Query on whether Christian yoga is acceptable or not? Response from Bishop Julian Porteous, Australia

Query on whether Christian yoga is acceptable or not? Response from Bishop Julian Porteous, Australia

 

UPDATED JULY 7, 2013

One Prakash Lasrado from Mangalore, a protagonist of yoga, Bharatanatyam, homoeopathy, etc., has been of late attacking this ministry’s credibility by emailing pro-yoga information to over a hundred Catholics. This information is partly secular and partly Catholic. Of course there are Catholics, including priests, who deny the spiritual dangers of yoga, and practise and propagate it. It is one of the reasons for this ministry.

Fr Thomas [Tom] Ryan, CSP, a Paulist priest in Washington, DC is one such yoga enthusiast. Scouring the Internet for such a priest, Prakash Lasrado located his email id — as did I at http://www.tomryancsp.org/ — and wrote to him to get his response and circulate it. He also wrote to Bishop Julian Porteous. Their replies:

 

1. From: prakash.lasrado@gmail.com Sent: Wednesday, 3 July 2013 11:34 PM
To:
tomryan@paulist.org; Bishop Julian Porteous; bishopjulianporteous@gmail.com
Subject: Query on whether Christian yoga is acceptable or not?

Rev. Fr. Tom Ryan,

Greetings from India

I have read an article about you below in the American Catholic.

http://www.americancatholic.org/news/report.aspx?id=3579

Reiki as an alternative therapy has been banned by the USCCB below.

http://old.usccb.org/doctrine/Evaluation_Guidelines_finaltext_2009-03.pdf

Is there an official ban by the USCCB on yoga or has the USCCB allowed it?

According to Bishop Porteous of Sydney below, yoga is incompatible with Christianity. What are your thoughts?

http://bishopjulianporteous.com//?s=yoga

Rev. Bishop Porteous,

Greetings from India.

What are your thoughts on Fr. Tom Ryan’s yoga classes?

Has the Australian Bishops Conference banned yoga?

Please reply to me with cc to each other.

Regards, Prakash    

 

From:
Bishop Julian Porteous <julian.porteous@sydneycatholic.org> Date: Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 4:26 PM
To:
prakash.lasrado@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Query on whether Christian yoga is acceptable or not?

Dear Prakash, 

I read the report on Fr Ryan’s classes and his comments.

One of the issues is that Yoga has as its key spiritual aspect the emptying of the mind. A number of the practitioners interviewed spoke about this when they said how the practice of yoga helped them calm down. Yoga by its very nature is not just a physical exercise, but it has a spiritual dimension, even if not connected with a particular religion. One of the problems then is that people get into the habit of seeing spirituality as the emptying of the mind. The focus is on self.  

The Christian tradition is very different. It is about engaging with God. It is an active process. It is the desire for union with God. The focus is not on subjective feelings but growing in a relationship.

The Church has not formally taught on the status of yoga. The Australian bishops have not addressed the issue.

I advise people to develop forms of prayer that have been part of the Catholic tradition. This is the safer way.

+ Julian.

Bishop Julian Porteous DD VG

44 Abbotsford Road, Homebush NSW 2140, Australia, T. +61 (2) 9764 6499, F. + 61 (2) 8756 5837

 

2. From:
prakash.lasrado@gmail.com
Date: Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 8:28 PM
To:
tomryan@paulist.org, julian.porteous@sydneycatholic.org, bishopjulianporteous@gmail.com

Subject: Re: Query on whether Christian yoga is acceptable or not?
Rev. Bishop Porteous,

Thanks for your prompt reply

Since you are an exorcist, have you come across people being possessed by demons because of hatha yoga and/or spiritual yoga?

It seems Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist is against Harry Potter and yoga.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/8915691/Harry-Potter-and-yoga-are-evil-says-Catholic-Church-exorcist.html

Regards, Prakash

 

From:
Bishop Julian Porteous <julian.porteous@sydneycatholic.org> Date: Thu, Jul 4, 2013 at 2:35 AM

To:
prakash.lasrado@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Query on whether Christian yoga is acceptable or not?
Dear Prakash,  

I have had to deal with people who have got deeply involved with Yoga and have come under demonic affliction.

+ Julian.

Bishop Julian Porteous DD VG

 

From:
Tom Ryan <tomryan@paulist.org> Date: Thu, Jul 4, 2013 at 8:36 AM
To:
prakash.lasrado@gmail.com
Cc:
Julian Porteous <bishopjulianporteous@gmail.com>

Subject: Re: Query on whether Christian yoga is acceptable or not?
Dear Prakas, 

We certainly do want to teach our church members traditional Catholic practices. The question is, however, if we want to take the new evangelization seriously, what do we do when we find millions of our church members engaging in a practice like yoga and finding value in various ways? That there are some beneficial aspects to the practice is indisputable scientifically as various studies have shown. 

First, there are so many different kinds of yoga “out there” today that one needs to at least recognize a broad distinction between “contemporary” yoga which focuses on the fitness aspects, and the classical tradition of hatha yoga which essentially developed certain physical postures to strengthen people’s backs and knees and focus their minds to enable them to meditate better. 

In general, for those interested in the spiritual dimension, my response has been to try to help them work with this practice in a way that is coherent with their Christian faith. What makes a particular practice Christian is not its source but its intent. Intentionality, working in tandem with intelligence and freedom, is key. 

As Bishop Porteous has noted, one of the effects of yoga is the quieting of the mind. Consistent with what I have expressed above, we teach people a form of Christian meditation to engage in during this time of quiet sitting, taking up the names, for example of Jesus/Abba, and praying them with faith and love. 

As Christians, we have the highest theology of the body among the religions of the world as expressed in our religious festivals of the Incarnation, the bodily Resurrection and Ascension, the outpouring of God’s own life into the vessels of clay that we are at Pentecost. But we also have one of the lowest levels of actually attributing any significant role to our bodies in our spiritual practice. The physical practice of yoga which, like it or not, has gone mainstream in our culture, presents us with an opportunity/challenge to help our own people to wake up to the incarnational dimension of our faith, inviting them to work with this practice in ways consistent with their faith, seeing it it a way to go to God the way God came to us: in and through a human body. 

We can take an adversarial approach of condemnation, or an approach of mutual enrichment, noting, as does Nostra Aetate, that there are positive things to be found in other spiritual practices, but we will need to work with them selectively, focusing on what is consistent with our own faith understanding. 

I leave today for some summer holidays hiking in the mountains, so if you don’t hear from me, that’s why.

Grace and peace,

Fr. Tom 

 

From:
prakash lasrado
To:
prabhu ; Archie Sodder
Cc: [100 others] Sent: Thursday, July 04, 2013 8:36 AM

Subject: Bishop Porteous of Sydney responds to me on yoga query

Bishop Porteous responds to me on yoga query. I am waiting for Fr. Tom Ryan’s reply who is a yoga enthusiast.

Bishop Porteous is wary of yoga as expected. One thing is clear. The Church has not formally banned yoga in Australia.

From:
prakash lasrado
To:
arcanjo sodder ; prabhu
Cc:
Cardinal Oswald Gracious(Private) ; Archbishop Oswald Gracias PVT ; zezie sodder ; [100 others] Sent: Thursday, July 04, 2013 9:57 PM

Subject: Fr. Tom Ryan’s reply supporting yoga & Bishop Porteous’ reply denouncing yoga

As you can see Bishop Porteous denounces yoga and Fr. Tom supports yoga. Clergy is heavily divided on this issue.

Bishop Julian‘s
warnings do not suffice for
Lasrado. He is relieved that yoga is not banned by the Australian Bishops’ Conference and suddenly ‘discovers’ that the clergy is divided on the issue. How convenient!


Read complete article at

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NEW_AGE-BISHOP_JULIAN_PORTEOUS.doc



Categories: new age

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