
The “pilgrim” who walks the Trail first comes upon a “womb opening” called the “Station of Life/Death/Transformation.” The guidebook instructs “her” (apparently only women go there) to pass through it, touch some stones, beat a drum, and repeat three times: “Behold I come. My name is _____. Accept me here. Accept me now.” Further on, she is told to pick up a “prayer stone” that will hold the “spirit” of her “life journey” and to listen to that stone “just as the stone will listen to and absorb the prayers, thoughts, and questions” she will have on the Trail. Then she arrives at the “Council of All Beings,” a circle of stones and trees where she assumes the role of a non-human creature to discuss “what is wrong on earth.” She then walks along the “Path of the Great Elders,” a line of old maple trees, and comes to the “Place of At-One-Ment,” where a stone seat faces a scarred cherry tree that survived being surrounded with barbed wire. Here she is told to reflect on “human sins” against the natural world and ask forgiveness from “this community.”
Taylor remarks that the “At-One-Ment station” evokes the Catholic Sacrament of Confession. Perhaps, but forgiveness here is purely imaginary. There are many more stations until the Trail loops back to the “womb opening,” now approached from the other side, and the guidebook instructs the “pilgrim” to reflect on her “last moments of life in this body.” This body? Is this a reference to reincarnation?
Taylor notes that the Trail is labyrinthine (perhaps a better word would be serpentine) and that both “indoor and outdoor labyrinths*” are now “wildly popular among green sisters, Catholic religious sisters and brothers in general, and the Catholic and Protestant laity.” Have they forgotten that the original labyrinth was a deathtrap with the bestial Minotaur at its center? At Genesis Farm, the labyrinth is designed to bring the “pilgrim” into deeper union with the earth as “Divine,” for, as the guidebook says, “When the interconnectedness of all things is felt, then it is clear that the Earth is the source of our survival.” To believe that the earth is the source of “our survival” is indeed a deathtrap.
*The New Age labyrinth has now come to India – to the archdiocese of Bombay; separate report follows
Taylor thinks the Trail is effective precisely because it uses the Catholic “stations format” and works “from within the system.” When components of a tradition are “deployed,” she says, new rituals quickly become “traditional.” Indeed, in the last decade, Earth Meditation Trails have become popular. Sr. Theresa Jackson, who installed one at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Idaho, explains that “The ‘Passion of the Earth’ is designed to be a spiritual exercise that enables people to see the earth and the cosmos not only as God’s creation, but as the most basic expression of God’s very self.” Note well, the earth and the cosmos, not Jesus Christ, are the most basic expression of God’s very self. If this isn’t pantheism, what is? Yes, God is omnipresent, but He is also transcendent and is never to be identified with matter. Again, this is an error that comes from not distinguishing the temporal from the eternal, and matter from spirit.
Another abuse of the Stations of the Cross is the “Cosmic Walk,” a meditation sequence on what Fr. Berry calls “the universe story.” In Winslow, Maine, green sisters have 25 stations in a pine grove where people can “walk the story of the universe” and come to know that story “in their own bodies.” The Cosmic Walk is also popular in a portable version created by Sr. MacGillis. This involves a long rope placed in a spiral, with 30 index cards representing the stages of evolution. Standing at the place of the first “Flaring Forth,” the “pilgrim” is to reflect that she too is 15 billion years old, and at the end of the Walk, she is to declare, “Today I know the story of myself.” Thus, the “pilgrims” of the Cosmic Walk become “the story participating in its own telling,” and experience their being as “the cosmos ‘made flesh.'” More, they learn that “there is no finite created world, only an ever-expanding universe constantly changing, and of which humanity is inseparably a part.”
Well, for a person to become the “cosmos made flesh” is to sink far below the level of common humanity, far below the great gift of being made in the “image of God.” Besides, for a Christian to become the “cosmos made flesh” is to lose the even loftier status accorded by our Baptism of being made a son or a daughter of God through Jesus Christ. In fact, to become an “inseparable” part of the temporal universe is to give up hope of eternal life. It is to embrace the temporal as if it were the eternal, the penultimate as if it were the ultimate reality.
In 1993, Taylor notes, Pope John Paul II issued a “condemnation of ‘nature worship’ by feminist Catholic groups in America, highlighting tensions in the relationship of faith to nature.” The Pope warned the U.S. bishops during their July 1993 ad limina visit: “Sometimes forms of nature worship and the celebration of myths and symbols take the place of the worship of the God revealed in Jesus Christ.” But he took no disciplinary action. Taylor believes that a “major punitive action” at this point from the bishops would only “unify” the green sisters. It is doubtful they would ask to be released from their vows, she says; they would more likely ignore the bishops or team up with other nuns to appeal the decision. While they do not openly show “disrespect” toward the “institutional Church,” she adds, they are not “pushovers,” for they are “intensely networked” and thus have a great “resistance to outside interference.” They compare themselves to the rhizome, vegetation that cannot be easily eradicated because it is “diffuse and horizontal rather than central and vertical.”
Green sisters are propagating their errors as fast and as far as they can by books, lectures, retreats, icons, and workshops. One can only wonder: Where are our shepherds?
Briefly, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA], Greenpeace, and the Green Party are New Age.
Cardinal Pell Says Green Party Like Watermelons: Green Outside, Red Inside
By Kathleen Gilbert, Sydney, August 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com)
A row has erupted after Cardinal George Pell of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia criticized the Green Party, which supports abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex “marriage,” as “sweet camouflaged poison” that represents an “anti-Christian” point of view. The archdiocese stood strongly by the comments after Green leader Robert Brown implied that Pell lied about the party’s position, and claimed to be more in touch with Catholic and Christian sentiment than the Cardinal.
When asked by young adults about how to vote in the upcoming elections, Pell recounted in a column Sunday that he did not endorse a specific party but encouraged his audience “to examine the policies of the Greens on their website and judge for themselves how thoroughly anti-Christian they are.”
The prelate also pointed out that Green leader Robert Brown helped author a book in which it was claimed that “humans are simply another smarter animal, so that humans and animals are on the same or similar levels depending on their level of consciousness.” The book was coauthored by Princeton University philosopher Peter Singer, a notorious supporter of infanticide and euthanasia.
“This Green ethic is designed to replace Judaeo-Christianity,” Pell warned.
Some Green politicians, he noted, “have taken this anti-Christian line further by claiming that no religious argumentation should be permitted in public debate.” “Not surprisingly they are often inconsistent on this issue, welcoming Christian support for refugees, but denying that any type of religious reasoning should be allowed on other matters,” wrote Pell.
He called one wing of the Greens “like water melons, green outside and red inside,” saying that “a number were Stalinists, supporting Soviet oppression.”
“Naturally the Greens are hostile to the notion of the family, man, woman and children, which they see as only one among a set of alternatives,” he wrote. “They would allow marriage regardless of sexuality or gender identity.” Pell also criticized the party’s environmentalist platform, saying that while “we all accept the necessity of a healthy environment,” the party’s ideas “are impractical and expensive, which will not help the poor.”
Brown himself shot back at the Cardinal claiming a majority of Christians support same-sex ‘marriage’ and thus that the party has maintained the Christian ethic better than Pell.
“The good archbishop has forgotten the ninth commandment, which is `thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour’,” said Brown in comments published by the Sydney Morning Herald. “He’s lost the ethic of the golden rule and the Greens have kept it. The Greens are much closer to mainstream Christian thinking than Cardinal Pell. That’s why he’s not standing for election and I am.”
He called Pell’s position in favor of Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality “discriminatory and biased,” and claimed that “The majority of Catholics support equality in marriage (as do) the majority of Christians in Australia.”
In response, the Sydney archdiocese issued a release correcting Brown’s claims and calling him a “master of spin.” “It seems [Brown] wants not only to save the environment, but also to re-define Catholic beliefs. It is a pity he is better at spin than at checking his facts,” wrote Katrina Lee, the archdiocesan director of communications.
Lee shot down as factually false Brown’s claims that Pell opposes the Building the Education Revolution scheme and more compassion for asylum seekers, saying that the Cardinal in fact supports both. She also criticized Brown’s claim to be in touch with Catholic and Christian favor for same-sex “marriage,” writing that “This would be news to most Australians.”
“If this really were the case it is unlikely that both major parties would have gone to the lengths they have to rule it out as an election issue,” wrote Lee. “It is telling that the Greens have no dedicated family policy on their website.”
Prior to the exchange, the Australian Christian Lobby complained that the Green Party snubbed their questionnaire, refusing to answer 18 of the 24 questions. “Even the Sex Party answered honestly the questions. I don’t agree with their positions but at least they were honest enough to actually put their replies forward and respond you know whereas the Greens weren’t,” said ACL managing director Jim Wallace.
I wrote to the Cardinal-Archbishop of Bombay and the Archbishop of Goa regarding Fr. Paul Vaz and his Enneagram– and Earth Centred Healing– Retreats, and I await their responses:
email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media – Goa
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2013 1:46 PM
NEW AGE: FR. PAUL VAZ, SJ: ENNEAGRAMS AND EARTH CENTERED RETREATS IN GOA
KIND ATTENTION: MOST REV. FILIPE NERI FERRAO
ARCHBISHOP OF GOA AND DAMAN
Dear Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao,
Jesuit Father Paul Vaz of Mumbai is scheduled to conduct an Enneagram workshop, Discovering the Enneagram, an Ancient Tool for a new Spiritual Journey, from April 26th to April 28th, 2013
at the Pedro Arrupe Institute, Raia, Goa.
I believe this is his second such retreat using the enneagram.
As you are aware, the enneagram is an occult, New Age personality-typing device and is condemned as such in the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age.
Fr. Paul Vaz also conducts Earth Centered Healing Retreats at the Xavier Retreat House, Baga, Goa. These retreats also have New Age content. His 72nd Earth Centered Healing Retreat
is to be conduced there from May 2nd to May 6th, 2013.
As of now, a few hundred Goan Catholics have already been inducted into New Age ideas and practices through Fr. Paul Vaz.
I trust that you will ensure that Fr. Paul Vaz’s New Age programmes in your archdiocese are immediately stopped so that Catholics are safeguarded from their error and spiritual harm.
Catholic apologist, Chennai
Archbishop’s House ; Archbishop Bombay
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2013 1:54 PM
NEW AGE: BOMBAY JESUIT FR. PAUL VAZ, SJ: ENNEAGRAMS AND EARTH CENTERED RETREATS
HIS EMINENCE OSWALD CARDINAL GRACIAS
ARCHBISHOP OF BOMBAY
Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias,
Jesuit Father Paul Vaz of your archdiocese is scheduled to conduct an Enneagram workshop, Discovering the Enneagram, an Ancient Tool for a new Spiritual Journey, from April 26th to April 28th, 2013
at the Pedro Arrupe Institute, Raia, Goa.
I believe this is his second such retreat using the enneagram.
As you are aware, the enneagram is an occult, New Age personality-typing device and is condemned as such in the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age.
Fr. Paul Vaz also conducts Earth Centered Healing Retreats at the Xavier Retreat House, Baga, Goa. These retreats also have New Age content. His 72nd Earth Centered Healing Retreat
is to be conduced there from May 2nd to May 6th, 2013.
In the past, advertisements of these programmes of Fr. Paul Vaz has been carried in your archdiocesan weekly, The Examiner, thus giving Catholics the impression that they have Church approval.
As of now, a few hundred Goan Catholics have already been inducted into New Age ideas and practices through Fr. Paul Vaz.
Catholics in Bangalore, Bombay and Poona dioceses too have been exposed to these New age “retreats”.
I trust that you will ensure that Fr. Paul Vaz’s New Age programmes are immediately stopped so that Catholics are safeguarded from their error and spiritual harm.
Catholic apologist, Chennai
email@example.com; Categories: new age
Categories: new age
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