New Age – BRO IGNATIUS MARY

SEPTEMBER 2013

St Michael’s Question and Answer Forums

St Thomas Aquinas Center for Apologetics, Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael

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Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r), CCL, L. Th., DD, LNDC

 

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See

BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CATHOLIC_CHARISMATIC_RENEWAL-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

LITURGICAL ABUSE-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/LITURGICAL_ABUSE-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

SPIRITUAL WARFARE-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/SPIRITUAL_WARFARE-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

VASSULA RYDEN-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VASSULA_RYDEN-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

YOGA-BRO IGNATIUS MARY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/YOGA-BRO_IGNATIUS_MARY.doc

TESTIMONY OF A FORMER PROTESTANT-363
BRO. IGNATIUS MARY OMSM

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/TESTIMONY_OF_A_FORMER_PROTESTANT-363.doc

For information on how to receive help see our Help page. We suggest that before contacting us directly for help you try the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance. These self-help steps will often resolve the problem. Also our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog contains many prayers that may be helpful.

 

New Age

The Q&As are arranged chronologically as far as is possible –Michael

Acupuncture and bioenergetic cure vs. Catholicism

http://www.saint-mike.org/Apologetics/QA/Answers/Spiritual_Warfare/s0302240098.html
EXTRACT

2003

Hi, I would like to know whether I’m committing sin or not by receiving acupuncture and I wanted to know also if using bioenergetics (I think it’s not hand healing like in Reiki) that uses magnets, flower waters, and stuff like that to cure my 5 year old son’s Ideopathic Trombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) is bad in the eyes of the Catholic Church. –Dalila Velez

Many acupuncture practitioners will offer silent prayers to entities other than God while given you the procedure.

Also remember, that the basic theory behind acupuncture and much of Chinese medicine is a worldview and theory and philosophy that is incompatible with Christianity.

Bioenergetics comes in many forms. It depends on what you have in mind. Bioenergetics can include elements of Reichian theory, meditation techniques, relaxation therapy, massage, and other muscle work. It is a New Age concept on the whole as little value… and elements such as Reichian Theory and mind-emptying type meditation MUST be avoided by Catholics.

Bioenergetics that uses flower water or crystals and other such nonsense is just that — nonsense. Such things also usually carry with it New Age philosophies that are inconsistent with Christianity.

The bottom line:

There is an issue of faith, however. To be desperate to try unproven and known ineffectual non-traditional techniques “may” suggest a lack of trust in God’s providence.

 

 

We need to give our medical health and the medical health of our children to God. He is the Master Physician. God has given us the gift of medicine and the gift of legitimate alternative medicine. But to pursue alternatives for the sake of doing so when there is no evidence that they will have any effect is a problem.

I would advise that you follow your doctor’s advice and stay away from questionable alternative procedures. These procedures at best are ineffectual for a condition like ITP, and at worse can involve occultic elements either in the procedure itself or with the practitioner who treats your child. It isn’t worth the risk. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reiki and Hypnosis

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=74

July 24, 2004

I have anxiety related problems and I have gone to several professionals in order to treat them without much success. I have considered hypnosis as an alternative and am planning to go to a therapist. In fact I have downloaded some hypnotic mp3’s from the internet that seem to be working well with me. However, I can’t help thinking it could be dangerous because of some book I read that mentioned it could be so, spiritually speaking.

Another question is, is Reiki dangerous? I know this therapist has a couple of diplomas for taking Reiki courses. –Paul

While hypnosis can have some limited value in a clinical setting, especially in pain control for burn patients, it is not the best approach in other settings or for most of the problems it is typically used for; and it can be a dangerous approach. To allow our will to become vulnerable to hypnotic suggestion can be very dangerous. If one does undergo hypnosis be sure of the therapist who does it. Are they clinically qualified, do they hold views that could be characterized as “new age”. If so, avoid them. A better solution, however, for anxiety, assuming the anxiety is not such that needs medication, is spiritual counseling, not psychological counseling. Non-medical anxiety is mostly about issues of faith, problematic behavior problems, and the like. Nouthetic Counseling (based upon spiritual principles) is the best course. The best psychologists in the business are in the Bible and in the Saints.
I would recommend you get a book called, “God’s Psychiatry” by Charles Alan. Meditate on the Scriptural reflection in the book. You may find that this will reduce your anxiety. “God’s Psychiatry” can be purchased by Clicking Here if you wish.
As for Reiki, ABSOLUTELY STAY AWAY FROM THAT. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reiki and psychic abilities

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=86

August 2, 2004

I was wondering if in the case of things such as Reiki and psychic phenomena, that if one were to give the credit to God for allowing and facilitating ones use of the abilities it would absolve a person of any sin related with their practice?

Is it possible that if one can allow God to work through you and to use such talents towards a higher good, i.e. using psychic talents to ward off evil spirits, or reiki to heal someone in God’s name?

Aren’t there gifts that are given to people from God if one relinquishes control of their life to God and has perfect faith, as in laying of hands and tongues? Could these other occult abilities be attributed in the same way, to God in order to make them holy, an admittance that power and ability come from nowhere but directly from God himself? -Matt

The answer to your question is not just “no” but “ABSOLUTELY no”. God condemns psychic divination and activities like Reiki. We can fool ourselves in thinking we are doing this in God’s name, but we are not.
Think about this a minute. There have been people out there who murdered “in the name of Jesus”. Does God approve of this? Absolutely not.
One of the central tenets of Christian thought is that the “ends do not justify the means.” Thus even is something appears to be good coming out of Reiki or psychic divination, it is still bad. We must be concerned not only with the outcome, but HOW we got that outcome.
God does not work through psychic divination or Reiki and thus trying to give Him credit for something he is not going to do is just a rationalization to excuse oneself in their rebellion against God by involving themselves in such activities.
There are gifts that God gives to people. These gifts sometimes have similar aspects to them as occult and psychic abilities; that is because such abilities are based on the same spiritual principles.

The BIG difference, however, is that any gift from God is a gift from God, not a obtaining a gift for oneself (or from the devil). The gifts from God are unadulterated and pure. Also God’s gifts are used specifically to glorify God and to build-up the Church. Psychic divination and Reiki spit on God and tears down the Church, glorifies only oneself, and leads people away from trust and faith in the True God.
The devil simply takes the spiritual principles that God created and twists them around, corrupts them, and counterfeits them to be used for his own purposes. He then seduces people into believing that his counterfeit gifts are “godly”. Don’t fall into that trap Matt.
There is no such thing as a “Christian psychic”.-Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Charism gifts building up the Church

http://www.saint-mike.org/warfare/library/wp-content/docs/spiritualgifts.pdf
EXTRACT

(Excerpt from the Rule of St. Michael) 2004, Order of the Legion of St. Michael

 

 

 

Genuine contemplation requires great commitment of years of prayer and devotion. There are no short-cuts, although the immature and impatient continually seek an “easy” and “faster” way, such as through Tongues and also through the so-called “centering prayer.”70

70
“Centering prayer,” we would suggest is an attempt to rob God. It seeks to attain the levels of intimacy with God that are really reserved to the gifts of the higher forms of contemplation and to mystical union. It seeks to acquire the mystical gifts that God only gives to a few. It says, in essence, “God, you did not give me the gift of mystical union, so I will steal it through the techniques of “Centering Prayer.” The Letter to the Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Mediation (n. 23) reminds us: Without doubt, a Christian needs certain periods of retreat into solitude to be recollected and, in God’s presence, rediscover his path. Nevertheless, given his character as a creature, and as a creature who knows that only in grace is he secure, his method of getting closer to God is not based on any “technique” in the strict sense of the word. That would contradict the spirit of childhood called for by the Gospel. Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God, and the one who benefits from it knows himself to be unworthy.

 

Centering Prayer

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=95

August 12, 2004

I need a detailed explanation on why centering prayer is not recommended for Catholics. How did this form of prayer come about? A good number of youths in my church are using this form of prayer. Hence I would want to bring this alarming issue to them. But I need the necessary resources. -Nivlem

This form of prayer came about by attempting to make contemplative prayer more accessible to people. The higher forms of contemplation, however, is a gift given by God only to a few people. We all can experience some level of contemplation, but the higher forms are only given to a few.

Techniques like “Centering Prayer” attempt to usurp God’s sovereignty in whom he wishes to give this gift by blending Catholic forms of ancient prayer with non-Catholic eastern techniques.

Here is an article that explains in detail why Centering Prayer is to be avoided: The Danger of Centering Prayer by Father John D. Dreher

We will be in prayer for this situation in your parish. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Feng Shui

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=100

August 17, 2004

My neighbor has pointed 2 “bagua” mirrors at my home, which is a Feng Shui technique for directing evil spirits toward my home. I have tried searching the internet for spiritual warfare against Feng Shui, but can’t find a thing so I’m hoping you can help. The only advice I’ve found is to get my own Feng Shui curse items to point back at her house.
I read about sacramentals being like a “no trespassing” sign, that some spirits will respect them and others just shoot a hole through it and waltz right past. It is an interesting comparison, because I’ve tried using no trespassing signs to keep this woman off my property and she just rips them down. I am afraid that her demons are just as obnoxious.
I am currently fasting, praying the rosary, Divine Mercy, and other prayers, and posting prayer requests to every Catholic Spiritual Warfare site I can find. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. –Kathleen

I am sorry to hear about this situation. Experiences like this are certainly very frustrating.
As Christians, of course, we cannot respond to this in kind, especially in kind of curse for curse. You need to commit this person to prayer. Ignore her and pray for her. I would recommend praying the Hedge Prayer around her that the more she tries to act apart from God the more she will not find happiness until she returns to God. This prayer must be an act of love on your part.
You need to forgive her. This does not mean that you have to like her, or be friends, nor do you have to tolerate her trespassing onto your property, but it means letting go and letting God deal with her.
The primary “magick” she is doing is not “sending” demons you way, but causing you to lose your peace in Christ. That is the primary secret behind the “casting of spells” and the like is to cause the target person to lose their peace in Christ and to cause fear. Ignore her and pray for her.
In terms of any actual curse or demonic involvement that might come from this woman’s behavior, I would suggest that you pray daily the prayer involving the breaking of curses and the like that is found in our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog linked below.
In any event, do not confront her. That will only make matters worse. Her behavior is designed to try to get you to react. If you stop reacting she may be tired of her behavior and eventually stop.

As for trespassing onto your property, that is against the law. You can seek legal remedies by filing charges with the Police, or perhaps getting a retraining order or the like. I would suggest you talk to the police about it, or better yet, your lawyer. But I would first try to ignore her. If you do not react, she may stop. Going to the police could make matters worse. But, if you need to, the legal remedies are there for you.
Bottom line: do not react to her or confront her unless absolutely necessary to preserve life or property, ignore her Feng Shui fooy nonsense, pray for her the hedge prayer for a wayward person, pray for your own household with a Hedge of Protection and a breaking of curses prayers. Do this for a while and see what happens. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

 

Feng Shui

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=133

September 18, 2004

My niece has a side business of interior design which follows the schooling of the Black Sect Feng Shui!

I only just found this out the other day and have bombarded her with warnings and articles about how dangerous this could be and how unnecessary — I’ve tried to point out the symbolism of that “sect” and have pulled quotes about the serpent and dragon from the Bible but she just doesn’t get it — she is a cradle Catholic and a single mother of 2 girls and her oldest recently celebrated her first communion — I have told her that she must forget this Feng Shui stuff — although she believes in God, she also believes in “self” and powers of self healing. I told her that is the devil’s game in many ways.

I’m afraid that she is just spiritually immature to realize what it means to divide her loyalties like this — and her mother, my sister used to teach the Catechism!!

I’m very distressed over this and told her she should talk to a priest — her e mail address even has the word “Shui” in it and I say it should only ever have Christ in it, and I doubt that being schooled in this would really help her business more than if not. I also tell her that the Eucharist is better than any understanding of “self” healing. I’m afraid she and others won’t take me seriously because I’m not “qualified”! I don’t take this lightly because I have had my spiritual warfare for years and know the reality that exists! Please help as much as the written word can.

I am 1500 miles away from my niece and I have a local priest that I talk to but my priest friend near her has recently passed away and I’m not sure my priest here is comfortable with this subject. -Jim

I am sorry to hear about your niece. It sounds like you have already done all the right things.

Unfortunately I really cannot comment directly at this time since I really do not know much about Feng Shui other than something about furnishing one’s house is a way that facilitates good energy, or some such nonsense as that.

As a general rule a Catholic needs to be very circumspect about Chinese and other Eastern philosophies and systems. They usually contain elements that are inconsistent with Catholicism.

The problem is that few people who indulge themselves in these things have the mature discernment to know what to accept and what to throw out. It is best to not go there to begin with. Those who are mature in their faith usually don’t travel in that direction in the first place.

There is one thing for sure; one does not need to go to these foreign philosophic systems. Anything that can be co-opted into Catholicism has been co-opted. There are no new ideas from the East to investigate. To dabble in such things, especially when one is spiritually immature is dangerous. Pray for her and we will be praying for her too.

Perhaps one of our readers can contribute some information about Feng Fooy, er, I mean Feng Shui. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM [typing from a house in total disarray where nothing matches, and the energies are wild]

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=134

September 18, 2004

The Black Sect Feng Shui can be found online and I did not have to read but the home page to realise this is bad stuff — Feng Shui is not good, but ‘Black Sect’? The name alone would be a warning to anyone of discernment!!
I am going to send your reply to my niece and I would think a messy home is better than a Feng Shui home! –Jim

If we have an informed conscience that is well informed with our Faith, then we should listen to it. That does not mean that we ought to automatically presume even an informed conscience is always right, but we do need to listen and to evaluate. Oftentimes that “funny” feeling we have about something or someone is the Holy Spirit throwing a red flag for us to be cautious. It sounds like you have looked into the matter and have had your intuition confirmed to the best of your ability. In any event, like I mentioned last time, there are no Chinese or Eastern techniques left that can be co-opted into Catholicism. What could be co-opted has been co-opted some 1500 years ago and has passed the test of time to be sure of their Catholicization. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Guided Imagery or conjuring of spirits?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=128

September 13, 2004

Could using guided imagery tapes such as those produced by Belleruth Naparstek (see http://www.healthjourneys.com/) be an invitation to evil? I checked back in my saved emails to Belleruth Naparstek and I had contacted her because during her guided imagery tapes (her tapes are designed to help with certain health conditions, i.e., cancer, depression, pregnancy, etc.) during her guided imagery tapes she mentions “magical being”.
She responded:
“I understand your concern. For me, it was important to have a “fill in the blank” sort of category for those who did not connect to strictly religious beliefs, so as not to exclude them from the benefits of the imagery. Actually, most people use angels or fairies in this grouping, which actually do come from outgrowths of Christian tradition.
I suggest you give yourself permission to ignore the phrase and instead request that the religious figures who do show up for you bring along their own cadre of helpers with them – leave it up to them. Don’t get stuck on a phrase! BR
-Therese

Do not walk, but run far away from this New Ager Belleruth Naparstek. She is big time into helping people discover and develop their ESP powers, her guided imagery is not real guided imagery, it is conjuring of “spirits” as evidenced in her statement, “…request that the religious figures who do show up for you bring along their own cadre of helpers with them – leave it up to them.”

 

 

 

This is NOT how God operates. Who is “showing up” are demons in her “guided imagery” are not angels of God or religious figures. Anyone going through any program like hers is in danger of demonization or harassment. Stay Away.

If you need a truly Christian method of healing that uses a good and proper form of limited guided imagery that leads one to Christ, see my friend Deacon Frank, director of At the Water’s Edge Healing Ministry. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM 

 

Feng Shui

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=136

September 19, 2004

My work a few years ago hired an office designer who was Feng Shui director. Granted I was not thrilled about it, but then again I had a good job and it was a company that treated its people well. So I wan not going to make a ruckus about it. But after the design and work was done, I do have to say that the cubicles were nicer to work in. They did not have any power that I could sense. But they were easier to work in because of the use of better ergonomics, and they had a nice feel with the placement of plants and some decent artwork. But to this point, I was not able to discern the difference between good proper design and Feng Shui. If I had any design ability I am sure I could come up with something similar. So maybe this new craze is just a selling point to get customers? –Jon

Well if the Feng fooy is applied only as interior design that is not likely to be a problem. The problem is the theory behind the interior design philosophy — based upon the concepts of chi and Ying and Yang. These concepts refer to a false cosmology and ontology that is inconsistent with Christianity. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Enneagram

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=153

October 11, 2004

My son attends a private Catholic school. He came home this afternoon with an invitation, from the sisters that sponsor his school, for the parents to attend an “Enneagram Workshop.” In previous questions you have answered on similar topics, you have stated that this particular practice is not in line with the Catholic Church. Can you elaborate on this for me…and also what would you suggest I do about it…as far as addressing his school and the Sisters who sponsor it? –Lesley

I would suggest that you protest this new age practice. It is a scandal and an abomination that people who call themselves “religious sisters” would promote the Enneagram and other occult and new age nonsense.
For information this article called, Enneagram, may be useful. Also helpful and HIGHLY recommended is the book, Catholics and the New Age: How Good People Are Being Drawn into Jungian Psychology, the Enneagram, and the Age of Aquarius by Father Mitch Pacwa.

In my opinion, this should not be let go. If I was one of the parents there, I would raise a holy stink over this.
We will be in prayer for you and for this school. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Dungeons and Dragons

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=158

October 23, 2004

Before we married, my husband would get together with a group of friends and play Dungeons and Dragons as the dungeon master, meaning he created the scenarios for the players to role-play in. While recognizing the POTENTIAL for the game to be used in evil ways, he said that he never created scenarios that were evil, and that usually his scenarios were formulated around some Christian principle and required good actions by the characters to bring about the end result. When I expressed deep misgivings about the game, he agreed not to participate until finding more evidence.
He argues that although there exist such characters in the game as magicians, demons, thieves, witches, etc., that these types of characters also appear in C.S. Lewis’ books and in the Lord of the Rings books, and that as long as the person running the game only makes use of the game’s attributes in a positive way, there is not really a distinct difference between the game and the aforementioned books.

He also understands that people can easily become obsessed with the game, but he says that as long as you’re playing it as a GAME and not as your alternate LIFE, it’s harmless (provided, of course, that you’re not giving the game an expressly occult theme).

Because I am not intimately familiar with the game’s specifics, I was unable to answer him sufficiently, but looking through the rulebook really gave me the willies, and that combined with what I’ve heard about the game was enough to make me request that he stop.
I need to know if the game CAN BE alright, and if not, how would a “moral” playing of the game be different than Christian fantasy books.
My husband is perfectly willing to be convinced that the game should be avoided, but he would like some concrete reasons so that he could defend his position to the group of people he used to play with.

As an aside, what about other fantasy role-playing games, such as the Final fantasy games for Playstation? I’ve been wondering about that for awhile, because I used to enjoy playing them until I second-guessed the morality of the game’s use of magic spells and summoning spells, even though it was a good vs. evil game.

 Where does one draw the line between dangerous and harmless as far as stories and games go? Are fairy tales bad since they involve witches and wizards and fairies and the like?

 

What about fantasy novels such as Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”? This has been a confusing topic for my husband and me, and I would really like to be able to have a consistent ethic concerning it. I sure don’t want to give Satan any footholds in my life based on how I ENTERTAIN myself. -Rachel

As for Dungeons and Dragons played in a “Christian” manner, I do not believe that is possible. This is NOT the same thing as the stories of C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis created a story from a Christian worldview; Tolkien did the same. It is within the Christian worldview as the foundation and presumption of the fiction that witches, magick, and demons are characterized.
Dungeons and Dragons was invented from a non-Christian worldview and specifically an occultic worldview that is utterly inconsistent with and hostile to Christ and the Truth.
Casting spells to overcome evil, for example, is an act of evil itself. The casting of spells and the like is an abomination before God.
The other major difference between those novels and the role-playing games is the dynamics involved in the manipulation of the imagination. Role-play is about a million times more powerful in manipulating and influencing the imagination than reading a novel, even a fantasy novel.
In addition, it is really foolish to take what is fundamentally an evil game and try to apply some Christian principles as an excuse to play the game. That is like trying to make a tasty apple pie with rotten apples.
I am also disturbed about your husband making a presumption that what he is doing is okay unless he can find evidence otherwise. As Christians our presumptions should always be on the side of that which is excellent and obviously beneficial and that which glorifies God.
To answer your question requires talking about the nature of how Satan influences us. Satan’s primary position of attack is on our imagination. All sin begins with a thought, and then an imagination, and then a desire, and then an action.
If Satan can influence our imaginations he can manipulate our thinking and our behavior.
Satan has successfully found ways to manipulate our imaginations through music, movies, T.V., art, books and games; but what better way to get access to our imaginations than to encourage us to manipulate our own imaginations in role-playing games — one of the most powerful form of manipulating imagination.
Role-play is well known to be a therapeutic device to help people to understand how others are feeling, to get rid of emotional baggage, and to train oneself to avoid a habit or to adopt a better personality demeanor. Police Officers role-play dangerous situations so that they can train themselves in gun battle situation to act automatically then the time comes. Practicing piano is a form of role-play that allows us to, in essence, create neural pathways that eventually allow us to play the piano without thought.
Images and imaginative ideas that we put into our brain in essence ‘program’ our brain. This was expressed in the old days as ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ We cannot expect to put negative, occultic, death-oriented, magic oriented, witchcraft-oriented, non-Christian worldview and theologies into our brains and not be affected by it.
The Bible specifically teaches that we are to guard our senses because what we allow our senses to experience WILL affect our thinking and our imaginations and our behavior. Ultimately it can affect our eternal soul.
St. Paul in Philippians 4:7-8:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

D & D can hardly be considered noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In fact D & D presents a worldview and a theology that is occultic, magical, death-oriented, and totally inconsistent with Christianity.
The game is played by player assuming roles often of unsavory characters such as a thief, assassin, or magic user. In the old days with role-playing games of the civil war and the like players assumed roles of soldiers and related characters, but in today’s role-play games the orientation is toward occult-type characters.
Although imagination was used with the old battle games of the past, the focus was on mere role-play. Today, intense imagination is required, and the tendency now appears to be in the direction of developing an alter ego.
These games are, by nature, set within a worldview. In the past role-play games had a historical setting. Today it is one of fantasy and mythology. Although past games had violence, today there is immortality, idolatry, and occultism.
The most dangerous aspect of these games is that it manipulates the imagination and submits the imagination to ideas contrary to God. More than submission, these games encourage indulgence of exploring the imagination in these ungodly ways to the point of alter ego at times.
St. Paul states in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive of obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Our first Pope, St. Peter warns us in 2 Peter 3:17:

Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability.

The Theology of FRP (Fantasy Role Play) Games is polytheism against Christianity’s monotheism; non-theistic universe against Christianity’s theistic universe; reincarnation against Christianity’s one life and then the judgement, amoral universe against a moral universe of Christianity.
Some of the occult connections of FRP games include occult magic and casting of spells (some of these spells found in some books are “real” spells used by real Satanists and witches), astral projection, necromancy, conjuration of demons, divination, etc. All these things are resolutely condemned by God.
One researcher, Stanley Dokupil, has noted on the subject of the danger of occultism in FRP games:

 

 

The very nature of D & D and FRP in general, is such that the imagination is being guided into encounters with nonmaterial entities, forces, or spirits. Those entities, we are told, are mere fantasies with no basis in reality. If, however, those entities do actually exist in some form in the spirit world, then the line of demarcation between what is fantasy and what is actual with spiritual, demonic forces becomes extremely abstruse if not entirely nonexistent.

Regardless of the difference between reality and imagination, Elliot Miller cautions:

However real this distinction may be in the minds of the players, though, I feel no assurance that the spirit world will not respond when it is beckoned.

When I was of high-school age I was extremely skeptical about anything reputedly supernatural. I recall engaging in a mock séance with a group of friends. Our lightheartedness was turned to fear when suddenly the “medium”, my best friend, began to convulse, his eyes rolled back in his head, and a strange voice emerged from his throat. For the following two years this young Jew was tormented by spirits. Withdrawing from all social contacts, he haunted graveyards until he was delivered through the power of Jesus Christ.

FRP games have lead players into bizarre behavior. It can be very addictive. It can lead to odd curiosities and strange actions. I personally consulted with law enforcement in Florida on a case where three boys dug up the remains of a suicide victim from a local graveyard. The used the decomposing body for rituals associated with the D & D game.
“But, none of this ever happened to me!” we will hear people say. Or, “It’s only a game!”
Those words were composed directly by Satan. All sorts of devilish activity is excused by saying, “It’s Only” (a game, a TV show, a movie, a song). Yes, it is ONLY a game, TV show, movie, song — that may lead us to hell.
As for the childish, “but none of this ever happened to me”. Excuse me, I could stand in a barrel of gasoline lighting matches 100 times and never blow up. “It never happened to me”, I could say. In saying that, I am giving a testimony that it is okay to take the risk. If someone is influenced by my testimony that I did it 100 times and nothing happened and a person follows my example and dies, that person’s blood is on my hands.
Your husband seems to recognize the serious danger of D & D. The problem is even if he can successfully play the game without offending God, will others succeed who are influenced by your husband to believe that playing the game is okay for Christians?
We are our brother’s keeper. We need to pay attention to the danger we make put others in who may not handle the situation as good as we do.
Let me be blunt, in my opinion, no Christian as any busy playing D & D and no Christian has any business even having the game in their house.
In fact, having such a device in the house can, in some instances, give demons permission to come into the house. We need to clean house.
As to the game being harmless, there is no such thing as a harmless game that serves the purposes of Satan. When you play in Satan’s sandbox, you WILL get Satan’s sand in your shoes. We need to stop playing in the devil’s sandbox, and we need to clean ourselves up so that we don’t track Satan’s sand into the house.
There is an excellent article called “The Demon of Distraction” It deals with media, but role-play games are similar.
George Grant, the guy who exposed Planned Parenthood in his book, The Big Lie, has written a paper on this subject too. It is called A Christian Response to Dungeons and Dragons.

 

Therapeutic Touch healing

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=167

November 4, 2004

At my place of employment, I have the opportunity to attend a seminar on a “contemporary healing modality drawn from ancient practices…Therapeutic Touch is used to balance and promote the flow of human energy…TT is useful in reducing pain, improving wound healing, aiding relaxation, and easing the dying process”! Further information could be obtained from the Theosophical retreat center, and a website was given. This type of so-called therapy involves “smoothing” human energy fields disrupted by injury or disease, without actual contact.

I was encouraged to attend as this person presenting the seminar is “great, really great”. None of my peers seemed alarmed or put off by the theosophical society, and were unimpressed that other offerings by this retreat center involve reincarnation studies, theosophical tarot, Mysteries of the Future: Prediction, et al.

I am repulsed, and alarmed that this type of nonsense is offered as a “professional” seminar, for medical workers. I am considering attending if only to see what is being promoted, and how this promotion is being accomplished.

According to some of my peers, this person is well thought of, and highly regarded, and she has plenty of educational credentials to lend credence to this educational offering. I wish to see how she is received, but am almost afraid (well not really almost-I am afraid) that this message will be swallowed hook-line-and-sinker. Please advise. -Maryrose

I would seriously and strongly advise that you NOT attend this seminar. There is no reason to step into Satan’s sandbox and getting his sand in your shoes. I have had clients who have become demonized just from attending these sorts of seminars. Now, not everyone will come away with a demonic attachment when they attend, but why take the chance?

You already have your answer about how well this garbage is taken by people and can talk to participates after the seminar to find out more.

Therapeutic Touch is what I use to practice and teach. It is based upon the idea of balancing with the universal cosmic energy the “energies” that flow in the “meridians” throughout the body. Meridians and this energy does not exist.

Below I have copied a rather extensive discussion on this subject.

 

 

 

You bring up a method that is part of New Age Medicine. Some of the things in this holistic medicine realm are valid some are not. Even when there are valid aspects to the holistic medicine it is usually limited. For example, acupuncture has been clinically proven to be effective in certain pain management issues, but it is not in other areas that are sometimes claimed.

But since this gets into Holistic Medicine, let me discuss this in general and in doing so I will give you an answer WAY more than you asked for :-).

Many people, especially those with chronic illness have gravitated to holistic medicine. As a result sometimes this issue is emotionally charged. Regardless of the risk of offending some of our readers, I have no choice but to go forward with expression the truth of this issue as best as God gives me the insight to know that truth. But we cannot rely upon our own discernment of our own insight and thus most of this post is paraphrasing or quoting others.

I say I have no choice. That is because I am the in a position of answering questions for the general public and thus have a responsibility before God to make sure people who read these answers are not lead astray. I will be standing before God to account for every one of you and for what was said or not said in this forum. That is an awesome thought and one that I do not take lightly. I will do my best to provide an accurate and truthful answer to this question and to the question of holistic medicine in general.

In that light, the information I offer here on Holistic Healing Techniques is not my mere opinion, but is grounded in personal and professional experience. I use to be a Holistic Health Practitioner and did practice and teach Taoism, Chinese Philosophy, Chinese Healing, Therapeutic Touch, acupressure, and other New Age healing techniques and subjects.

But my word does not need to be accepted alone. The information I present here is consistently asserted by all Catholic and Protestant authorities who are not involved in the New Age, directly or indirectly in some fashion, and who have carefully researched this subject rather than taking it lightly and without critical analysis.

Father Pacwa, Father Groeschel, Mother Angelica, the whole EWTN crowd, I believe the whole Franciscan University at Steubenville crowd (Scott Hahn, et al), and about all of the evangelical Protestant crowd ALL share nearly the exact same views about this subject that I present here.

There is a reason for this massive common understanding among all these people — One, the science does not support most of the claims of the holistic health practitioners. Two, it is clearly seen by all who will care to honestly research this that the FACT is that it cannot be denied that the philosophies and techniques involved in many of the holistic health practices are inextricability tied to Chinese mysticism.

One CANNOT believe in many of these techniques without ALSO believing in, or at least acquiescing to, the Chinese mysticism that CREATED these techniques. Even those who know nothing of the mysticism behind these techniques, are still ‘involving’ themselves in that mysticism albeit unawares.

Here is an illustration:

All of us are using a computer. This message came to you by computer. You believe in the computer, it is right in front of you, and you know that it can be used for great good [such as this list :-)].

But what are the principles BEHIND this computer that make the computer possible for it to exist and for you to use it? Do you know about the binary system of numbers, about the electrical circuits and impulses that open and close circuits inside your computer that render the “zero’s” and “one’s” in a binary numbering system that then create what you see on the screen? Do you know about the physics of electricity?

Many of you may not understand what I just said. But for you to use this computer you are agreeing with and are utilizing those behind-the-scenes principles whether you know it or not.

In fact, without those principles this computer would not exist!! If we remove the principles of the binary numbering system and of electricity there IS NO COMPUTER as we know it.

This is the same with the unscientific part of Chinese healing. These healing systems are completely and TOTALLY wrapped in a worldview of Eastern mysticism, philosophy, and religion that is UTTERLY incompatible with Christianity.

Even if we do not know what those behind-the-scenes principles are, or even if we read about those principles apart from the holistic healing we are wanting to participate in, and upon reading them reject them, we nevertheless “accept” them unawares when we participate in these particular healing techniques.

We accept the principles of the binary system and of electricity every time we turn on the computer — whether we know it or not.

If we were to remove the Chinese mystical and philosophical presumptions from the healing techniques, we would no longer have the technique – it WOULD NOT EXIST, any more than this computer would exist if we removed the underlying principles of electricity and binary mathematics from the picture.

BUT THESE TECHNIQUES WORK!

Well, sometimes. The number one reason that some of these techniques seem to work is NOT because the technique is having any real effect. It is due to the placebo effect — our desire to have it work creates psychosomatic effects upon the body sometimes, or at least in our perceptions.

Our desire to have this work is STRONG and is sourced in one or two HIGH motivators (or in both)

1) We are ill, or a loved one or friend is ill, traditional medicine hasn’t helped, so we LONG for a treatment in Alternative methods;

2) We are already converts to Eastern Philosophy and Mysticism so “believing” in these methods goes with it as strongly as Christians believing in the grace of God.

Often #1 will lead to #2 in some fashion — perhaps not a complete conversion, but at least a partial one. This is what has happened to MANY, MANY, MANY priests and nuns.

The sneaky thing is that we can develop New Age attitudes and beliefs without knowing it. Once we open the door, even without our cognitive knowledge, we can find our thinking and belief system contaminated. This danger is so great that the Apostle Paul warned against it. He told us to guard our eyes and our thinking – to think only upon those things that are beyond any hint of being improper. The Bible tells us it is better to pluck out our eye than to allow our eyes to lead us to sin.

 

 

“It is better to go into heaven with one eye than to go to hell with both.” While that analogy is speaking of sinful activity it nevertheless gives a principle to live by: it is better and prudent to stay away from anything that offers a risk of damaging our life with Christ, than to take the risk of getting damaged.

We live in an age of MANY contaminations to the Christian worldview. We cannot be too careful and circumspect. It is better to avoid even good things if it brings us too close to things which are contaminated, than to indulge in those good things and risk the contamination.

Who among us would want to eat a good steak sitting on a good clean plate that is on a table smeared with feces. Sorry for the image, but it makes the point. The steak is good, and MAY not be contaminated, but do we want to take that risk?

Billy Graham once said, “Most people sacrifice the best on the altar of the good.”

And this is true. So many people cling to the “good” as if their life depended upon it and in doing so give-up or miss the “best.” God, like any father, wants the best for his children, not just the merely good.

Thus we need to remind ourselves of these things whenever approaching anything even REMOTELY connected with the New Age.

But in the case of Therapeutic Touch and other similar techniques, it is really quite black and white for the most part. It is not of God, but is a DIRECT result of, and is dependent upon, godless philosophies and mysticism.

A second reason that some of these techniques appear to work is that Satan is more than happy to see a healing if we will gain it through methods contrary to God. Satan will give-up his desire to make us ill, if we will be poster boys for unChristian healing techniques.

Although many of us may not go any further into the New Age when we accept some of these techniques, a vast number do get seduced further. That is Satan’s goal — to seduce as many people as possible.

We need to be careful of the arrogance expressed by, “Well I did it and it didn’t harm my faith”. Well we can stand in a barrel of gasoline, strike a match 100 times, and not be blown-up. Does that mean we should risk it? We can never know if the 101st time will kill us. And even if we always make it, our “promotion” of the barrel game by declaring, “Hey, I made it, you can too,” makes us culpable when, eventually, someone tries it, because they saw us do it successfully, but they don’t make it.

This subject is also a delicate one in that it is natural for people who are suffering to seek out anything they can find to alleviate that suffering. The biggest reason otherwise orthodox Christians fall into the trap of the improper aspects of holistic healing is when those people are suffering from some disease and they are looking for help. Often they find legitimate alternative methods: “some” methods involving herbs and “some” allergy therapies and “some” of the environmental medicine techniques are good. But since much of this stuff as been co-opted by the New Age, often the unsuspecting Christian will be indoctrinated into more than what empirical evidence shows. They will get seduced into thinking the “energy medicine” and many aspects of acupuncture, and the general gambit of Chinese medicine are okay too. This is the SEVERE danger.

I understand these dynamics. I have an incurable disease myself – CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) and probably Fibromyalgia, and sciatica and arthritis in my lower spine. I am in pain every day. I have difficult walking or standing. I have the aches and pains that are like the flu 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. And, of course, debilitating fatigue.

It is tempting to try anything to alleviate these symptoms. I do what I can, given almost non-existent financial resources, but I will not, even if I am dying, resort to the improper aspects of Holistic Medicine.

Because we are dealing with such a personal experience as suffering, when people get involved in these alternative techniques it becomes very personal to them. If someone comes around and pops the balloon on alternative medicine, people will get very emotional. This emotional aspect is also what makes people vulnerable to the seduction into these improper techniques.

All this is understandable, but any emotional backlash is unavoidable when exposing the truth about this subject. I hope that my long introductory remarks will help to soften the emotional upset at least a little.

Yin Yang

In discussing holistic medicine, we must discuss the famous Yin Yang symbol and its origins and purpose. This symbol refers to a central and fundamental understanding about the nature and theory behind holistic medicine – including Therapeutic Touch.

The symbol is called: T’ai-chi T’u. It means the “Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate”.

The Supreme Ultimate is the Tao. The Tao is called the “Way” interestingly enough (this was what the Christian Church was called in the first century; it wasn’t’ until the early 2nd century with St. Ignatius of Antioch in around 110AD that the term “Catholic” was used for the Church).

Taoism is concerned with process and change, the endless universal flow of cycles. Day becomes night, wet becomes dry, winter turns to spring, etc. Taoism seeks to encourage human beings to live in harmony with these cycles and to be “one” with the Tao. Failure to be in sync with the Tao causes disease. This is the basis of the Taoistic (Chinese/Eastern) “medical” model of health.

In these never-ending cycles we find bipolar opposites. These opposites are not antagonistic, they do not cancel each other out, they are the merely part of the whole just as the North and South poles are on opposite ends of the same Earth, as Reisser (see ref to his book below) remarks. Thus good and evil are also not antagonistic to one another, but merely opposites of the same unified reality — the Tao.

This fundamental principle is called Yin and Yang. It is believed that all of nature and all aspects of human life are affected by these forces.

Without getting into deep details, health is defined as the “state in which yin and yang are in perfect, dynamic balance over a period of time, with disease occurring when there is an excess of yin or yang accumulating anywhere in the body.”

The key to this lies in the idea of Ch’i — the invisible life energy which is believed to flow through the body in meridians or “matrixes”.

 

 

 

This invisible and scientifically unproven Ch’i is called many things depending on the culture. Below are the word concepts and their origin:

Ch’i  =  Taoism and ancient Chinese medicine
Prana  =  Hinduism
Mana  =  Polynesian
Orenda  =  American Indian
Animal Magnetism  =  Franz Anton Mesmer (hypnotism)
The Innate  =  William Reich
Vital Energy  =  Samuel Hahnemann (founder of homeopathy)
Odic force  =  Baron Karl von Reichenback
Bioplasma  =  Contemporary Russian parapsychologists
The Force  =  George Lucas (Star Wars)

Each of these concepts describes the same occultic energy allegedly flowing through the body and connected with the Universal plasma (force) (energy).

All of this is deeply steeped in oriental mysticism and occultism.

But what of observable effects?

Acupuncture/acupressure has shown promise in the use of pain control. And the whole issue of pain-control is where the Chinese medicine has interest for us. But in a closer examination of the physiological mechanisms involved in pain control — and again without going into detail here — the pain that is controlled through Chinese medicine techniques can be and had been explained in normal bio-physiology that CAN be measured and replicated by science. We do not need to rely upon ideas of “invisible energies” to explain the phenomena.

Thus what are the objections to Chinese Medicine and what are the Guidelines for Evaluation? Especially since “some” specific techniques seem to have a very real and positive effect, how are we to evaluate particular situations? Is it ever allowable to use such methods as a Christian?

Quoting from “New Age Medicine” by Paul Reisser (pp. 92-95), recommended by Father Pacwa and by me [my comments in the following text are in a light blue color and in brackets]:

Guidelines for Evaluation:

Our look at the mystical roots of acupuncture, acupressure, applied kinesiology and the rest of Chinese medicine has revealed that, in many situations, patients are being treated on the basis of religious beliefs rather than physiological principles. So the question remains, how can we evaluate a particular therapy? Should someone have acupuncture for chronic back pain, for instance, or is this particular technique occultic?

The issues, unfortunately, are not purely scientific, but have spiritual implications as well. After much study and reflection, we have arrived at some guidelines which we apply to individual cases.

FIRST: We propose that the only by-product of ancient Chinese medicine which has been reasonably validated is the treatment of chronic pain with counter stimulation therapy, using either needles or electrical pulses. If you are considering receiving such treatment, your pain problem should be evaluated by a qualified physician, and the therapist should be someone trained in conventional anatomy and physiology, not in meridians and life energy. This may seem like a trivial distinction when one is merely seeking pain relief, but “energy balancers” may tend to inject their mysticism into the therapy session.

The use of acupuncture for treating other medical problems, such as high blood pressure, hearing loss, obesity and so on, has not been validated (to our knowledge) by any controlled study and is extremely suspect. We emphasize the word controlled because the problems we saw in the claims made for miraculous cures in China. No one was counting the cases which failed, nor was anyone considering what other factors might have contributed to success. Therapists who treat such problems with acupuncture are in the twilight zone of medicine and usually are working from a mystical perspective.

SECOND: This brings us to our second guideline. We strongly urge that patients avoid any therapists who claim to be manipulating invisible energies (Ch’i, life energy or whatever), whether using needles, touch, hand passes, arm-pulling or any other maneuver.

Guidelines for Discernment:

1) Beware of therapies which claim to manipulate “invisible energies.”

Christian therapists may claim that the invisible energies they purport to influence are part of God’s creation, but in doing so they betray a misinformed notion of the scope of the natural realm. They are, in fact, toying either with the supernatural or an illusion.

2) Beware of those who seem to use psychic knowledge or power.

Scripture has posted a clear “No Trespassing” sign here (Deut 18:9-12)

[my comment: even if the therapist does not admit to psychic involvement one can get a clue by “how” they are able to come to a diagnosis. An excellent example is a diagnosis that one is toxic or blocked and the therapist knows this by touching and concentrating, passing his hand over the body and similar methods. Toxicity is a physical reality. If a person is “toxic” it will be revealed in blood tests, urine tests, and other similar diagnostic testing. Toxicity not so testable is HIGHLY suspect to be a variation of the “blocking of energies” theme that has no basis in reality.

The “discernment” of the diagnosis being from “concentrating” is a clear clue to psychic involvement.]

3) Beware of a practitioner who has a therapy with which no one else is familiar.

Someone with a “secret formula” usually keeps it a secret for two reasons: he or she has some of it to sell you (with a fat price tag), and independent analysis would show it to be worthless. This (guideline for discernment) has two important corollaries:

a) Beware of those who promote their “discovery” to the general public (usually via best-selling books) [my comment: or in recent times we have seen this happening through distributorships of the products that are supposed to heal you. These are largely “Amway” sorts of personal distributorships]

 

 

b) Head for the exit immediately when someone claims that the medical establishment is evil or satanic, that the government and the AMA are persecuting them, or that other doctors are intent on stealing their discovery. Such an individual is due for an appointment with the state Board of Medical Quality Assurance, a competent psychiatrist, or perhaps Rod Serling. Stick around only if you are seeking a visit to the Twilight Zone.

4) Beware of someone who claims that their particular therapy will cure anything.

You can only solve so many construction problems with a hammer. An important skill of caring practitioners is knowing when, and to whom, to refer a patient with a disorder which is beyond their expertise.

This problem plagued chiropractic practitioners for many years, and still remains to be settled for some to this day — (claiming that chiropractic could cure anything).

There remain, however, a number of practitioners (of chiropractic) who have reworked some of the old “vital nerve energy” ideas into a broader scope under New Age influence. We know of chiropractors who have blended their practice with numerous other methodologies, including energy channeling, meditation, aura work.

5) Beware of someone whose explanations don’t make sense.

If a physician, or any therapist, speaks in “doctorese” instead of English, stop and ask for a translation. Even the most complex problem can be explained in terms that anyone can comprehend. Many will save a lot of money and grief by paying “attention to his own common sense.”

6) Beware of therapists whose primary proof consists of the testimonies of satisfied customers.

7) Beware of therapies which rely heavily on altered states of consciousness.

The New Age movement promotes the motion that ordinary waking consciousness limits our potential. As we have seen, many holistic therapies are built on the idea that healings will occur, or important insights gathered, when we shut down the rational mind for a while (through meditation, chanting, yoga, hypnosis, sensory deprivation tanks, etc.) and experience an “alternate reality.” Such experiences are, in fact, critical if one is to accept a number of New Age concepts (especially “All is One”) which otherwise lack much support from everyday living.

8) Sincerity is no guarantee of legitimacy.

The most warm-hearted, sincere therapist may be sincerely wrong.

This (guideline for discernment) has two important corollaries:

a) A therapist’s expression of evangelical commitment [or orthodox Catholic commitment] is no guarantee of legitimacy either.

b) The endorsement of a therapist (or therapy) by a renowned evangelical pastor [or priest or religious], speaker, author or celebrity is, alas, no guarantee of legitimacy.

In summary, if and when an unorthodox therapy is offered as a solution to your health problem, so not hesitate to investigate fully and critically its roots, history, contemporary forms and promoters before submitting to it or recommending it to others.

9) “Caveat venditor”: in other words, “Let the buyer beware.”

We have directed all of our previous warnings to the consumers of health care. Our final comments are directed toward practitioners. Anyone who cares for the health needs of others has an enormous responsibility to maintain basic standards of quality. Those who offer practices to the public which are scientifically unsound (or bankrupt) and potentially dangerous are ultimately accountable to their patients.

For the New Agers who sincerely and enthusiastically believes in the spiritual messages of holistic health, we offer a loving challenge to consider the life and claims of Jesus Christ as face value. We are not gods, or part of God, but men and women who are estranged from our Creator. Jesus Christ has made that reconciliation possible through his death on the cross. Only after we surrender our quest for godhood to him can true enlightenment and fulfillment be experienced.

For the evangelical Christian [and orthodox Catholic] who promotes New Age practices without paying attention to their spiritual implications, we offer an exhortation: you should know better.

Objections to Chinese Medicine:

Why do we take such a hard-nosed stand? For two reasons. First, we have seen how the invoking of life energy, especially in the spin-offs from applied kinesiology, throws critical thinking to the wind. Therapists who use such techniques have strayed far from the mainstream of objective knowledge about the human body. Their “science” is based on conjecture, subjective impressions, unreliable data and, most importantly, the precepts of Taoism. They stand separate from the scientific community. You will never see muscle testing written up in Scientific American or recognized by the National Institutes of Health. We challenge anyone who is involved in this therapy to take a hard look at its origins, its underlying assumptions, and it’s supporting evidence (or lack thereof).

Our look at Jin Shin Do provided an example of our second objection: the general orientation of the literature which promotes the doctrines of Ch’i and meridians. The overwhelming majority of authors express a distinct spiritual perspective which is some variation on Eastern mysticism or the New Consciousness We have seen no exceptions to date. John Thie, originator of Touch for Health, proclaims in “Science of Mind” magazine that “we are all one with the universe.” Iona Teeguarden tells us how Jin Shin Do can open our psychic centers to experience the universal flow which is love and magic. Hiroshi Motoyama, a Japanese physician, acupuncturist and psychic researcher, is actively seeking to unify ancient Chinese medicine, East Indian kundalini yoga, and virtually all other psychic or mystical experiences into a single “science of consciousness.” Psychic healer and medium Rosalyn Lee Bruyere, mentioned previously, claims to “see” auras, chakras and meridians, and manipulates the latter two in her practice. Under the direction of two spirit guides who instruct her regularly, she teaches a blend of psychic healing, spiritism, reincarnation and Eastern mysticism. The pattern is unmistakable. There is no neutral “science” of life energy and meridians, but rather a highly developed mystical system with strong ties to the psychic realm.

What does all this mean? It means that energy therapists, whether they realize it or not, are carrying out a form of religious practice and conditioning their patients to accept its teachings.

 

Indeed, some therapists enter a trancelike state in order to become a channel to direct Ch’i (or whatever they choose to call life energy) into the patient. The idea of the healer’s injecting invisible energy into another person may seem innocuous to most (and silly to some), but the results may be anything but trivial. Brooks Alexander, co-director of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, warns:

“It is not difficult to see that … psychic manipulation could turn an otherwise benign form of treatment into a spiritual booby trap. The nature of the doctor-patient relationship implicitly involves a kind of trust in and submission to the healer on many levels. For a Christian to accept the passive stance of “patient” before a practitioner who exercises spiritual power (either in his own right or as a channel for other influences) could easily result in spiritual derangement or bondage.”

We find it particularly unsettling to see members of the Christian community having their energies balanced by chiropractors and other therapists who claim a Christian commitment and who feel that they are not involved in any questionable practices. These practitioners may claim that Ch’i, yin and yang, and meridians are neutral components of God’s creation (similar to electricity and radio waves), available for anyone to use; but they ignore the roots of these ideas.

The products of natural science–the technologies of electronics, biochemistry and so on–can be validated by controlled experiments whose results are not tied to the religious beliefs of the researcher. But the “technology” of life energy is totally defined by the belief system of its promoters: the mystics, the psychics and the leaders of the New Consciousness.

Christian energy balancers present us with a paradox. They claim reliance on Scripture, but they carry out the practices of an occult system. Most are sincere in their desire to help their patients. Unfortunately, they lack discernment, failing to see the implications of the ideas they promote. Some are even dabbling in the psychic realm, diagnosing disease through hand passes or over long distances, claiming that this is a natural by-product of their sensitivity to life energy.

To these therapists we offer a challenge and a warning. Take a long look at the world of Chinese medicine and then decide whether you belong there. Do you feel comfortable as a part of the New Consciousness movement, promoting Taoist philosophy, supporting a system whose basic message is that “all is one,” and helping usher in the New Age of miracles and magic? If not, then it is time to stop participating in therapies which lend credence and support to a world view which is antagonistic to the most basic teachings of Scripture.

In conclusion:

Much of Holistic healing is based on spiritual principles derived from 1000’s of years of human traditions (Eastern philosophical, mystical, and religious traditions). The Apostle Paul warns:

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather than on Christ.” (Col. 2:8)

MUST READS:

Catholics and the New Age by Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J., Servant Publications, 1992

Unmasking the New Age by Douglas R. Groothuis

Confronting the New Age by Douglas R. Groothuis

New Age Medicine: A Christian Perspective on Holistic Health by Paul C. Reisser, M.D.

Theosophy: Origin of the New Age-Part 1 and Theosophy: Origin of the New Age-Part 2 by Father C.C. Martindale, S.J.

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

A Christian Reflection on the New Age by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

MBTI

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=180

November 18, 2004

I am a Roman Catholic from Hungary. I was very happy to read your previous answer on Enneagram, as reading a couple pages of a book on it, my conscience was telling that this is not the right way. Please let me know if the case is the same with the MBTI Types? I have huge pressure from my workplace (an American multinational) to use this, though I have big concerns based on an article claiming that MBTI is building on Jungian psychology and occultism of 4 elements.

Am I on the way of orthodoxy thinking that it is heretic to lay our believes in any personality type models?
Please advise on the approach I should take on this. The MBTI tool is just about to be further deployed in our organization. It is positioned as a fully scientific tool based on the psychology of Jung. No words on any occultic roots.

I am not in charge of decision, but I have the opportunity in my work to inform the complete organization on the dangers of this tool. What do you suggest to do?
My second question is on the Enneagram. It is scary that Catholic book stores are selling this book. Could you help with details of our Holy Fathers opinion on Enneagram? Where did he talk on this? I would like to go back to the store and show them, as I think they have no idea what they are selling. -Roland

In terms of the Enneagram, my previous postings on this pretty much tell the story. There is really nothing more I can add. The Enneagram is something that Catholics should not participate in. The book by Fr. Pacwa and the article both mentioned in my last post are the best reference sources to use on this.

The MBTI (Myers Briggs Type indicator) is similar to the Enneagram in that it is derived from Jungian psychology. To quote from a MBTI website:

Personality Type or Psychological Type are terms most commonly associated with the model of personality development created by Isabel Briggs Myers, the author of the world’s most widely used personality inventory, the MBTI
or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Myers’ and her mother, Katharine Briggs, developed their model and inventory around the ideas and theories of psychologist Carl Jung, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and a leading exponent of Gestalt personality theory.

 

 

Beginning in the early 1940’s, Briggs & Myers extended Jung’s model with the initial development of the MBTI. They put Jung’s concepts into language that could be understood and used by the average person. Isabel Myers’ book “Gifts Differing”, published posthumously in 1980, provided a comprehensive introduction to the Jung/Myers theory. Myers’ book and her philosophy of celebrating human diversity anticipated the workplace diversity movement.

Jungian psychology, in general, needs to always be suspect for a Catholic given Jung’s person philosophies that included and occult influence and other cosmologies and worldviews inconsistent with Catholicism.

As for your workplace, it is unlikely that you will convince your employers about the dangers of these things, but as an employee I would not submit to the Enneagram or the MBTI. That might mean losing a job. It is a decision you must make. It is not heresy or sin to submit to an employer’s demand to be tested, but it is not prudent or wise as a Catholic. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=193

December 7, 2004

Both of our children developed autism. Our daughter developed all of our son’s symptoms the night of her 6 month vaccines with no previous symptoms of autism. They have received specialized diets, heavy metal removal, allergy shots, supplements, N.A.E.T. and metabolic N.A.E.T. Our son appears to have suffered spiritual attack from infancy and perhaps even in my pregnancy. Our daughter appears to be free from spiritual attack. Their diet prior to N.A.E.T. ran about $1400/month. Abandoning their diet at that time meant no sleep, little language, limited learning ability, etc. I felt N.A.E.T. was an answer to our prayers at that time but I had no idea it could be counter to our faith.
Our daughter shows no symptoms of autism now unless she eats foods high in mold content, food preservatives, or artificial colors and sweeteners or takes any form of antibiotics. She just finished her first quarter of regular ed. kindergarten (Christian school–we have no local Catholic school) with a perfect grade card.
Our son is challenged in the areas of sociability and writing. He is at or above grade level in other areas. We are starting to homeschool him to address the spiritual attacks and give him a completely Catholic education. Many of his spiritual attacks appear to occur at public school. He had problems with gluten (no sleep, language, sensation of pain) and takes holy communion without us having to ask for reduced gluten hosts.
My quandary includes the concern that his allergies/autism and gluten problems might have been caused by spiritual attack from the beginning.

Is N.A.E.T. morally acceptable? Any direction you can give in morally acceptable allergy treatments will also be very appreciated. We currently have all therapies on hold other than supplements and reduced allergen diet. -Kimberly

Well, let me answer you from a personal point-of-view first. I have some of the conditions that the N.A.E.T method is supposed to cure. I will not use N.A.E.T. now or ever. That is my own personal opinion.

Now, let me discuss the subject of “miracle cures” and “revolutionary discoveries” from a Consumer Advocate point-of-view.

According to the N.A.E.T. the alleged “research” to prove the effectiveness of this program is totally anecdotal.

Their website states:

Data gathered and analyzed from office documentation spanning a ten-year period. Data from both male and female subjects of various ages were used. The patients completed symptom survey questionnaires; the most common signs/symptoms recorded in the sample group were used for the purpose of this analysis, result of a few surveys are shown here.

The number of patient visits until symptoms resolved were then tracked and documented.

Results: Approximately two thirds of the sample group experienced resolution of symptoms within the first 15 -25 visits.

Thus, based on their information, the “research” that proves the effectiveness of this method is based solely on examination of patient charts and self-reporting from the patients themselves. This is anecdotal evidence, NOT scientific evidence.

Thus, from a scientific point-of-view, N.A.E.T. does not appear to have any real scientific credibility. For example, we need to know the intensity of the Placebo effect. Many of these remedies are effective only because the people think they are effective. The Placebo effect is powerful and cannot be dismissed. This is not to say that the Placebo effect is not useful; it can be. The question, however, is whether or not a treatment or therapy has any actual scientific medical effect.

The N.A.E.T. people, as far as I can find so far, offer no scientific evidence of the effectiveness of their treatment.

This tends to be true with much of the “alternative” medical treatments.

Another red flag are claims that a treatment will solve most anything. There is NO SUCH THING as a magic bullet, a single therapeutic approach that will resolve all health problems, or even a extremely wide-range of problems.

Even treatments that do have scientifically verifiable positive effects on health, that proven effect is one a very narrow range of symptoms.

In addition, N.A.E.T. appears to me to be an attempt to make appear more “scientific” the same essential theory of Chinese Acupressure (which also claims that allergies are the main cause of most of our health problems).

Saying all this does not mean that the theory of allergies causing many medical problems does not have some truth to it. It may very well be true that allergies are a major cause of many things. I am not a doctor so I really cannot speak to that.

But as a Consumer Advocate, and former Chinese Alternative Medicine Practitioner, my red flags go flying when I see the utter lack of scientific studies to verify the “great” claims of some treatment program, and the claims that any one particular treatment program can cure such a wide range of ailments.

A good book I recommend that carefully analyzes Alternative Medical Techniques is: Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What doesn’t and What’s Right for You

 

Dr. Rosenfeld, who is Jewish not Christian, examines the various alternative medical techniques from a scientific and medical point-of-view. He does not, however, offer a spiritual analysis and may at times brand as okay things that would still be inconsistent with Christianity. But the value of the book is his medical analysis.

While this book, written in the mid-1990s does not specifically mention N.A.E.T., it does provide some principles and guidelines on how to evaluate alternative treatments.

For example, one of Dr. Rosenfeld’s major points of advice is that if it sounds too good to be true, it is. NO technique and NO medicinal substance will cure everything. Run, do not walk, away from products and techniques that promise the cure for about just anything.

Other advice he gives in a chapter called, “How to Spot a Quack” is to “suspect quackery in any of the following situations:

1. A product that promises to cure a variety of ailments quickly.

N.A.E.T. claims quick cures in their claim: “Approximately two thirds of the sample group experienced resolution of symptoms within the first 15 -25 visits.”  These claims include the “resolution” of arthritis and fatigue, which Dr. Rosenfeld specifically mentions as a typical quackery claim.

2. Testimonials and “case histories” used to bolster claims for a particular treatment…that has allegedly alleviated or cured conditions considered incurable.

N.A.E.T. claims to “resolve” Arthritis, Eczema, and chronic fatigue all of which are considered incurable.

3. Claims to “cleanse” the body of “poisons” and “toxins” or “strengthen your immune system”.

N.A.E.T. does not use the terms in quotation marks above that I can tell, but it does use the phrase, Allergens are cleared“. This is the same language used in what is known as “Applied Kinesiology” and Acupressure, and similar techniques. The allergy testing that is done with Applied Kinesiology is bogus.
According to the N.A.E.T. website the treatment uses “a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.”

The bottom line is that N.A.E.T. appears to use notions and techniques from Chinese cosmology and practices that include “energy balancing,” “applied kinesiology,” and other techniques that are bogus. The claims of N.A.E.T. smack of a quack, are not based upon scientific research, but on anecdotal reports, and probably placebo effects.

N.A.E.T. claims to “resolve” (a cute way to avoid saying “cure”) everything from incurable conditions like Arthritis, Eczema, and Chronic Fatigue to flatulence. To the last condition, me thinks there is a LOT of flatulence in N.A.E.T. — but I thought they cured that? 🙂

Now with all this said, N.A.E.T. combines many elements in its treatment from what I can gather. Some of the things that N.A.E.T. utilizes in its program are legitimate in terms of proper nutrition. The issue of proper nutrition may well explain some of the “cures” since nutrition can have a major impact on health and on psychological conditions as well.

I know that it is very difficult for a parent who has children with conditions like you describe. This is what makes opportunist and new age dingbats rich in that they can exploit those who are vulnerable and desperate for cures.

The bottom line advice given by Dr. Rosenfeld in his chapter, “How to Spot a Quack” is a good one:

Look very carefully into every treatment suggested to you, regardless of its source, especially if their is a risk involved; determined how commonly it’s used; ask how long it’s been around; find out in what percentage of cases it has been documented to be successful (beware of testimonials and anecdotal evidence especially as regards to conditions considered incurable); be aware of its potential side effects; and ask whether there are better or proven treatments to accomplish the same end. Finally, check to see whether it is approved by the American Medical Association (AMA), the organization that for many years has alerted Americans to fraudulent treatments, and continues to do so.

On the subject of moral acceptability, things like N.A.E.T. has more to do with medical prudence, or the lack thereof, than it does with moral acceptability in terms of the Catholic Faith.

I do think that it is morally unacceptable to exploit the vulnerabilities of people who are hurting, in pain and suffering, and are desperate for relief. I understand the suffering reaching out to those who promise relief, but I would suggest that it is not prudent to reach out to just anyone or just to any treatment.

At best such alternative treatments might give some actual relief from pain and suffering either from the placebo effect or perhaps from actual medical reasons; but a cure? Not likely.

The practitioners of these treatments are using techniques that come out of, and are based upon, cosmologies that are contrary to the Truth of Christianity. The Yin Yang cosmology, energy flows in the body called meridians, chakra and ch’i and all the rest is just a bunch of bunk at best, and at worse can open doors to the spirit world.

These treatments should not be used except for conditions of which scientific evidence has shown that these treatments can be useful (for example, acupuncture has been proven to be useful in pain control).

BEWARE, however. Be very careful of the ancillary material that often comes with these alternative treatments. It is common practice for “alternative health practitioners” to use these alternative methods along with occultic/pagan and otherwise non-Christian philosophies and notions.

I myself, when I was involved in such things, would silently and unknown to my patient pray to the “spirits” while performing acupressure and “balancing of energies”, massage, and applied kinesiology. Those “spirits” were not of God.

Personally, I would suggest finding other sources besides N.A.E.T for medical advice and treatment. The choice is yours. I do not think there is anything inherently objectionable from a moral standpoint in using alternative medical treatments, but I would exercise great caution. While these things might be morally neutral, they may not be prudent. In some cases could be even be dangerous if these alternative treatments replace more appropriate medical methods. In still other cases, spiritual problems could develop because of the technique and/or practitioner coming from an occult, pagan, or otherwise non-Christian cosmology and worldview in lieu of a scientific approach. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Miracle II products

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=195

December 8, 2004

I know of a woman who believes that Miracle 2 products are cursed. She had a personal experience with one of their products. It caused her to shake and it gave her the feeling of being mildly shocked throughout her entire body. It also drained her energy. She said that after a priest celebrated Mass in her home, the curse wore off.

She claims that the products, at least the one she had, listed “prayer” and “anointed by God” as ingredients. In one website pushing the product, it says, “The anointed Miracle II.” It also says, “Miracle II products are one of the most amazing product lines that has ever been presented to mankind.” It says it can help you live a “healthier, all natural, more spiritual life.” Most interesting, it says, “Everything that Miracle II will do has been revealed to people, by the Spirit of God, to use it in ways to solve the problems they face.”

Have you ever heard of this, and if not, is it possible for “liquids, soaps, cleansers,” etc., to be cursed? -Cesar

The disclaimer that is found on some of the websites for this product should be considered. It reads:

Nothing on this website is intended to diagnose, treat or cure any physical problems or medical conditions. Information on this site is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA, and as such, shall not be construed as medical advice, implied or otherwise.

In addition, the claims of the product are to allegedly “cleanse” the body of toxins and the like. Point blank, as mentioned by Dr. Rosenfeld in his book on alternative medicine on the subject of claims to cleanse the body of toxins or to strengthen immune system, “There’s no such cleanser or strengthener, except for good nutrition.”

BUYERS BEWARE.

Then we have this bit of bull droppings from one of their websites:

God made it to work. Only God would do something like this. God revealed this to Coach Duke Fields, Sr. in Farmersville, Louisiana. Why not try Miracle Bath & Shower Soap and Miracle II Neutralizer for 90 days, because I know you will have a miracle too! To have a healthier body and mind, you must change what you wash your body, hair and clothing with. Get away from animal fat, alcohol, and petroleum bar soap products. Use Miracle II products and you will see what I am talking about. I have said, “God, I will declare your wondrous works and the testimonies of the people that have seen your glory in something as simple as soap. Lord, it is your commandment that we tell about this.” Those who believe will see His glory! The formula for Miracle II was given to me in 1981. It was perfect then and it has not changed. You will never read “New and Improved” on a bottle of Miracle II Products.

One of the best con games is to couch a product in a “commandment of the Lord”, in a “private revelation”, in an endorsement from the Almighty. What better product endorsement can there be than to have God endorse one’s product?

In addition we have “secret” ingredients contained in these products. Here is what Dr. Rosenfeld says about that:

It may be acceptable business practice for Coca-Cola to guard its secret formula, but soft drinks are not medications. The constituents of every product that claims to have health benefits should be disclosed on its label… Stay away from any “health” preparation whose ingredients are not listed — no its, ands, or buts.

Here is the explanation concerning the secret ingredients from one of the Miracle II websites:

Because the FDA does not regulate the contents of soap, the inventor of Miracle II Products, Clayton Tedeton, has decided not to reveal the exact formula, and therefore the exact answer to that question is between him and God.
What we do know is from the label on the Miracle II Soap bottle, which reads thus:

“The most complex mixture of natural minerals and organics that has ever been blended together. Miracle II is a spiritually revealed, formulated product. Contains: Prayer – Electrically engineered eloptic energized stabilized oxygenated water – Ash of Dedecyl solution – Dehydrabiethylamine – Calcium – Potassium – Magnesium – Foaming agent – Cold pressed Avocado – Almond – Olive & Coconut Oils – Vitamin E – Miracle II contains and holds spiritual and ecliptic energy.” 

Spiritual and ecliptic energy?

Whatever “spiritual” energy it has is not from God. God does not operate this way.

And “ecliptic energy”? Ecliptic refers to “the intersection plane of the earth’s orbit with the celestial sphere, along which the sun appears to move as viewed from the earth” or “A great circle inscribed on a terrestrial globe inclined at an approximate angle of 23o 27′ to the equator and representing the apparent motion of the sun in relation to the earth during a year.”

Is this some sort of new age cosmic energy gobbledygook?

Since this wacko is claiming spiritual and “ecliptic” energies and not just another new age alternative product, I would be suspicious, very suspicious, about this product and its potential of carrying a possible spell or curse — either deliberately on the part of the “inventor” of this product or as a side effect of the “inventor” being an idiot and messing around with forces he does not understand.

In addition to all this, the “story of Clayton Tedeton” and how he received his “revelation” from God (or I would say, “a god) smacks strongly of the occult and demonic activities. For example, he states that the Holy Spirit kept speaking to him the words, “YOU PROMISED ME THAT YOU WOULD OBEY ME”. This went on for two years with the voice getting louder and louder until the “voice became so loud and often that the only thing I knew was to run away.” To begin with the Holy Spirit rarely speaks in an audible way, and He never gets louder or yells at a person if they do not obey. Demons, however, are known for this sort of behavior.

BOTTOM LINE:

Based upon the story of Mr. Tedeton, the Miracle II websites I looked at, and the one you quoted from I would suggest running as fast as possible away from even the hint of this product.

It was an excellent thing for your friend to do in asking that a Mass be said in her home.

 

 

 

There is also the prayer in our Catalog linked below for the breaking of personal curses and spells that I would recommend too.

In terms of a direct answer to your question, ANY object can carry a curse or a spell. Beware of a stranger or a new ager bearing gifts 🙂 –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Yu-Gi-Oh cards

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=227

January 7, 2005

My question is about Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon cards and cartoons. I overheard the words “summon, conjure, and graveyard” on the Yu-Gi-Oh cartoon so I started checking into it. I do not allow my children to watch these shows but their friends watch them and have the trading cards.

Their friends seem to think there is nothing wrong with it and it is only a game. I think it is just a stepping stone to magic cards and the occult! What kind of threat does this pose to unknowing children who are exposed to this kind of trash?
I was also wondering about something called “War Hammer” (or something like that). They are little dwarfs that you paint and “do battle with”. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated! –Jamie

I’ll refer you to previous posts that speak about this.

Previous Post #1*

Previous Post #2*

And also an article: How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children*

I am not familiar with War Hammer, but it likely has the same kinds of problems as the rest. I would be cautious of it. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

*The links no longer open -Michael

 

Why do you say Reiki is evil?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=235

January 18, 2005

You say “Reiki is occult and therefore is evil” but yet if there have been cases of healings and people being cured how could that be “evil”? What is evil about healing people?
Did the Bible not say in Luke 6:44, “Each tree is recognized by its own fruit”? Jesus therefore said if something in helpful or beneficial in some way, wouldn’t that come from God?
Reiki isn’t about gaining power or control over things for ones personal benefit, but will only work to aid things if they are in God’s will.
I don’t understand your reasoning. Healing is one of the gifts of God according to Corinthians 12: 28.
I didn’t really believe in God, after taking a reiki class I was reaffirmed in my belief in God and attend mass now and also I read scripture, I don’t think without reiki helping me I wouldn’t have made these changes for the better.
Please answer all the points I have brought up. -Jacob

The Bible says that even Satan can appear as an angel of light.

Just because some people are helped by Reiki does not make it good. In the first place the “cures” people received could have been accomplished through coincidence or through the placebo effect. That is what scientific study tries to sift out so as to make sure the “treatment” is really the cause of the healing.

In addition, Satan can effect apparent “cures” when it serves his purpose to deceive people.

Also, one of the most important tenets of Christianity is that the “ends do not justify the means”. Even if the result is a good one, we cannot use evil means to gain that good result. Reiki, on its face, is an evil means regardless of what alleged “good” effect it may produce. The gift of healing in Corinthians is a spiritual gift that comes from God, not Reiki or even from science. It is a spiritual gift.

In terms of the tree and its fruit, this is a general analogy. Like all analogies there are flaws. In fact it is possible for some bad fruit to be produced by a good tree; and some good fruit to be produced by a bad tree. A bad apple tree may produce a single good apple; and a good apple tree may produce a single rotten apple.

Hitler did a few good things and mostly evil things, yet both the good and the evil came from the same “tree.”

I praise God that you have returned from Him, but your return to God did not come from Reiki, it came from the grace of God and God’s desire to bring goodness out of evil. God brought you back to Him DESPITE the Reiki, not because of it. He took the lemon that is Reiki and made lemonade with it.

You ask “what is healing about healing people?” It is evil to heal people using ungodly methods.

Embryo Stem Cells may someday be used to heal people, but Embryo Stem Cell research murders babies. That is evil.

Harvesting a person’s organs to transplant into another person without the permission of the donor will save the life of the recipient but is evil in that it steals the organ from the donor.

Killing a person to harvest their heart to transplant into another person will heal the person needing the heart, but killing to get the heart is evil.

There are thousands of ways to heal someone through evil ways. The “ends do NOT justify the means.”

I am glad you are back with God, but for you to be TOTALLY back with God you must renounce Reiki and never do Reiki again or recommend it to others. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Are crystals a portal for demonic spirits?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=239

January 25, 2005

Recently I made some jewelry with crystal beads selected for their supposed healing powers. My intent was purposeful in that I was seeking healing from a raw knot in my stomach caused from anxiety.

My rationale was that God made these natural semi-precious gems so through them healing could be received without contradicting my faith in Jesus Christ. While shopping in my local craft store, I unintentionally held these crystal beads close to my stomach/digestive tract and soon felt an energy pulsate in that exact spot.

In the past I prayed for healing, but to no avail. After feeling this tingly sensation, I prayed asking for God’s guidance if I should continue down this path. I didn’t get an answer or else ignored it, so I asked for forgiveness and strength if this is not the right path after trying it.

Big mistake for “trying it”. I left the crystal necklace and bracelet on my nightstand for maximum benefit as was suggested by one helpful semi-precious jewelry making person. After nursing my baby at 4am this morning I went back to bed and started praying my rosary like I usually do. In the twilight between sleep and awake I tensed up as I thought about some things. I soon sensed the presence of a dark human like figure with a gentle soothing feminine voice saying “relax and let go” each time a tense thought came to my mind while praying. I also felt like I was being spiritually transported outside to some pine trees and later returned me to a dream with the morals of a typical primetime television show.

Later in the morning when I was fully awake, I sensed this “spirit guide” was still with me. This next part is hazy, but I asked her point blank if she was there to guide me on my walk with Jesus Christ. Whatever her response was it was not in supporting this walk. Her answers were vague. My question is so what do I do now? -Sally

Using crystals as healing talismans can indeed bring demonic harassment. It sounds like you are experiencing that.
You need to immediately renounce your participation in this ungodly form of healing, confess it in the Sacrament of Confession, destroy and bury the crystals in the ground, and pray applicable prayers from the Spiritual Warfare Catalog, such as the Hedge Prayer of Protection and the Rebuking Particular Spirits and the Taking Back Ground.
Also follow the seven steps to self-deliverance found in the HELP section of this website.
Concerning destroying the crystals use the following procedure:
1) Bless the object with Holy Water
2) Destroy the object so that it no longer resembles what it was. If burnable, then burn it, if glass is break it up into pieces, if a rock or crystal take a hammer to it, if some other material, take it apart or damage it as best you can.
3) Dig a hole in the ground and place the remains of the object in the hole, sprinkle the remains with Holy Water once more, place a St. Benedict medal on top of the remains, and then pray the following prayer:

Father in heaven, we ask you to bind and cast away from our entire family any demonic entities that may have been attached to these materials. We plead the blood of Jesus over these materials and take back any ground the Evil One may have snatch from us because of the presence of these materials in our home. Strengthen, O Lord, the hedge of protection around our family and around each of us. Bless our family, O Lord. Help is to love You more. We also ask that you be with the person who gave us or sold to us these materials and free them from any bondage. Help them to understand Your ways and bless them. We ask these things with the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, Blessed St. Michael the Archangel, and all the Saints and Angels of Heaven, and powerful in the Holy and Mighty name of your Son, Jesus Christ, whose name causes hell to tremble. Amen.

4) Fill in the hole burying the remains of the materials.
5) Forget about it, it is gone.
Keep in mind that this procedure is not magick. The primary power of the sacramentals (holy water and the medal) is in your faith. The sacraments do have a secondary effect in that they are items that have been blessed and made holy by God. Demons do not like being around such things.
Destroying the item so that it no longer resembles what it once was removes the attachment that it had for the demons, or the curse, or whatever.
Even with blessed items like a Rosary, once the Rosary falls apart or is taken apart and no longer resembles a rosary, the blessing that was attached to the Rosary is no longer there.
Bury it in the ground as the earth has this symbolizes a cleansing from the good earth.
If there is any demonic repercussions from doing this remember the God promises that nothing will be allowed into your life that you cannot handle. The devil is the author of fear — BE NOT AFRAID. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Lunar Chart hair care

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=256

February 17, 2005

Some people I have been talking with are using the Morocco Method Lunar Chart for trimming their hair. Supposedly there are certain dates to trim your hair to either speed or retard growth, strengthen the hair, etc. It all sounds like hogwash to me, but the people who use it are convinced that they are seeing extraordinary results.

After looking into it, I found out that the originator of this method has studied under Eastern spiritualities and divines the trimming dates using astrology. My first impression is that it is all just nonsense, but since it is based on astrology and eastern spiritualities could there be a spiritual danger to those who follow it? –Jessica

Sheesh… I have never heard of anything (so stupid) as this. I wonder what is next. A Lunar Chart to determine when to blink eyes? 🙂

 

 

The answer to your question is yes — there is a spiritual danger. The use of astrology and similar things opens a potential door to allow the devil to come in.

One should avoid all forms of divination, which is an abomination to God, including reading one’s horoscope in the newspaper and parting one’s hair according to astrological charts, for Pete’s sake.

Your first impression is correct, this is nonsense, but it can be a dangerous nonsense. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Colonic therapy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=257

February 17, 2005

I have learned a lot from some of your other responses regarding alternative medicine and my husband and I have gone through the house and discarded our homeopathic remedies. My question concerns a procedure that does not have spiritual ties (to my knowledge) called colonics. It involves using purified water (and herbs if desired) to flush the colon, kill parasites, and ultimately aid the liver/gallbladder. There is a Natural Health Therapist in my area who offers this procedure who claims to be a Christian, but who also offers Cranial Sacral therapy* and other things I am not comfortable with. This is the only place I know of to have this done in my area. Is it appropriate to have this procedure done if one does not involve themselves in any other aspect of the office? –Barbara *This is New Age -Michael

The problem of Colonic Therapy is not that it is connected to the occult or anything like that; the problem with it is that is a fraudulent practice.

There is absolutely no medicinal effect to colonics. It is an utter fraud upon the public to promote it and to take money from people to have it done.

Here is an article on the subject:

Gastrointestinal Quackery: Colonics, Laxatives, and More

By Stephen Barrett, M.D.

The importance of “regularity” to overall health has been greatly overestimated for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians associated feces with decay and used enemas and laxatives liberally. In more recent times, this concern has been embodied in the concept of “autointoxication” and has been promoted by warnings against “irregularity.” [1]

The theory of “autointoxication” states that stagnation of the large intestine (colon) causes toxins to form that are absorbed and poison the body. Some proponents depict the large intestine as a “sewage system” that becomes a “cesspool” if neglected. Other proponents state that constipation causes hardened feces to accumulate for months (or even years) on the walls of the large intestine and block it from absorbing or eliminating properly. This, they say, causes food to remain undigested and wastes from the blood to be reabsorbed by the body [2].

Around the turn of the twentieth century many physicians accepted the concept of autointoxication, but it was abandoned after scientific observations proved it wrong. In 1919 and 1922, it was clearly demonstrated that symptoms of headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite that accompanied fecal impaction were caused by mechanical distension of the colon rather than by production or absorption of toxins [3, 4]. Moreover, direct observation of the colon during surgical procedures or autopsies found no evidence that hardened feces accumulate on the intestinal walls.

Today we know that most of the digestive process takes place in the small intestine, from which nutrients are absorbed into the body. The remaining mixture of food and undigested particles then enters the large intestine, which can be compared to a 40-inch-long hollow tube. Its principal functions are to transport food wastes from the small intestine to the rectum for elimination and to absorb minerals and water. Careful observations have shown that the bowel habits of healthy individuals can vary greatly. Although most people have a movement daily, some have several movements each day, while others can go several days or even longer with no adverse effects.

The popular diet book Fit for Life (1986) is based on the notion that when certain foods are eaten together, they “rot,” poison the system, and make the person fat. To avoid this, the authors recommend that fats, carbohydrates and protein foods be eaten at separate meals, emphasizing fruits and vegetables because foods high in water content can “wash the toxic waste from the inside of the body” instead of “clogging” the body. These ideas are utter nonsense [5].

Some chiropractors, naturopaths, and assorted food faddists claim that “death begins in the colon” and that “90 percent of all diseases are caused by improperly working bowels.” The practices they recommend include fasting, periodic “cleansing” of the intestines, and colonic irrigation. Fasting is said to “purify” the body. “Cleansing” can be accomplished with a variety of “natural” laxative products. Colonic irrigation is performed by passing a rubber tube through the rectum. Some proponents have advocated that the tube be inserted as much as 30 inches. Warm water — often 20 gallons or more — is pumped in and out through the tube, a few pints at a time, to wash out the contents of the large intestine. (An ordinary enema uses about a quart of fluid.) Some practitioners add herbs, coffee, enzymes, wheat or grass extract, or other substances to the enema solution. The Total Health Connection and Canadian Natural Health and Healing Center Web sites provide more details of proponents’ claims. The latter states that “there is only one cause of disease — toxemia” and offers “the most comprehensive in-depth colon therapy on the continent.” The course costs $985 for 5 days of in-clinic training or $295 by correspondence.

Some “alternative” practitioners make bogus diagnoses of “parasites,” for which they recommend “intestinal cleansers,” plant enzymes, homeopathic remedies. Health-food stores sell products of this type with claims that they can “rejuvenate” the body and kill the alleged invaders.

The danger of these practices depends upon how much they are used and whether they are substituted for necessary medical care. Whereas a 1-day fast is likely to be harmless (though useless), prolonged fasting can be fatal. “Cleansing” with products composed of herbs and dietary fiber is unlikely to be physically harmful, but the products involved can be expensive. Some people have reported expelling large amounts of what they claim to be feces that have accumulated on he intestinal wall. However, experts believe these are simply “casts” formed by the fiber contained in the “cleansing” products.

 

 

Although laxative ads warn against “irregularity,” constipation should be defined not by the frequency of movements but by the hardness of the stool. Ordinary constipation usually can be remedied by increasing the fiber content of the diet, drinking adequate amounts of water, and engaging in regular exercise. If the bowel is basically normal, dietary fiber increases the bulk of the stool, softens it, and speeds transit time. Defecating soon after the urge is felt also can be helpful because if urges are ignored, the rectum may eventually stop signaling when defecation is needed. Stimulant laxatives (such as cascara or castor oil) can damage the nerve cells in the colon wall, decreasing the force of contractions and increasing the tendency toward constipation. Thus, people who take strong laxatives whenever they “miss a movement” may wind up unable to move their bowels without them. Frequent enemas can also lead to dependence [6]. A doctor should be consulted if constipation persists or represents a significant change in bowel pattern.

Colonic irrigation, which also can be expensive, has considerable potential for harm. The process can be very uncomfortable, since the presence of the tube can induce severe cramps and pain. If the equipment is not adequately sterilized between treatments, disease germs from one person’s large intestine can be transmitted to others. Several outbreaks of serious infections have been reported, including one in which contaminated equipment caused amebiasis in 36 people, 6 of whom died following bowel perforation [7-9]. Cases of heart failure (from excessive fluid absorption into the bloodstream) and electrolyte imbalance have also been reported [10]. Yet no license or training is required to operate a colonic-irrigation device. In 1985, a California judge ruled that colonic irrigation is an invasive medical procedure that may not be performed by chiropractors and the California Health Department’s Infectious Disease Branch stated: “The practice of colonic irrigation by chiropractors, physical therapists, or physicians should cease. Colonic irrigation can do no good, only harm.” The National Council Against Health Fraud agrees [11].

Legal Action

The FDA classifies colonic irrigation systems as Class III devices that cannot be legally marketed except for medically indicated colon cleansing (such as before a radiologic endocopic examination). No system has been approved for “routine” colon cleansing to promote the general well being of a patient. Since 1997, the agency has issued at least seven warning letters related to colon therapy:

  • In 1997, Colon Therapeutics, of Groves, Texas, and its owner Jimmy John Girouard were warned about safety and quality control violations of the Jimmy John colon hydrotherapy unit and related devices [12].
  • In 1997, Tiller Mind & Body, of San Antonio, Texas and its owner Jeri C. Tiller, were ordered to stop claiming that their Libbe colonic irrigation device was effective against acne, allergies, asthma and low-grade chronic infections and improved liver function and capillary and lymphatic circulation [13].
  • In 1997, Colon Hygiene Services, of Austin, Texas and its owner Rocky Bruno was notified that their colonic irrigation system could not be legally marketed without FDA approval [14].
  • In 1999, Dotolo Research Corporation, of Pinellas Park, Florida, and its chief executive officer Raymond Dotolo were warned about quality control violations and lack of FDA approval for marketing its Toxygen BSC-UV colonic irrigation system [15].
  • In 2001, Clearwater Colon Hydrotherapy, of Ocala, Florida, and its vice president Stuart K. Baker were warned about quality control violations and lack of FDA approval for marketing their colonic irrigators [16].
  • In 2003, the International Colon Hydrotherapy Association, of San Antonio, Texas and its executive director Augustine R. Hoenninger, III, PhD, ND, were notified that it lacked FDA approval to sponsor “research” that had been proposed or actually begun on the devices of five companies [17].
  • In 2003, Girouard and Colon Therapeutics were notified that his devices require professional supervision and cannot be legally marketed directly to consumers. The letter noted that he had obtained marketing clearance only for use in medically indicated colon cleansing, such as before radiologic or sigmoidoscopic examinations [18].
  • In 2003, the Wood Hygienic Institute of Kissimmee, Florida, and its owner Helen Wood were warned about quality control violations and the use of unapproved therapeutic claims in marketing their devices [19].

Girouard, Colon Therapeutics, Tiller Mind & Body, operators of the Years to Your Life Health Centers, companies that manufactured several components of Girouard’s colonic irrigation systems, and organizations that trained operators of the devices are being sued in connection with the death of a 72-year-old woman who perforated her large intestine while administering colonic irrigation. The suit alleges that the woman was unsupervised when she administered the “colonic,” perforated her colon early in the procedure, required surgery the same day, and remained seriously ill for several months before she died from liver failure. The complaint also alleges that Years to Your Life Health Center falsely advertised colonic irrigations as “painless” procedures which provided health benefits including an improved immune system and increased energy, as well as relief from indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, body odor, candida, acne, mucus colitis, gas, food cravings, fatigue, obesity, diverticulosis, bad breath, parasitic infections, and premenstrual syndrome [20]. In response to the woman’s death and reports of serious injuries to four other patients, the Texas Attorney General has filed separate lawsuits against:

  • Girouard and Colon Therapeutics
  • Eternal Health Inc., dba Years to Your Life and Cynthia Pitre
  • Jennifer Jackson, dba Body Cleanse Spa
  • Tiller Mind Body Inc., dba Mind Body Naturopathic Institute and Jerri Tiller
  • International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy, Class 3 Study Group and Augustine R. Hoenninger III
  • Linda Gonzalez, dba El Paso Health Center.

 

The suits charge that all of the defendants have engaged in the promotion, sale or unauthorized use of prescription devices for colonic hydrotherapy treatments without physician involvement. The state is seeking (a) temporary and permanent injunctions, (b) civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day per violation of the state’s Health and Safety Code, (c) civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, (d) investigative costs, and (e) attorneys’ fees [21].

For Additional Information How Clean Should Your Colon Be?

 

References

1. Chen TS, Chen PS. Intestinal autointoxication: A gastrointestinal leitmotive. Journal Clinical Gastroenterology 11:343-441, 1989.

2. Ernst E. Colonic irrigation and the theory of autointoxication: A triumph of ignorance over science. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 24:196-198, 1997.

3. Alvarez WC. Origin of the so-called auto-intoxication symptoms. JAMA 72:8-13, 1919.

4. Donaldson AN. Relation of constipation to intestinal intoxication. JAMA 78:884-888, 1922.

5. Kenney JJ. Fit For Life: Some notes on the book and Its roots. Nutrition Forum, March 1986.

6. Use of enemas is limited. FDA Consumer 18(6):33, 1984.

7. Amebiasis associated with colonic irrigation – Colorado. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 30:101-102, 1981.

8. Istre GR and others. An outbreak of amebiasis spread by colonic irrigation at a chiropractic clinic. New England Journal of Medicine 307:339-342, 1982.

9. Benjamin R and others. The case against colonic irrigation. California Morbidity, Sept 27, 1985.

10. Eisele JW, Reay DT. Deaths related to coffee enemas. JAMA 244:1608-1609, 1980.

11. Jarvis WT. Colonic Irrigation. National Council Against Health Fraud, 1995.

12. Baca JR. Warning letter to Colon Therapeutics, April 27, 1997.

13. Baca, JR. Warning letter to Tiller Mind & Body, June 2, 1997.

14. Baca JR. Warning letter to Colon Hygiene Services, June 20, 1997.

15. Tolen DD. Warning letter to Dotolo Research Corporation, July 21, 1999.

16. Singleton E. Warning letter to Clearwater Colon Hydrotherapy, Sept 13, 2001.

17. Marcarelli MM. Warning letter to International Colon Hydrotherapy Association, March 21, 2003.

18. Chappel MA. Warning letter to Colon Therapeutics, Oct 23, 2003.

19. Ormond E. Warning letter to Wood Hygienic Institute, Oct 23, 2003.

20. Barrett S. Colonic promoters facing legal actions. Quackwatch, Nov 11, 2003.

21. Attorney General Abbott sues ‘ colonic hydrotherapy ‘ providers for abuse of medical devices; one death reported: Suits allege unsafe use of devices without physician oversight is a public health issue. Texas Attorney General news release, Dec 1, 2003. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Am I excommunicated for my involvement in New Age?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/lit/viewanswer.asp?QID=198

April 18, 2005

I heard a priest on TV say that if you reject any teaching of the Church you are automatically ex-communicated. I was involved with New Age for quite some time and did so then. Do I have to get the bishops’ permission to return? I have been going to daily mass and weekly confession and my parish priest has not stopped me from going. He knows my situation quite well, and I told him everything about how I got involved in the New Age. –George

Rejecting Teaching of the Church is seriously sinful and so if someone does they should not be receiving the Eucharist. Canon Law says that an apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs excommunication.(n.1364) Whether or not you became any of these would be decided between you and your confessor or spiritual director, I really can’t tell from your post and I really shouldn’t try. I would say the two most serious questions that could be asked are “Were you originally Catholic and then turn away” and “did you teach false doctrine and teach it as if it were true Catholic teaching”. I do know that most people that stray from the Church and then return have not been excommunicated. If you have been totally honest with your confessor then I really wouldn’t worry. –Jacob Slavek

 

Was any harm done by former Reiki training?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=260

March 20, 2007

I’ve read some of your postings on reiki. About 8 years ago, while away from the Catholic Church, I took interest in various “new age” practices, one of which was reiki. I took a level one reiki class in which, as you mentioned, the ability to perform reiki is “passed on” or “transferred”.
Five years ago I returned to the Catholic Church and am fully committed to my faith. I no longer practice reiki and stay away from anything that is “new age”. However, you posed the question in your writing from May 13, 1999, “What is Reiki ‘transferring’?” and “What ‘spirit’ is working in those who receive Reiki?”

My question is, do you believe that anything harmful or evil was done to my soul by participating in that class, and, if so, is there anything I can do to correct that? -Karen

I thank God that you have returned to the Church and left behind those “new age” ways!

I presume you have confessed your new age involvements so any sin involved has been forgiven and erased from your soul.

There are two more things that I think are needed. One is to take back the ground that Satan stole from you when you were involved in the new age and two, to specifically renounce the new age activities.

 

This can be done with the following two prayers:

Prayer to Renounce Satan and Claim Victory

I claim the full victory that my Lord Jesus Christ won on the Cross for me. Having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:15) His victory for me is my victory.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I renounce all the workings of Satan in my life in all its forms, whether brought into my life by my actions or by others, especially that of _____________. I break all attachments, ground, curses, spells, and rights Satan may have in my life whether such ground was gained through my actions or through others. Strengthened by the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints and Angels of Heaven, and powerful in the holy authority of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you Lord to command Satan and all his minions, whomever they may be, to get out of my life and stay out. With that authority I now take back the ground in my life gained by Satan through my sins. I reclaim this ground and my life for Christ. I now dedicate myself to the Lord Jesus Christ; I belong to Him alone. Amen.

Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

The above prayer includes a “taking back ground” provision. The prayer before is a “take back the ground” prayer that I recommend on a regular basis, especially to be said after confession.

Confession forgives the sin, but the consequences of the sin remain (the ground Satan gain through our sin). Thus such as prayer as below, removes Satan from our yard.

Prayer to Take Back Ground:

Dear Heavenly Father, strengthened by the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints and Angels in Heaven, and powerful in the holy authority if His Name, I cancel all ground that evil spirits have gained through my willful involvement in sin. I reclaim that ground and my life for Christ. Amen. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

“Runescape” Online Game

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=268

April 8, 2007

I have a question about the online game Runescape (http://www.runescape.com). My adult and teen (now 18) sons were playing it but I was concerned about players using amulets, magic spells to attack their computer image enemies. As I understand it a player can’t use magic or spells against other players only computer generated enemies. You also go on quests to achieve more points or strength. One of the quests is to help a witch by gathering the ingredients for a potion. Some of the ingredients are “eye of a newt, a rat’s tail and a burnt piece of meat”. Other quests are quite harmless and have nothing to do with witches. Magic and spells play a small part in the game. Mostly you are mining, archery, smithing, wood cutting and fishing. My sons played without using spells or amulets but I didn’t want them to play it with our home computer. They only play it at the Library now. I didn’t like the idea of them being on a game with a player that was using spells even if only against a computer enemy. Many times you can “talk” with a player that is playing to ask directions or help. If this player was using spells would that be harmful to my sons? Do you think that the magic or spells are harmful as they are only used on computer enemies? If my sons use these things (they haven’t as far as I know) are they really using magic? –Linda

Role-play games that include a worldview of witchcraft and the occult are dangerous. Here is an excerpt of an article entitled, “How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children” by Berit Kjos:

The televised Pokemon show brings suggestions and images that set the stage for the next steps of entanglement. It beckons the young spectator to enter the manipulative realm of role-play, where fantasy simulates reality, and the buyer becomes a slave to their programmer.

Remember, in the realm of popular role-playing games – whether it’s Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, or other selections — the child becomes the master. As in contemporary witchcraft, he or she wields the power. Their arm, mind, or power-symbol (the Pokemon or other action figure) become the channel for the spiritual forces. Children from Christian homes may have learned to say, “Thy will be done,” but in the role-playing world, this prayer is twisted into “My will be done!” God, parents, and pastors no longer fit into the picture fantasized by the child.

Psychologists have warned that role-playing can cause the participant to actually experience, emotionally, the role being played. Again, “the child becomes the master.” Or so it seems to the player.

Actually, the programmer who writes the rules is the master. And when the game includes occultism and violence, the child-hero is trained to use “his” or “her” spiritual power to kill, poison, evolve, and destroy — over and over. Not only does this repetitive practice blur the line between reality and fantasy, it also sears the conscience and causes the player to devalue life. The child learns to accept unthinkable behavior as “normal”.

To be a winner within this system, the committed player must know and follow the rules of the game. Obedience becomes a reflex, strengthened by instant rewards or positive reinforcement. The rules and rewards force the child to develop new habits and patterned responses to certain stimuli. Day after day, this powerful psychological process manipulates the child’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, until his or her personality changes and, as many parents confirm, interest in ordinary family life begins to wither away.

You may have recognized those preceding terms as those often used by behavioral psychologists. They point to a sophisticated system of operant conditioning or behavior modification.

 

The child must exercise his own intelligent mind to learn the complex rules. But after learning the rules, the programmed stimuli produce conditioned responses in the player. These responses become increasingly automatic, a reflex action. Naturally, this can leads to psychological addiction, a craving for ever greater (and more expensive) thrills and darker forces.

What is said here refers not only to children, but to adults too.

St. Paul tells us that we are not even to have the “appearance of evil.” That means that we are not only to avoid evil itself, but even its appearance. The practice of magick, witchcraft, and the occult is evil. Even if these games were not really practicing the “craft,” they give the appearance of doing so and that is enough to condemn it. The use of “the craft” against computer characters or against other human players is still using “the craft” or making an appearance of doing so.

As the article mentions, role play does affect our thinking and our spirit. To put this in perspective, would people want to role play Hitler?

Actually, a real life experiment was done on this at a California university back in the 1960s. They setup a basement of one of the campus buildings to resemble a prison. Some volunteer students role-played the role of prisoners and other volunteer students played the role of Nazis guards. The experiment had to be canceled after two weeks, if I remember correctly, before someone got seriously hurt of even killed.

Role play is a powerful force on our psychology.

Christians have no business involving themselves in role-play games that practice occult arts, or other destructive non-Christian worldviews. To do so is playing with fire; it is walking in Satan’s sandbox and, as I am famous for saying, “if you walk in Satan’s sandbox you WILL get hell’s sand in your shoes.”

I would advise your sons, no matter how grown-up, to avoid such games that are inconsistent with the Faith. They, of course, will do what they want, but I think it is important that they know your displeasure about this and that it violates not only the “appearance of evil” teaching of the Bible, but the Culture of Life teaching of Pope John Paul II.

This is not “just a game.” There is no such thing as “just a game/song/movie/etc.” All games, songs, movies have a message. The key is to figure out what that message may be. The message of games like this one that include occult practices is that it is okay to use such “powers.” No it is not okay.

This is why the phrase “it’s just a…” comes from hell, I believe, as it seeks to trivialize and minimize that which is improper for Christians. Satan depends upon us taking these sorts of things lightly. It is a major way in which he sets his trap. You have done the right thing, in my opinion, in banning this game from your house.

If you want to read the entire article that I quoted you will find it here. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Kinesiology

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=290

April 24, 2007

Is this form of healing detrimental to ones spiritual health? –Edsak

Yes. Kinesiology, acupressure and similar techniques are based upon ancient Oriental cosmologies that are inconsistent with Christianity. These techniques are dependent upon the notion that there are meridians of energy that pass through the body like a circulatory system. Illness is caused when there are energy blocks.

The techniques allegedly “clear” the energy so that it flows unimpeded making a person “in tune” with the cosmic energy.

Practitioners of these techniques often silently offer prayers to the “spirits” or “forces” while doing their therapy on a client. These “spirits” or “forces” are not of God.

I was trained in this myself and was a practitioner for a while. It was part of my New Age nonsense years in which I was away from God. I came to my senses after God brought me to my knees and gave me a vision of hell and my dead soul.

I suggest you stay away from this. Stay with that which is consistent with the Christian Faith. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Applied Kinesiology

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=293

April 25, 2007

I just read the post about “Kinesiology”. Our family has been going to a Chiropractor that went on for further training in “Applied Kinesiology”. He never mentions these “energy” pathways to us when he is giving us adjustments but he has charts on his office walls showing the meridians. He doesn’t do Acupuncture or anything New Age. His adjustments seem to be just of a chiropractic nature. He’s always telling us to drink more water and eat less sugar. He sells vitamins, water pillows, pillows shaped for your neck, no crystals or other way out stuff. Is it possible for a Chiropractor to just do adjustments to your body/muscles and not do these other things? Would it be alright to go to him in that case? -Linda

It is very difficult to find a Chiropractor who limits his practice to that which is legitimate and scientific. The underlying theory of chiropractic is problematic at best and outright bogus at worse.

To quote Samuel Homola, D.C., who practiced chiropractic for 43 years:

It is now generally accepted that spinal manipulation can relieve some types of back pain. (But) most chiropractors claim to do more than just treat back pain, however. Clinging to the scientifically rejected theory that misaligned or “subluxed” vertebrae cause “nerve interference” that results in disease or ill health, many chiropractors use “spinal adjustments” to treat disease and infection as well as back pain. The Association of Chiropractic Colleges bolstered support for this theory in 1996 when the presidents of all 16 North American chiropractic colleges reached a consensus and issued a position paper stating that “Chiropractic is concerned with the preservation and restoration of health, and focuses particular attention on the subluxation.”

 

The chiropractic profession continues to define itself as a method of correcting subluxations to restore and maintain health, despite the fact that there are no scientific studies to indicate that vertebral misalignment or any other problem in the spine is a cause of disease or infection. Basing their treatment on the vertebral subluxation theory, many chiropractors claim to be primary care physicians capable of treating and preventing a broad scope of human (and animal) ailments.

Some chiropractors advise that spinal adjustments should begin at birth to correct subluxations caused by “birth trauma.” The entire family may be advised to undergo regular life-long spinal adjustments in order to maintain optimum health by “keeping the spine in line.” Some chiropractors specialize in chiropractic pediatrics. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 10% of patient visits to chiropractors are made by children and adolescents who are treated for such maladies as otitis media, asthma, allergies, infantile colic, and enuresis (bedwetting).  An article in the April 2000 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine warned that chiropractic pediatric care is often inconsistent with recommended medical guidelines.  “When I contemplate a chiropractor treating a 2-week-old neonate with a fever,” said the editor in a sidebar comment, “I get a gigantic headache.”

Studies conducted by chiropractors and published in “peer reviewed” chiropractic journals often recommend treatment for such conditions as infantile colic and asthma. A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics for example, concluded that “Spinal manipulation is effective in relieving infantile colic” — a conclusion not confirmed with reliable, unbiased research and recently refuted by a well designed study by a Norwegian research team.

When medical researchers tested chiropractic manipulation as a treatment of asthma in children, they reported that “the addition of chiropractic spinal manipulation to usual medical care provided no benefit.” Although chiropractic manipulation can be beneficial in the treatment of some types of neck and back pain, I always advise parents not to take their infants and children to a chiropractor, since the risk may outweigh any benefit.

Chiropractic may have benefit only in limited context, mostly with pain in the back and other issues of neuromusculoskeletal conditions of a mechanical origin. Chiropractors need to be in close relationship with a medical doctor and limit their practice to this relationship and specific practice.

Dr. Homola continues:

Since chiropractors work on the back, most people think of the chiropractor as a back specialist. But when back-pain victims visit a chiropractic office, they may be given pamphlets suggesting that chiropractic treatment is also beneficial for asthma, infantile colic, ear infection, digestive disturbances, and a host of other organic or visceral problems. There are many good chiropractors who do a good job treating back pain, but few voluntarily limit their treatment to the care of back pain. Chiropractic colleges are still teaching the theory that using spinal adjustments to correct vertebral subluxations will restore and maintain health. Unless you see a chiropractor who has been recommended by an orthopedic specialist or who works with physicians in a back-pain clinic, your chances of finding a properly limited chiropractor are slim. Poorly informed consumers may not know where to draw the line when they visit a chiropractor.

“That spinal manipulation is somewhat effective symptomatic therapy for some patients with acute low back pain is, I believe, no longer in dispute,” said the editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. But “there appears to be little evidence to support the value of spinal manipulation for non-musculoskeletal conditions. For this reason, I think it is currently inappropriate to consider chiropractic as a broad-based alternative to traditional medical care.”

Dr. Homola offers the following five guidelines and caveats that should be observed when seeking chiropractic care for back pain.

1. Be on Guard

Look for a chiropractor who openly states that his or her practice is limited to the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal problems that have a mechanical origin.

Members of a small group called the Nations Association of Chiropractic Medicine (NACM) have openly denounced the chiropractic subluxation theory, but the chance of finding an NACM chiropractor in your community is small.

If you cannot find a chiropractor who is a neuromusculoskeletal specialist or who works in a back-pain clinic as a member of a back-care team, you have to be on guard as an informed consumer if you are to protect yourself from the nonsense associated with chiropractic treatment. There are many chiropractic procedures and techniques you should avoid — some of which are dangerous as well as a waste of time and money.

2. Seek Appropriate Manipulation

Properly performed spinal manipulation is always done by hand. Chiropractors who believe that slightly misaligned vertebrae can cause disease often use machines or small hand-held spring-loaded mallets to tap misaligned vertebrae back into place. A 1998 survey by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners found that 62.8% of survey respondents said they used an Activator mallet to adjust subluxations. Such chiropractors might also use instruments to measure heat and electrical activity over skin surfaces in a search for subluxations. The only treatment they may offer is a spinal adjustment for whatever ails you.

A good chiropractor who specializes in the care of neuromusculoskeletal problems does not use instruments and machines to diagnose and treat subluxations. And his treatment is not limited to the spinal adjustment. Physical therapy, massage, exercise, rest, home treatment with hot or cold packs -or no treatment at all-are sometimes more appropriate than spinal manipulation.

3. Avoid Unnecessary Treatment

While an acute episode of back pain can be incapacitating and scary, remember that most back pains resolve in two to four weeks. After limiting bed rest to a couple of days, most back-pain victims can begin moving around and gradually resume normal activities over a period of a week or two.

 

If you go to a chiropractor for relief of back pain, you should not continue with treatment if your pain worsens during the first week or if you are not any better after two weeks. If your symptoms persist after one month, see an orthopedic specialist for a definitive diagnosis.

A chiropractor who is reasonably competent in making a diagnosis might immediately refer you to a specialist if certain red flags are present, such as: fever; a history of cancer; prolonged back pain unrelieved by rest; the possibility of a fracture resulting from advanced age, long-term use of steroids, or severe injury; and so on. In the case of a simple strain, you might be advised that rest and time are the ‘best treatment. But you cannot always rely on the diagnostic ability of a chiropractor. Some chiropractors “analyze” the spine in a search for subluxations rather than make a diagnosis. They always find subluxations that require spinal adjustments. Such chiropractors are less likely to offer appropriate advice and are more likely to subject you to prolonged and unnecessary treatment.

Be wary if your chiropractor’s diagnosis is “subluxated vertebrae.” Be even more wary if you are given a treatment plan that recommends daily visits that are gradually reduced in frequency over a period of several months. Such plans usually lead into “maintenance care” that requires one or two treatments a month for the rest of your life!

4. Popping Normal Backs

As a general rule, chiropractic treatment, or manipulative treatment for back pain, should be discontinued when symptoms disappear and you are feeling well. It is not necessary to continue with occasional spinal adjustments unless you have a structural problem that causes chronic back pain that can be temporarily relieved with manipulation. Frequent and unnecessary manipulation may do more harm than good, causing you to seek treatment for symptoms caused by the manipulation. Normal spinal joints often make popping sounds when the joint surfaces are forcefully separated by manipulation. Chiropractic patients often interpret these sounds as movement of vertebrae that are out of place. Some chiropractors use the popping sound to encourage patients to return for regular spinal adjustments in order to “maintain vertebral alignment.” While such treatment has a strong placebo effect, it is misleading and tends to perpetuate illness or fear of illness.

5. “Neck Specialists”

Some subluxation-based chiropractors believe that most ailments, including low-back pain, are related to misaligned vertebrae in the neck. These “upper cervical specialists” always adjust the neck, usually the top two vertebrae at the base of the skull. This can be dangerous, since excessive rotation of the head and upper cervical spine places a strain on the vertebral arteries and can result in vascular injury or stroke.

There are special cases in which cervical manipulation can be beneficial when vascular problems have been ruled out and head rotation during manipulation does not exceed 50 degrees. But cervical manipulation should never be done routinely, especially as a preventive-maintenance measure. Most of us will never need cervical manipulation. Upper cervical chiropractors who manipulate the neck of every patient they see should be avoided. Elderly persons, especially those who have vascular disease or who might be taking blood thinners, should not submit to neck manipulation of any kind.

Finally, Dr. Homola informs us of the dangers of Chiropractic:

A 1996 RAND report on The Appropriateness of Manipulation and Mobilization of the Cervical Spine estimated that stroke and other injuries resulting from cervical spine manipulation occurred about 1.46 times per 1,000,000 manipulations. It also concluded that only 11.1% of reported indications for cervical manipulation could be labeled appropriate. A patient who receives regular, frequent, and totally unnecessary neck manipulation is subjected to greater risk. Since many cases of stroke caused by cervical manipulation have not been recognized as such, studies are being done to determine how many stroke victims had neck manipulation prior to their stroke. The incidence of stroke from cervical manipulation might be much higher than indicated in past studies. A study by the Canadian Stroke Consortium, published in the July 18, 2000, Canadian Medical Association Journal, for example, reported that stroke resulting from neck manipulation occurred in 28% of 74 cases studied. Other causes were sudden neck movement of various types. The most common finding was vertebral artery dissection (splitting or tearing of arterial walls with clot formation and embolism) caused by sudden movement or rotation of the top two cervical vertebrae.

Chiropractors commonly manipulate the upper cervical spine as a treatment for head and neck pain. But since such pain in itself can be a symptom of vertebral or carotid artery dissection, especially following injury, it may be wise to forego neck manipulation for sudden onset of head or neck pain until risk factors can be better identified. Informed consent should always be obtained from patients about to undergo cervical manipulation. In many cases, massage, traction, and other forms of therapy can be substituted for prescribed cervical manipulation. Tension headache, for example, is commonly treated with chiropractic neck manipulation. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that spinal manipulation was no more effective than massage in relieving episodic or recurring tension headache. So be cautious. Until studies on cervical manipulation have been completed, don’t submit to neck manipulation unless you have a problem that cannot be treated any other way. A chronic “cervicogenic” head pain, for example, in which pain is transferred from joints in the cervical spine, can often be relieved with appropriate cervical manipulation. But such manipulation should be done only after a correct diagnosis has been made and other forms of treatment have failed.

Dr. Homola’s Bottom Line:

Many people go to chiropractors for relief of back pain. But there is reason for caution. Much of what chiropractors do is nonsense, and they often misinform their patients.

A good chiropractor can do a lot to help you when you have mechanical-type back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. But until the chiropractic profession cleans up its act, and its colleges uniformly graduate properly limited chiropractors who specialize in neuromusculoskeletal problems, you’ll have to exercise caution and informed judgment when seeking chiropractic care.

 

Now, with all that said, now we go back to your original question.

Chiropractors are often involved in various Oriental alternative medical theories. You have identified that your Chiropractor has received advanced training in Kinesiology. Kinesiology is, by definition, involved in the “energies” theory that I mentioned earlier. The Meridians Chart, if that is what it is, on the wall of your Chiropractor is a map of these fake energy circulatory system.

This means that he is involved, at least philosophically with fake science. But, as outlined above, any Chiropractor who does anything other than deal with neuromusculoskeletal problems for “mechanical-type back pain and other musculoskeletal problems” should be avoided.

I did not get into it, but there are many other problems, especially with neck adjustments that have cause serious medical problems with many people including stroke and death.

The bottom line is to avoid Chiropractors unless they limit their practice as advised by the quotes above. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Qi [and acupuncture]

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=323

May 13, 2007

Many people have experienced the existence of this energy going through their body which they call qi. Manipulation of qi is said to clear blocked arteries and meridians in the body and solve many health problems. My sister can will her qi to go to certain parts of her body to clear blockages. Although I am very suspicious of qi, I believe it exists but do not understand what it is exactly. What are your views on this? Qigong is taking on great popularity in the alternative medicine arena and nearly everyone who practises this said it has helped in their health. My sister has become very New Age after she has learned qigong and has also acquired higher sensitivity to spirituality e.g. experiencing the Holy Spirit, or sensing illness in others. –Betty

I use to be a practitioner of this sort of thing. I too believed I could “feel”, and my patients reported that they could “feel,” these blockages of energy in the meridians that run throughout the body. I too believed that clearing these blockages could facilitate health and even cure illness. I was wrong.

There is no such thing as energy flows through the body in meridians. It does not exist. There is no such thing as “qi” or “chi” and the rest.

This is all based on Oriental Cosmology that is inconsistent with not only the Christian worldview and cosmology, but is at odds with science as well.

There are at times some positive effects of some of these alternative techniques, such as acupuncture, but legitimate effects are very limited. Acupuncture, for example, as been shown to control pain. But traditional methods are just as effective.

But, the idea that if one clears “blocked” energy one will get well is pure poppycock.

This “clearing” of blocked energy is part of a cosmology that believes that the energy flows in our bodies must be in tune, and in balance not only within our bodies but within the universal plasma, the universal energy. This is a cosmology without a god, but rather a universal force, or plasma, or unconsciousness, or flow, or whatever various people want to call it.

The ancient Orientals invented this elaborate schema based upon what they knew about the universe at the time. They did not have the Revelation of God as we do today in the Bible and Sacred Tradition, nor did they have the insights of biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine that we have today. They did the best they could with what they had.

The Chinese folk medicine stumbled upon many sorts of remedies, that through trial and error, they discovered had real effects on health. Many of those herbs and plants form the chemical basis of our drugs today.

The ancient Chinese also stumbled across the fact that if certain structures in the body are stimulated certain effects will result. This is why pain control is effective in acupuncture. Although I do not know all the bio-chemical details, the stimulation of certain structures in the body will cause the release of natural pain killers. This has nothing whatsoever to do with imaginary meridians in the body or any other sort of mysterious “energy flow.” This effect is purely natural and can be scientifically verified.

Depending on the “alternative” technique, there can be real but very limited effects. When those effects are real they can be scientifically verified.

As for the rest of any effect that “appears” real, such things are most likely a placebo effect. This placebo effect is when the mind perceives improvement when there is actually none, or the mind over matter sort of thing where there may be some real healing based upon the person believing it to be so, a faith healing as-it-were. When this happens, if there is a real effect, that is, a real improvement in health, this can be documented in a scientific way even if we do not understand fully the mechanisms that facilitated the healing.

But none of this is because of energy flows through the body that need to be “cleared” of “blockages.” That is just plain nonsense.

A Christian ought not to get involved with these practices and philosophies. The philosophies are incompatible with Christianity and the practices are based upon those unChristian philosophies and upon unscientific and unsubstantiated postulations. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Are the herbs and treatments according to Hildegard Von Bingham alright?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=322

May 16, 2007

 

 

I have been suffering from an arthritis type of illness for 27 years. I recently started with a Catholic doctor using her way of treating. The fact that bloodletting has to be done by full moon and also that apparently some importance is given to stones makes me afraid it is New Age. Can you help? –Speranza

You have to be joking? Any “doctor” practicing bloodletting by the full moon needs to be reported to the licensure board on charges of malpractice and quackery.

As to the medical writings of Blessed Hildegard von Binge, she made major contributions to the folk medicine of her time. For example, she was the first, I think, to propose boiling of water as a prevention against illness.

But, as visionary and insightful as she was about folk medicine, herbs, and plants she was a product of her time.

I have not read her medical writings, but if Blessed Hildegard* proposed bloodletting by the full moon, she was wrong, though perhaps consistent with her era. *Now Saint Hildegard

Because she was a remarkable woman with many “firsts” including such things as the first to clinically describe a woman’s orgasm, her medical insights, folk healing, and the like, many people in the New Age and feminism have cling to her as a model (with usually distorted interpretations of her writings to suit their particular agenda).

Bottom line: bloodletting by the full moon with rocks is quackery. Do not walk but RUN away from this quack doctor if that is what she is proposing. I would do more than that, actually. If this person is actually a licensed doctor, I would report her to the State Licensure board. This is serious abuse of her medical license in my opinion.

Keep your blood in your veins, enjoy the full moon as a beautiful creation of God and nothing more, and keep the rocks on the ground. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Mystics [and Centering Prayer]

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=332

May 23, 2007

I have been reading many books on spiritual warfare, and books dealing with my faith. (Catholicism) I notice a lot of references to mystics of our times, what does that mean? and what exactly is a mystic? Doesn’t this refer to someone who can see into the future? –Deborah

While it is possible a God may reveal the future to a mystic that is rare and not the primary attribute. Mysticism is about a sublime and intimate relationship with God.

To quote Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary, mysticism is:

The supernatural state of soul in which God is known in a way that no human effort or exertion could ever succeed in producing. There is an immediate, personal experience of God that is truly extraordinary, not only in intensity and degree, but in kind. It is always a result of a special, totally unmerited grace of God. Christian mysticism differs essentially from non-Christian mysticism of the Oriental world. It always recognizes that the reality to which it penetrates simply transcends the soul and the cosmos; there is no confusion between I and thou, but always a profound humility before the infinite Majesty of God.

And in Christian mysticism all union between the soul and God is a moral union of love, in doing his will even at great sacrifice to self; there is no hint of losing one’s being in God or absorption of one’s personality into the divine.

The mystic has a sublime and personal relationship that transcends images and senses. The relationship is intuitive and direct, rather than discursive and material. Jean Gerson (1363-1429) defines mysticism as the “knowledge of God arrived at through the embrace of unifying love.”

In a lesser degree anyone who lives a contemplative life may be called a mystic, but the true mystic is given a special gift of God in contemplation on the higher levels leading to Mystical Union.

Referring back to the Catholic Dictionary, Mystical Union is:

…characterized by a deep awareness of the divine presence, and has a variety of grades, not necessarily successive, but distinguished by spiritual writers [such as Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross]. They are: the two nights of the soul (sense and spirit) before mystical union, the prayer of quiet, the full union, ecstasy, and spiritual marriage or transforming union.

This mystical union cannot be “achieved”. It is a gift of God that He gives to whom He pleases.

This is one reason why Centering Prayer is so offensive. In essence Centering Prayer says to God, “Hey, you did not give me the gift of infused contemplation so I am going to steal it from you with these techniques.” This is not only arrogant and prideful, but delusional since no “technique” or “method” can achieve these heights of contemplation with God. (See article The Dangers of Centering Prayer). –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Catholic Brahma Kumaris

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=380

July 14, 2007

Least I expected, one year ago I fell in love with a woman. Not so long I learnt that she is a devotee of Brahma Kumaris (BK) including her family for a long time and guess what… they are Catholics. The executive director of our organization is also a Catholic and a devotee of BK and he has a brother who is a RC priest.

What will happen to them? What is the stand of the Church?

I have been praying the rosary, offering masses for her because I love her including her family but it is as if my prayers are not heard. The more I do this the more she becomes devoted to BK. I tried to tell her about the incompatibility of BK and her Catholic faith but to no avail. What must I do?

 

 

Can’t leave her with BK? She, well most BK-Catholics (I guess) believe that the two are compatible. –Macky

Brahma Kumaris is one of the many Indian Hindu sects. There is no way it is compatible with Christianity. Further, the meditation taught in this “BK” is also incompatible with Christianity.

The Church issued a document about meditation called, On Some Aspects of Christian Meditation. It would be good for your friend to read that.

It would be nice if a priest could also explain that one cannot be a “Catholic-Hindu”. Brahma is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. This is part of a theology that is poly-theistic (many gods).

Your friend, in essence, is committing idolatry by involvement with this group. This is a grave sin.

In addition, the BK teaches heresy. They believe that God the Father shares a body with Brahma Baba (a.k.a. Lekh Raj Kripalani born in 1876), in the same way they believe Christ had entered the body of Jesus. The groups says it was Jesus who suffered on the cross, not Christ, the pure Son of God, but that “Christ” left the body early and went to take rebirth to help guide his fledgling religion into maturity. They claim that many more secrets about Christ revealed by this so-called Baba (Lekh Raj Kripalani). This is outright heresy.

If your girlfriend believes this then she is risking being a heretic and thus suffering an automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church.

You can try to convince her that what she is doing is contrary to Catholic teaching, try to convince her to return to the Catholic Church, the way one is supposed to be Catholic, but you cannot save her from this. She has to make her own decisions. Not even God will force her to change her mind. She has to change her mind according to her own free will. You can pray for her deliverance from this, of course, but you cannot save her from it.

You may not want to hear this, but you may have to leave her behind. You will have no choice. You absolutely should not marry her when she is involved in this idolatry and heresy.

If she will not be convinced, then the best thing for her may be for you to leave her. Then she will see how much her errant beliefs are costing her, and you will have stood up for Truth and Christ as you are obligated to do.

St. Paul tells us in Titus 3:10-11: “After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned.”

We will be in prayer for her and for all those caught up in this delusion, idolatry, and heresy. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Tattoos/Leviticus 19:28

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=388

July 21, 2007

Tattoos are becoming a very popular form of body art. Some people choose tattoos of demons, depictions of evil, Satan, etc. I would like to know, do tattoos of this nature draw evil to that person, even though they may have no more thought of it rather than it’s just cool body art. –Kerri

The subject of tattoos comes up periodically. The question is usually whether or not a Christian should have a tattoo in the first place (is it a sin?), and secondly, about the kind of tattoo.

Tattoos are primarily an issue of vanity rather than an objective sin in-an-of-themselves (unless the tattoo is vulgar or blasphemous, or it promotes/glorifies sin or the demonic).

The bible to my memory does not address the issue of tattoos nor does the Church. To consider it mutilation as some people suggest is a bit much. The Bible, however, does talk about vanity in general and vanity specifically in terms of bodily adornment.

Vanity is an issue that many in our society ignore as a problem and often will glorify. Vanity can lead to various sins and therefore can be very dangerous.

Another aspect to this (although somewhat off topic) is that tattoos are often things that many people eventually regret getting. There are untold millions spent every year in cosmetic surgeries to remove things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Bottom line: unless the tattoo is vulgar, blasphemous, promotes/glorifies sin, the demonic or the occult, or encourages or promotes any other immoral or unChristian act or thought, it is not in-an-of-itself a sin.

The issue to consider is the pride and vanity. We must examine ourselves to see why we want a tattoo or, for that matter, why we want to wear decorations that come off, like rings, necklaces, ear rings, etc. Ostentatious displays and decorations are generally not consistent with Christian modesty and decorum; and as Christians we are to be modest and to avoid vanity and pride.

So, examine yourself to see why you want this and whether this is merely an expression of vanity, or whether there is a good reason for it within the bounds of modesty and humility. This goes for all jewelry and fashions we wear as well.

As to specific tattoos of demons, evil, Satan, etc., this is outright improper. St. Paul tells us that we are not to even have the appearance of evil.

I think there is a serious question about the person himself who wishes to have tattoos of that depict evil theme. Why would a person want such a thing? Evil is NOT “cool.” The “benign” depiction of evil is NOT “cool.”

Whatever clothing we wear, jewelry we wear, or tattoos we have is an expression of something about us. It is a message. What message does a tattoo of evil give?

 

 

 

 

No, there is no justification for a tattoo depicting an evil theme. To those people who want one thinking it is just “cool body art” I would recommend seeing a psychologist. I mean that. There is something deeply wrong when a person thinks that demons, evil, and Satan are “cool” in any context.

Having such a tattoo is certainly contrary to the Christian life. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=402

August 1, 2007

I always thought that Leviticus 19:28 “you shalt not make any cuttings in your flesh, for the dead, neither shall you make in yourselves any figures or marks: I am the Lord” applied to tattoos.

Wouldn’t this word “marks” mean tattoos, and would this not constitute a commandment against such marks? This verse infers, to me, that doing so would be idolatry which is breaking the first commandment. And if so, wouldn’t that mean that tattoos are a sin?
For aren’t our bodies on loan to us from God, and if so we shouldn’t “graffiti” the body.
I would presume that most people who are tattooing themselves, especially to an extreme, are obsessive people and live an alternative lifestyle mostly contrary to the Christian way, and if so wouldn’t this be a slow invite to the evil one who preys on our weaknesses and obsesses? -Jim

The passage in Leviticus 19:28 is not a commandment but a Levitical regulation referring to religious and superstitious practices that were common at the time. It is not referring to Tattoos as such as we typically think of them today. Should a modern day tattoo have superstitious or idolatrous meaning then it would be a sin.

We must be careful, in general, when reading Leviticus and other books in the Old Testament. There are thousands of regulations and rules that no longer apply today. What survives are the commandments and other laws that pertain to the Two Great Commandments of loving God and loving neighbor. Thus, the Mosaic Ten Commandments still apply, the prohibition of witchcraft and mediums found in Deuteronomy and elsewhere still apply (a violation of the worship of God alone and Trust in Him).

But, for example, in the same passage as the tattoo prohibition is found the following:

v19b: …nor shall there come upon you a garment of cloth made of two kinds of stuff (textiles) (I guess cotton blends are out)

v26: You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it (no more juicy medium rare steak)

v27: You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard (check our hair styles)

All these prohibitions were not universal commandments, but were directed against pagan customs involving magic and were designed to prevent the Jews from being affected by the superstitions and magical practices (of which includes the tattoo) of the time.

As mentioned in a previous post, tattoos are not inherently sinful as long as they do not depict something blasphemous, vulgar, sacrilegious, occultic, or otherwise something contrary to Catholic Teaching.

There is a real issue of vanity, however. Ostentatious displays are contrary to the Catholic Teaching on modesty and humility. Even if a tattoo is not publicly visible, it can still be motivated by immodesty and ostentatious demeanor.

Anyone seeking a tattoo needs to closely examine themselves and their motivations first.

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=406

August 2, 2007

I still feel that tattoos could teeter on breaking the First Commandment, vanity issue aside, unless it’s a tattoo of the crucifixion. Seeing that wouldn’t bother me. Vanity is sort of self idolatry, I would think. Anyway, your answer makes me feel a bit better about the tattoos. –Jim

I can tell you do not like tattoos 🙂 Neither do I and I do not like the idea of defending the practice, which I have had to do several times. But, we need to avoid scrupulosity.

I am not sure how tattoos, in-and-of-themselves teeters on Idolatry. Idolatry is the worship of false gods. How does having a tattoo worship a false god?

If I have a lapel pin of a dolphin, or a tattoo of a dolphin, does that mean I am worshiping dolphins? Or, if I have a lapel pin or tattoo of the flag of the United States mean that I am worshiping the country.

A tattoo cannot possibly be considered a idolatrous thing unless that was the meaning and intent of the tattoo itself. If I wear a label pin of a dolphin as a symbol of my god, then it would be an idolatrous symbol. Otherwise all it means is that I like dolphins, or that I am an activist against killing dolphins perhaps. A flag may mean nothing more than I am patriotic.

Let us not interpret more into a thing than is there.

As for vanity, I understand what you mean by calling it a form of self-worship, but actually vanity is a subset of Pride. I suppose Pride could also be considered a form of self-worship. In fact, ALL things that lead us away from God is in a way self-worship, but these things are not technically idolatry inherently–formal idolatry.

If having pride and vanity meant we are idolaters then everyone is guilty. We all have problems with pride and vanity. It is part of the human condition.

Now, pride and vanity can lead to an outright idolatry, a worship of a false god — either thinking oneself a god or some other entity as god.

I suppose we can identity a “material” idolatry when people, for example, consider sports to be more important than God.

Anyway, that discussion is making my eyes cross.

 

Bottom line, I do not think that tattoos are inherently evil or idolatrous. We have to look at what the tattoo depicts, what it represents, what the person intended with the tattoo, what it means to the person, why the person wanted the tattoo, etc. before we can pass judgment.

There is also the scandal aspect. Is wearing a tattoo or especially multiple tattoos good for our Christian witness because of how our society views tattoos? Is it the image we want to present as a Christian? Tattoos are certainly “optional” and thus if having tattoos offended the sensibilities of those to whom we should be a testimony of Christ, then perhaps we should choose prudence. This test also goes for jewelry, clothing, and all other external things in our lives that may serve to glorify or not glorify God in other people’s eyes.

I suppose if one were an evangelist to motorcycle gangs, a tattoo might open some doors. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

New Age curriculum in church institute

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=422

August 10, 2007

This past year I signed up for a course in the Church Leadership Institute of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (http://archbalt.org/ministries-offices/minform/CLI/index.cfm).
The course that I signed up for was on Spirituality and Prayer. I wanted to deepen my prayer life and understand how God wants us to pray. Instead of this I got all sorts of stuff about “Centering Prayer” and “Transcendental Meditation” and Thomas Keating and “Mantras” and the woman even had us do a “Mandala”!
I sent a letter/packet to Bishop Madden in the Archdiocese and he responded by saying something to the effect of “There are many different types of prayer and we need to be open-minded to them.”

Where do I go if I need to go above the Bishop? -Matt

You are right to be disturbed by what the Archbishop said to you about “Centering Prayer” and, for Pete’s sake, Transcendental Mediation (which is Hindu) and its mantras (which are prayers to Hindu gods), and the like. If the Archbishop had no concerns about this then he is flatly wrong. Shame on him. How can his flock be protected against these inappropriate activities when the bishop has no concerns? You can try writing the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. They are the ones that issued the letter, On Some Aspects of Christian Meditation. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Pilates exercise

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=438

August 29, 2007

Can the “Pilates” exercises be used even though it seems that people who do Yoga use them also? The Pilates exercises consist of breathing in and out while stretching certain muscles. They were started by a man named Pilates for helping men wounded in WWI. (http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/about/pilates-method.html) I started doing them not really noticing how much they were used by Yoga practitioners but stopped because I got so sore from doing them. Could I have inadvertently opened myself up to the occult? -Linda

I really do not know much about Pilates. From what I gather there are some medical effects that have been demonstrated with some of the techniques. On the other hand, some of the underlying philosophy is really problematic — the mind over matter aspects and some of the ideas about breathing — a typical exaggeration of effects that is most common with alternative medical techniques.

I would be cautious, but as far as I know none of the techniques brings on into a altered state of consciousness (which is the primary problem with most Eastern methods).

It does not appear, as best as I can tell for now, that your participation in this method would be spiritually harmful. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

Pilates IS New Age. See the separate article on PILATES -Michael

 

Pilates exercise

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=443

September 5, 2007

About Pilates: I am a fitness instructor. I do not touch yoga and am very careful as to what stretching movements I teach during a Pilates class because some of them are very similar to some yoga positions.

I have a friend who used to be in an eastern cult. He was a high priest and could contort his body into unfathomable positions. He claims he was addicted to yoga and becoming more and more narcissistic with each passing day. Not to mention the awful supernatural bondages he experienced. He is now delivered and works for a diocese on the West Coast and assists at exorcisms. He is writing a book about scripture and its references to the New Age.
Anyway, he told me these positions were created to give honor and glory to the gods and goddesses of the Hindus.

These “deities” appeared to the people and told them to get into these positions for the positions were sacred and would bring them closer to THE ONE – whoever that is. However, it sounds a bit like Genesis, does it not? When Satan told Adam and Eve they would be like gods if they ate from the tree.
It is important for everyone to be aware that even the fitness industry is saturated with new age practices. My friend told me that getting into one of those positions, even once, will demonize you to some degree. And then the demons will cause you to want more and achieve more in yoga, and you will become fixated on it and have an inordinate desire for it. So even if you have put your foot in the water so to speak, you still have a chance to recognize this practice is not of God and pray against it and any of its negative effects on you. –Raphaela

 

 

Thank you for the information about Pilates and also yoga.

There are still some questions that I would have about Pilates, but this is a Q&A forum where I am suppose to answer questions not ask them. I would invite your to join our Spiritual Warfare Discussion Forum. Maybe you can discuss these things in more detail. For your, and anyone’s convenience, here is a direct link to the Registration Page.

 

Can one be demonically harassed in front of the Blessed Sacrament?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=445

September
9, 2007

I was attuned to Reiki level one in a sincere, but misguided effort to help my husband, who suffers from a chronic pain disorder. A “Christian Reiki master”, who invoked Jesus while attuning me, explained that Reiki is the same sort of healing done by Christ and His disciples, and she assured me that “no way would Satan want to heal anyone.” I couldn’t imagine that anything so effective and beautiful could be from anything but God, Himself.

I was completely deceived until I browsed through a Christian book on ministering to those trapped in Wicca and happened to see a Wiccan power generation symbol that looked suspiciously like the Reiki power symbol (uh oh!!) I quickly found out that Reiki is actually an occult practice. Horrified, I immediately threw out everything in the house on Reiki and ran to confession the next day, tearfully and formally renouncing Reiki and all occult influences in my life.

As soon as I rejected Reiki I began to experience a persistent stinging pain in my palms, and guessed I was being punished by an angry entity. Since, I have grown much in my understanding of the value of suffering and have experienced profound conversion.

I am doing post graduate studies in Sacred Scripture, and am enthusiastically training in Catholic apologetics. Thanks be to God, I have already had opportunity to warn many others of the dangers of Reiki and the New Age. It seems, however, the more I warn others, the more my palms sting. I pray fervently, go to Mass and Eucharistic adoration regularly, and pray for deliverance from the demonic, and yet I can sometimes feel heat coming from my palms when I pray or hold my hand up while blessing someone during Mass. I am completely baffled at how this could be happening in front of the Blessed Sacrament, at Church of all places! Is this even supposed to be possible?

I don’t believe I have any serious spiritual blind spots left but am open to any suggestions you might have. -Carol

Yes, it is possible to be harassed by demons even in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

I praise God that you “saw the light” about Reiki and renounced it, confessed it, and rid yourself of it.

I also praise God that you know the redemptive value of suffering. This is a rich theology of the Church that many do not understand.

Since this pain began when you renounced Reiki that suggest that it is a form of a demonic attack. I would recommend praying the “Rebuking Particular Spirits” prayer in our Catalog linked below. The particular spirit in your case will likely be the spirit of Reiki.

Even though you have renounced Reiki and been to confession, a bondage may still be attached. Hopefully the prayer mentioned above will resolve that issue. If not, then I would recommend the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance found in the HOW WE CAN HELP YOU section linked [see page 1].

If the self-help strategies do not help, then you may need personal consultation for a formal deliverance counseling. Sometimes there are things that we have forgotten, or would not have thought about, in our lives that work like hooks that demons can hang onto. Our deliverance sessions are designed to locate all the “hooks” in a person’s life so demons cannot use them as an excuse to remain in a person’s life. This “hooks” can be big or trivial. Reiki is a big hook, but going to a palm reader at a carnival when you were 10 years old just for a lark is a hook too.

First, however, try the spiritual warfare prayers that may apply, such as the Rebuking prayer, then the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance. After that, if you need, contact me for a personal consultation.

It is also possible that this pain is the consequences that you must endure to remind you of where you have been as you go forward to help others, like St’ Paul and the thorn in his side. But before coming to that conclusion, try the advice above.

Again, I praise God for your enlightenment about Reiki. God will use you to warn others about this, but you must prepare yourself to be a spiritual warrior. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Is acupuncture safe or is it a new age practice as well?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=447

September 11, 2007

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago. She had surgery and just finished her radiation treatments. Thank the Lord she is cancer free now. At the cancer center she was going to they offered free of charge all these different classes on relaxation, Reiki, yoga, Pilates, etc… They also offer acupuncture. My mother decided to try the acupuncture to see if it would decrease the pain she has from arthritis in her feet. It seems to have worked a little and now she plans on going back again. Is there any danger from this practice? Is she spiritually in danger from this? I am not sure if it has any “new age” philosophies associated with it. –Deborah

I am very disappointed in the lack of scientific approach hospitals are taking these days with their use of many alternative medical techniques that have little or no scientific verification. Then, even those that may have real effects have spiritual side-effects sometimes.

 

 

 

As far as acupuncture is concerned, this Chinese Medical technique is based on a false cosmology and a false physiology of the body. Acupuncture, like the other Chinese techniques, is focused on non-existent meridians in the body the energy flow of which needs to be balanced within the body and with the cosmic flow of the universe. All hogwash.

But, scientific studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective for pain relief. The procedure releases endorphins (the body’s natural pain killer). Most of the other claims that practitioners of acupuncture make, however, are not proven and generally false. But, acupuncture can be effective for pain.

However, those same studies show that traditional medicines will be just as effective if not more so in the relief of pain.

Even when some of these alternative approaches are effective and useful one needs to be VERY careful since most of the people who practice these alternative approaches are New Agers with philosophies and approaches that we should avoid.

Your mother will most likely find just as much relief from traditional therapies for arthritis. If, however, for some reason, she cannot take the traditional therapies, or hasn’t the money for them, acupuncture may help (but she needs to avoid any other New Age blather that the practitioner may spew).

Acupuncture, like traditional methods, does not cure the arthritis; it provides only temporary relief. Thus, she will need repeated ongoing treatments. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reiki

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=462

October 1, 2007

I belong to a Theresian community and am Catholic. We are having a retreat and one of our members wants to do Reiki there and some of the others want it as well. They said it had a “Christian” side to it. I am not comfortable with it and would like to know if it should not be done. –Brenda

Reiki DOES NOT have a Christian side. Under no circumstances should your group participate in this activity. In fact, in my personal view, if this group has so little Catholic understanding as to be seduced into things like Reiki, I would resign from the group.

I actually did that with a major and well know third order. I resigned because of their lack of fidelity to the Catholic worldview by participating in nonsense like Reiki, Enneagram, and other new age garbage.

Reiki is yet another one of the Eastern Healing philosophies based upon a pantheistic theology and the god of self. In the literature of the International Center for Reiki Training we find the typical claims to science that are actually utter lies.

For example, from a brochure, A Brief Overview put out by the International Center for Reiki Training, we find:

The knowledge that an unseen energy flows through all living things and is connected directly to the quality of health has been part of the wisdom of many cultures since ancient times. The existence of this “life force energy” has been verified by recent scientific experiments, and medical doctors are considering the role it plays in the functioning of the immune system and the healing process. Reiki is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that allows everyone to tap into an unlimited supply of “life force energy” to improve health and enhance the quality of life.

This “life force” is called Ki in Reiki:

Ki means the same as Chi in Chinese, Prana in Sanskrit and Ti or Ki in Hawaiian. It has also been called, odic force, orgone, and bioplasma. It has been given many other names by the various cultures that have been aware of it.

Ki is the life force. It is also called the vital life force or the universal life force. This is the nonphysical energy that animates all living things. As long as something is alive, it has life force circulating through it and surrounding it; when it dies, the life force departs. If your life force is low, or if there is a restriction in its flow, you will be more vulnerable to illness. When it is high and flowing freely, you are less likely to get sick. Life force plays an important role in everything we do. It animates the body and also is the primary energy of our emotions, thoughts and spiritual life.

There is absolutely no evidence at all of the existence of this “Ki” or life-force, or Ch’i as the Chinese call it, flowing through the body which must be in balance with the “Ki” of the universe to effect health.

It is an utter lie to claim scientific evidence for this. To begin with, this “force” is claimed to be non-physical energy. If it is non-physical then it is impossible for science to “verify” its existence. Science can only examine the physical and material world. God is non-physical and God cannot be proven or verified by science. The soul is non-physical and the soul cannot be proven or verified by science.

The grain of truth here is that in some ways the “Ki” is what we would call the soul, the life-force that animates all things. And we Christians do perform “therapy” on the soul through prayer, contemplation, meditation, spiritual reading, spiritual counseling and the like.

But we don’t claim an invisible fluid bioplasma running through the body that must be in balance between Yin and Yang as the Chinese call this.

Despite the oxymoron of scientific evidence for a non-physical force, there is simply no evidence whatsoever for such a force.

When I was a New Age Health practitioner myself, I was taught this same garbage, that the invisible fluid ran through the body and that scientific evidence supported this. I never saw that research or evidence, but I took it upon faith from my teacher that it was true. It is not true.

But if we dig deeper into Reiki, we will discover things far more sinister.

Reiki, which is a Japanese healing philosophy, was introduced into the West by Mrs. Hawayo Takata. Mrs. Takata said that the word Rei means universal…

 

 

 

… However, Mrs. Takata also indicated that this interpretation is a very general one. The kanji ideograms have many levels of meaning. They vary from the mundane to the highly esoteric. So while it is true that Rei can be interpreted as universal, meaning that it is present everywhere, this level of interpretation really doesn’t add to our understanding of Reiki.

Research into the esoteric meaning of the Japanese kanji character for Rei has given a much deeper understanding of this ideogram. The word Rei as it is used in Reiki is more accurately interpreted to mean supernatural knowledge or spiritual consciousness. This is the wisdom that comes from God or the Higher Self. This is the God-Consciousness which is all knowing. It understands each person completely. It knows the cause of all problems and difficulties and knows what to do to heal them.

Although Reiki claims not to be a religion — apparently because Reiki … has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it. it nevertheless asks us to believe in and to accept a false god – the Higher Self. Reiki comes right out and admits that its concept of god, the god it appeals to, the god that gives it wisdom, is the Higher Self.

Reiki, like all Eastern Healing Philosophies, is based upon and founded upon pantheism at best and outright idolatry of the Self at worse.

This is not to say that we cannot find grains of truth in this philosophy, which is not unusual. Most philosophies have some grains of truth. Consider the following poem teaching Reiki ethics. In it you will see shadows of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:

The secret art of inviting happiness
The miraculous medicine of all diseases
Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people.
Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer.
Pray these words to your heart
and chant these words with your mouth
Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind

But this ethic is not sourced in the True God, but in an understanding of god as the Self.

But if none of this is enough to give a clue to the idolatry, occultic, and utter inappropriateness of Reiki for the Catholic, consider this from the Reiki brochure:

An amazingly simple technique to learn, the ability to use Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to the student by the Reiki Master. Its use is not dependent on ones intellectual capacity or spiritual development and, therefore, is available to everyone. It has been successfully taught to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds.

In other words, Reiki, as well as other Eastern Healing practices, is passed on in a sort of Apostolic Succession, a laying on of hands as it were. What are they passing on? With Apostolic Succession of bishops the laying on of hands imparts and passes on the Mark of Holy Orders given by the Holy Spirit. It imparts the Holy Spirit. This also happens at Baptism and Confirmation. The “transfer” is of the Spirit. What is Reiki “transferring”?

The ability to use and practice Reiki is not intellectual or spiritual development, then where is the ability coming from?

We know that with the True God, He often imparts knowledge, skills, and gifts to those who do not have the intellectual or spiritual development to do what they do. But they do it anyway! How? They do it by the power of the Holy Spirit working in them.

What “spirit” is working in those who receive Reiki?

Bottom line? Reiki is not something for Christians to be involved with. It is New Age nonsense based upon Japanese Buddhism at best and an idolatry of a false god at worst.
-Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Richard Rohr

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=465

October 4, 2007

What do you think of Richard Rohr? He spoke at our Theresian conference and I was not able to go so I do not know what he is about. My friend is always sending me his meditations from his website and I do not know if I should be engaging in this reading. –Brenda

“Father” Rohr is a dissenter from the Faith and one disgusting person. He supports the dissenting organization Call to Action, and his stance on homosexuality and the Enneagram contradict Roman Catholic teaching. He speaks in a way that shows his disdain for the Catholic Church making fun of anything distinctly Catholic. This is a man who thinks his opinions outrank the Holy See and who wishes to re-invent the Church in his own image, or get rid of the Church altogether.

There is patently no excuse for any Catholic organization, any Catholic bishop, or any Catholic priest to allow this man to speak at their events. Those that do and this includes Cardinal Mahoney, should be ashamed of themselves allowing the Faithful to be contaminated by this man’s anti-Catholic dribble and will be held to account before God for their shameful behavior and teaching.

For good insight into the nature of these non-catholic Catholics read the article at Catholic Culture website, Top Amchurch Catechists Subvert Church’s Doctrine and Discipline.

Any Catholic should avoid this man.

 

 

Centering prayer and Lectio Divina

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=472

October 21, 2007

My church just held its annual parish mission, the topic of which was centering prayer and contemplation. With great sadness, my family declined to attend because we couldn’t justify exposing either ourselves or our children to what is considered an occult practice. Friends who did attend mentioned that Lectio Divina was also taught as a contemplative method in combination with centering techniques. I have noticed that some Evangelical Christian websites devoted to halting the spread of centering prayer and New Age errors criticize Lectio Divina with equal vigor, claiming it, too, can lead to awakening of kundalini energy and is essentially pagan. Having been taught in Catholic circles that Lectio Divina is a good alternative to more dangerous forms of contemplative spirituality, I am nevertheless left wondering if there might be any basis for such concern. Could you please share your thoughts on this matter? Thank you so much. And know that I am praying for your health problems. You have such a wonderful, helpful ministry! –Carol

You were wise to refrain from attending this mission that included such non-Catholic garbage as Centering Prayer. Combining Centering Prayer with the Lectio Divina does not remove the danger of Centering Prayer. Doing this merely contaminates Lectio Divina.

Lectio Divina, done the way it is suppose to be done, is an ancient form that has been the backbone of monastic formation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with properly done Lectio Divina. Those non-Catholics who criticize it probably criticize it merely because it is part of Catholic tradition. They do not know what they are talking about.

Lectio Divina has been vetted over nearly 2000 years. There is nothing new age about it.

With that said, however, people can always bastardize a good thing, such as your parish mission adulterating Lectio Divina with the poison of Centering Prayer. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reiki

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=482

October 29, 2007

I am 18 and I’ve been reiki. I was in the reiki-1 course 2 years ago and I’ve got some kundalini-reiki tunings over the internet. Since I was in this course I’ve been feeling different, like unreal feeling all the time. I don’t know how to get rid of this. I’ve prayed many times that God would remove this thing, but the warmth and reiki energy channeling doesn’t seem to disappear. Even when I don’t use reiki it just channels trough my hands. I feel so powerless under this force like I cannot do anything to it but I feel it’s not right. I’m afraid that if I don’t get rid of it I will go to hell. What do I do?
There is another question: I’ve read a Tibetan Buddhist book and they claim that “I” doesn’t exist. So this is why I’ve started to think that I don’t know who I am so I don’t believe I exist. How could I solve this? –Niko

Thank you for writing and sharing your experience with Reiki. Your experience is yet another example of the dangers of Reiki and other occultic and new age practices.

I would advise the following steps:

1) NEVER do Reiki again.

2) Ask God’s forgiveness for getting involved in Reiki and RENOUNCE Reiki. You can find a Renouncing and Taking Back Ground prayer in the Prayer Catalog linked below.

3) Live the good Christian life and avoid new age and occultic books, movies, games, and activities.

4) If this does not begin to give you relief then pray other prayers in the Spiritual Warfare Catalog such as the Rebuking Particular Spirits (in this case at least the spirit of Reiki).

5) Follow the advice given in the Seven Steps of Self-Deliverance.

Following these steps will usually take care of the problem. If not, then you may need to contact me for a Personal Consultation.

As for going to hell, you will not go to hell because you are being harassed by spirits. If you ask God for forgiveness according to the tradition of your denomination, and live the Christian life, you have the hope of heaven.

You are Christian, Niko, not Buddhist. Why are you considering Buddhist ideas? If you are that easily influenced by non-Christian ideas you need to stop reading non-Christian books. LEARN YOUR FAITH and stop reading Buddhist books.

Of course you exist. If you didn’t exist there would be no you to post this question. As for who you are, you are a child of God who has been created by God and given an immortal soul. You were created to love and worship God and to do his will — to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.

You need to read some good Christian books and nothing but good Christian books. You need to read the Bible. You need to stop reading Buddhist books and other non-Christian materials and stop involving yourself in non-Christian activities.

If you wish to be free from harassment you must do this. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Alternatives to Kinesiology

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=488

November 3, 2007

I have benefited from kinesiology for some years now, it’s practitioners have healed a few ailments I’ve had.
My fiancée was concerned about me being treated by kinesiologists and she showed me some articles from this sites archive relating to kinesiology.

 


After having read them i feel it’s best to leave alone a practice that may be dubious and spiritually dangerous.
Can you please suggest an alternative treatment for musculo-skeletal pain that is free from eastern and new age spiritualism? Of course I realise a lot is dependent on the practitioner’s personal influences. But what treatment would you say is generally free from eastern and new age influence? –Ben

The best thing is to go to your regular Doctor of Medicine (MD), and/or a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO).

You can also try a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), but you have to be VERY careful with them. Many Chiropractors are into kinesiology and new age practices. If the Chiropractor limits their practice to the narrow issue of skeletal-muscular issues then they can be helpful. Be sure to read http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=293 before trying them out. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Pilates exercise

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=495

November 16, 2007

There is a program offered in the local Girls Inc. (club for girls) that is called “Yogalates”. It says it is a traditional yoga and Pilates class. Now I know the dangers of doing yoga and I read up on how Pilates exercise got started. While the start of the Pilates exercise was innocent others have merged it with Yoga. Unfortunately, I did a few Pilates exercise awhile ago without knowing of the Yoga connection. I wrote to you before asking if I had opened myself up to the occult (on 8/29, in this forum). You didn’t think so at the time but you always say that “playing in the devil’s sandbox can get the devil’s sand in your shoes”.

I was wondering if I should mention it in my next confession as I don’t want any part in the occult even if I did something unknowingly and as I am on a prayer team to pray for others. –Linda

When in doubt — confess. The Sacrament of Confession is also a healing Sacrament. If you feel this involvement caused even a venial wound, then confessing it will heal that wound.

I would also recommend the Renunciation Prayer and Re-Claiming Ground found in our Spiritual Warfare Catalog

We will be praying for you in your task to pray for others. I applaud you in your concern to be squeaky clean on this as preparation for your apostolate of intercessory prayer. That is wise thinking. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

T’ai ch’i

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=496
EXTRACT

November 16, 2007

A local Catholic church is hosting this program and I have also heard that Catholic retreats also offer these during their retreats. I researched this but cannot find any definitive on this as New Age but only that it is a spreading activity based loosely on health benefits. The origin seems to be from Chinese monks in the past (based on martial techniques) using “Energy” or “Chi” to concentrate the mind, body and spirit. Is there any harm in this practise of T’ai Ch’i … I was wondering if this is similar to Yoga, which is specifically mentioned in [the Document] “Jesus Christ-the water bearer”. Incidentally are Yoga and Tai Chi considered dangerous in the sense that participants invite other forces that may not be of God? -Aggie

Tai Ch’i is a Chinese martial art that focuses on slow meditative body movements. The “moves” of Tai Ch’i, like all martial arts can be used for self-defense when necessary. It is also has an exercise effect especially for those (such as the elderly or disabled) who cannot participate in the more physically active martial arts.

The problem with martial arts in general depends upon whether or not the instructor brings into his teaching the Chinese or Oriental cosmology and theory. If an instructor begins to talk about energy flows and Ch’i in balance with the universe and other such things then I would leave the lesson and not come back. This approach relates to the Chinese or oriental cosmology and philosophy that is inconsistent with Christianity and can, in some instances, open the doors to spiritual problems and even spiritual attack.

In addition, any technique that brings one to an altered state of consciousness or empties the mind is to be avoided by Christians.

Christians can learn martial arts if…

1. It is taught as an exercise and/or self-defense

2. Avoids the oriental philosophy and cosmology (Ch’i and such)

3. Avoids any movements or techniques that creates an altered state of consciousness

4. Avoids movements or techniques that empty the mind.

I would avoid non-Christian teachers, and perhaps non-Catholic teachers, but do not presume that because a teacher is Catholic that he is okay. There are many Catholic and other Christians doing things they shouldn’t. See the criteria I outlined above as a guide.

As to Tai Ch’i specifically, I think it is very difficult to practice it without the effects of the Oriental cosmology. It is meditative in nature and the movements and practice is specifically designed to interact with the alleged Ch’i.

Yoga is similar and cannot be practiced by Christians. […] -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

The Bowen Technique

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=538

January 24, 2008

 

 

Does this holistic healing method find its roots in new age? If so please explain the dangers. www.bowtech.com. –Ed

I glanced over the website you listed, but I don’t have the time to look at it closely.

According to the website the “Bowen Technique is unique in the field of bodywork. Its relatively few, gentle “moves” over muscle and other soft tissue address the whole body, stimulating it to reset and heal itself. The healing may occur at all levels as needed: physical, chemical, emotional, mental, energetic, etc.”

The website also claims, “In all human history it is difficult to find any healing art/science modality which is as effective as the Bowen Technique in improving human health and well-being from ‘conception to the grave’.”

In all human history nothing as effective as the Bowen Technique? That is the language of quackery.

The muscle therapy effecting all sorts of health smacks of acupressure. While massage of certain areas of the body through acupressure, acupuncture, and various other techniques can release various chemicals that mostly affect the pain or pleasure centers of our brains, these techniques do not have the healing powers that are claimed.

This looks to be a regurgitation of oriental muscle/energy therapies. The “hook” with this one, and all of these quacks have a “hook”, is the alleged effects of this technique upon fascia. Fascia is the “sheet or band of fibrous tissue such as lies deep to the skin or forms an investment for muscles and various other organs of the body” (Source: Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary). This fibrous tissue is part of the connective tissue that is found throughout the body within and surrounding muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels, organs, and other structures of the body.

The Bowen Technique is alleged to affect this tissue in a way that will facilitate health. At least fascia actually exists as opposed to the invisible energy flows of acupuncture theory. Nevertheless, this technique seems to be little different than the oriental techniques, just applied in a different way.

Bottom line: Any medical technique that claims “nothing as effective as our technique” is a technique to RUN from. The Bowen Technique appears to me to be nothing more than a re-working of the oriental methods that have limited veracity.

-Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Role-play

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=553

February 13, 2008

Recently the actor Heath Ledger died from an apparent accidental drug overdose. He had reportedly told family and friends that he had been unable to sleep and had been very disturbed during and after playing the psychotic character The Joker.

Is it possible that the disturbance he experienced was spiritual in nature? What I mean to ask is, if someone plays a role of such a negative, evil person, could it have a spiritual effect on the person playing the role? –Layla

Not only is it possible for a role an actor play to affect his mental and spiritual health, but history has some examples of it.

For example, one of the horror film actors of the Béla Lugosi generation, I don’t remember which one, got lost in his role. He began to identify with his role so much that he stayed in that persona even off stage. I believe he died in this delusional state. It is possible that Ledger got into his role so much that it affected his mental health.

Theoretically, it is also possible that playing parts like this could open doors to demonic involvement as well. I know of no evidence of that in Ledger’s case. There have been at least rumors of demonic problems with some actors after playing particularly evil or demonic roles or being in movies with evil and demonic themes, but these are rumors and thus not worthy of consideration.

Role-Play in itself is a powerful tool in psychology and in the spirit. Role Play games can and has lead to demonization in some people. Professional acting can be a little more technical and distant from role play, or not, depending on the actor.

Nevertheless, there can be a potential for a character role to affect an actor positively or negatively; and sometimes perhaps attract demonic attention. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

The ManKind Project

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=557

February 21, 2008

Have you heard of the ManKind Project? www.mkp.org? If so, do you think Catholics can safely be involved with it? I have a bunch of good, solid Catholic guy friends who were initiated on their weekends, and it seemed to make them more “manly” and “confident”, so I decided to go also.
I was initiated on one of their weekends and was involved with their follow-up groups for a while. I had the guys in this group take me through a process to help me make a major life decision. They told me to “get out of my head, and go into my heart!” well I did, and I made this major life decision, but it turned out to have very painful (and expensive) consequences for me! I since have dropped out of all of my involvement of the ManKind Project and I am working on my life after making this bad decision. I know now that I would have never have made this decision if I had more rational approach (it’s like Dr. Laura always says; the heart has an I.Q. of zero)
The thing that most bothers me is that after I had made this decision to do what I decided to do, I felt SO confident about it! Could this strong feeling of confidence been the influence of a demon? If so, is there anything you think I need to do about it? I do suffer from anxiety, but I have for at least the past 10 years. . . .I go to Mass and confession often.
I read a big thread on Rick Ross’ Cult Education forum, and his criticisms of the ManKind Project seem to help me a lot.
If you haven’t heard of the ManKind Project, you probably will soon. To date, roughly 40,000 men have gone through their weekends worldwide. –Joseph

I would not recommend Catholic men to join this organization.

 

 

According to their website their organization “is a progressive men’s organization striving to be increasingly inclusive and affirming of cultural differences, especially with respect to color, class, sexual orientation, faith, age, ability, ethnicity, and nationality.”

Affirming the homosexual “culture” cannot be done by a Christian. In addition, while we can be respectful of other faiths, to “be a man” will be defined differently from faith to faith. As Catholics we must define manhood according to our understanding of God’s teaching.

Also, while I understand their intent about men getting in touch with their feelings, I suspect, and your personal experience supports my suspicion, that their emphasis on feelings is out-of-balance. In an effort to balance the overly-rational tendency of men they may go too far the other way.

The idea of “get out of my head, and go into my heart” is patent nonsense. The Church teaches that feelings are a great gift from God but that feelings MUST ALWAYS be under the guidance of reason.

I might add that the cliché of “listen to your heart” is NOT about making decisions from feelings. The “heart” is used in Scripture to be the center of a man’s spiritual and intellectual life. Listen to your heart, therefore, truly means to listen to your spirit, your conscience, the still small voice of God in your prayers, AND to the mind and its understanding of the Truths of God and His Church (the words heart and mind are often the same Greek word in Scripture).

It would be better to join an organization that is Catholic with a Catholic understanding of manhood.

As for your question of your feeling on confidence in your emotionally based decision having a demonic element, I doubt it. That confidence can come from normal psychological reasons.

Especially since your anxiety problems pre-date your involvement in this organization, and unless there are other things going on to suggest a demonic presence, I think your experience is well within the realms of the natural. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Mandalas

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=594
EXTRACT

March 31, 2008

At a teen Confirmation retreat the Mandala was introduced as a form of prayer. I am not sure what a mandala has to do with Catholic prayer. The thing that came to my mind was: occult? They look like crop circles? Another Labyrinth on paper? My question is, what do they have to with Catholic prayer? –Jay

Bailey Cunningham in her book, Mandala: Journey to the Center, states:

The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.

“The integrated view of the world represented by the mandala, while long embraced by some Eastern religions, has now begun to emerge in Western religious and secular cultures. Awareness of the mandala may have the potential of changing how we see ourselves, our planet, and perhaps even our own life purpose.”

This is utterly inconsistent with Christianity. It is a cosmology and philosophy that is not compatible with Christianity. […]

As for using a Mandala as a form of prayer, I suspect that we might have a problem but I don’t know since I do not know how they are using it. I say that I suspect a problem because using this circle form as a method of prayer is using it in a spiritual context. Are they bringing in any non-Christian notions? Why are they using this form when there are already myriad forms already within the Church?

There is one thing that is clear. The Catholic Church is rich in devotional and prayer forms. She is so rich in this that there is never a reason to go outside of the Church for any prayer form.

What does it have to do with Catholic Prayer? Good question. Why aren’t they using any one of the thousands of prayer forms already within the Catholic Church?

I think you have reason to be concerned and I would be asking some questions. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

My parish is New Age

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=652

May 24, 2008

I have addressed this question to two priests via email, with no answer. You are my last hope.

We recently moved and joined a cathedral parish in Florida. I went to a nite of healing past hurts service advertised in our bulletin given by a Jesuit priest. It reeked of New Age. I was literally trembling inside and felt uncomfortable.

He began with what he called an Indian prayer, we were to close our eyes and move our arms around while he referred to the moon and stars etc. I just sat there. It was so ridiculous that some of the women around me were giggling. It was so not holy and one of the giggling women was a nun from a cenacle in Lantana who introduced him and he in turn gave accolades to her and her cenacle. I looked up the cenacle and this priest, not good, his books which he was selling, are all listed in the New Age category and the cenacle has reiki and all kinds of new age stuff. So I didn’t stick around and I called the parish about it and was told the Jesuit priest was a friend of the rector priests at the cathedral.

 

 

 

Since then, we’ve had a labyrinth prayer, it was for our youngsters in C.C.D. class, and all were welcome as well as a centering prayer nite, all give by our deacon under the direction of the rector priest. Isn’t this all new-agey stuff?

Would the bishop have to give his consent prior to these kinds of things? Now what do I do? Should I contact the bishop? Please advise on what to do? And should we seek another church? There are several priests there who are so wonderful I would hate to leave. But, I will not be sending my children to any religious activities there. –Susan

You are correct, all that you describe is new age occultism and other nonsense and these priests ought to know better.

Reiki, Enneagram, and Centering Prayer are particularly egregious. See the articles: The Danger of Centering Prayer and Enneagram and a Q&A on Reiki. You may want to take a look at our “Resources” page.

If the pastor will not deal with this, then yes, you ought to contact the bishop. Write him a letter but be sure to write it in a professional, business-like manner. Express your concerns and why you are concerned. Quote pertinent passages from these documents I posted or others that are useful in our Resources page or elsewhere that you find. And give him the URLs to the actual documents as a reference. Hopefully he will not give you the brush-off.

If things do not change, I certainly would not send my children to this parish to be indoctrinated into Eastern occultism. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

[Crystals]

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=681
EXTRACT

July 6, 2008

I was reading a past post by someone. On January 25, 2004, she posted this:

My rationale was that God made these natural semi-precious gems so through them healing could be received without contradicting my faith in Jesus Christ. While shopping in my local craft store, I unintentionally held these crystal beads close to my stomach/digestive tract and soon felt an energy pulsate in that exact spot.

This lady reported feeling an energy or healing when the crystals were held over her painful spot. I have heard other reports of this (based on that it is not “mental” or “in their head”). What would cause the healing feeling phenomenon? –Renee

As for the crystals causing a sensation or heat in the hand, there are a number of possible causes that come to mind (though I do not actually know what causes it).

One is that the nature of the crystal may reflect the heat of the human hand. It may be merely radiating back heat that is being absorbed into the crystal by the hand.

Two, it is HIGHLY likely that this is the person’s imagination. We can psyche ourselves out to believe or experience almost anything.

Three, it is possible to have a demonic source as well, but the most likely explanation is that it is the person’s overactive imagination and wishing. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Acupuncture

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=693

July 24, 2008

Is it acceptable to undergo ‘5 Element Acupuncture?” This supposedly treats a person’s body, mind, heart and spirit. –Meg

Acupuncture is based on a false cosmology. It believes there are energy flows in the body through what are called meridians. Blocks in the energy flow brings physical or mental disease. The Acupuncture is supposed to unblock this energy flow. When it is unblocked the person gets well.

This is hogwash.

There is no evidence of meridians and energy flows through them. It does not exist.

What treats a person’s body, mind, heart, and spirit is Christ and that which he ordains (like provable medical techniques based on facts, not fantasy and false cosmologies). Thus, the answer to your question is, No. It is not acceptable for a Christian to undergo this sort of therapy. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Indigo children

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=706

August 4, 2008

I hear a lot about unusual kids called indigo children. Those are “able” to see through walls etc. What is your opinion on this phenomenon? –Constance

There is no such thing as Indigo Children. This is a New Age belief that some children, primary born after the later 1970s, are in a higher state of human evolution and thus can express paranormal power or have extraordinary abilities of creativity and empathy.

The term “Indigo Children” was coined by a wacko “psychic”, Nancy Ann Tappe in her 1982 book, Understanding Your Life Through Color. She claimed to see auras. In the late 1970s she claimed that many babies were being born with an indigo colored aura. She claims that 60 percent of people age 14 to 25, and 97 percent of children under ten are “Indigo”. Really? I have yet to meet one.

Then in 1998 another pair of wackos, Lee Carroll and Jan Tober (husband and wife) said they learned about Indigo children while “channeling” an entity named Kryon who is suppose to be a “Master angelic energy.” Well, Kryon is really a demon, of course. These two wrote about it in 1998 in the book, The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived.

I do not think we need to go further. All this originates with demons. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Martial arts

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=707

August 4, 2008

How do I know which parts of Taekwondo (a martial art) are acceptable by catholic teaching. Can I go to it and still be a “good” catholic. Or should I just avoid it entirely, because of some of the practices being eastern and mystical in nature? Are eastern martial arts equivalent to playing in the devil’s sandbox? –Michael

I am currently taking Tae Kwon Do. I know that this is a controversial subject and that opinions vary widely. However, I personally believe that Tae Kwon Do is an acceptable form of martial arts for Christians (along with Judo and Jujitsu) – at least in general terms. I cannot say for sure that there aren’t at least some schools out there that also teach eastern mysticism. However, I can vouch for the fact that my school does not teach anything other than positive virtues (i.e., respect, perseverance, loyalty, honor, self-control) and the actual Tae Kwon Do techniques.

My advice to anyone wanting to get involved in martial arts would be to always ask the instructor what if anything they teach in terms of the philosophical and/or religious and mystical aspects of their particular discipline. If they say they teach virtues such as those that I mentioned above, or if they teach nothing at all other than the forms and self-defense techniques, then you probably have nothing to be concerned about. On the other hand, if they start talking about Chi, universal energy, controlling one’s environment, emptying the mind and things of that nature, find a different school.
There are some martial arts forms out there, such as Tai Chi and Aikido, which should most definitely be avoided (I know of at least one client of ours who was demonized as a result of participating in Tai Chi). Other forms, such as Karate and Kung Fu, might be okay if and only if they are taught without the meditative, mystical or philosophical aspects – even subtly – and as long as the movements do not lead to a meditative state or an altered state. Yoga, by the way, fails this test. Joe Meineke

 

Crystals…

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=715

August 12, 2008

I have been a mineral and gemstone enthusiast and collector since I was a kid, the first time I bought some gemstones as a souvenir from Disneyland. I was never raised religious, and have not started seeking Christ until April of this year. Anyhow I have an extensive collection of rare minerals, gemstones (polished) and crystals (rough/natural). As of finding Christ I have no longer taken an interest in them for “healing” purposes. I received a message in thought that they were essentially useless. But I still keep them because if my scientific interest in them.
Just as background: I have been a spiritual seeker my whole life, not being raised religious I was free to examine any faiths/practices/beliefs that I wanted and over the years have examined or practiced almost everything under the sun. This includes occult practices such as tarot, astrology, palm reading, meditation, crystal healing, and crafting magical objects such as wands. But I must admit I have never really taken any or most of these things seriously. I have always had serious doubts as to whether any of it was real, but just took an interest in them casually…
Now I have read several of the posts on this board in relation to crystals and your instructions on destroying them. Personally I have no intention whatsoever of destroying my specimens as I consider them as such, useless, mineral specimens. What are your thoughts?
It seems to me that despite the propensity for people to Believe that these items have magical or other powers/metaphysical properties I personally having had almost a decade and a half experience with the ideology believe there is no such thing. Further I think the lack of interest or intention would render such things inanimate, and further that it would be superstition and bogus belief to think that they held such powers or abilities to bring through demons or other things. While I believe evil exists, and can very well attack us as spiritual beings, I cannot believe that a crystal necklace (such as was mentioned in a previous post) or my own very large mineral collection can provide a “portal” for such things.
Can you provide any specific doctrine or evidence as relates to this subject of minerals? I have read the catechism regarding sorcery and magical/occult practice. I would also like to assure you that I have recently taken the steps to rid my home of any specifically occult items as I deemed to be so. With the exception of my minerals, and a few handmade wooden staffs which I just felt were decorative items…
Again your advice would definitely be appreciated; perhaps I have taken things lightly and put myself into danger as a result. –Catherine

My primary concern with that you have posted is the casual way you refer to your occult involvement. Catherine, in terms of the occult involvement it does not matter whether or not you took it seriously. Occult involvement places bondage upon you even if your involvement was “casual.” The devil could care less if you are not taking it seriously. To play in Satan’s sandbox WILL result in Satan’s sand in your shoes.

You need to confess the sin of this occult involvement, if you have not already done so, AND renounce this activity and take back the ground that Satan gained in your life as a result of your occult involvement. You can find a Renouncement Prayer in the SW Catalog linked below.

As for crystals, minerals, and gemstones, these items are natural materials of the earth. There is nothing occult or evil about them in-and-of-themselves. Like any object, these materials can be used improperly or even with evil, but the objects itself are not evil; crystals, minerals, and gemstones are morally neutral.

There is nothing wrong with a collection of crystals, minerals, and gemstones, but if you used any of these objects in an occult way, then those objects need to be cleansed and blessed so as to remove any demonic attachment that might be upon them.

 

 

Lastly, to the topic of getting rid of the objects I am not saying you must do that. But, I am concerned about your refusal to even entertain the idea. If these objects cause you to have demonic bondage then you need to rid of them. Which is more important, the crystals or your soul?

None of us are to be so attached to anything that we would refuse to get rid of it when it is prudent to do so. Such an attachment gets in the way of our devotion to God.

I am NOT saying you must get rid of these things, I am just commenting on the danger of your attitude of refusal to do so if it were needed.

Jesus said that if our eye offends us to pluck it out…that it is better to have one eye than to go to hell.

We are to have nothing in our way in our devotion to God. If something does get in our way, then we need to get rid of it, no matter what it is.

If your collection has been cleansed of any demonic attachments that might have been applied if you used them in occult healing and the like, AND you are not attached to them like Lot’s wife was attached to Sodom and looked back, AND the objects do not lead you back or tempt you to go back to their occult use, AND if they are not an occasion for bondage, AND if they do not get in the way of your focus and devotion of God, then it is okay.

 

Chakras

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=728

August 31, 2008

I have a question regarding Chakras and their “healing” purposes. I recently met a lady at work and although she is very nice and loving, I have always felt a little guarded around her. I couldn’t understand this, for she seemed to be a Christian. However, after talking and getting to know her better, I understand my guarded feelings – she is into New Age (without ever coming out and telling me). I believe my feelings were/are a warning from God.
Before posting this I checked what I could find out about Chakra on this forum, but wasn’t’ too successful.
One of my children has been ill for months with unexplained, debilitating headaches (never go away, and we’re waiting to see a neurologist – in the meantime she is on strong medication to alleviate the pain). This lady gave me some papers she made with Chakra (interspersed with Bible teachings) and a CD to listen to, explaining that this will “cure” my daughter’s headaches.

I immediately felt uneasy and guarded. I asked her what was on the CD and she told me it was just relaxing music – no words and will help. I accepted the package, but I will not use it. I understand that this is New Age garbage, and I will not go against the Church’s teachings with adhere to God’s will.
My question: Even though this is supposedly only musical notes, can this “music” bring about demonic influences? I will not take a chance either way, and will give this package back to this co-worker telling her that I don’t delve in the occult New Age philosophy. Is there anything else I can tell her? -Claire

Chakra is a word from the Sanskrit (Hindu) meaning circle or wheel.  It refers to centers of energy allegedly found in the spine located at major branchings of the human nervous system, beginning at the base of the spinal column and moving upward to the top of the skull. These Chakras (energy centers) are considered to be a point metaphysical and biophysical energy.

There are different traditions and variations of the Chakra philosophy. In Tantric tradition the seven chakras are:

Sahasrara or the crown chakra is generally considered to be the chakra of consciousness. Symbolized by a lotus with one thousand petals, it is located on the crown of the head.

Ajna or the Third Eye is the chakra of time, awareness and of light. Symbolized by a lotus with two petals.

Vishuddha or the throat chakra is the chakra of communication and growth, growth being a form of expression. Symbolized by a lotus with sixteen petals.

Anahata or the heart chakra is related to complex emotion, compassion, love, equilibrium and well-being. Symbolized by a lotus with twelve petals.

Manipura or the solar plexus chakra is related to the transition from simple or base to complex emotion, energy, assimilation and digestion. Symbolized by a lotus with ten petals.

Swadhisthana or the sacral chakra is related to base emotion, sexuality and creativity. It is located is located in the sacrum. Symbolized by a lotus with six petals.

Muladhara or the base or root chakra is related to instinct, security, survival and also to basic human potentiality. This centre is located in the region between the genitals and the anus. Symbolized by a lotus with four petals.

All this has to do with the energy flows and centers in the body that are thought to exist in Eastern cosmology. These cosmologies do not actually exist and are contrary to the Catholic worldview. The Philosophy and all that goes with it should be avoided.

This lady is mistaken if she thinks she can justify this false cosmology with bible verses. The idea that this can cure illness is ridiculous and dangerous.

As for the music, I cannot answer since I have not heard it. But, in general there are musical compositions that are designed to place one into an altered state of consciousness. These are to be avoided. Although I do not know about this particular tape, it is likely that it is music of the type that could be spiritually dangerous.

It is wise to give this back to your friend. As for what to tell her, I would mention that a Christian should not be involved in these things. If she is interested she can read Church documents on the matter, such as A Christian reflection on the “New Age”. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

Delving into New Age

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=749

September 18, 2008

I delved into new age yesterday heavily (I break sometimes) and got deeply into meditation through YouTube guidance of spiritual masters, Indian gurus. I spent 4 hrs doing guided meditations. Afterward, I felt like garbage.
So, I decided to pray the prayers you have posted here (as I do when I slip up) and the rosary. I just so happened to be reading a book about how powerful the rosary is and how the devil doesn’t want us praying it.
Well, as you guessed, after doing the meditations and then forgiveness prayers, as I was praying my rosary, it broke and fell in my lap. I looked to see where it broke, unsuspicious at the time, but there really is no breaking point. The two round silver connecters are perfectly in place; there was no place for it to break from. Could it be demonic? -Renee

Well, I can only go by what you have written here, but something like this “can” be demonic. Given what you did, that you were repenting of it, and praying a Marian prayer, it is certainly possible.

Of course there are natural explanations for a Rosary breaking too.

Be sure to confess this episode of indulgence into the New Age garbage. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reincarnation and past-life regression therapy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=757

September 26, 2008

I have a relative who attended a huge New Age symposium where a psychologist had everyone meditate, open their minds and be open to past-life regression. She told us that she “cleared her mind and emptied herself” and claims she was a young Civil War soldier who was stabbed in the back, and in her next life she was yet another young lad in the 1950’s (believe it or not was also murdered this time around–shot in the back). I found this whole story to be a ridiculous pile of you know what. I was tempted to ask her if she walks around with persistent back pain, but I kept my mouth shut.
She claims the Catholic Church is the only religion that denies reincarnation (that even Muslims believe this, is this true?) She feels she is very knowledgeable about life and its mysteries and that perhaps the Church has just brainwashed the rest of us poor schmucks who are not savvy to reincarnation and that we have many chances to “get it right” before we go on to Nirvana. My simple explanation is that reincarnation is totally at odds with the resurrection and that if such a ridiculous belief were true then there would be no need of a Savior. We cannot deny Christ. I prefer to be raised again in a glorified body and see His face for all eternity. I want to be me and only me…not hundreds of other people.
When she finally makes it to Nirvana after the 135th try, what name will she call all the loved ones she lost while on earth–Ralph, Alice, Lassie, Fluffy all somehow rolled into one big soul? How are you gonna find em? I want to see my deceased loved ones and have no doubt who they are!
All kidding aside, what do you make of all those who supposedly regress, speak foreign languages fluently and give details of past history? This must be demonic in nature…I don’t doubt they are seeing something–but I would be awfully frightened by it. How can we defend our faith and stand up to this belief. I will certainly pray for her. –Janet

Don’t forget that one of her past lives may have been a cockroach. So in addition to Ralph, Alive, Lassie, and Fluffy are roach-head, ratboy, flygirl, and dung beetle girl.

Reincarnation is utter nonsense not only theologically, but also philosophically, metaphysically, and ontologically.

Past-Life regressions are created by hypnotic suggestion and piecing together information stored in subconscious memory. Even languages can be a result hearing the language in passing somewhere and stored in the subconscious.

Nearly all so-called past-life regressions are created this way. In the rare instance where information is known that does not come from hypnosis and dubiousness factors the information was planted in the mind of the person by the devil.

The Catechism states:

1013 Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). There is no “reincarnation” after death.

Pope John Paul II said this about Reincarnation in his Apostolic Letter
“As the Third Millennium draws near”:

9. Speaking of the birth of the Son of God, St. Paul places this event in the “fullness of time” (cf. Gal. 4:4). Time is indeed fulfilled by the very fact that God, in the incarnation, came down into human history. Eternity entered into time: What “fulfillment” could be greater than this? What other “fulfillment” would be possible? Some have thought in terms of certain mysterious cosmic cycles in which the history of the universe and of mankind in particular, would constantly repeat itself. True, man rises from the earth and returns to it (cf. Genesis 3:19): This is an immediately evident fact. Yet in man there is an irrepressible longing to live forever. How are we to imagine a life beyond death? Some have considered various forms of reincarnation: Depending on one’s previous life, one would receive a new life in either a higher or lower form until full purification is attained. This belief, deeply rooted in some Eastern religions, itself indicates that man rebels against the finality of death. He is convinced that his nature is essentially spiritual and immortal.

Christian revelation excludes reincarnation and speaks of a fulfillment which man is called to achieve in the course of a single earthly existence. Man achieves this fulfillment of his destiny through the sincere gift of self, a gift which is made possible only through his encounter with God. It is in God that man finds full self-realization: This is the truth revealed by Christ. Man fulfills himself in God, who comes to meet him through his eternal Son.

 

 

Thanks to God’s coming on earth, human time, which began at creation, has reached its fullness. “The fullness of time” is in fact eternity, indeed, it is the One who is eternal, God himself. Thus, to enter into “the fullness of time” means to reach the end of time and to transcend its limits in order to find time’s fulfillment in the eternity of God.

Here are some other articles on the subject:

Reincarnation and the Bible 

What the Church Fathers said about Reincarnation

RESURRECTION AND REINCARNATION by Father Michael Hull -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Horoscope in homily

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=860

January 3, 2009

I went to Mass this morning, the Solemnity of the Epiphany. In the wording of the Gospel, the Magi were termed ‘astrologers.’ When the priest was doing his homily, he told us that astrology was based on the position of stars, then he began to cite zodiac signs and horoscope. I just couldn’t remember his exact words now but as far as I can understand, he said that they are true. He even cites the example of how the phases of the moon affect the seawater (high and low tide) and said that the position of the stars affects the human mind. Now, as far as I believe our Faith forbids horoscope and numbers it among superstitious beliefs, that’s why I began to have doubts. Can you please enlighten me? –James

It is true that the Magi were astrologers. In those days, and up to early modern times, the science of astronomy and astrology were interlinked.

Your pastor is grossly negligent and irresponsible, however, to suggest that astrology is “true”, if that is what he did. In fact, this is the grave sin of scandal if anyone takes up astrology because of his words.

Astrology is divination, which is an abomination before God and a grave sin. The Catechism states:

Divination and magic

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.

I would advise talking with the Pastor to find out exactly what he said, and what he meant. If he did suggest that Astrology is true, then show him this passage in the Catechism. If he refuses to repent of this opinion that astrology is ok, then I would write a letter to the bishop. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Sweat lodges

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=869

January 8, 2009

I am a Native American. Several years ago I went to a few healing ceremonies on the reservation including a sweat lodge. I was given a prayer/peace pipe. I have it stored in my closet. I have not used it in years. Is it ok to keep it in the house? Is it dangerous to begin with? My relatives that practice the traditional way (red road) are not witches or anything like that. I was just wondering if it was opening doors. Should I send the pipe back? I live out of state and not sure how to handle this, don’t even know if it needs handling. Please advise. –Isabella

The spirituality of the aboriginal peoples of North America includes concepts and practices that are not only inconsistent with Christianity but can be spiritually dangerous in some cases. Not all practices and rituals are problematic, but those that seek to contact spirit guides or familiars, or petitions to “spirits” is flirting with real danger as these “spirits” are not from God.

For our readers, the Sweat Lodge differs somewhat depending on the tribe. In many traditions the sweat lodge usually starts with the loading and offering of the sacred chanunpa — “peace pipe” — in prayer, that the participants may know and speak the truth in their supplications of Grandfather, Earth Mother and the spirits. In other traditions, when you are called upon to go into the sweat lodge you will have some tobacco to offer to the sacred fire, saying a prayer or asking a question, the smoke from the tobacco carrying your request to the Great Spirit.

The problem with this is unless this is translated into a Christian context of praying to the One True God, the prayers are to a spirit other than God.

As for possessing the Peace Pipe, I do not think that is a problem. But, I do not think it is wise to participate in a sweat lodge unless it has been Christianized. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

 

Medicine Wheel [and Reiki]

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=880

January 19, 2009

I want to know if there is any way that the Native American medicine wheel can be taught in a workshop to Catholics. I am concerned because although this retreat house is run by our local Catholic convent they are offering reiki (which I know is wrong) and now teachings on the medicine wheel as a way to bring a deeper spirituality for Catholics with the “creator”. My gut says this can’t be correct and I want to protect those that are being misled but I am not sure how to go about it. Perhaps I am mistaken about these teachings but I know they have to do with the four directions and each has a teaching i.e.: emotional, spiritual etc. I also am confused about how they are allowed to do these things as a Roman Catholic retreat house? –Andrea

Your gut is correct.

Reiki is extremely dangerous. We have had clients who have become seriously demonized because of Reiki. There is no excuse for Catholics to be involved in Reiki or American Indian spirituality.

As for way these woman religious get involved in this stuff, well, as a general observation, the women religious in this country have lost their faith. Feminism and wacko spiritualities are pandemic among women religious. Retreat houses are so bad that as a general rule all one can do is to not recommend any of them without specific investigation.

I would advise you stay away from this convent and pray for these women to return to the faith of the Catholic Church.

A Christian’s Reflection on the New Age and Some Aspects of Christian Meditation are two Church documents that are must reads.

In addition, I recommend articles on the Dangers of Centering Prayer and the Enneagram. Other resources are listed on our Resource Page. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Nightmares after renouncing New Age

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=900

February 3, 2009

I have in the past few months turned away from my New Age beliefs, psychics, etc. and I started praying the rosary daily and receiving communion and going to mass. I have been praying a lot the past week, especially with more time on my hands. Now, I have been suffering nightmares more and more often. They seem to be spiritual in nature (not in a good way). Now, why would God allow this if I am under his increased protection since I am praying more? –Renee

I am sorry to hear about the nightmares, but this is rather normal. When you turned away from the New Age and psychics and the like, and praise God that you did, you turned your back on the devil. He doesn’t like that. In addition, the devil really doesn’t like that fact that you left his clutches to fall into the loving arms of our Lord and God Jesus Christ and our Blessed Mother.

These nightmares, therefore, are a revenge from the evil one. His purpose is to try to get you back into the New Age; get you away from God.

One of the reasons God allows this is that this attack is the natural consequences of your involvement in the New Age. If you play with Satan, expect to be burned when you try to leave him. God, I imagine, also allows this to test your faith. If you pass this test, that is, if you remain with God despite the harassment you are getting then your faith and resolve for God will be hard fought and thus more solid and firm.

The key to the Christian life is perseverance. Persevere in this harassment. Consider it a testing to which your faith will become stronger.

In the meantime, you can fight against this harassment by using some of the spiritual warfare prayers in our Catalog linked [See page 1]. The Hedge Prayers of Protection, the Reclaiming Ground, the Bedtime Prayers of Protection, and others I would recommend. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Dr. David Hawkins

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=902

February 6, 2009

I am in great need of finding good Catholic (even Christian) critique of Dr David Hawkins. I do research for my spiritual director and this famed psychiatrist has taken a foothold at our local catholic spiritual center by someone teaching one of his books: Force vs. Power.
I have had another occasion of writing to the center and the bishop about the different new age occultic material being there. And now, again it pops up with the teaching of Hawkins. But I cannot find good catholic resources on the internet about him. Good critique that can be submitted to the Bishop. I only have my gut feeling and after reading his babble, it is disconcerting for sure. But I am not an authority that would accepted by either the center or the bishop.
Could you help me? This doctor has published many, many books and regards himself as God. I believe this is very dangerous and his teachings are based on Course in Miracles.
Thank you for your time and many blessings in your ministry. I have written before and you have provided great wise answers. And I have followed through. –Shoshana

If this psychiatrist’s teachings and methods are based in any way on the Course in Miracles then he should be rejects out-of-hand. That should be enough for the bishop to disapprove his materials.

 

 

 

I do not have the time to do a formal review, but a quick search on him seems to reveal that he uses applied kinesiology. This is based on non-existent energy flows in the body. It is hogwash and this fella, who is supposed to be a scientist, should know better.

While I cannot review this book of his I did find a review of the book from http://www.spiritualteachers.org/david_hawkins.htm

It did not take long to doubt Hawkins’ claim that “the truths reported in this book [Power vs. Force] were scientifically derived and objectively organized.” David Hawkins cloaks Power vs. Force in a veneer of mis-applied scientific jargon and presents highly speculative theories as facts. It is hard to imagine that a person, who once wrote journaled scientific papers, is now stating that subjects experienced “desynchronization of the cerebral hemispheres” as if this were a recognized medical condition. He references Karl Pribram as having shown the brain acts “holographically,” while, in truth, Pribram’s is one of several theories. Hawkins makes vague references to nonlinear dynamics, chaos theory, and attractor patterns in support of his theory of consciousness. He displays a knack for obscuring the obvious by attempting to appear scientific: labeling an emotional upset as “turbulence that occurs in the attractor fields of consciousness.” Power vs. Force is filled with attempts to be scientific that wind up worthy of ridicule rather than respect.

Dr. Hawkins refers to the “absolute replicability of test results,” yet makes no mention that kinesiology has never been verified by double-blind studies, as evidenced by reports from the National Institutes of Health.

The ideas Dr. Hawkins teachings are derived from Chinese cosmologies and other philosophies that are hostile and incompatible to Christianity.

As a former practitioner and teacher of applied kinesiology I have first hand knowledge of the fraudulence of this theory and technique, as well as occult connections that oftentimes go along with it. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Biofeedback and Neuro-Linguistic Programming

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=916

February 23, 2009

I have a couple of friends who practice the techniques of Biofeedback and Neuro-Linguistic Programming and I’m not really sure of how to best explain why they might be dangerous. I’ve heard that they are both New Age techniques but can’t seem to find any information on why exactly they’re dangerous. I’ve told them both that they should stay away from them, but I think I need some more convincing information than just my warning.
One person is actually a licensed Pastoral Counselor who has learned Biofeedback during her graduate studies at a Jesuit university. The other person is quite interested in using NLP for his sales career. Scary indeed. –Marshall

To quote from a website on
Neuro-Linguistic Programming:

The basic premise of NLP is that the words we use reflect an inner, subconscious perception of our problems. If these words and perceptions are inaccurate, as long as we continue to use them and to think of them, the underlying problem will persist. In other words, our attitudes are, in a sense, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This sounds good and is actually true. But, there are many problems with the actual technique of NLP. Wikipedia accurately describes the three main criticism of NLP from the scientific community:

There are three main criticisms of NLP:

1. NLP pretends to be a science, but is really a pseudoscience, for its claims are not based on the scientific method. Its very name is a pretense to a legitimate discipline like neuroscience, neurolinguistics, and psychology. It has a large collection of scientific sounding terms, like eye accessing cues, metamodeling, micromodeling, metaprogramming, neurological levels, presuppositions, primary representational systems, modalities and submodalities. Corballis (1999) argues that “NLP is a thoroughly fake title, designed to give the impression of scientific respectability”. According to Beyerstein (1995) “though it claims neuroscience in its pedigree, NLP’s outmoded view of the relationship between cognitive style and brain function ultimately boils down to crude analogies.” With reference to all the ‘neuromythologies’ covered in his article, including NLP, he states “In the long run perhaps the heaviest cost extracted by neuromythologists is the one common to all pseudosciences—deterioration in the already low levels of scientific literacy and critical thinking in society.” Proponents of NLP often deny that it is based on theory.

2. There is little or no evidence or research to support its often extravagant claims. Heap (1988) remarks that if the assertions made by proponents of NLP about representational systems and their behavioural manifestations are correct, then its founders have made remarkable discoveries about the human mind and brain, which would have important implications for human psychology, particularly cognitive science and neuropsychology. Yet there is no mention of them in learned textbooks or journals devoted to these disciplines. Neither is this material taught in psychology courses at the pre-degree and degree level. When Heap spoke to academic colleagues who spend much time researching and teaching in these fields, they showed little awareness, if any, of NLP. Heap (1988) argued that to arrive at such important generalisations about the human mind and behaviour would certainly require prolonged, systematic, and meticulous investigation of human subjects using robust procedures for observing, recording, and analysing the phenomena under investigation. “There is just no other way of doing this”. Yet the founders of NLP never revealed any such research or investigation, and there is no evidence of its existence. Indeed, Bandler himself claimed it was not his job to prove any of his claims about the workings of the human mind, “The truth is, when we know how something is done, it becomes easy to change”. Tosey and Mathison say that “the pragmatic and often anti-theoretical stance by the founders has left a legacy of little engagement between practitioner and academic communities”.

 

 

 

3. A significant amount of experimental research suggests that the central claims of NLP are unjustified. See NLP and science for a description of the literature. The majority of empirical research was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s and consisted of laboratory experimentation testing Bandler and Grinder’s hypothesis that a person’s preferred sensory mode of thinking can be revealed by observing eye movement cues and sensory predicates in language use. A research review conducted by Christopher Sharpley in 1984, followed by another review in 1987 in response to criticism by Einspruch and Forman, concluded that there was little evidence for its usefulness as an effective counseling tool. Reviewing the literature in 1988, Michael Heap also concluded that objective and fair investigations had shown no support for NLP claims about ‘preferred representational systems’. The conclusions of Heap and Sharpley have been contested on the grounds that the studies demonstrated an incomplete understanding of the claims of NLP and that the interviewers involved in the many of the studies had inadequate training/competence in NLP.

NLP-like techniques are used by cults like est. The idea of “programming” is dangerous. We are not creatures to be “programmed” but rather children of God who need to work toward living our lives and ordering our thinking and behavior to the will of God. This is not done by “programming” but by free will decisions to love and choose God.

Biofeedback is another alternative therapy. Its use has shown some promise with ADHD and a few other conditions, but the science is not quite there yet.

Even if legitimate uses for biofeedback are proven, there is still the problem of its misuse as a means to enter into altered states of consciousness that may cause spiritual harm. The use of biofeedback for anxiety and such are better handled by more traditional methods to deal with anxiety (and cheaper).

For the Christian, NLP should most certainly be avoided. Biofeedback might have some usage in very limited circumstances, but usually more traditional methods are just as effective. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Kinesiology: Spiritual Director approved!

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=965

April 20, 2009

I have a dear friend who, desperate for a cure for her son’s unidentified wasting disease, found her way into the holistic health arena. Both her and her son embraced applied kinesiology and Lifesystems (returning the body to proper electrical balance). Her son experienced great improvement after diagnosing what his body lacked or had too much of. Treatments were mainly lifestyle and nutritional changes.
Both mother and son became practitioners after being assured by their spiritual directors, Catholic priests, that as long as they stayed Christ centered, they were doing no harm, only good. But, of course, “stay away from the eastern mysticism aspects”. They are assured that there is no moral problem with treating patients through long distance muscle testing. Having been (along with almost everyone in my family) a patient of hers, I can say that she is amazingly accurate. She sees this as a gift from God. She will pray, before and after treating people.
This woman and her son are regular adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, daily communicants, rosary praying, scapular wearing Catholics who frequently use the confessional. I know because I have seen this.
I have renounced these (muscle testing, etc) practices and really desire to help my friend see the light. But how do you approach this when the believer has the blessing of her spiritual director? I know her director and find him to be unwise about more than just this issue.
As of today my friend has 3 gravely ill sons, one with brain tumors, one with leukemia, and I’m not sure what else. She feels this must be God’s Will because they refuse to apply themselves 100% to natural remedies. I believe it to be a backlash from the evil one. My family is experiencing some strong oppression in all areas, spiritual health, physical health and financial. We are seeking deliverance through the prayers of a good and holy priest.
I need direction so I can help her. –Geraldine

I am sorry to hear about the problems of your friend, but any spiritual director or priest who recommends or advises in favor Kinesiology should be fired. There is no way that a Christian can involve themselves in this technique, which is based upon false science and a spirituality and worldview that is utterly inconsistent with Christianity.

I have a rather extensive analysis of Kinesiology that you may find useful:

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=167. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

“Fate” Online Game

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=972

April 29, 2009

Awhile back you answered a question about the online game “Runescape”. I have a question about another game. It’s called “Fate” which immediately makes me wary of it.
A good Catholic friend of my 13 year-old son plays the game and says that the magic in the game is minimized and you can get around it. My son doesn’t think so just from reading some of the rules of the game and wants to explain it to him.
I was wondering if you could give him some points to share with his friend about the game.
This is what the game Fate is about: “Fate is a fantasy action role-playing game similar to Diablo and Diablo II. This type of game is also known as a “dungeon crawler,” where the player takes his/her character through progressively difficult levels of a dungeon, fighting monsters, completing quests, collecting valuable items and gold, and improving the character’s attributes and skills along the way.”

 

 


Here are a few of the troubling aspects of the game:
“If at any point in the game the character dies (Health Points driven down to zero) the death is not permanent. The personification of Fate appears who resembles the Grim Reaper. Fate offers the player three choices: first, the character can be brought back to life at the spot where they fell, in exchange for a portion of their Experience Points and Fame Points. Second, they can be brought back to life and transported to a nearby level (one or two levels up or down) in exchange for a portion of the character’s gold. This new place may be safer or more dangerous than the one where the character died. Third, the character can be brought back to life and transported three levels up in exchange for all the gold in their possession.”
“Increasing the four attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Vitality and Magic) allows the character to wield stronger weapons, armor and magical spells, while Skills denote proficiency at certain things (“Sword Skill,” “Charm Magic Skill,” “Critical Hit Skill” etc.–there are a total of 15 different Skills.”
“In addition to the various vendors and quest-givers in the town, there is also a Healer, who will bring the character’s Health Points up to full capacity free of charge, and an Enchanter who, for a fee, will try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to add an enchantment or a socket to an item of the player’s choosing. However, once in a while he will accidentally delete all of the item’s enchantments or even put a curse on the item, reducing its usefulness.” –Linda

I am not familiar with the game you mentioned so I cannot speak directly to it, but I can speak generally about role-play games.
Fantasy games can be a problem because of the strong dynamics of role play on the mind. There is a very good article that has a section about role-play. The article itself is about how Pokémon and Magic Cards effect children, but the section about Role-Play applies here. I have excerpted the section below:

The televised Pokémon show brings suggestions and images that set the stage for the next steps of entanglement. It beckons the young spectator to enter the manipulative realm of role-play, where fantasy simulates reality, and the buyer becomes a slave to their programmer.

Remember, in the realm of popular role-playing games – whether it’s Pokémon, Magic the Gathering, or other selections — the child becomes the master. As in contemporary witchcraft, he or she wields the power. Their arm, mind, or power-symbol (the Pokémon or other action figure) become the channel for the spiritual forces. Children from Christian homes may have learned to say, “Thy will be done,” but in the role-playing world, this prayer is twisted into “My will be done!” God, parents, and pastors no longer fit into the picture fantasized by the child.
Psychologists have warned that role-playing can cause the participant to actually experience, emotionally, the role being played. Again, “the child becomes the master.” Or so it seems to the player.

Actually, the programmer who writes the rules is the master. And when the game includes occultism and violence, the child-hero is trained to use “his” or “her” spiritual power to kill, poison, evolve, and destroy — over and over. Not only does this repetitive practice blur the line between reality and fantasy, it also sears the conscience and causes the player to devalue life. The child learns to accept unthinkable behavior as “normal”.
To be a winner within this system, the committed player must know and follow the rules of the game. Obedience becomes a reflex, strengthened by instant rewards or positive reinforcement. The rules and rewards force the child to develop new habits and patterned responses to certain stimuli. Day after day, this powerful psychological process manipulates the child’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, until his or her personality changes and, as many parents confirm, interest in ordinary family life begins to wither away.
You may have recognized those preceding terms as those often used by behavioral psychologists. They point to a sophisticated system of operant conditioning or behavior modification. The child must exercise his own intelligent mind to learn the complex rules. But after learning the rules, the programmed stimuli produce conditioned responses in the player. These responses become increasingly automatic, a reflex action. Naturally, this can leads to psychological addiction, a craving for ever greater (and more expensive) thrills and darker forces.

While this article speaks of the effects of role play upon children the very same dynamics threaten the adult mind too.
Rather than indulgence into questionable role-play games or any other less than excellent thoughts, we need to remember and to consider the advice of St. Paul who said in Philippians 4:8…

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Another primary principle of Scripture, by the way, is the warning of St. Paul in 1 Cor 6:12: “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.”
And in 1 Cor 10:23: “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

In addition, St. Paul tells us that we are not only to avoid evil itself, but to avoid even the appearance of evil: 1 Thess 5:22: “Abstain from every appearance of evil.”
The use of magic, spells, the worldview of magic powers and the like is the appearance of evil.
As Christians we need to evaluate what we do and what activities we perform not only on the level of whether or not the issue is sin, or whether or not it is particularly bad for us, but also on whether or not the issue is helpful to us to build us up in the faith and in our Christian witness.
Role play games are particularly problematic because of the psychological power they impart. This psychological dynamic is why role play is done in psychotherapy. It helps to reshape the personality or to correct the behavioral pathology.

 

 


Role play is done by law enforcement and soldiers because when done often enough, such as practicing what to do in a fire-fight, when the real thing happens their training will kick in automatically.
A concert pianist “role plays” (practices) for 1000s of hour before a concert. Thus, when the time comes to perform his fingers are on automatic pilot on the keyboard.
I use role-play techniques in deliverance counseling and in training deliverance counselors. It is also an important tool especially in what is called cognitive therapy which focuses on correcting thinking errors.
When used properly role play or other techniques with a similar principle are valuable. But when this technique is used in a game or any other setting that involves improper philosophies and notions, one risks having their thinking contaminated unconsciously without really knowing it. Role play in this context can be a form of brainwashing.
I think there are some actual “Christian” role play games, and I presume some benign games that one can play. It is prudent to avoid those games with worldviews in conflict with our Faith.
While movies are less intense in the psychological power that role play has, similar principles may be applied. Given these principles of St. Paul we would also have to say, for example, that the Harry Potter movies and books should also be avoided by Christians. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Should I confess Reiki… again?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=977

May 9, 2009

I went to confession and confessed getting receiving reiki treatments, and the priest told me it was not a sin, as it was offered at parishes in our diocese. Now, however, I’ve read that the Church has condemned reiki. Do I need to re-confess? –Mary

The priest who told you that should be disciplined by the Bishop for leading his flock astray. I am very weary of priests and others who assert their disobedient or ignorant views and thereby harm the faithful.

As for your confession, I do not think you need to re-confess. You confessed it and the priest absolved you. His ignorant opinions do not affect the validity of the Sacrament. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

T’ai Ch’i

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=981

May 25, 2009

Is it ok to do T’ai Chi for exercise? My husband (a convert to Catholicism a year ago) wants to take classes and wants me to join him. We both want to get in shape and this seems to be a low-impact activity. However, I’m a cradle Catholic and am not sure about this…I don’t want to do anything that might put my faith in danger.

My husband talked to the instructor, an elderly Chinese man, and told him we can’t be involved in eastern religion. The instructor said he teaches it for the sake of bettering people’s health.

What do you think? -Mary

There are other ways to better one’s health. Why use a method of which the philosophical and physical presumptions behind it are contrary to the faith?

I have discussed this in http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=496. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

While it is not impossible that some martial arts instructors/programmes do not teach the anti-Christian Taoist philosophies in their practice of some forms of martial arts, it is also next to impossible to steer completely of coming up against them. There are too many “ifs” and “buts” in the cautions given by Joe Meineke and Bro. Ignatius Mary further above to potential Catholic students.

To quote the same ministry’s two oft-repeated warning, “If you play in the devil’s sandbox you will get his sand in your shoes” and “St. Paul teaches us that we should not only avoid evil and sin, but to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22)”. –Michael

 

Parish priest promoting Enneagrams and Reiki

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=991

May 31, 2009

Our Parish Priest has teaching the Enneagram, using Reiki on unsuspecting parishioners and promoting the book “The Shack”, even doing a homily on Christmas Day re: “The Shack”.

Recently he was challenged regarding the teaching of the Enneagram and seems to be upset with those who have challenged him.

Some of the parishioners have been saying the Saint Michael prayer immediately following the mass. This has been challenged by this priest. He states that he must be out of the immediate area of the church and in the vestibule before the prayer of St. Michael can be said. He stated that it not fair to other parishioners and the children of the school who may be attending the mass and that they are being “trapped”. This sounds to me that he almost has a fear of the prayer.

Please comment on this issue. I am praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for him and a woman parishioner that seems to be helping him promote this New Age stuff. I am also trying to get the Vatican Document out to as many as I can titled “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life” which I found on your website. –Jeannie

 

 

 

I am saddened to hear about this. There are so many priests trapped by their pride and ego, which is the cause of these sorts of things.

I would send the priest a business-like letter that expresses your concerns, co-signed by others with the same concerns, if possible, that includes a copy of the Vatican document. If this does not resolve the situation then it is time to write the Bishop, also co-signed by others who are concerned.

In the letter to the bishop report your steps to resolve this and the priest’s responses to those efforts. This includes copies of any correspondence sent to the priest or the priest sent to you. Any verbal communications should be summarized as accurately and factually as possible. The letter to the Bishop should be in a business-like and professional manner expressing the concerns of yourself and the others. Keep to facts and the facts of the priest’s response to your concerns. Do not speculate on the priest’s motivations, or characterize anything. Stick with objective facts and concerns.

Canon Law gives you the right to express your concerns about matters such as this:

Canon 212.1 Christ’s faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show Christian obedience to what the sacred Pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church.

.2 Christ’s faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church.

.3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

“Dr Montieth” and the “Prophecy Club”

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1047

August 26, 2009

I would like to know if you have heard or read about Dr Montieth and what he calls the “Occult hierarchy” My husband was given a DVD filmed in the US with a banner behind it called “The Prophecy Club” .Dr Montieth spoke for at least two hours on this topic (“The Occult hierarchy”) referring to many social, political and medical means masterminded by members of this group to control the world’s population. -Bridget

This “Dr Montieth” and the “Prophecy Club” are bad news. They are into new age philosophies. Christians ought to stay away from this man and his group and not view or read his materials as it can only contaminate your faith. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

“Star Wars” Online Game

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1057

September 10, 2009

My husband and I play an online game centered on the movie Star Wars. We play the roles of ‘jedi knights,’ which are characters based on the Japanese tradition of warrior monks.
My husband and I are practicing Catholics and of course do not believe or even remotely take seriously this make-believe ‘religion’ called the force, though aspects of it are utilized in our game play. For example, we will make our computer characters do things like meditate, run faster than is humanly possible, throw lightening from their fingertips, become invisible, etc.

Is there any danger in this? I worry that this is ‘dabbling’ in the occult, or giving evil an opening. My husband says it’s just playing a game and there is nothing to worry about. –Mary Grace

Role Play subtly affects the spirit and the mind. It is essentially conditioning the mind. That is why role play is used in counseling or in training of military or police. Because role play has this effect on the psychology and spirit it matters what we role play.

St. Paul says to think upon things that are excellent. St. Ignatius Loyola, picking up on St. Paul, advises us to guard our senses. It is in our imaginations that the devil can have his way with us. He can sift our imaginations like wheat.

Thus, it matters what images, music, thoughts, and idea we allow into our minds.

The idea that it is “justa” game, movie, book, etc. is what the devil wants us to believe. If the devil can convince us to dismiss things by say it is “justa whatever” then he has us.

There is no such thing as a “justa”. That language is the language of rationalization because someone does not want to do the prudent thing and keep on with their dangerous activity.

The questions you need to ask about this game are:

1) Does the game glorify God, or is at least neutral?

2) Does the game lift our minds to God, or is at least neutral?

3) Does the game include a philosophy or theology that is contrary to Christianity?

4) If the game includes role play, what does the role play involve? Does the role play have the players acting out with actions or attitudes that are not Christian?

5) Do we make excuses to keep playing the game? (A sign that deep down we know that the game is not really prudent for a Christian to play)

 

 

 

Star Wars has a theology that is part and parcel of the New Age. New Age philosophies and theologies are hostile to Christianity. I would not want to be training my mind to think according to those ideas (and role play is training the mind, whether one knows it or not). –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Near Death Experiences

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1114

December 1, 2009

I have been reading about Near Death Experiences and researchers who study them.
As you may know, many people report seeing a “being of Light.” This may be culturally-induced and such beings include Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, etc. etc. etc.
What is striking is that children who report NDEs and seeing a being seem to report the being similarly – for example, while many adults report Jesus as having white skin, most, if not all, children report Him with tan skin (which is likely more historically-accurate), and children report Buddha with yellower skin tone and Muhammed with darker skin tone.
Since children all over the world are reporting the same things, wouldn’t this lend a bit of credibility to such reports, and, if so, what would be the Catholic teaching? I suppose Jesus or Buddha or Muhammed could appear to ease a soul, right? Would this necessarily imply that all religions are equal, or no? Or could this just be coincidence? –Robert

There are many reports of Near Death Experiences. I believe they are real. What one rarely finds in the literature is that many people’s Near Death Experience is of hell, not “the light”.

As for children, it makes sense that they may see Jesus with more accurate “skin tone” as they have not yet been culturally imprinted with a blue-eyed and white skin Jesus. Jesus, and Mary also in her apparitions, tends to appear in a way that relates to the person. Our Lady of Guadalupe appears as a Hispanic woman. Angels might appear with wings, even though they have no wings. This phenomenon is an act of compassion — to appear in a way the person expects so as not to frighten them and to comfort them.

As for appearances of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) and Muhammad in these near death experiences, there is no implication in any respect of an equality of religions. These people could only appear in the light of God if, and only if, they are in heaven and God permitted it. The Church does teach that it is possible for non-Christians to be saved under certain conditions of invincible ignorance or diminished capacity. Again, God is compassionate and may allow this initial visitation. Eventually, however, these persons will meet Jesus and our Blessed Mother and know the true God, who is Trinity.

There are other possible explanations, however, for some of these experiences.  In some cases the source of the experience may be psychological, with a probable biochemical element in the brain. Skeptics think the biochemical explanation is the only explanation. Also, we know from Scripture that the devil can appear as an angel of light.

I think there is enough anecdotal evidence, however, to suggest that many of these experiences are real spiritual experiences, especially since not everyone sees “the light”. The cases of those who have a experience of hell are not necessarily super bad people. Even otherwise good people, contrary to Hollywood, may go to hell.

We do know for a fact that it is possible to be “out-of-body” and in the presence of heaven as St. Paul records in 2 Corinthians 12:2-5.

There are reports of countless people who have had these experiences and as a result have converted to Jesus Christ. Others come back and involve themselves in New Age occultism. Those individuals, I think, met an angel of light that was the devil.

These experiences do not happen to everyone or at least most do not remember them. My mother who was essentially dead on a respirator for about a week does not remember anything.

As for any official statement from the Church on this, I am not aware of any. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Educational pedagogy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1153

January 25, 2010

I was wondering whether you could provide some advice about educational pedagogy. I have two special needs children on the autism spectrum who are currently enrolled in a public charter school that uses a “Waldorf approach” to teaching, which mainly consists of incorporating art and handwork into the classroom, as well as having a teacher stay with a class for several years. Our children have responded well to this approach. It explicitly does NOT teach or have anything to do with anthroposophy, which is an occultic philosophy developed by Rudolph Steiner that I did not know about until much later.
Do you think it is possible for a school to adapt an educational approach, like Waldorf, without getting entangled into any occultic philosophies? Or is it like Reiki, etc.? I ask because a kindergarten teacher recently sent home a note about some new dolls they are using called “Little Ones.” The note raised some red flags for me, but I don’t know whether I am overreacting. To quote:
“Little Ones continue a long tradition of the use of toys as pedagogical tools to encourage and support imaginative play and expression—to help children really use their rich imagination to let a toy become truly alive for them. What I found last year when I brought them for the first time to our class was that they greatly enhanced cooperative play and helped to unify the children in creative themes that could incorporate everyone… As parents, there a few ways you can help us to encourage this sense of magic and creativity. First, when a Little One is introduced to the class, the children are told Mother Earth is sending us a new friend, maybe with a hint about whom it is for.

 

 

 

When brought to the class, I bring a little story about Mother Earth and her care of the natural world and how she meets each Little One and has brought him/her to us to share in this magic… While the children do speculate whether or not I make them, I consistently reiterate they are brought from Mother Earth and continue to build our ever-growing imaginative story. We never calls the Little Ones dolls or toys or its, rather instead we call them by name and often attribute feelings or actions to them. This is important to create a sense of wonder around them and helps to build the sense that they are alive and part of our class. It can also really help a child who is feeling sad, left out, out of sorts and can in those moments provide a way to express feelings, connect to another or be ready to be engaged creatively.” There is also a lot of emphasis on nature, fairy tales, fairies/gnomes, especially in kindergarten. Now I’m wondering if this is problematic.
We did not choose the local parish school because it was unlikely to have the resources to support our children’s’ needs, and its adherence to the Magisterium was questionable. There were other problems with the local public schools, so a charter seemed the best option at the time. Any thoughts? -Angelica

The “Little Ones” approach of the teacher you mentioned is decidedly “new age” and inappropriate for Christians.

As for the Waldorf Approach itself, I do not know enough about it to give a full analysis, but based on your descriptions the part of “incorporating art and handwork into the classroom, as well as having a teacher stay with a class for several years” is certainly valuable. Anthroposophy, on the other hand, is to be avoided by Christians.

Since the founder of the Waldorf Approach, Rudolph Steiner, developed this pedagogy with philosophies not only hostile to Christianity, but psychologically and spiritually dangerous for the children, it becomes very problematic to involve our children in such a program. We, at least, need to be vigilant that improper methods or materials are not exposed to our children.

The devil often works on a “grain of truth”. We need to remember that when we see a grain of truth, the rest of the approach around that grain is not necessary true.

As the Waldorf is based on problematic philosophy I do not think it is a choice we can make. It will be endemic of the approach to have its founding philosophy throughout its practice, either overtly or subtly.

The Church teaches that we can accept truth wherever it is found. Even the occultic theorist can stumble over the truth once-in-awhile.

Thus, what can be done is to have an approach that is not Waldorf at all, but which may borrow whatever good ideas are present, like the “incorporating art and handwork into the classroom, as well as having a teacher stay with a class for several years”.

Where you can find that, I have no idea. Perhaps homeschooling, and if possible, several parents with autistic children coming together to help each other with the homeschooling. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Lorna Byrne

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1155
See also page 82

By Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM, January 27, 2010

Lorna Byrne is not to be recommended. According to her, the “angels” have taught her that “our planet has its own spirit, its own soul”. She sees the “aura” of the earth and animals.

St. Thomas Aquinas taught there are three kinds of soul:

1) Vegetative Soul: This is the life force of all living things — plants, animals, and humans

2) Sensitive Soul: This is faculty of sensing our environment — animals and humans have this type.

3) Rational Soul: This the immortal soul made in the image of God that only humans have, created and placed in the human at the moment of conception.

The “earth” itself has no soul, and certainly no “spirit”. The living things upon the earth have vegetative soul and/or sensitive soul according to the order of plants and animals. Only humans have rational soul.

The idea of “Mother Earth” as spirit and soul is a silly New Age notion and is certainly not something any angel would tell this woman. If she heard this “wisdom” from an angel, it was not an angel of God.

As always, it is best to stay with Church-approved mystics and visionaries. This woman is not recognized by the Catholic Church.

Do animals have souls?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=405 August 2, 2007

Spirit and Soul

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=112 August 27, 2004

 

How the devil uses our minds

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1177

March 7, 2010
I’ve been wondering if the state of mind that people often have wile watching TV, using the internet, playing video games, etc.(that is, pretty much not thinking and being absorbed in their entertainment) is often an opportunity to be influenced by the devil. I don’t just mean being influenced by negative content in the TV program or game. -Mary

Well, watching TV, browsing the Internet, video games and such are not necessarily non-thinking. In any event, there is nothing wrong with these activities and no advantage of the devil per se when we participate in these activities.

The opportunity for the devil is not these activities as such, but the content of these things.

 

If mere focused state of mind into an activity gave the devil an opportunity then he would have an opportunity when we drive a car, watch a baseball game, watch a religious movie, or mediate upon an image of our Blessed Mother. In all these activities the mind is engaged.

What does give the devil an opportunity is when dis-engage our minds, empty our minds, such as through Eastern Meditation* and some hypnosis techniques. *YOGA is an example -Michael

No, these activities are not an automatic opportunity for the devil, but the content of the activities can give the devil a big opportunity. That is why St. Ignatius teaches:

“All should take care to guard with great diligence the gates of their senses (especially the eyes, ears, and tongue) from all disorder, to preserve themselves in peace and true humility of their souls…”

And St. Paul says:

(Phil 4:8)  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

And this is why we pray in the St. Michael Chaplet: “…give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions.” -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Ned Dougherty, false visionary

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1179

March 13, 2010

http://www.missionofangels.org/2_messages_09.php. Have you ever heard of this guy and his book?
Our parish priest had him come and talk to us last year during holy week and he spoke about conspiracy theories in our government mainly and mentioned locutions and apparitions he has from Jesus, Mary and St Michael.
Hearing his belief that we were all created beings before hand and was sent down to be born, threw a serious red flag up for me and also, his messages from Christ that he alleges he received in our home town, made me raise an eye brow because Jesus referred to himself in the third person. “I come to you as Jesus…” Well who else is he going to come to us as?
I don’t think this guy is legit… I’m sad that our priest, who is a good priest otherwise, is falling for this type of stuff…
Can you please give me your thoughts? –Michelle

In my opinion so-called visionaries who develop extensive global ministries and go around in numerous speaking engagements, are by definition as I understand it, not genuine. Such lavish ministries and public appearances are are not what we see in the genuine seers of the past. The seers who have been approved have always, to my knowledge anyway, been very humble and have secluded themselves into religious life. These modern “seers” seem to be rock stars with flash and celebrity and even groupies.

In any event, if you are reporting this person correctly in saying that he believes that “we were all created beings before hand and was sent down to be born” then we need not do any further analysis as this is a false doctrine. It is called Pre-existentialism (the “pre-existence of the soul”). This notion was taught by Plato, and a few early Christians, especially Origen and some of his disciples.

This false notion asserts that souls exist from all eternity until they are connected to a body and born into this world. This implantation into a body is considered an exile for the souls as a punishment for their moral defect.

This perverted doctrine was rejected by the Synod of Constantinople (543) against the Origenists, and by a Synod at Braga (561) against the Priscillianist.

The doctrine of the Church states: “Every individual soul was immediately created out of nothing by God” (Ott, II, 15.4; D 1185). This doctrine is Sent. certa, which means it is definitive doctrine, level 2 teaching. Anyone denying this doctrine is barred from the Sacraments as they are not in communion with the Church.

Today, this notion made popular by the new age occultists and spiritualists.

If this man is teaching this false doctrine, then he is not in communion with the Church and should never be allowed to come to any parish to spread his errors and what are most likely his false visions.

 

Clairvoyance

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1192

By Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM, April 6, 2010

The Church warns against clairvoyance because it is a grave sin, a violation of the First Commandment. Hopefully the faithful will respect that and love God enough to not delve into that grave sin. Of course, if someone does commit the grave sin, the Sacrament of Confession will cleanse the person and restore them to friendship with God.

Clairvoyance is defined by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary: “the supposed faculty of perceiving events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact.”

No one can know the future except God. Angels and Demons cannot know the future. And there is no such thing as a so-called psychic or clairvoyant actually knowing the future. Such things are either psychological or demonic delusions.

The attempt however to gain knowledge of the future is a grave sin against the First Commandment, which forbids idolatry. This activity is idolatry because it seeks information that only God can know from someone, or something else besides God.

The same is true for that aspect of clairvoyance that purports to knows things about people or things in a way beyond normal sensory contact. This is an attempt to secure a power over time, place, and usually other people in the exercise of these so-called powers. Normally, any actual power to know something from this occult method is not a genuine ability of the person, but a demon informing the “clairvoyant” about people or places.

 

The Church teaches in the Catechism about such things as clairvoyance:

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.

 

“Magic the Gathering”

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1196

April 14, 2010

My 18 year old high school son has come home with a big stack of Magic the Gathering cards somebody gave him. Now he goes to peoples’ houses and plays these games. He is a very smart kid and got into the number one university for computer science in the country. The students there are playing this too; he just came back from visiting there and reported playing this there too. When he was young he started with Pokemon (I was against this). His Dad gave it to him. Next it was Digimon, and Dungeons and Dragons and Harry Potter. I was against all of this. Eventually I got him to understand that this was evil and against God and he threw it all out and quit. It has been about 5 years since he quit with all that in middle school. Now out of nowhere this garbage is back.

He will go off to college in the fall. What can I do to protect him from going down the slippery slope of the occult? Otherwise he is a practicing Catholic, wears the brown scapular, has a Rosary hanging up in his room, goes to Mass on Sunday, etc.

I detest Satan and all his lies and really hate the occult garbage and the red carpet it gives to evil. Help! -Ann

I am sorry to hear this about your son. Since he is 18 years old, there is little you can do directly except to explain to him that this activity is not consistent with being a Catholic. You might give him copies of articles such as Is Harry Potter Good for our Kids? and How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children.
The Bible instructs us to make the most of our time and to watch carefully how we walk:
Ephesians 5:15-18:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.

We are also to fill our minds with things that are true, pure, and good. Philippians 4:8-9 says:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.

And, not only are we to avoid doing evil, we are to avoid even the “appearance” of evil as St. Paul warns in 1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

All of these games he is into fail the test of St. Paul’s warnings and advice.

As a Catholic he needs to meditate upon these passages and if he loves God follow St. Paul’s advice.

Beyond this about all you can do is to commit him to prayer. Our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog, linked below, has at least two prayers that are useful for you in this situation: Prayer for our Children and especially, Hedge Prayer for a Wayward Person. He is straying from the faith by his involvement in these games. The Hedge prayer is the prayer of Hosea and his designed to lead a person back to the arms of God. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Will the discovery of extra-terrestrial life threaten Catholic theology?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1197

April 16, 2010

Spirit Daily (yes, I know how much you loathe Spirit Daily) has a story link on their page today entitled “Did Vatican official really say extraterrestrial contact is real (and NOT demonic)?” When you click on the link it takes you to a story which says the following…

Monsignor Corrado Balducci, a theologian member of the Vatican Curia (governing body), and an insider close to the Pope, has gone on Italian national television five times, including recent months, to proclaim that extraterrestrial contact is a real phenomenon. Balducci provided an analysis of extraterrestrials that he feels is consistent with the Catholic Church’s understanding of theology. Monsignor Balducci emphasizes that extraterrestrial encounters “are NOT demonic, they are NOT due to psychological impairment, they are NOT a case of entity attachment, but these encounters deserve to be studied carefully.” Since Monsignor Balducci is a demonology expert and consultant to the Vatican , and since the Catholic Church has historically demonized many new phenomena that were poorly understood, his stating that the Church does not censure these encounters is all the more remarkable.

 

Now, after doing research I’ve come to see that Monsignor Balducci passed away in 2008, why Mr. Brown and Spirit Daily finds it necessary to open up this can of worms again is beyond me. It is disturbing that a “Vatican official” would make such remarks, especially one who is a “demonologist”. With all of the knowledge of everything that has been recorded about these alleged “extraterrestrial contacts” including being taken against your will, told that these aliens are our gods, injecting victims and submitting them to horrible procedures, and denying Jesus Christ, HOW THE HECK COULD HE POSSIBLY CLAIM THESE ARE NOT DEMONIC?
Brother, do you know anything about this Monsignor Balducci? What was his deal? Why would he say such things? Certainly these are not the opinions of Pope Benedict, I can’t understand why he would say these things, which could lead others into delving into the occult? If you do a search for Monsignor Balducci on Google, all of the information about him comes from UFO websites and occult websites. It is strange and disturbing. -Matthew

I am always amused and saddened when I read reports from the media that so-and-so Vatican “official” said something that was actually only a personal and private opinion making it sound like a statement from the Vatican itself, or that it is somehow significant. Just because someone works at the Vatican does not mean they represent the Vatican, nor does his employment give the person’s opinion automatic significance or, for that matter, even veracity.
Because the media takes any opinion blathered by an employee of the Vatican as major news and even as if coming from the Vatican itself, it behooves employees of the Vatican to watch their words and consider the effect their opinions will have on people after the media finishes twisting it.
Monsignor Balducci’s unfounded opinions about contact with extraterrestrials were his opinions given in his private capacity and not as representing the Vatican. I say that his opinions on this are unfounded because there is not a single shred of scientific or archaeological evidence that extraterrestrials ever visited the earth. It was irresponsible of him to express his opinions publicly.
Reported contacts with extraterrestrials can easily be explained by natural phenomena that may effect a person’s perception and psychology, even to the point of hallucinations, or with direct psychological aberrations. Many of the details of alleged contacts can suggest even a demonic encounter. But, one thing is clear — there is no evidence of any extraterrestrial visiting the earth. Opinion without some sort of credible evidence is irresponsible.
On a different issue — is there intelligent life on other planets? — That question is credible. Given the vastness of the universe it makes sense that other intelligent life may exist somewhere. Contrary to some ill-educated people, the existence of intelligent life on other planets does not threaten Christian doctrine, belief, or practice in any way whatsoever.
Last November the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences conducted a conference on astrobiology. One of the topics was the detection and implications of extraterrestrial life. The Director of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit priest Father Jose Gabriel Funes, a participant in the conference told the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper in May 2008 that the existence of intelligent extraterrestrials posed no problems to Catholic theology. This is certainly true.
Not everyone agrees. Paul Davies, theoretical physicist and cosmologist from Arizona State University, one of the speakers at the Vatican event, told the Washington Post: “I think the discovery of a second genesis would be of enormous spiritual significance. The real threat would come from the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence, because if there are beings elsewhere in the universe, then Christians, they’re in this horrible bind. They believe that God became incarnate in the form of Jesus Christ in order to save humankind, not dolphins or chimpanzees or little green men on other planets.”
Dr. Davies is making the same mistake Galileo made — trying to play theologian. He needs to stick to his physics. He is not qualified to make theological statements.
The article from the Honolulu Examiner is the best report on the conference that I found. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1199

April 19, 2010

I am the man who wrote the essay entitled “ET’s: From Other Planets or From Hell?”
In my previous question to you about Monsignor Balducci and his positive view on ET contact… I guess what concerns me deeply is the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” scenario that could develop if such a global “disclosure” were to develop worldwide. I keep hearing about this “preparing mankind for disclosure” in different articles I’ve read. This is the same language that was used in many of the frightening New Age Ufology books I used to read. Not to sound conspiratorial but who exactly would be doing this “disclosure”? Our U.S. Government? The same government that sanctions and permits legalized abortions and promotes homosexual unions? Or maybe it will be the U.N.?
I read that examiner article that you had linked at the bottom of your response and it said that it seemed that the Vatican was preparing for some sort of inevitable “disclosure” that was discussed earlier at a U.N. conference. David Spangler, prominent New-Age author speaks at length in his books about mankind’s need for what he calls a “Luciferic initiation” on a global scale. I don’t think it is any coincidence that David Spangler is the Director of Planetary Initiatives of the U.N.?
My concern is that we are setting ourselves up for deception on a grand scale. As someone who used to be caught in this web of deception I can certainly testify that all of the books on UFOLOGY and messages received from these entities deny the truth of Holy Scripture and they deny Jesus Christ as God. Obviously, I understand that the possibility of life on other planets is a possibility and I’m not disputing that at all. What I am concerned about are the plethora of messages that are written in these books. Even the books talk about the “ET’s” preparing mankind for them to be revealed. It is frightening; they are preparing the way for the anti-gospel.
I think our culture has been softened up and conditioned over the past 60 years or so to accept this sort of false gospel. Look at how many people no longer follow Christianity, it is sad. They are thirsty and many will drink whatever is offered to them, and it may be this.

 


While I know and understand that the Vatican can’t keep its mind closed to the possibility of life on other planets, I just pray that it keeps a shield on that mind when it opens it to all of this.
Many Protestant authors have been researching this topic of ET Deception for several years and have written at length about it. Now, obviously many of these people are “Sola Scriptura” Christians, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t understand what is going on here. Take a look if you have time at this site and look at the picture of the book on the left side of the page, you’ll see what I’m talking about… http://www.alienresistance.org/dtelect.htm. -Matthew

This language of “preparing mankind for disclosure” is sourced in the media looking for eye-catching and sensational headlines. There is no “disclosure” to be made. The Church is open to the possibility of intelligent beings on other planets. It is up to science to prove that, but if such beings do exist if does not endanger or threaten Christian doctrine and practice. That is the only point.

As for “close encounters” I have already discussed that in that there is no shred of evidence to prove that, and that at least some of these events may indeed be demonic. The Church is not “disclosing” that “close encounters” exist.

Frankly, Matthew, you are too close to this subject and are rather obsessed with it. The number of people who are seriously involved in the UFO culture are few and most people consider them kooks. The number of people who may believe UFO are extraterrestrial is much higher, but rarely goes beyond that for them.

The potential of cult-like aspects of the UFO blather is no more or less than any other cult (e.g. Moonies, Hare Krishna, Transcendental Meditation), or unsubstantiated notion (e.g. human impact on global warming, Obama is a good President, one can lose weight by a pill and no exercise or diet considerations, and herbs and alternative medicine techniques curing all).

There will always be people who are gullible, who do not think about issues and get pulled into these things, who are otherwise lead into delusions. There is nothing special about the UFO close encounter thing. It is just another in a long list of “flat-earth” type societies.

The best approach to counter all this is to do what you have done — write essays about the truth and evidence, or lack-thereof, of close encounters — and pray for those who are tempted or influenced about this.

There is nothing more we can do. The First Amendment gives anyone the right to publish their opinions no matter how kooky they are.

And, we need to remember that while some individual Vatican official might get caught up in this subject, the only statements we should really listen to are the official statements from the Vatican. The Vatican will not declare close encounters are real unless there is compelling scientific evidence. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Misguided advice on New Age healing

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1215

May 13, 2010

I would like your perspective on how to respond to well-meaning but misguided people who keep recommending New Age/alternative “healing” treatments for my child. Because of various neurological issues, my 10-year-old son has had to take an indefinite leave of absence from school. Since the other students were asking after him, we let the parents of his classmates know (in very general terms) what has been going on.
Now we are receiving unsolicited recommendations to see various acupuncturists, chiropractors, and other New Age “healers.” I am never quite sure how to respond to these suggestions. Is it acceptable to make a non-committal statement along the lines of, “Thanks for thinking of us”? Or, in the interest of standing up for my faith, should I be making a stronger, unequivocal statement that that sort of thing is incompatible with our beliefs?
Maybe I am being cowardly, but to date I have chosen to go the non-confrontational route because I don’t know these people very well, and my sense is that they are well-meaning, albeit misguided.
Also, how should I respond (if at all) to stories about mutual acquaintances who have been “healed” after giving up on regular doctors and getting involved in this occult, New Age stuff? I can’t really refute the reality of these “healings;” nevertheless, I want nothing to do with those approaches. –Angelica

For reference on this subject is the Vatican document, A Christian Reflection on the New Age, and On Some Aspects of Christian Meditation, and the document from the USCCB, Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy.

These documents either speak directly to various new age activities, or provide principles to guide us. For example, any technique based on “energy flows” is not Christian and should be avoided.

As for all these people suggesting you go to various new age practitioners, I am sorrowed to hear that so many people find no conflict with the faith.

Anyway, there is no problem in politely thanking a person for their suggestion and leave it at that. But, if a person follows up or insists on more of a response you may have to just tell them that such techniques are contrary to your faith.

When they tell you of how others have been “healed”, just say, “I praise God for their healing, but I will stay with traditional medicine.”

Of course, they will then be offended, and argue that there is nothing against the faith in these techniques. Rather than argue, just simply say, “I understand your view, but for me it violates my faith and will not use those techniques.”

If they persist in arguing or pestering you about it then you may have to get more deliberate with, “I have given you my opinion and decision on this subject. I expect you to respect my decision and not bring this subject up again.”

If they refuse to respect you, then show them the door with a kick in the rear. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

 

Use of rosary as a pendulum -I

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1257

July 24, 2010

I used a rosary (probably blessed) as a pendulum. A member of Catholic clergy taught me and was told was talking to my guardian angel and that it was ok to do this according to Church. I asked private questions. Am I in danger of that personal info haunting me in the future? Would God allow that to happen since a clergy taught me, a religious object was used, and I was at the most depressed time in my life? Will I be held accountable since I was misled by one of the Church’s own? What should I do in my house where the rosary was used? -Jon

I am a little confused myself. Did the priest say you can talk to your Guardian Angel? Or did he say you can use the rosary as a pendulum to talk and ask questions of your Guardian Angel?

One can certainly pray (talk) to his Guardian Angel in the same way one would pray and talk to our Blessed Mother or any Saint in heaven. One may not use a pendulum to ask questions of one’s Guardian Angel, or any Saint, or any spirit as that is divination which is a grave sin. The Catechism states:

Divination and magic

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. (Cf. Deuteronomy18:10; Jeremiah 29:8) Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

If this is what you did — use a rosary as a pendulum in order ask questions of your Guardian Angel about your life or future — then you need to confess that as it is grave sin. It is the sin of the occult (seeking hidden information) and a violation of the First Commandment.

If a priest said you could use a rosary, or anything else, as a pendulum to solicit your Guardian Angel to answer questions, then that priest gravely sinned.

You need to confess this activity and then prayer this Prayer of Renunciation

Dear Heavenly Father. You have said in Your Word to have no other gods before You (Deut 5:7) and that the ways of the occult are an abomination and those who practice it are an abomination before You. Indeed Lord, You have not called many sins an “abomination”, but this one, of occult and witchcraft and idolatry are indeed a special offense to You. Lord I confess that I have been an abomination to You by my involvement in things occultic by improperly trying to gain answers to my questions from my Guardian Angel. I am so sorry for offending You. I thank you Lord for Your forgiveness of my abominable sin. I pray that by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that all ground gained by evil spirits because of my abominable sin be canceled and taken back and that all bonds and bondages the devil has placed upon me be broken forever (Gal 5:1). I pray that You will shed light on all my ways that I may know the full extent of my abomination. I claim my body and mind for the Lord Jesus Christ, and in His Name, and with His authority, declare freedom from my sins of occult involvement, and to all attachments, bondages, and involvements with the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ. By faith and by the Sacraments of the Church I have received You into my life and am now seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). I now choose to adopt a worshipful spirit and a faithful heart to the One True God. Amen.

First, go to confession, then pray the prayer above, then pray the following general Prayer of Renunciation of Satan and Claiming the Full Victory:

I claim the full victory that my Lord Jesus Christ won on the Cross for me. Having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:15). His victory for me is my victory.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I renounce all the workings of Satan in my life in all its forms, whether brought into my life by my actions or by others. I break all attachments, ground, curses, spells, and rights Satan may have in my life whether such ground was gained through my actions or through others. Strengthened by the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints and Angels of Heaven, and powerful in the holy authority of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you Lord to command Satan and all his minions, whomever they may be, to get out of my life and stay out. With that authority I now take back the ground in my life gained by Satan through my sins. I reclaim this ground and my life for Christ. I now dedicate myself to the Lord Jesus Christ; I belong to Him alone. Amen.

Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

 

Use of rosary as a pendulum -II

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1260

Yes, I was told the rosary can be used as a pendulum to talk and ask questions of guardian angel. Could you please answer the 3 questions in the first paragraph of my original post? This is of great concern to me. Thank you. –Jon

Well, any priest who would suggest this occult action has committed a grave sin and a scandal. He should be reported to the Bishop.

As for the question, I did answer it indirectly. You need to go to confession. While getting wrong advice from your priest reduces your culpability, it does not necessarily eliminate it.

We cannot completely excuse our acts by saying, “I was told wrong by a priest”. We have an obligation to know our faith. This “asking questions of angels with a pendulum” business is an obvious occult act and you should have known this.

I know a priest who preaches from the pulpit that Sunday Mass is no longer an obligation. No matter what he says, anyone who follows his words will be hard pressed to excuse themselves before God for not going to Sunday Mass. Know your faith and check for yourself what the Church teaches when any priest, bishop, or any teacher (including me) says something that doesn’t seem right. And then get a “second opinion”, as you did in posting your question.

Unfortunately, we live in an age that we cannot always trust our sacred pastors (priests and even bishops sometimes), to tell us the truth about our faith. The reason for this is sometimes that the priest or bishop is liberal. Sometimes it is because the priest is thoughtless in their theology due to intellectual laziness. Sometimes the priest actually is ignorant of the issues. It is especially the case with priests that they MUST know the faith because they are charged with teaching it to the Faithful. There is no excuse for such ignorance. It is the priest’s job to know.

What you are reporting was told to you by a priest is inexcusable of him. You might want to ask him about it again to make sure you are understanding him correctly. But, if you did understand him correctly and he really did recommend this action, then, frankly, he should be reported to the bishop as he is dangerous to the Faithful.

Anyway, although you are not at fault for the priest’s stupidity, you should have had some gut feeling that something was wrong. Be sure to learn your faith well. Read and study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Regardless of the level of your culpability, you need to confess this action in the Sacrament of Confession, and follow through on the other prayers I suggested. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Feng Shui

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1293

August 10, 2010

Why would Feng Shui be demonic? I have several books on Feng Shui that I believe are mostly common sense. To place a sofa or desk so that you face the door in the room so that you will not be startled when someone enters the room. Clearing away clutter to promote serenity and clear thinking. I do not believe in having Buddha statues or that sort of thing. Does that mean I have allowed the demonic in my home?

My daughters also like Feng Shui. Not sure if I introduced one of my daughters to it, or she introduced me to it. Have we sinned by using Feng Shui which mostly is just common sense in arranging furniture and selecting colors in rooms of your home? -Frances

Feng Shui is fundamentally not about where you place your sofa. The whole theory of Feng Shui and its purpose is to align your physical surroundings to best facilitate Ch’i — that occult (invisible) force that is the basis of oriental cosmology and utterly hostile to the Christian cosmology.

In Feng Shui the sofa is ultimately positioned according to metaphysical energies that will attain the optimal flow.

According to one Feng Shui website:

Feng Shui, to repeat, is a study of environmental effect on mankind. While Feng Shui is one of the factors, other factors also affect humankind’s life path and the most significant of these is astrology or destiny. As such, I have also included sections on Chinese Astrology and other related disciplines.

Feng Shui is a companion to Chinese divination. In this aspect Feng Shui can become geomancy, divination by geographic features. Divination is a sin against the First Commandment.

An Indonesian architect Sutrisno Murtiyoso reported said about Feng Shui, “In countries where belief in Feng Shui is still very strong, Feng Shui has become a hodgepodge of superstitions and unverified notions which are passed off in the university curriculum as scientific principles of architecture or city planning.”

On another Feng Shui website, after giving fine advice that one should clear clutter from their house and pay attention to quality air and light, is added this nonsense as the third piece of advice:

3. Define the Ba-Gua, or the Feng Shui energy map of your house, by using one of the two main Feng Shui methods – the compass or the BTB grid. Once you define the bagua, you will know which areas of your home are connected to specific areas of your life. For example, in traditional Feng Shui, the Southeast Feng Shui area of your home is connected to the flow of money energy in your life.

This is called divination, a mortal sin.

The advice goes one with more nonsense about the five elements and other aspects of oriental cosmology.

Bottom line: Strictly practical considerations in how you decorate your home or position your furniture is not a problem. But to Feng Fooy you home is another manner. Whether you intend to do it or not, to use Feng Shui is to use Chinese theories of cosmology that are false and occult in nature related to non-existent “energy” flows.

 

 

Definitive Bottom line from the Church:

In the document A Christian reflection on the New Age (no. 7.2) Feng Shui is defined:

Feng-Shui: a form of geomancy, in this case an occult Chinese method of deciphering the hidden presence of positive and negative currents in buildings and other places, on the basis of a knowledge of earthly and atmospheric forces. “Just like the human body or the cosmos, sites are places criss-crossed by influxes whose correct balance is the source of health and life.”

Such Chinese occultism and New Age nonsense is condemned by the Church.

Rule of Thumb: Any philosophy or activity that relates to “energy” flows is nonsense and connects one with ways of thinking and practice that are inconsistent with the Christian Faith. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reiki

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1294

August 10, 2010

When my Mom was unconscious in the hospital for many days and weeks, one of my daughters told me a teacher from the high school or a former teacher from the high school would do Reiki on patients. I thought it was a good idea, and he did Reiki on my mother who was around 80 years old, she has since passed away. Did we sin by doing this? Did we introduce the demonic into her body? I had no idea that Reiki was evil until I read from your website. If somebody has no idea, does the possession still happen and is the person still damned for eternity? –Wanda

Reiki is a serious and dangerous activity. It can, and often does, lead to demonization. To ask a Reiki person to come in and perform this on one’s mother is, I believe, a sin. It is a spiritual assault and battery. You need to bring this to Confession and in addition, renounce this activity (see our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog linked below).

It is important for you to confess this sin and to further renounce it since your requesting Reiki to be done on your mother can open the door for demonic harassment upon you and your family. One cannot open the door for the devil without getting burned in some way great or small.

I have no idea whether or not your mother may have been harassed by demons as a result of this before she died. But, your mother is with the Lord now, thus whatever effects caused by this Reiki are passed.

Reiki does not automatically cause possession. It mostly causes a lower level of demonization, but often levels that are difficult to remove.

As to a person’s eternal destiny: Whether or not a person is demonized, or even fully possessed, has no direct bearing upon a person’s eternal soul. The devil cannot possess the soul. A possessed person can be in a State of Grace and thus go to heaven when he dies regardless of the possession.

As for a person “in their innocence” doing something like Reiki, the devil does not care. He can still attack. Innocent people are attacked all the time. A person innocently sticking their finger in a light socket because they are ignorant of the consequences will still get an electrical shock.

But, Wanda, you are not completely innocent. Reiki is bad news on its face and every Christian ought to inherently know that. All validly baptized people have within them the Holy Spirit. If we will listen to the Holy Spirit we will not find ourselves in such messes. If we know our faith we can avoid much heart-break.  We cannot have that “gut” feeling that something is wrong if our minds are not informed by the Faith, and/or our spirit is not listening to the still small voice of our Lord warning us to stay away from certain things.

In any event, you know now. You need to inform your children. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Qi Gong

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1317

September 22, 2010

A fellow Catholic told me that her encounter with qigong has brought her closer to God as she believes in this energy thing and can sense this positive energy at the Eucharistic Adoration. She said she was able to resist the bad energy from her qigong master and believed she is well protected as long as she recites prayers during her practice of qigong. She became very “sensitive” to any energy around e.g. which church makes her feel comfortable etc. or sense the bad “qi” around. She believes this is a gift from the Holy Spirit, that she is able to “sense” the needs of people she meets and draw them to God.
I am very confused about this phenomenon as qigong or energy stuff is something paranormal that we as Catholics should stay away from and yet this person seems to have benefited from practising it. What are your views on this? Is it possible that something good (she seems to be successful to draw some people to think about God or return to Church) can come out of something evil? Or am I too critical as the fruits of her act seem positive, yet the way she does it deviates from the basic teachings of the Scripture? Thanks for your advice. –Elizabeth

The so-called energy idea comes from Chinese cosmology that is hostile to the Christian faith. This “energy” does not exist. It is a demonic ploy. She needs to abandon this delusion.

We have had clients who became demonized because of activities like this. It is against Church teaching and worldview at best, and spiritually dangerous at worst.

As for God bringing goodness out of evil? Yes, He can and does do that. But, God does not do that in a way that would encourage a person to continue in their sin. Those helped are helped in spite of the aberrant practices. This woman is still placing herself in danger.

I might add that the devil can manipulate things to appear good, and even allow people to do good things and not impede them, if it serves his purpose to keep someone in bondage.

 

The devil will have no problem seeing people come to the Church as a result of this woman’s activities, if it will keep her in bondage. And as an extra treat, he may have a secret door into the lives of those who came to her for help or advice.

As for this “gift” coming from the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit does not involve himself in error. Since this “energy” that qigong is suppose to effect does not exist, the Holy Spirit would have nothing to do with it.

This woman has been deceived by the Deceiver. Pray for her. We will.

Perhaps reading the Statement on Reiki (another “energy” therapy) will give some light on the matter to help you with this woman. Also, the document, A Christian reflection on the “New Age”, may be helpful since this is a popular new age thing.

Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Guided Imagery

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1333

October 18, 2010

I know that guided imagery is wrong. But I think I’m confused on what exactly guided imagery entails. For example, if I tell my daughter to ‘bring her troubles and pain and suffering to the foot of the Cross and give them to Jesus…” did I just use guided imagery with her? That wasn’t my intent. At the hospital, a psychologist wanted to use guided imagery with her. I said ‘no’ but I did say it would be ok for my daughter to share a happy memory, make up a happy story. That’s not guided imagery, is it? Could you please clarify what guided imagery is and what it is not? –Linda

Guided Imagery is not wrong per se. It depends on what the images are, how they are “guided”, and the purpose of the exercise.

As for a definition, the Wikipedia article on this is as good as any:

It is a therapeutic technique in which a facilitator uses descriptive language intended to psychologically benefit mental imagery, often involving several or all senses, in the mind of the listener. In this method, the imagination plays an important role together with discussions with the client.

This definition is in the use of guided imagery in psychotherapy. New Agers also use this technique for more “spiritual” explorations that are, of course, dangerous.

One of the dangers of guided imagery is that it often leads the person into an altered state of consciousness, a form of self-hypnosis or meditation. Because of this, the purpose and goal of the guided imagery and who is doing the guiding is critically important.

It is best, however, to not do anything that creates a deliberate altered state of consciousness as this can make one vulnerable.

There is a kind of guided imagery, however, that is useful and beneficial. Actually, the Rosary is a simple kind of guided imagery. The Rosary gives us a mystery to meditate upon by imagining the scene. Often pictures of each mystery are used to help with this.

For those who are needed healing, I recommend my friend Deacon Frank O’Connell, of At the Water’s Edge Ministry. He has a CD you get that has a guided imagery exercise for healing that is not New Age. His approach has been successful in healing and changing people’s lives. I recommend him and have his ministry linked on our website. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Role-playing games

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1799

October 25, 2010

I’ve been struggling with something and I don’t want to come off odd but I play a game called World of Warcraft. I don’t know if you ever heard of it but it’s a game with different races and classes like a paladin or priest, etc. There are two sides you can pick one is good and one is not good. I play the good side and I only play Catholic-like classes like paladin and priest and a few others that are not of any religion. Yea there are classes like warlocks but I choose not to play those because I know it’s wrong to play things like that.

It’s a good fighting evil game basically. I hope you are not staring at your computer screen like what is this girl talking about but I hope this description of the game is helpful. Am I doing wrong by playing this game?

I really like it because of the Catholic/Christian overtone it has. I don’t make this my life either but I do enjoy playing it because of certain classes it has. I’m not addicted to it at all. I tried to ascertain on the internet if the Church had anything bad to say about it but I found nothing but stories of a lot of Catholics playing it and enjoy it on a religious level. I prayed to God for an answer but I don’t get one. I just know what classes in the game I should be playing and should not be. –Suzanne

Warcraft contains elements that are inconsistent with the Christian worldview. There are characters, for example, who cast spells. To role play characters that cast spells and such is profoundly dangerous to the spiritual health of the person.

Even if you are not personally playing those roles, that does not matter. You are participating in the game and thus facilitating the playing the game that includes witchy actions.

I know that many Catholics think this is “just a game.” There is no such thing as “justa” anything. Games, music, books, movies, TV shows, etc. are not “justa”. Each of those things has a message. What is that message?

God says that we are not only to avoid evil acts, but we to “Abstain from all appearances of evil” (1 Thess 5:22). 

Such things as casting spells is an abomination to God. Those who practice witchcraft (sorcery) will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20-21). This condemnation of divination and witchcraft is also mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Also see Isaiah 44:25; Jeremiah 27:9; 2 Kings 21:6; 23:24, Ezekiel 21:21; Isaiah 19:3; 1 Samuel 28, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14.

 

 

Thus, to playact these abominable acts in role-play games fails to “Abstain from all appearances of evil.”

Role-play can be particularly dangerous. Proverbs 23:7 is rendered by some as, “as he thinketh, so he is“.  Whether or not that is the best translation of the text, the sentiment is true. How we think determines who we are. This is one reason that St. Paul said that we are to think about things that are excellent. Another reason is to guard our senses from that which the devil can sift our imaginations like wheat.

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
(Phil 4:8).

And St. Ignatius Loyola warns us too to guard our senses.

“All should take care to guard with great diligence the gates of their senses (especially the eyes, ears, and tongue) from all disorder, to preserve themselves in peace and true humility of their souls… showing exteriorly, in an unassuming and simple religious manner, the respect and reverence befitting each one’s state, in such a way that by observing one another they grow in devotion and praise God our Lord, whom each one should endeavor to recognize in his neighbor as in His image. 

In my opinion Warcraft does not pass the test, as defined by the Bible and the Saints, as an activity for Christians. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1800

October 30, 2012

Ok, I will stop playing world of Warcraft. I should have asked this in the last post but are there any games at all that the Church ever mentioned or made a list that gives the ok to play certain games. I’m not expecting you to know any but just wondering if the Church ever looked into the topic to see what’s better to play these days. –Suzanne

To my knowledge at the moment I am not aware of any Church document that specifically mentions these games. The Church, however, cannot issue documents on every possible subject. In like manner of parents with their children, the parents cannot be present when their children are confronted with every single dilemma and decision. Thus, we as parents must teach our children the faith, how to think with reason, how to make prudent and wise decisions, and how to evaluate the moral issues with any decision. This is what the Church does for us.

By studying and knowing the Bible and Church teachings we learn the principles of what is prudent and what is not prudent. For example, the teaching of St. Paul is that we are to avoid even the “appearance of evil” (1 Thess 5:22). In other Pauline writings he gives lists of the sort of things that are evil, such as in Galatians 5:19-21. This list is not exhaustive, but it gives us a clue to the types of things that are evil. But, with the principle of “avoid the appearance of evil” and with Pope John Paul II’s teaching on the Culture of Life, it is not rocket science, for example, to discern that we should not dress up on Halloween like axe-murders, demons, and other “culture of death” characters and images. Rather we should dress up like one of the saints, a Bible character, or an angel, or in something neutral like a prince or princess.

St. Paul did not teach “avoid even the appearance of evil” to hear himself talk. There is a reason. Unfortunately the majority of Catholics choose to ignore this Biblical teaching and principle of our Faith.

We also have a list of evil behaviors in the Ten Commandments. But, the Ten Commandments are merely an outline. Much of the Catechism is an explanation of the fuller meaning of those Ten Commandments. For example, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” This commandment includes a lot more than just adultery. Fornication, concubinage, masturbation, and all sexual sins are part of this Commandment in its fuller context.

Another example is the First Commandment, “Thou shall not have any other Gods before me.” The Catechism explains that divination, fortune-telling, witchcraft, and the like are all a violation of the First Commandment.

Thus, when we learn Biblical principles and the principles that are further explained by the Church, we should be able to make some correct decision when we are confronted with situations or circumstances that are not specifically mentioned by the Bible or the Church.

To do this, however, means that we need to know what that Bible and the Church teach and to humble ourselves in obedience to those teaching and principles. Thus, we must be diligent to be the dutiful and perpetual student of our Faith. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Is kinesiology compatible with Christianity?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/df/viewanswer.asp?QID=152

November 27, 2010

Note: this Q&A is from the “Defending the Faith” forum -Michael

Hi Benjamin Mathew!!
I see that you have a degree in kinesiology*. I go to a chiropractor who is a kinesiologist as well and a Catholic. Yet on the walls of his office is a chart of the “meridians” of the body.
I only go to him when I have a strain or something that I know he can help me with as I am a little leery of the idea of energy going through the body. Could you tell me how this idea of “energy in the body being blocked causing harm” is compatible with Christianity? –Linda *http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/df/viewanswer.asp?QID=150

I am currently completing my Honours B. Sc (Bachelor of Science) degree in Kinesiology. Kinesiology can be defined as the study of the anatomy, physiology, and mechanics of body movement, especially in humans.

Like any other science degree, all of our study is based upon empirical evidence or peer reviewed studies.

 

 

The meridian is a term from Chinese medicine, which is a channel for forces to pass through. Qi, and similar “life forces” based upon Eastern mysticism and medicine are not studied in any credible science programs because as the National Institute of Health says:

There is no physically verifiable anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture points or meridians.

If people are feeling better after this “Qi” treatment, it is either caused by evil or more likely by the human brain. A placebo effect can be very powerful. If a person rubs your back and says, “You feel better and the force is coming to you like a gentle wind” 100 times in a row, you might just end up believing it and feeling it. The results however, do not show up in the scientifically verified tests because these tests are based on evidence or progress taking place (after an injury) as opposed to what the person “feels like” after the treatment. This is why science is a valuable tool.

The skepticism that is a product of the scientific method can be valuable at times, especially to dismiss ludicrous spiritual practices that claim to be scientifically beneficial. Kinesiology, studied as a proper science, is completely in line with Catholicism as it does not entertain ideas such as “life forces”. I assure you, I have never even heard of these things in University classes.

This teaching becomes more dangerous within the new age movement and Catholics who adopt these practices. Often, the new agers will often compare this life force to the Holy Spirit and think that we are arguing about terminology. They think that their energy heals people in the same way that the Holy Spirit (God) can heal people, and we must be referring to the same energy or spirit.

The deception of the new age movement is very crafty in this way. However, that impersonal life force energy rejects the Catholic notions of a personal creator and a real morality. The new agers can hide behind this “energy” definition when they want to, but also this “energy” is unconcerned with their moral well-being and they are free to live immoral, secular lives without being wrong or feeling guilty. They seem to love that philosophy.

St. Paul says in Romans 8:15b, “…you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father)”.

Similarly, Jesus talks about His Holy Spirit (John 15:26) in this way: 

But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.

Clearly, the Qi of the new age is not the same as the God’s own spirit which always leads to Jesus, and a Catholic chiropractor should stay away from these dangerous teachings.

From a scientific (it’s not real) and a spiritual viewpoint (it is contrary to Jesus’ teachings), this chiropractor should stay away from these meridian charts. –Benjamin Mathew

Note: Kinesiology is science; Applied Kinesiology is New Age -Michael

 

Theophostic prayer

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1353

December 7, 2010

Is Theophostic prayer involving visualization New Age and what are the dangers involved? –Lisa

There is much controversy about Theophostic Prayer and Counseling. It was invented by a Southern Baptist Ed Smith. While this is not a problem in-and-of-itself, we must be careful to ensure the counseling techniques we use are thoroughly Catholic. The Church teaches that truth can be found in many places and when we find a truth we, as Catholics, can join in. I use some ideas from Protestants in my own counseling, but I vet these ideas and edit or modify them to ensure 100% Catholic worldview.

Aside from that general advice about borrowing from Protestant sources, Theophostic Prayer seems to have from very definite problems that would cause me to not recommend it.

A woman named Jane, posting the Coming Home Network Discussion Board (Coming Home Network is an organization helping Protestant clergy in their conversion to Catholicism) gives this well written short evaluation based upon her personal experiences with Theophostic Prayer Counseling*.

There is also an evaluation report from the Christian Research Institute (a Protestant cult watch group).

Given the problems outlined by these sources, I think I must not recommend Theophostic Prayer Counseling. Instead, we can use Nouthetic Counseling based upon the Bible and Church teaching and the Saints, and, when needed, sessions dealing with a proper healing of memories.

Our own counseling philosophy combines several modalities, but all vetted through the glasses of a Catholic worldview, official teachings, and wisdom of the Saints.

For a outline of the counseling approach we use, see our Basic Counseling Theory. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

*Re: Theophostic Prayer

Reply #16 on July 14, 2009

When I was in training for Christian counseling as a non-denominational Protestant, one of the prerequisites was to take a Basic Theophostic Training course.  I read the huge manual by Ed M. Smith, who came up with the method and the name for theophostics.  After reading the book, I had deep reservations about using the method.
The method uses “guided imagery” which is most frequently used in New Age and Yoga settings, but which some Christians have used in recent years.  The U.S. Catholic Bishops have written a paper warning of the dangers of guided imagery and other passive techniques.  Guided imagery is the process by which a person suspends his personal thinking and visualizing and allows himself to follow the thoughts and visual images spoken out loud by another person.  

 

 

It is a mind-emptying technique, and promotes passivity on the part of the person being guided.  Whenever the mind is passive or empty, we are no longer taking every thought captive unto Christ.  We are no longer turning away from certain thoughts and turning our minds toward high and noble thoughts, as St. Paul admonished us to do. In addition, we offer the wrong spirits easy access.
Ed M. Smith tells those who come to him for help to NOT use their minds to remember, but only to feel and listen.  He advocates a passive mind, even as he warns about the dangers of guided imagery techniques.
Another aspect of theophostics that I found troubling was the technique that Smith calls “stirring up the darkness.”  Using guided imagery, he leads a person back to a memory and keeps them there with questions and suggestions to intensify the pain, shame and sense of helplessness.  When the person is re-living the memory, it is at this point that Smith asks the person to look at the memory and see where Jesus is located in the memory and to describe what Jesus is doing and saying.
It is when the mind of the person being ministered to is most passive — when he or she is FEELING most intensely and LISTENING most closely to Ed’s voice — that the suggestion is made to find Jesus in the memory.  Ed claims to know the difference between the real Jesus and a counterfeit.  Yet in the book he offers so many examples of counterfeits that he has encountered that I should think that alone would warn him away from practicing this occult process.
The phrase “stirring up the darkness” that Ed Smith uses throughout his book and in the counseling sessions sounds to me very much like a belief held by Gnostic heretics.  Gnostics believe that to overturn evil, a person must first enter into evil and experience it at a deep level.  In my opinion, having come out of the heresy of Gnosticism myself (by God’s grace), I believe Ed Smith crosses over into heresy with his belief and practice of “stirring up the darkness.”  Theophostics has the person enter into and relive the evil experience before they are delivered out of it.
Another error of Gnosticism is the belief that Christianity is not enough.  To become a true believer, one could use Christian beliefs, but one needed to also know the secret knowledge only offered by Gnostics.  This is an error that Ed Smith falls into as well.  He states that the Christian Scriptures “don’t do a whole lot of good” and that a person needs his book on theophostics as well as the Bible in order to be set free from the lies of the devil.  Further, he implies that the Bible will only become helpful to a person if the person first goes through theophostics.
I have grave reservations about theophostics.  For a person who is stable, sane, and confident in Christ, it probably won’t hurt.  For a person who is troubled mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, it has the potential to derail that person from following Christ.
After studying Theophostics for myself, I left the training for Christian counseling, certain that practicing the technique in a counseling setting could harm others.
That’s my personal experience with theophostics.

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1354

December 8, 2010

Although I am not personally catholic I find your site really helpful.
I noticed a question posted by Lisa regarding theophostic prayer. I didn’t have a clue at first until I read the exerpt you included from the “coming home” page. I had some deliverance ministry about a year ago and this was the technique used. I remember finding it very painful and I stopped when after one session I felt suicidal.

I have struggled through for a while now with one thing or another and followed earlier advice from you about moving to an established Church, which helped. But I agree I wouldn’t recommend it. –Amanda

Thank you for your testimony about your experience with Theophostic prayer techniques. Your experience is exactly the kind of danger that can happen with this alleged therapeutic technique.

There are oftentimes good reasons why memories should remain unremembered. And if a painful memory for some reason needs to be recalled and dealt with it needs to be in a therapeutic setting with people who are qualified to provide professional counseling. Without that professional support the emotions that are evoked by remembering some memories can cause great angst and even psychological trauma.

From a psychological point-of-view, as I mentioned before, I do not believe it is necessary to remember every painful memory of the past in order to resolve current issues. The majority of problems that people wish to change about themselves can be accomplished without dredging up the past. If issues that a person wishes to change about themselves can be accomplished through other means, then why risk the psychological trauma.

This is one reason why I recommend a Christian approach to a “healing of memories.” This approach, properly done, seeks to remember only those memories that God chooses to have us remember, and to ask Him to heal the effects of past traumas regardless of whether or not the memories are remembered. In other words, we help the person to heal by helping him give his memory into the safe-keeping of God. Even then, this approach is reserved only to certain situations.

The primary and ultimate healing of memories is through forgiveness. We are commanded to forgive all our enemies, abusers, family, friends, others, and ourselves. Once people understand the true nature of forgiveness as a decision of will, it is easier for them to forgive. Once a person forgives then the hurts of the past begin to heal.

For information on the true nature of forgiveness, see our pamphlet, Dealing with Bitterness and Unforgiveness. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Pilates, Vitalism, Acupuncture

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1380

January 18, 2011

 

 

 

My husband has a sore back and his physiotherapist has now recommended him to start doing Pilates. I have warned him about getting involved with New Age but he thinks Pilates will just strengthen up his back. Is this OK to do? Also the physiotherapist has used acupuncture on his as part of his treatment. –Rachael

I really do not know much about Pilates. From what I gather there are some medical effects that have been demonstrated with some of the techniques. On the other hand, some of the underlying philosophy is really problematic — the mind over matter aspects and some of the ideas about breathing — a typical exaggeration of effects that is most common with alternative medical techniques.

I would be cautious, but as far as I know none of the techniques brings on into an altered state of consciousness (which is the primary problem with most Eastern methods).

It does not appear, as best as I can tell for now, that your husband’s participation in this method would be spiritually harmful.

But the problem with these sorts of techniques is that they are co-opted by New Agers and intertwined with everything from feng fooy to Ch’i and other forms of what is called vitalism.

Vitalism is “the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical inner force or energy that gives them the property of life. Vitalists believe that the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot explain life functions and processes.”

Even if Pilates is in itself spiritual neutral, in a lot of cases the instructors will contaminate it by infusing the gobbledygook of the New Age, sometimes in way subtle enough to not be noticed by the average person.

Thus, caution is warranted.

Frankly, there are many specific exercises that have been prescribed for many years, and used by physical therapist (before the age of gobbledygook) that work just fine. One does not have to go to some “systematic” program that is oftentimes intertwined with New Age philosophies.

As for acupuncture, the fundamental and essential foundation of acupuncture is the non-existent Ch’i, the vitalism philosophy that is nonsense. Scientific studies, however, has discovered that acupuncture can be useful for pain control, but not necessarily any better than normal pain medications. Acupuncture does not have any efficacy beyond pain control.

Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Restorative justice

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1388

February 6, 2011

This year my children’s Catholic grade school has implemented a new discipline program called restorative justice. Very little info has come home and only one meeting so far on this new program. They have already incorporated this into my children’s classrooms. The kids sit around in a circle (peace circles) while talking about their “feelings” when someone is being a bully or has done something wrong. My husband and I strongly disagree with this method of discipline. We feel its roots are based on paganism. We have tried looking up info on the internet about this restorative justice, but the findings are mostly one sided. I can only find one Catholic website briefly mentions of this topic (Women of Grace) and it was skeptical of this program.
My question is, do you have any info on this restorative justice program and if so, what are its origins? Are they against Catholic teaching? –Sherri

Grade-school aged children do not have the brain structures needed to make the restorative justice method very effective as a substitute for traditional disciplinary measures. The brain is not fully formed until around 20-21 years of age. The last structure to develop is the part of the brain responsible for wisdom.

A limited and modified form of Restorative Justice may be used with these kids. But, the method is really not designed for children, in my opinion. It is, rather, primarily designed to deal with issues of Criminals and Victims in the Criminal Justice System.

When we discipline children, most of us may try to explain to the child what they have done wrong, help them to understand why their actions are wrong, and perhaps even have the child who was the object of misbehavior express their feelings about being bullied, for example. To apply discipline without talking to the child about why would be cruel. But, this does not replace more direct forms of discipline.

The needed brain development that gives us the ability for compassion, empathy, concern for others, and wisdom is just not fully developed in younger children. Children are, in essence, narcissist. Their ability to fully understand the consequences of their actions (as it relates to the effects upon others), how the other child may feeling, etc. is just not there to the degree needed for the Restorative Justice method to have a major impact.

Children will understand corporal discipline such as time outs, detention, suspension (when followed-up by parents supporting the suspension and taking measures at home), and calling parents to school to discuss misbehavior (assuming the parent does something about it at home). Corporal discipline is effective because it affects the child’s ability to do as he pleases. This, and not a mere philosophic discussion or appeal to empathy, will be more effective with the pre-teen child.

Those who are trying to use this method as a replacement for other disciplinary measures in the setting of a grade-school are probably fueled by politically correct ideas and other nonsense educative philosophies that have been asserted for the last fifty years by progressive liberal camp. Such nonsense as “outcome-based education” is another product of the warped minds of liberal “educators.” Such “theories” of education has damaged several generations of children.

Restorative Justice is a valid approach in dealing with crime and violence in the Criminal Justice system and in sociological negotiations (such as neighborhood feuds). It has been successful in that context.

 

 

As mentioned, children do not have the necessary brain development to successfully participate in this method when it is the only method offered. Restorative Justice, however, may have some value with teenagers (the older the teen the more likely this method will work).

The principles of Restorative Justice are founded on fundamental teachings of Christ (whether or not those who developed the method know that), in that it is an alternative to revenge, seeks to affirm the human dignity and worth of all involved, and holds accountable those perpetrator toward things we recognize as Catholics: contrition, repentance, firm purpose of amendment, penance, and reparations.

As one blurb from restorativejustice.org states:

Restorative justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational.

Restorative programmes are characterized by four key values:

Encounter: Create opportunities for victims, offenders and community members who want to do so to meet to discuss the crime and its aftermath

Amends: Expect offenders to take steps to repair the harm they have caused

Reintegration:  Seek to restore victims and offenders to whole, contributing members of society

Inclusion: Provide opportunities for parties with a stake in a specific crime to participate in its resolution

This method deals with human beings as human beings and not merely as law-breakers and victims. It restores the fact that a crime is against another human being and not the State. It serves to restore, reconcile, and heal rather than to seek revenge and retribution.

Right now, even if the victim forgives the person who harmed him, the state steps in to administer revenge, not just to hold the person accountable through punishment, but to administer revenge in the name of the State. That is the basis of the phrase, “Law and Order.” It is not Law and Justice, but Law and Order. In the economy of Order revenge is the necessary application of Law. The human person is not in the equation. Order is served for its own ends even if the effects are harmful to the perpetrator, the victim, and the society of humanity as a whole. All that matter is Order, and the Law is the Sword that enforces it. Order is so important that 10,000 of innocent people are incarcerated in the name of Order. Countless Prosecutors will go after a conviction because they are politically pressured to get a conviction. In this environment such notions as Truth and Justice are wanting.

I am not saying that criminals should not be punished. I am saying that we must look at the human person, the broader issues, and seek the more complete solutions for the sake of all of us.

Revenge is never a proper motivation for anything, but that is what our current Justice System is founded upon — revenge for daring to break the law — institutional revenge that is administered even if the victim does not want revenge. To hold a criminal to account, even if that means prison, is not the same thing as revenge. If punishing the perpetrator is sought and desired from a passion of revenge on the part of the victim, or by the State as an institutional revenge, then we have ceased to be a civilized people and society.

We have a vested interest in avoiding revengeful actions and attitudes. It is to the best interest of both the victim and the society to help both the victim to heal and to help the perpetrator toward contrition, repentance, firm purpose of amendment, penance, reparations, and the responsibility to be good person from now on. Not every person will accept this approach, of course, but a healthy society depends upon our trying to accomplish this goal.

The healing of the perpetrator is also critically important. Ninety-eight percent of those in prison will be back out on the street someday. Only two percent are lifers or die in prison. Given this fact, we better be concerned about how we treat prisoners and whether or not these convicts have the personal skills and the psychological, social, and spiritual health necessary to live productively in society.

Restorative Justice methods have been very effective in accomplishing the rehabilitation of convicts, and the healing of the victims.

Trying to apply this to grade-school children, however, is problematic in my view given their brain development to understand such complex issues as empathy toward the person they have hurt, understanding the consequences of their actions in human terms (rather in terms that only apply as to what happens to them).

While some children may be able to understand these issues better than others, I do not believe that applying this method to the whole is proper or productive. Given the inherent narcissism of children, such a process may be counterproductive as the primary perpetrators on the playground may see this is “getting by with it”, even if they do not like the “circle” experience. The most incorrigible will see the “circle” as a way to further manipulate.

All this is true for the adult as well. Adult criminals can try to “get by with it” by playing the game. That is why this method is not a one or two meeting fix. Restorative Justice is applied over months and years. For example, a convict is generally involved in groups like this for 2-3 years, or more.

Can Restorative Justice methods be used on a short-term basis? Yes, I think so, depending on the people involved. But, as mentioned, this method should never be used, in my opinion, as a replacement for traditional disciplinary methods with grade-school children.

As for the Church, the USCCB published a statement, Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice.

For other articles I refer you to our Justice Watch blog article, Restorative Justice, where I have included three articles about Restorative Justice in the Catholic Church.

 

 

 

Bottom line: What my response would be if my child was attending this school is to inform the Principal that this method is not designed for children this age as a substitute for more traditional disciplinary methods.

If the Principal gives the standard, “we know more than you, we are the professionals” speech, my reply is likely to be, “No sir, you are not the professionals of my child’s education. I am. I, not you, am the primary one responsible for my child’s education. Your argument is a obfuscation and a mark of someone who cannot defend their position. You misunderstand my purpose here.  If my child needs to be disciplined, then call me and I will handle it. If my child is a victim of some other child’s misbehavior, I will talk to my child at home. But, you will not expose my child to this nonsense, period.”

But, that is me.

Actually, if I were to resign my vows, get married again, and have children, I would home-school unless I was absolutely certain of the local Catholic School (unfortunately these days one cannot automatically trust the Catholic Schools either).

The issue of the education of our children is a spiritual warfare issue, a very acute one at that. It is in educational system that our children are indoctrinated. Do not be fooled. No school teaches merely the academics. Worldview is also very much a part of the educational process, and sometimes even outright indoctrination. The question is which worldview is being taught, whose values are forming the educational theories? –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM

 

Hypnosis

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1400

February 19, 2011

I was doing my regular routine, which is to read the weekly flyer at my local church during mass. No sooner did I read that the priests at my church community published a disturbing ad.

The ad indicated that a local hypnotist will partake in a shared activity with our church members.
After mass, I spoke with the deacon regarding my concerns. He said that he was confused by the ad as well. I presented the idea that I was taught to believe that hypnosis is against our Catholic religion because it may open doors. He did not have an answer for me in return. However, he volunteered that he would not take part in that kind of an activity anyway, that is, that he would not be hypnotized. In conclusion, he said that he will let the priest know that the ad is disturbing some of our church members.
Meanwhile, I felt that it would be beneficial for me to further educate myself on the concept of hypnosis before I continue to address this as a concern with my priest. What are your thoughts on hypnosis? -Kelly

Hypnosis is, as described by Fr. John D. Dreher in his article on The Danger of Centering Prayer (which is a hypnotic prayer technique) is a “disengagement from other stimuli, a high degree of openness to suggestion, a psychological and physiological condition that externally resembles sleep but in which consciousness is interiorized and the mind subject to suggestion.”

I used to use hypnotism myself when I was involved in psychology. Even then I taught that hypnotism should be used only in very particular instances as a last resort. For example, severely burned patients can benefit from hypnosis to control pain since they may not be able to receive any pain medication during part of their recovery. Outside of that, I do not think there is any valid reason to use hypnosis.

“Entertainment” hypnosis should never be done under any circumstances.

The Church has said little about hypnotism, but as written in the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Hypnotism
[see page 67], the Church warns against the abuses of “magnetism and hypnotism” while leaving the way free “for scientific research”.

The Catholic Encyclopedia article quotes the caution of the Holy Office:

“The use of magnetism, that is to say, the mere act of employing physical means otherwise permissible, is not morally forbidden, provided that it does not tend to an illicit end or one which may be in any manner evil” (Response of the Holy Office, 2 June, 1840).

However, the encyclopedia article concludes:

“Hypnotism, therefore, is a dangerous, if not a morally detestable, practice. In the process of suggestion the individual alienates his liberty and his reason, handing himself over to the domination of another.”

Hypnosis, except for very particular medical reasons conducted ethically by a professional in a medical setting is dangerous as it can leave one open to demonic suggestion and harassment. No parish has any business sponsoring a hypnosis activity that is outside of a clinical setting. To promote entertainment hypnosis is irresponsible, foolish, and dangerous psychologically and spiritually. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1404

February 26, 2011

In my previous letter, I presented the fact that several priests at my church are promoting an activity where a hypnotist (for entertaining purposes) will interact with our church members on March 19th. I previously spoke with the deacon upon reading the ad in the weekly flyer. I was not happy with the information that I had received from him. I then submitted you a letter to you to further educate myself on the topic of hypnosis.
Once I had received a response from you, I asked my priest what he thought about the ad. He said that he thought that there was nothing wrong with hypnosis. He said that hypnosis is “natural”. I then presented the information that you had included in your response to me. He said that you used an outdated source of information. Brother I was deeply offended by what the priest had said about the source, as we know the Holy Bible is dated back many, many years.

 


I am disappointed in what I heard from the priest. What are your thoughts regarding this matter. Why is it that the priest does not see this activity as being dangerous? Is there anything else that you may suggest I do about this matter? -Kelly

I have taken some time before responding because I get so upset when I hear about priests saying such stupid things.

If the priest thinks that my quotes from the Church are “outdated” then it is his duty and responsibility to provide the proof of that. When did the Church update its teaching and where are the documents to prove it?

If he is unwilling or unable to produce such documents, then he is just blowing steam out the side of his mouth with no integrity or respect for the truth. This is a typical mark of a liberal.

If he is not going to exercise the caution instructed by the Church, I am reminded of a comment made by St. Teresa of Avila”: “The more we see failure in obedience, the stronger should be our suspicion of temptation.”

The Church is open to “scientific” investigation of hypnosis. As I mentioned in the last post, hypnosis may be useful in a certain clinical settings.

Entertainment hypnosis has no value. Even if there were no spiritual or psychological dangers to hypnosis (and there are such dangers; I have personally seen it and have personally harmed someone when doing “entertainment hypnosis), entertainment hypnosis would still be immoral.

To demonstrate the effects of hypnosis one can do the standard feats of sticking a pin into a person and the person does not flinch; or having the person hold out there arm and no matter how hard the hypnotist tries to lower the arm, the person’s arm is rock solid in its position.

Entertainment hypnotist may do these things, but they do not stop there because these sorts of demonstrations are boring after a few minutes. More showbiz is required to make the audience happy.

Then comes the immoral part. The hypnotist will give the volunteers hypnotic suggestions for them to perform for the audience in some humiliating way (e.g., prancing around like a chicken). The audience laughs.

This is a violation of the person’s human dignity. Even if the volunteer does not care, it is still not acceptable, as it is still an act of degrading the human person and is uncharitable for the sake of “the show”, for entertainment. Even if the volunteers do not care, part of the humor comes from the notion that the person is being forced or tricked to perform in humiliating ways in which they would never do otherwise. The audience laughing at someone else’s humiliation is patently uncharitable.

This is not much different than getting someone drunk or high on drugs to encourage them to walk around with a lampshade on their head. Again, this humiliating behavior is not something the person would normally do except “under the influence.” People laughing at the drunk person humiliating himself is equally as uncharitable and immoral.

Why does our society think that it is funny to see others humiliate and make fools of themselves because of intoxication or hypnosis, or other manipulative techniques?

This is also the reason why the comedian Don Rickles (the insult comic) is so problematic. He has made a living and a career out of put-down humor and humiliating others for the sake of a laugh.

It may well be funny and the victims of Rickles’ humor may be “good sports”, but it does not remove the fact that we are laughing at others’ humiliation.

The world may find all that funny and acceptable, but we are not the world. As Christians we are to be counter-cultural. It sounds like your priest has forgotten that.

I certainly have no respect for anyone who thinks humiliating others is entertainment, even if it is “justa joke” (a phrase that comes from the philosophy of the devil to excuse ungodly behavior). Shame on him. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1406

March 3, 2011

I am so impressed with your response regarding the subject of hypnosis. So much so, that I am going to print it out and post it on the church’s bullet board come Saturday. I was never a fan of hypnosis. I have learned that it may only be used as a technique in a highly ethical and professional setting. I agree with you and see clearly how the notion of entertainment hypnosis can humiliate and degrade precious human life. You have enlightened my viewpoint on such a topic. -Kelly

If you wish to post this on your parish bulletin board you need to cut out the comments about your pastor’s comments that I made. It is not proper to humiliate him directly and publicly in his own parish that way. I make the criticism here only because all is anonymous to the general public. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Hypnosis

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1432

May 1, 2011

I was wondering if you had any advice on how to get rid of the effects of hypnosis and the effects of spells and hexes?

I stupidly found this woman on YouTube who has hypnosis videos posted on there. Her name is Hypnosis Goddess on YouTube. I listened to them numerous times from about March 1st to the middle of March. They have had a negative effect on me and my Life.
I have been having extreme ringing in my ears – light-headedness, nausea and disorientation/confusion. Also blurry-vision (can’t focus my eyes) and bloodshot eyes all of the time – to the extent that other people have asked me about my eyes, and what was up with them. This is not how I normally feel and look. I also have absolutely no energy – and consequently, my business is suffering.

After viewing the videos, I had a few email exchanges with her. She asked me some things that were going-on in my life, and things like that, etc.

 

 

I found-out later, through her personal website outside of YouTube, that she is a witch – I am serious. She sells and casts spells and hexes. I did not know this when I listened to the YouTube videos. I had also personally purchased one of her hypnosis Mp3 audio files – which now makes me complicit in this garbage. I knew that it was weird while I was listening to it – she kept repeating – ‘drifting …… you are drifting ……. drifting’. I am ‘putting to sleep a part of your mind’ – ‘you are leaving your Mind ………………. drifting ………….’ I should have known.

I then had some more email exchanges – and she told me right out that she had put a spell or a hex on me – or both, I do not know. She basically said not to worry – it wasn’t a curse or anything – just a spell and a hex.

How do I get rid of any and all of the negative effects of this? I went to Confession two weeks ago, and then Mass – Mass on Easter, and Mass Today. My priest pretty-much labeled the spell and hex as ‘Mumbo-Jumbo’ and not to worry (but I am worried) – because I know what this has done to me – I wouldn’t classify it as mumbo-jumbo. There are serious negative things going on with this. Do you have any advice for me please?

I am also posting this to warn people – anyone, Catholics, non-Catholics, anyone – to NOT watch things on YouTube that even have the smallest hint of being weird and out of the ordinary, especially hypnosis and anything weird and dark. I made a serious mistake by watching these things. Obviously she doesn’t tell or state her background on her YouTube account, which makes it more dangerous to the innocent viewer. -Joseph

Spells and Hexes can be real. But, we need to remember that very often the negative effects of the spell or hex tends to visit the spell or hex caster more than the target.

Since you have already been to Confession, the next thing to do is to pray the prayer, Breaking Personal Curses and Spells, that is found in our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog [See page 1]. In addition, you may wish to pray the following prayer:

Father in heaven, I foolishly allowed ___________ to place me in hypnosis for improper reasons. Only You know the full extent of what she did to me. Thank you for forgiving me for this foolishness.

I now ask you Lord to remove from me any post-hypnotic suggestions and any other effects caused from this hypnosis. Cleanse me body, mind, and soul. Free me from all bondage of the evil one that may have been caused by my actions. Thank you Lord for setting me free. Amen.

Doing these things should take care of the damage done by your foolishness.

The greatest post-hypnotic suggestion possible is for you to think you are bound by this. We give ourselves the suggestion. If you believe strongly in this curse, it will have a strong influence over you. You need to understand that this woman’s spells are not powerful. God is powerful. Do not give this person more power than she has. She has no power in comparison to God, and the power she has is mostly the power to convince you that she actually did something. Do not be your own worst enemy. Give the situation to God and go on with life without fear or worry about this.

Since this woman never met you face-to-face or ever visited your home and property what she did is a spell called a malefice. A malefice is a curse (or hex) cast indirectly.

Father Amorth, exorcist of Rome, once said, “We must not believe too easily in curses, especially those cast through means of malefice.” 

Be not afraid! We will also be praying for you. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reiki

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1433

May 1, 2011

I babysat my fiancés nephew last night and he woke up in the middle of the night screaming as if someone was hurting him. We went into the room and he was standing up banging on the walls. When my fiancé went to pick him up the boy started hitting him. Once he was picked up he put his head down on my fiancé and stopped screaming, he then lifted his head up and looked straight into my fiancés eyes and started laughing. He could not wake him up, but once he put his head back down we put him back into bed. The boy did this two more times but I picked him up instead the next times and I am very devout Catholic might I add. When I picked him up he woke up and said he had a bad dream but wouldn’t tell me what it was. He was too afraid to back to bed so we had him in our bed until he fell asleep and put him back. My daughter was sleeping in the same room as him and never woke up once while this was happening (maybe the guardian angels protected her and helped her stay asleep?)

I found out today when we went over to my fiancés moms house that she had given an over the phone Reiki healing to the little boys mom the night before. When I brought my worries up with my fiancé he told me he didn’t care and that it was his mom! He started saying that I was saying his mom was evil when all I was doing was explaining to him the evils of reiki.

I’m worried that if I leave my children with his mother one day she might do a reiki blessing as she tried to give me and my daughter one today. I stayed away from their house when she gave the boy’s mom another reiki blessing today. I don’t know what to do about this. I love my fiancé but I’m worried that it might be dangerous for my daughter and I to stay with him. Also, this little boy use to have night terrors but hasn’t had one in almost two years and never laughed when he did this and was always able to be woken up during the night terror. What should I do about my fiancé and his mother? His sister is also becoming very much into this and this is very scary for me. Could this boy have acted this way because of reiki? It seemed as if he was possessed when he started laughing the way he did. -Serenna

Well, in my opinion you have only one choice — call off the wedding and break up with this guy.

If you marry him you will be inheriting a heap of trouble–from him and from his family. You have already witnessed the demonic influences upon this poor child you babysat due to Reiki. The mother’s bondage with the devil through Reiki and your fiancé not caring about it means that he is ineligible for marriage.

 

 

To put this bluntly, you will be a fool to stay with him and you will be placing your children in danger. Your fiancés family is obvious steeped in bondage. If you wish to avoid that bondage yourself and avoid risking your children you must leave this man and never see him or his family again.

Your “feeling” of love must be overridden by your duty and obligation given to your by God to protect your children, and yourself. God says true love rejoices in righteousness. There is nothing righteous (right) about this situation.

You have to make the decision and you have to live with the decision you make. But, this is my advice. We will be in prayer for you and your children, and the fiancé (hopefully soon to be “ex) and his family. –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM

 

“Positive psychology”

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1445

June 7, 2011

Upon recommendation by a professional counselor, I joined a class/therapy group called “Transforming Your Life”. When I attended the first session yesterday, the counselor explained that the class was based on a relatively new field in psychology known as “positive psychology”.
He explained that the human brain develops neural grooves, or pathways, in response to deep seated or habitual negative thoughts over time. Negative thinking and irrational beliefs become so automatic that they must be replaced with new thoughts and positive emotions. Over time, the new, more helpful thoughts become automatic, or at least more accessible.
I suppose that sounds plausible, but I’m concerned because of this concept’s link to New Age and occult thinking. In some cursory research I’ve done on the internet, I’ve found that many psychologists claim it has absolutely nothing to do with New Age mumbo jumbo, only proven scientific principles; yet many other sites tote positive psychology is the latest, greatest thing in New Age circles. It is enthusiastically recommended by authors of The Secret and other occultist gurus.
I’ve decided not to go back to the class because the counselor is clearly promoting New Age ideas. (He is enthralled with Oprah because she is changing the universal consciousness of the world, he recommends ancient Hawaiian clearing techniques, talks about bringing positive and negative energies to others, etc.)
What about positive psychology? Does it have any value for us as Christians? –Carol

Anything recommended by Oprah or Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, needs to come under close scrutiny. We cannot automatically condemn anything that these dingalings recommend since it is possible for them to stumble over some truth by accident. The Church teaches that we can agree to any grain of truth that is found in other philosophies.

So, is there any grain of truth in what has been called, Positive Psychology?

Before exploring that question it should be noted that claims to being “scientific” does not mean it is. Transcendental Meditation claims to be scientific, but it is nothing more than an Americanized version of Hindu meditation.

Positive Psychology basically seeks to promote mental health rather than treating mental illness. This is a good goal. It is obviously better to encourage people to think in a healthy way to avoid having to “close the barn door after the horses of illness get out.”

Positive Psychology was summed up in 1998 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: “We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise that achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in individuals, families, and communities.”

The Positive Psychology website states:

This field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

Positive Psychology has three central concerns: positive emotions, positive individual traits, and positive institutions. Understanding positive emotions entails the study of contentment with the past, happiness in the present, and hope for the future. Understanding positive individual traits consists of the study of the strengths and virtues, such as the capacity for love and work, courage, compassion, resilience, creativity, curiosity, integrity, self-knowledge, moderation, self-control, and wisdom…

Positive psychology acknowledges a debt to humanistic psychology, which was popular in the 1960s and 1970s and has many followers to this day. Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers (among others) proposed that people strive to make the most of their potential in a process called self-actualization, which can be thwarted or enabled by a variety of conditions. Humanistic psychology emphasizes the goals for which people strive, their awareness of this striving, and the importance of rational choice in this process.

The term, nor the idea, was created by Martin Seligman, who started the modern movement in 1998. Abraham Maslow in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality discussed the need to encourage mental health. Many psychologists since then have focused on mental health and not just on treatment of illness. Siligman has just renewed the ideas as a new fad (which as a alleged new technique makes a lot of money).

The idea, however, is much older than Maslow. The idea of mental health and positive and healthy thinking goes back to the Bible.

As often happens, principles of good mental health that originate with Biblical Principles are re-worked into humanistic psychology that excludes God. Humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Erich Fromm developed psychologies that dealt with human happiness.

The only true happiness, however, and the only true mental health, comes from living the Christ-life and the Biblical Principles that seeks to help us to live that life in its fullest.

 

 

 

The basic principle of what is called cognitive (and positive) therapy is found in 2 Corinthians 10:5b “…bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.

Happiness and mental health is ours as we submit ourselves to Christ and trust in His promises. For example, Christ promises that nothing will come into our lives that we cannot handle. We will not be tempted beyond our strength.

(1 Corinthians 10:13)  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

God makes this wonderful promise that should be a cause of happiness to anyone:

(Romans 8:35, 37-39)  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us.

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The science that has been done can be useful. Much of it merely confirms what we have already known for 1000s of years.

One study that I found useful is that which debunks the conventional wisdom that to talk about our trials over and over, “getting it off our chest”. In reality, to talk about our hurts and troubles over and over again does not diffuse the emotional pain, it increases it.

If you think about it, if you tell the sad story over and over, what happens? Are your emotions healed? No. Telling the story over and over only dredges up the same hurting emotions that were there when the even originally occurred. The emotions never have a chance to heal. We need to learn to not be mastered by the past, but to allow the past to remain in the past and get on with our life. Those sorts of scientific studies can be useful, but there is rarely any new information revealed in these studies — only confirmation of what we already know.

The Counseling approach that we use begins with Nouthetic Counseling
(Biblically-based counseling). A full article about our Counseling approach is available.

As for specific groups using the faddish terms like “Transforming Your Life”, I would be very skeptical. –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM

 

“The Secret”

http://www.saint-mike.org/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1444

June 16, 2011

Could I have your views on the book “The Secret” it was recommended by a colleague at work who is not strong in her faith so I did not read it, but when a priest friend also recommended it I went ahead and bought the book but was not comfortable after the first few chapters.

I was convinced it was wrong I made a confession and threw the book in the garbage. I feel good to have done that and feel it was God’s mercy that saved me from reading the book to the end. But I am concerned as many vulnerable Catholics would be exposed to it. –Agnes

The priest who recommended the book The Secret should be horse-whipped for incompetence and malpractice for potentially causing you spiritual damage.

Under no circumstance should The Secret be recommended.

In a Sunday Visitor article, Father Mitch Pacwa is asked about The Secret:

According to Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, who hosts EWTN Live and writes extensively on the New Age movement, The Secret, far from being some long-lost piece of ancient wisdom, is just the same old New Age nonsense dressed up for TV.
“It’s a standard New Age idea that all the world’s problems would go away if everyone would just be a little more positive,” said Father Pacwa. “This is an old scam. It’s like a nasty scene from Poltergeist: They’re ba-ack.”
The Secret, however, go further back than the New Age movement. In fact, said Father Pacwa, they go right back to Eden.
“What did the devil say to Eve? Eat this, and you’ll become like gods. That’s what The Secret really promises,” he said.
The promise of The Secret does seem to echo the promise of the serpent. It promises that without help from man or God you can control your destiny. It assures you neither grace nor suffering are necessary. It makes you your own god, and leaves no room for a messiah who hung on a cross.
Of course, the cost of believing those promises is as high as ever, which is why the best way for Catholics to respond to The Secret is not to think “lovely, wonderful thoughts” about the phenomenon coming to a quick demise. Rather, Father Pacwa advised, Catholics need to help the culture rediscover their dependence on God’s grace and the redemptive power of suffering. “Suffering isn’t easy, but it’s profound and powerful,” he said. “Our task is to help folks in the culture face their problems instead of looking for the easy way out. It doesn’t exist.”

The Holy Spirit was speaking to you when you felt uncomfortable with the book. You did the right thing in getting rid of this book. –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM

 

David Icke

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1476

August 15, 2011

 

 

 

My mother recently got a copy of a David Icke book. I was sure it would involve trashing our faith, and I was very unhappy that she would read such a thing. I prayed that she would not take it seriously.
Soon afterwards, she put the book in her car, where she likes to keep some reading material. Before long, she looked and found it covered with uncountable disgusting worms. There was no choice, none whatsoever, but to throw it into the trash can. Best place for it, I say. -Michael

David Icke likes to call himself “the most controversial speaker in the world.” He is not. Rather, Icke is the world’s most idiotic speaker. He is a complete loon. Maybe the Holy Spirit was protecting your mother from Icke’s icky and demonic notions. We must pray for this man’s soul. –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke]

 

New Age feminists as goddesses

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1483

August 24, 2011

After retirement, I became a professional musician and historical storyteller. As such, I frequently find myself among people who practice First Nations spirituality or women who are using storytelling to promote feminist agendae. They refer to themselves as “goddess”.
When I perform, I always wear a crucifix and the Catholic practices of the pioneers have a part in my stories. But I still feel disturbed and uncomfortable around these people.
What is the meaning of this term “goddess”? Is it best to avoid any contact with these types or is there a chance to witness here? –Denis

Many New Agers think they are gods. In the case of these women they are into a goddess economy. Feminist think that the Church and God are patriarchal tyrants. Thus, they reject this patriarchal God and His Church in favor of a matriarchal goddess economy.

In fact, the primary goal of feminism has little to do with things like “equal pay for equal work”, but has everything to do with a goal to destroy Christianity, especially the Catholic Church, and what they consider to be our patriarchal god who suppresses woman.

There is always a chance to witness, even if you never say a word to them. Just your presence and how you do what you do is a witness. St. Francis said once, “We should always preach the Gospel, and only sometime use words.”

At the same time you need to be aware of them. These types of people do not have the Holy Spirit to restrain them from ill will. You can be considered a threat just by who you are. It is not unknown for people like this to cast spells and curses.

I would never accept any food or gifts from them. It may also be wise once-in-while to say the prayer, Breaking Personal Curses and Spells. Certainly say that prayer if anything starts happen that is unusual in your life.

Now giving this advice is not to scare you. There is no need for fear. This advice is to prepare you to protect yourself.

I would also recommend the following prayers before you go among these people:

Prayer for Filling of the Spirit
Prayer to Put On the Armor Of God
Prayer to St. Michael for Protection

Prayer to our Guardian Angel to Watch over Us
Hedge Prayer for Protection of Self

Be not afraid, is one of the mottoes of our Late Holy Father, John Paul II. We are to be the salt and light on this earth. We cannot do that if we hide under a bushel basket.

(Matthew 5:13-16)  “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Illness due to association with occultists and New Agers

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1485

August 31, 2011

A few years ago, I had acquaintances of Santeria and the New Age religion. Since then, I have disassociated myself with these people as I want to surround myself with individuals who live righteously and believe solely in Our Lord and Savior.
I was a casual/platonic acquaintance with a young man of the Santeria religion. I ended my friendship with him because of his personality, but afterwards I developed a multitude of physical ailments, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Periodonitis, and more. I also have financial problems, as because of my health I cannot work.
Another acquaintance was a woman I use to work with who was Catholic but was involved with Reiki and other New Age practices. We had a disagreement one time, however resolved our differences, but shortly after I developed Acid Reflux.
Most recently, an acquaintance of a family member called me. This woman is into the Wiccan religion and although she can be very nice, she complains, uses profanity and is problematic.
She was discussing a problem and the following day I was extremely dizzy for several hours until it subsided. I spoke with my family member about this, and they stated that they have distanced themselves from her, as when they are around her, they feel fatigue and have gotten headaches.

 

 


Because I befriended people who were into “New Age” and other practices, could their negativity be causing me illness and if so, what can I do to remove it and how can I protect myself from people who have negativity within them?
If you can advise me about this, I would appreciate it, as I want to live peacefully and surround myself with others who truly love Our Lord and Savior. –Crystal

I praise God that you have disassociated yourself with these people. Whenever one associates with individuals from Santeria and similar occult groups it is always possible that when you disassociate yourself from them such individuals may seek revenge through casting spells and curses.
You need to be careful, however, about interpreting every ailment as being sourced by contact with these individuals. Most of what you describe falls solidly within the realm of coincidence.
With that said individuals from Santeria and Wicca are well-known to attempt to perpetrate curses and spells. As a precaution, it would be wise to never accept any gifts from these people or any food prepared by these people.
Because of the possibility of a curse or spell I would advise you to pray the prayer, Breaking Personal Curses and Spells, found in our Spiritual Warfare Catalog. Other prayers in the Catalog will also be useful, such as the Hedge Prayer for Protection of Self.
As for the Wiccan family member in which several people report fatigue and headaches, it is possible that there is a demon that hangs around her. Wiccans worship the devil even if they do not know it. If one is not worshiping the true God, then there is only one other entity to worship. While the Wiccans may think they are worshiping nature, or a goddess, or no god at all, they are worshiping the devil nevertheless and appealing to both the philosophy and powers of the devil.
If someone comes to your house who has a demon attached to them it can cause the symptoms you and other family members are describing. It is wise to distance oneself from that Wiccan family member.
Live the best Christian life you know how to live, pray daily, read the Bible daily, attend church every Sunday, and pray the spiritual warfare prayers I have recommended and other prayers in our Catalog that may be useful to you.
There are no guarantees. Prayers are not magick. But God does listen to your prayers, He is with you and loves you and wants the best for you. He will answer your prayers according to what is best for you and according to His will.

If you are cursed it may take some time to fully break that curse. You must be patient and persevere in your faith, trusting in God and in his love for you. We will be praying for you as well. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1486

September 2, 2011

The woman who practices Wicca is a co-worker and casual acquaintance of one of my family members. My family member is not into Wicca at all and disapproves of the practice. But, because my family member tries to get along with others, she has befriended this woman and has also discussed Our Lord with her, but the woman refuses to listen and because of the woman’s personality; my family member has distanced herself from this lady.
You mentioned about receiving food from such individuals who are into negative spiritual activities. I did eat some cup cakes, as well as my family member that this woman made but it was at a party whereas many people had eaten them and nothing seems to have occurred physically or spiritually with any of us.
In regards to the young man who was into Santeria, he confessed that he wanted to date me. However, I was not interested and told him I would prefer to remain platonic friends. He became very sarcastic after this and I disassociated myself from him. Afterwards I noticed changes within my health and my finances. As because of some of the medical conditions I currently have, it is preventing me from working and I had applied for Disability and was denied.
I’ve had numerous medical tests done, and each and every one of them comes back normal which makes me feel that my ailments and misfortunes could be of a curse.
As for my former co-worker, she was a very jealous woman and although she was Catholic; she was into New Age practices and being that she was of Portuguese heritage, she believed in certain folklore. As I mentioned, she and I had a disagreement but resolved our differences, however shortly after I developed Acid Reflux.
I do have certain items belonging to both of these people. As I have a photo of my former co-worker with other co-workers and the young man who was into Santeria gave me two saint statues; one of St. Michael and one of St. Clara. I want to get rid of these items, but in regards to the statues because they are of a religious nature, I don’t know if I should break them.
Can I dispose of them by doing the procedure mentioned on this site, by using Holy water, the prayer and discarding them into the garbage as I don’t want any remnants of any of these people?
I will say the prayers you recommended and if there is any other advice you can give me, I would appreciate it. –Crystal
Thanks for the clarification, but the response I made last time remains the same.

As for the issue of receiving food or gifts from these people, nothing may happen. It is just a precaution. The reason for this is that some witches or other occultist will attempt to cast spells in the form of a hex. This is done by adulterating food with some substance or using a cursed object presented to the victim.
Those in Santeria are more likely than other occultists to cast spells and curses for revenge or when they don’t get their way. Thus, I would not be surprised if this young man cursed you in some fashion when you rebuffed him. The prayer I mentioned before about breaking spells and curses should help in this regard.

The circumstance of the acid reflux is most probably just a coincidence, but who knows. New Agers in general are not into casting spells and curses. It is the more deeply the occultic types, such as some types of witches, Santeria, Voodoo, and other similar groups who are more likely to cast spells and curses.

 

 

 

Any items that you wish to destroy you should do so using the procedure we outline in our pamphlet entitled, Procedure to Destroy Occultic or Cursed Objects.

As an aside having nothing to do with cursed objects, whenever a blessed object can no longer be used one should never just throw away. The object should be dismantled or destroyed in some fashion so that it no longer resembles what it was, and then buried.

It is not necessary to keep us updated on your situation, but if you wish to do so then I recommend that you join the Chew the Rag Café, link below. Once you are a member of the Chew the Rag Café you can then join the Spiritual Warfare Conference. It is there that you can talk about your experiences. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Mindfulness-based therapy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1492

September 23, 2011

I am going to be facilitating groups as a mental health therapist. I was exposed to Mindfulness-Based Therapy practices when I was in graduate school. It seems like an effective form of therapy as it grounds the mind. This practice appears to dip into some gray areas pertaining to Buddhism. This raises a potential red flag for me. What are your thoughts regarding this? –Sam

Mindfulness-Based Therapy is based on a combination of cognitive therapy (which is a biblically sound method) and Buddhists meditative techniques (which Christians are to avoid).

One of their websites explains:

It combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. The heart of this work lies in becoming acquainted with the modes of mind that often characterize mood disorders while simultaneously learning to develop a new relationship to them. MBCT was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale, based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program.

The “meditative practices and attitudes based on cultivation of mindfulness” refers to Buddhist ideas and practices.

The best approach for a Christian counselor to follow, and that which is most effective for the client, in our opinion, is called Nouthetic Counseling. This form of counseling is biblically based and utilizes the insights of the Church and the Saints.

There are secular counseling modalities that are useful, such as Cognitive Therapy.

Second Corinthians 10:5-6 gives us a near dictionary definition of cognitive therapy. The passage states:

We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

This is in essence cognitive therapy — taking every thought captive, correcting thinking errors, in changing the way one thinks to conform to reason. The primary difference between the secular use of cognitive therapy and the way we use it is that with our clients we help them to conform their minds to the mind of Christ.
If you are interested, we have an outline of the basic counseling theory that we go by. It can be found here.
Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Chinese Massage

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1568

February 3, 2012

I received a voucher for Chinese Massage from my husband, a franchise run in the shopping centres/malls, where people can just wander in and choose what kind of massage they would like. They are staffed by Chinese people. On the voucher it simply says Chinese Massage: Remedial, Sports, Relaxation, Injuries. I have been before; they do very good physical massage with no visible or audible sign of any new-age /demonic trappings – but I have sometimes felt an increased anxiety and negative spiritual effects afterwards.

I don’t know whether this is purely my psychological reaction since I am VERY worried about the possible spiritual effects of this, and I have always prayed prior, during and after and worn sacramentals. I don’t know if they silently ‘pray’ or use energies or whatever, but I’d like to know if it is safe. – And I can’t ask as either their English is not so great, or they wouldn’t understand my viewpoint! I don’t want to offend my husband by not going -but if there’s any chance of demonic hooks there’s no way I’ll be going!

Actually, there is one further thing: they have a dragon symbol on their stationery and walls, which unnerves me, but according to a devout Catholic Chinese friend, this symbol in Asian culture represents imperial authority and power over the water and weather, more of a symbol of God and His power rather than the evil meaning that European dragons denote.

I would appreciate any light you could shed on this. -Barbara

Chinese massage is actually Tui Na, a traditional Chinese touch therapy developed some 2000 years ago. Tui Na uses soft tissue manipulation and acupressure. This means that Tui Na is designed to remove any blockages and to align one’s “energies” with the cosmos. These energies allegedly flow through meridians in the body. All of this is hogwash.

Here is a video that explains Tui Na: […]

As this woman says Tui Na is all about the non-existence “energy” flow through non-existent meridians.

It would be best for Christians to avoid Tui Na. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

Occult and paranormal in computer games

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1576

February 11, 2012

I have always enjoyed computer adventure games and recently joined a computer game company online. Some of the games are puzzle games are adventure games which I love. I have noticed more and more of these are beginning to contain questionable aspects. They are NOT RPG games, but typically the player acts in the role of an adventurer, investigator or relative for example, i.e. of a deceased person and needs to rid an area of evil spirits or free souls… and yet some are classic, general mystery games (or murder mystery) detective (i.e. Agatha Christie, etc)

The reason I am becoming concerned is some of the games I have played begin generally FINE, and do not appear to be paranormal nor occult based i.e. as a mystery and then I notice there is a pentagram, or I have to collect ingredients for a spell, etc… as the plot switches in the game and there are paranormal like aspects or voodoo or ghosts, spirits, demons, witches, etc. that pop in.

I have express my concerns against all the occult or paranormal in the games on the reviews portion of the game site, yet have consistently with few exceptions gotten bashed relentlessly by the majority of the other members players saying it is ONLY a game and we are NOT DOING anything WRONG, it is GOOD against EVIL.

SO they have a point in that and I actually are not thinking evil thoughts in playing the games but wonder about it and also, some I do NOT enjoy but have purchased, I wonder if I am open for attack?

So, are these games truly potential for invoking demon type warfare? I am NOT talking about the RPG games (though I have played some in the past). I will also mention that I come from a (very) abusive childhood by my mother (but have gone through therapy) she is an open agnostic/atheist. I read that abuse can “open” a person to attack. In fact, I was also abused by a doctor recently (I reported it). But it seems that I (we, family) go from one calamity to another even though I am home MOST of the time due to chronic illness (past MANY years!) except to go to doctor appointments and Mass. My spouse has recently lost a career position, our adult child was in an accident and diagnosed with a medical problem and I have been additionally diagnosed with more ailments very recently (even though we practice healthy eating, exercise within limits, etc). We have also blessed with much, too, so I am not disregarding Gods graces, please.
It has just that this has become a true dilemma for me as I have spent money on the games (some I have not played yet) and since I can not leave the house much I need some diversion other than reading. I also pray a LOT and also pray the rosary every day. On TV I watch almost entirely Catholic TV and TCM (classic movies). So are the games really bad and opening up potential for spiritual harm even if I do not actually RELATE to the bad part of the game? -Felicia

When you cast spells in these games you open yourself up to demonic attack even if you did not have the intention of casting an actual spell.

St. Paul tells us that we are to avoid sin and all things evil, and to (1 Thess 5:22) “Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Any game that has occultic elements of any kind needs to be avoided. 

As for the immature dismissal, “It only a game”, the phrase “It’s only” or “It’s justa” comes from the devil. He absolutely loves it when people say this. The more people dismiss the influence of the devil as silly or whatever, the more the devil can work covertly to trap us.

All games, books, movies, TV shows, videos have a worldview, have an agenda. The question is to determine the worldview of the media. Harry Potter promotes a worldview of witchcraft and is thus to be avoided. The games you are talking about with spells, pentagrams, and other occultic elements are to be avoided at all costs. To indulge in such things can put you are Satan’s radar. These so-called “pretend” spells can sometimes cause real effects. There is no such thing as “It’s justa…” Avoid all this stuff.

As for the Good fighting evil, we do not fight evil with evil. We fight evil with the Truth of God. The weapon we have is the sword of the Spirit to take down evil.

St. Paul tells us how to fight evil:

(Eph 6:10-18)  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. 

(2 Cor 10:3-6) For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 

St. James says, (James 4:7) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

And there is a lot more in Scripture. Any game that does not approach spiritual warfare in this way is authored by the devil. Evil is not fought be evil. Evil is fought by righteousness.

It sounds like you and your husband are having some troubles, “bad luck”, as-it-were. I suggest that both you and your husband go through the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance linked below. Also, I recommend the Hedge Prayer of Protection and the Breaking Spells and Curses prayers found in our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

Biofeedback

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1597

March 13, 2012

I have some ailments that I’m treating which are Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Acid Reflux, IBS, and most recently diagnosed with a mild case of Osteoarthritis.
These conditions began once I started going through menopause; however I am trying to treat and cope with them to the best of my ability and the majority of my ailments are stress related.
My Primary Care Physician referred me to Physical Therapy whereas I went for a consultation, got X-rays and blood test done and received my results back; so the Therapist will determine what exercises will be the best for me. He also suggested Biofeedback, but I’m very reluctant to try this just because of some of the things I’ve heard about it; as I once tried Acupuncture which I felt very strange afterwards and never tried it or anything like it again.
As Christians, is it dangerous for us to have these types of treatments even if a physician suggests them? Also, for the Physical Therapy massage would be part of the therapy; however just standard massage.
Could you please give me some advice about this and if you could pray for me, as these conditions are preventing me from working. Also are there any healing prayers I can pray to help me with my health concerns. -Crystal

Biofeedback is specifically mentioned by the Church in the document about the New Age, Jesus Christ: The Bearer of the Water of Life. Here is the pertinent excerpt:

Yoga, Zen, transcendental meditation and tantric exercises lead to an experience of self-fulfilment or enlightenment. Peak-experiences (reliving one’s birth, travelling to the gates of death, biofeedback, dance and even drugs – anything which can provoke an altered state of consciousness) are believed to lead to unity and enlightenment. Since there is only one Mind, some people can be channels for higher beings. Every part of this single universal being has contact with every other part. The classic approach in New Age is transpersonal psychology, whose main concepts are the Universal Mind, the Higher Self, the collective and personal unconscious and the individual ego. The Higher Self is our real identity, a bridge between God as divine Mind and humanity. Spiritual development is contact with the Higher Self, which overcomes all forms of dualism between subject and object, life and death, psyche and soma, the self and the fragmentary aspects of the self. Our limited personality is like a shadow or a dream created by the real self. The Higher Self contains the memories of earlier (re-) incarnations.

Christians should avoid all of these activities that produce this “peak” experiences and altered states of consciousness. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

St. Hildegard Von Bingham – New Age?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1676

August 23, 2012

I was wondering what you could tell me about St. Hildegard. I heard that she was considered a gifted woman of God and she has the title of Saint, but I am confused.
I haven’t read much, as when I started to read books about her, it talked about her using precious stones for healing. This reminds me of the new age practice of healing with crystals and other stones?

What can we make of this? Is she a Saint or a new age healer?
Was it just the common belief at the time, so she studied these areas in medicine and folk lore?

What are we to make of this woman of god, and do you think her writings have merit for today, or do you think they may be dangerous? –Michael
New Agers and sometimes feminist like to co-opt, that is, steal, St. Hildegard
 for their own. We should never let unbelievers steal our Saints and holy images. There should be no confusion here. The devil loves to encourage such confusion. Any application or use of St. Hildegard by New Age nutballs should be dismissed immediately. Instead, we should rely upon solid Catholic sources for all such things.

This October, Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to formerly canonize St. Hildegard (she was never officially canonized) and also declare her a Doctor of the Church, a rare honor.

The reason that New Age nutballs like to look to her is because of her work with herbal medicine.

Concerning “stones”, silver might be considered a stone by St. Hildegard. Silver is a metal that does indeed have medical use as an antibiotic. Silver was use extensively as an antibiotic before the invention of antibiotic medicine.

Silver is still used in medicine as an antibiotic in certain situations. When I had a central line put in my neck to allow antibiotics to be administered, a silver disc was placed at the puncture point to aid in preventing any infection. Silver is widely used in topical gels and impregnated into bandages because of its wide-spectrum antimicrobial activity.

What is interesting is the most Chalices used by the Church have a silver lining. Since the lining is silver, and since silver has a wide-spectrum antimicrobial effect, the communal reception of the Blood is less likely to pass on harmful germs to the communicants.

The bottom line is that there are some stones (minerals and elements) that do have medical use.

New Agers, on the other hand, usually use crystals and other stones for the alleged “spiritual effects” of the stone, or to facilitate the “energy” therapy proposed by oriental cosmology (a false cosmology).

The caution is that whatever herbs or stones are used, there must be a scientific basis for it. St. Hildegard was very adept in finding genuine medical uses of natural herbs and substances. But, all she knew of medicine was that which was common to her time (the 12th century). –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1739

December 3, 2012

A conversation came up with a priest yesterday regarding stones and healing properties. I had condemned the practice in my mind as being of the occult and against Church teaching and I was very confused when the priest said St Hildegard Von Bingham believed in the healing properties of stones and is highly regarded in New Age circles. How can this be? I thought any use of stones for healing and such beliefs was opening one’s self up for demonic harassment. –Rose

As it happens, I just answered this question on the Faith and Spirituality Forum [below].
Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Star Wars

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1692

September 18, 2012

What do you think of an idea I have for a winter hobby? I was thinking of building a model Star Wars light saber. I thought this particular one is neat because it shows the exposed “crystal chamber” and it is named Starkiller and images can be easily googled. It’s this crystal chamber I am asking about. I am not deeply into Star Wars or anything but the idea of making a model with light and sounds appeals to me for a winter project.

The Star Wars background goes something like jedis used a crystal which had something to do with producing the plasma and determined the color of the blade. I do not know enough about Lucas’ saga to know if there are any spiritual aspects to the crystal but what I did read on WikiPedia didn’t suggest any. Most people model these with quartz crystals and light them up with an LED.

If I source this crystal from a non-new age source do I have anything to worry if I build this thing? Again it’s not for role play; just to light it up. I’ll probably display it as something cool and hit it against my cellar pillar a few times to hear it go whoosh and clash and then get bored with it, maybe someday to have a hobby with my son and have some bragging rights in the custom saber shop forums or something. -George

The crystal used to produce a laser light weapon is actually a real concept inspired by physics. There is nothing pseudo-spiritual about this. Based upon ideas in physics, crystals are used in many science fiction stories. In Star Trek “di-lithium” crystals are used in the warp engine. Crystals have many uses in science.

As for Star Wars itself, the “Force” is based upon New Age ideas that contradict Christian teaching. It is a take-off on the oriental cosmology of Chi and invisible energy flowing in meridians through-out the body. This is all nonsense. There is no such thing as these energy flows, Chi, or Chakras. Such concepts deny a personal God. God, in the oriental cosmology, is replaced with a cosmic plasma or a universal consciousnesses, which is how I referred to God when I was in the New Age.

While Star Wars was an exciting adventure film, that is fine as far as that goes, but the concept of the Force is New Age and therefore contaminated several generations who became interested in this false concept.

As for your hobby, I see nothing wrong with what you want to do. Just be careful not to teach your son New Age ideas. Take out “The Force” and its pseudo-mystical abilities, and replace it with trust of the Holy Spirit within you to gain confidence to fight the battles and prayer to ask God to win the battles against evil, and then you may have a great scenario.

The Rosary was responsible for winning the Battle of Lepanto against the Turkish Muslims. There are several battles through out history that have been won by the Rosary. It is this power of prayer that is the true mystical weapon to win the battle against evil. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Wind chimes

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1709

October 24, 2012

I wanted to know about Wind Chimes, as many people say they are part of Asian/Chinese culture and are used to ward off evil spirits.
However I purchase Christian items such as coffee cups, bibles, and other related items from an online Christian store and I came across a “Christian” Wind Chime with a cross which was absolutely lovely.
I want to know if it would be all right to buy this, or should I avoid it, as I only want righteous and Christian things in my home.
If you could tell me the history of Wind Chimes and whether or not I should purchase one, I would really appreciate it. –Crystal

There is nothing wrong with a Christian wind chime other than the fact that they make an irritating noise.

The history of wind chimes goes all the way back ancient Lebanon (5th Century B.C.), and to ancient Rome. People placed them in their gardens to ward off evil spirits. In China the wind chimes were also use to scare birds away from the garden.

If you have your wind chime blessed by a priest then it will be a sacramental that can actually ward some demons away. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reiki

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1718

November 8, 2012

 

 

I found your site giving a testimony about a demonic attack in connection with reiki. I was attacked by Satan but in my fighting I found Jesus and he saved my soul. I was mentally ill afterwards but by the grace of the Lord healed and am set free again. I live without any anti-psychotics again since more than 2 years without relapse, the doctors are very surprised. God gave me a new life and love. I have a very strong faith now. I am happily married since one year for the first time.

Now my question. I bought during my possession a cross on a chain as protection. I still have it. Should I throw it away because it was on me at the time during the attack or can i keep it? -Alexandra

I truly praise God for your remarkable story of your deliverance and healing.

As for the Cross, if that particular Cross is a trigger for you, that is, if it constantly reminds you of your affliction or you feel an evil attachment on it, then bless the Cross with Holy Water and bury it in the ground. We have instructions on how to do this. Otherwise, have a priest bless it and it should be okay. A priestly blessing should cleanse the Cross of anything. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

What is our identity in Heaven?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1730

November 25, 2012

Tonight I went to church and during the homily the priest said something that unsettled me. He said that when and if we go to heaven we likely won’t recognize our “loved ones” because our identity would be In Christ only. This must seem selfish of me to be depressed a bit about this. I know it might seem silly, but I am kind of, to say the least, looking forward to seeing my dad who was quite a character and very humorous during his life on earth. I might want to communicate somehow with my father, in whatever way that may be. I may sound ignorant, but it seems kind of nonsensical to make so many different beautiful, individual personalities only for them to “meld” into Christ as if we have no separate identity anymore. He said we would NOT recognize each other, and “not to blame him” (he laughed sheepishly) because “Christ said this”. Where in the gospels does He say this? –Lisa

Whoever this priest is who said that we will not recognize our loved ones in heaven, needs to be slapped upside the head. What nonsense. God says no such thing. Neither the Bible, nor the Church says such a thing. Ask him to prove his assertion.

Consider the following:

God calls us by name (Isaiah 43:2). A name is a specific identity

Our bodies, which gives us unique identity, are resurrected and reunited with our souls (1 Thess 4:16; CCC 992-1004)

Our souls have a unique identity (CCC 366).

St John says that we do not know for sure what we will be like, but we will be like the resurrected Jesus (1 John 3:2). The resurrected Jesus was identifiable.

St. Paul writes of the resurrected body in Philippians 3:19 and also 1st Corinthians 15

I am sure this priest is unaware of the implications of his words, but what he as said, as you have reported it, smacks of a New Age idea. There is a New Age idea that we all dissolve into a Cosmic Consciousness, or a Christ Consciousness, thus we have no personal identity. Such an idea is completely foreign and heretical (if actually proposed) in Christianity. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Centering prayer

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1737

November 28, 2012

Many of my friends in Ireland now are practising Centering prayer which is spreading all over Ireland by Fr Thomas Keating. I have my reservations about it as Fr Keating seemed to have been engaged in TM (Transcendental Meditation). Is this what Centering prayer is? –Sandra

I removed the links you had included because we do not want to be directing people to the evil prayer form called Centering Prayer.

We have articles in our Spiritual Warfare Library that warn about Centering Prayer. No Christian ought to be involved with this dangerous prayer form.

The Danger of Centering Prayer by Rev. John D. Dreher

Centering Prayer Meets the Vatican by Dan DeCelles

For Your Discernment: Warnings On The Dangers Of Centering Prayer by Courageous Priest. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Ayurveda

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1738

December 1, 2012

Ayurveda is the oldest medicine in the world. It involves clearing the lymph nodes so the body naturally detoxes. I was offered a job to do ayurvedic treatments, one called an abyangha treatment where you massage oil all over body to bring out toxins. Do I take the job? Or does this “open up spiritual channels”? –Catherine

There are some natural alternative medical treatments that are morally neutral. The problem is that practitioners almost never apply their treatments apart of their traditions. Ayurveda is a Hindu practice. Hinduism is one of the most hideous religions on the planet. In addition, there are a lot of occultic connections in Hinduism. The theory and cosmology behind the practice of Ayurveda, as is the theories behind Chinese medicine are hostile and contrary to Christianity. For these reasons alone I would avoid this method.

 

 

But, there are also medical dangers with Ayurveda. At least two studies in the United States have found dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic
in the herbs and substances used in this treatment. There is also a decided lack of scientific evidence of the effectiveness of Ayurveda treatments.

In addition to all this, the idea of massage oil eliminating toxins is fraudulent. All of these so called “toxin” therapies are fraudulent. The body already has the mechanisms to deal with toxins. The only thing “brought” out with these toxin therapies is money from your wallet.

The idea of this treatment cleaning lymph nodes is laughable.

Bottom line: There is potential medical harm with this method, the theory behind the method is bogus and contrary to Christianity, and there are potentially occult elements that may be included in treatment.

As a Christian under no circumstances would I advise taking this job, or submitting yourself to the treatment.
Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

St Hildegard and crystals

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2277

December 1, 2012

Should I listen to the teachings of St. Hildegard? She says crystals have healing properties and the crystal mimics the trinity. It is possible that God made something good, and the evil ones use it for bad? Why is it that witches and satanists are into the crystals? Can I use them for good? What do they use them for? –Catherine

Much of the information about St. Hildegard is apocryphal. Be sure of your sources. The New Agers and feminists have latched onto St Hildegard as their “patron saint” and thus have misinterpreted and adulterated information about her. I would not trust any New Age source, or any Catholic source that is into the New Age.

See the Catholic Encyclopedia about her for a bio.

We must also remember that even a Saint and Doctor of the Church is not infallible and can teach things that are incorrect. St Hildegard was a child of her time, a time that had little knowledge of medicine, outside of folk remedies, herbal remedies and such. She did contribute a lot of good information about healing properties of various plants and herbs, but there is no healing value in crystals.

The Church has spoken about things like crystals. The 2003 Vatican Document “Jesus Christ, The Bearer Of The Water Of Life: A Christian reflection on the New Age” says:

“Advertising connected with New Age covers a wide range of practices as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage and various kinds of “bodywork” (such as orgonomy, Feldenkrais, reflexology, Rolfing, polarity massage, therapeutic touch etc.), meditation and visualisation, nutritional therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by crystals, metals, music or colours, reincarnation therapies and, finally, twelve-step programmes and self-help groups.” 

“Crystals: are reckoned to vibrate at significant frequencies. Hence they are useful in self-transformation. They are used in various therapies and in meditation, visualisation, ‘astral travel’ or as lucky charms. From the outside looking in, they have no intrinsic power, but are simply beautiful.”

There is no medicinal value to crystals. Do not attempt to use them in such a way. Since so-called crystal therapy is superstition at best and demonic delusion at worst, one would risk demonic intrusion to use crystals for medicinal purposes or any other healing purpose. 

Witches and the like are into crystals because they have been duped by Satan to think crystals have power.

As the Vatican said, “…they have no intrinsic power, but are simply beautiful.”Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

How can I protect my granddaughters from Reiki?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1812

April 14, 2013

I have a three year old and one year old grand daughters. The paternal grandmother practices Reiki and my daughter has asked that she refrain from doing Reiki on these little innocents. This woman does not respect our faith, and we are fearful that when she has visits with them, she “blesses” them and does other occult practices on them. Just the other day she took the three year old to a children’s play, and my grand daughter came home with a necklace (string with heart shaped “rock” that this woman gave to her), that my daughter and I immediately had a very bad feeling about. I believe God broke it, because less than five minutes later the heart rock was detached from the knotted string, without any cause: the hook was not broken and the string was still solidly knotted right in front of our eyes. We threw it away when the little one wasn’t looking. I wanted to bless her with holy water, but my daughter thought that would be crazy. The next morning, the little one was playing when all of a sudden she threw up for no reason. No fever, no illness, no reason, then after we cleaned up the mess, she continued playing.
I am afraid it might be related to some occult practice that this demonic woman may have done. My daughter then let me bless the little one with holy water.

How do we protect our little grand daughters/daughters from any occult practice that may be done on them by this woman? We cannot keep her away from them unfortunately. I am very concerned as is my daughter. Also when the one year old was born, we allowed her into the birthing room and we found out later, from her, that she “blessed” this little one with Reiki. A few days later we had our Priest bless the baby. –Mary

 

I am sorry to hear about this. What needs to be done is clear. This paternal grandmother needs to be totally shunned and banned from the family. No contact with the children at all — no presents from the paternal grandmother, no contact of any kind even over the phone, no visits to her house and no visits to the children’s house, no visits in some neutral location. A total shun.

You state that it is not possible to keep the kids from this grandmother. Why is that? Is there a court-ordered visitation given to the grandmother?

If the husband is not willing to shun his mother, then he needs to consider this — would he shun his mother if his mother was sexually molesting his kids? Well, Reiki is about the most dangerous and demonic activity one can do. The effects of this grandmother doing Reiki on these children is raping the children’s spirit and psychology. It is worse than sexual molesting.

This is not an exaggeration. These children are being abused by the grandmother in ways that are about 100 times more serious and devastating than sexual abuse. Not kidding. It sounds like effects have already taken place with the vomiting episode.

The children’s parents have the job to protect their kids of predators. Well, the paternal grandmother is a predator.

Your daughter must insist that her husband follow this advice. If the husband refuses then he is a child abuser in my opinion.

Short of a total shunning, the children should be blessed with holy water daily, the prayers to break spells and curses needs to be said each time the kids are in any contact with this woman, the prayer to renounce ancestral sins needs to be prayed, and the rebuking spirits prayer, against the spirit of Reiki is needed. The Hedge Protection Prayer for the household and for the kids specifically is needed.

Anytime the kids are with this woman, the parents need to find out what happened during the visit. This needs to be done carefully.

Any gifts given to the kids by this woman ought to be blessed with Holy Water and prayed over before giving it to the children (better to not give the gift to the kids at all).

Holy Water is given to us by the Church precisely to assist us in fighting the devil. Your daughter needs to understand this. Taking the child to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also helpful, as well as praying with the kids, teaching the kids prayers, and attending Mass as often as possible.

This is a spiritual war. Your daughter and you need to act like warriors and take all actions necessary to protect the children. To not accept this soldier’s mission is to place the kids in great jeopardy. What is happening could cause the kids decades of bondage and harassment, which can negatively affect their entire lives.

Shun this woman and pray the prayers in the Spiritual Warfare Catalog. Even if shunning, the prayers will still be needed as it is likely she will seek revenge.

God is more powerful than the spirit of Reiki, but we must do our part. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Reiki music

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1825

May 2, 2013

I was reading your post from another person on the forum about Reiki practice. I was uncertain what Reiki is.

I had been listening to a lot of the music on YouTube for ambient sound while studying my university mathematics / engineering courses.

Is there a worship or demonic connection with this music?

This may seem like an odd question, but I had heard a lot of weirdos say they have been “healed” listening to reiki in the comment sections which I take as just being ignorant.

However listening to this, while studying, I had experienced a tremendous amount of intense flash bulb memories that I found to be unbearably depressing. Can you comment please?
–Jed

In short, have absolutely nothing to do with anything reiki!

Do not listen to this Reiki music ever again. Reiki is sourced in the demonic and you run the risk of serious spiritual damage, sometimes even psychological damage, and even demonization by participating in Reiki, or listening to that music. STOP IMMEDIATELY.

You need to destroy any recordings, tapes, and materials of Reiki that is in your possession. Use our instructions for Destroying Cursed or Occult Objects. Clear the cache on your browser to remove any YouTube or other files of this music. Bless you computer with Holy Water and ask God for forgiveness for listening to this music. Then renounce your involvement of listening to the music and take back the ground that Satan stole from you because of your listening to this music. You can find prayers for this in our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog, [see page 1].

All this needs to be done even if you did not know the dangers and did not mean to place yourself in danger. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Angels – Doreen Virtue

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1835

June 12, 2013

My sister-in-law reads a lot of books on angel which I think is good. There are some books on angels written by Doreen Virtue which she also is been reading and when I went through these books, I have seen that there is no reference to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Is it advisable to read such kind of books .There is a book by the same author on ‘101 messages’ and a website (http://www.angeltherapy.com). Kindly advise. –Lessly

 

 

Doreen Virtue is a fruitcake. Under no circumstances should any Christian, Protestant or Catholic, listen to anything this fruit has to say.

The very first sentence of her About Me page reveals her position in the fruitcake parade:

Doreen Virtue is a spiritual doctor of psychology and a fourth-generation metaphysician who works with the angelic, elemental, and ascended-master realms in her writings and workshops.

Elemental and Ascended-Master realms? This chick has been watching too much of the TV show Star Gate. Everyone and their cat have some wacky belief in angels. This is one of the most popular subjects in the loony world of the New Age.

Do not ever get a book or any kind of material, about angels unless it is a Catholic book. –Bro. Ignatius Mary

 

Are all incense sticks New Age?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1844

June 27, 2013

My former roommate (serious Catholic) wouldn’t let me light incense sticks in the apartment even though the sticks were blessed by a priest and I use them when praying the Divine Office. She says that Marino Restrepo said that they are all New Age, no exceptions.
I tried googling Marino Restrepo and his views on incense sticks but I couldn’t find anything. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with lighting blessed incense sticks when praying. Mine I got at Wal-Mart. –Clare

There is nothing wrong with incense. The Church uses incense all the time. If fact, incense is part of the traditional liturgy of the Mass (all the smells and bells).

The smoke of burning incense is a symbol of the prayer of the faithful rising to heaven. we see this symbolism in Psalm 141 (140), verse 2: “Let my prayer be directed as incense in thy sight: the lifting up of my hands, as evening sacrifice.”

In Revelation, incense symbolizes the prayers of the saints in heaven – the “golden bowl full of incense” are “the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8, cf.; 8:3) which infuse upwards towards the altar of God.

This is an ancient practice going all the way back to the early Church, to the Jewish Faith, and even back to the ancient Egyptians. Each culture adapted the practice for it own purposes. As Christians it represents our prayers rising up to God and it also is used as a purification, as in incensing the Altar, or the priest, or the people.

If we were to stop using things that are co-opted by the New Age or by Satanism we would have no symbols left. St. Michael is a common New Age angel. The Cross is used by some occultist. Are we to abandon St. Michael because the New Age uses him too? Are we to abandon the Cross because some occultists use the Cross? No.

The type of incense used by the Church most often frankincense and myrrh, which you can buy from Catholic goods stores. I burn this mixture frequently. There is a special meaning behind frankincense and myrrh. When the wise men from the East came to see the Christ child, the brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is a gift to a King. Frankincense is a gift given to a God. Myrrh is a spice used in burial. Thus, these oriental kings knew who the Christ Child was a King, who is God, and who would die for His people.

When you use incense at home for religious reasons, the symbolism remains the same—it symbolizes your prayer rising up to God and as a purifier to bless your home.

All incense, whether bought from a Catholic store, or sticks bought was Wal-Mart, should be blessed. It is particularly important to have blessed any incense purchased from a secular source.

Once blessed, any negative attachments that may have been on the sticks will be removed. There is nothing to fear.

If Marino Restrepo said that all incense is New Age, he is not only wrong, but irresponsible in teaching scrupulosity about this. –Bro. Ignatius Mary

 

Napoleon Hill

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1847

July 2, 2013

The question is related to the scientific part of Napoleon Hill‘s teaching. For example his ideas on positive thinking, forgiveness, thankfulness etc. All these could be given a catholic meaning. His ideas on subconscious mind, imagination and working of mind could also be accepted. Similarly auto suggestions, affirmations etc. Many of his ideas could be used in our prayers too. This is what I understand. But recently I learn that he is a Freemason. Is it acceptable to take ideas from him and adapt it to Catholic Christian needs? Help me here as I am already using them. –Francis

Have nothing to do with Napoleon Hill. He was part of the positive thinking movement that teaches things that are inconsistent with Christianity. You do not need to know anything more than the Bible and the Catechism to learn the correct notions of genuine “positive thinking, forgiveness, and thankfulness.” Why go to a non-Christian source where you may find yourself contaminated by wrong notions. The devil loves to use the technique of the “grain of sand.”  One will see some good things but doesn’t realize that surrounding that grain of truth is a whole bunch of garbage. Just because there is a grain of truth does not mean that whole of the teaching is Christian. If he was a Freemason, then that triples the warning to stay away from him. Stick with Catholic sources. –Bro. Ignatius Mary

 

Is autosuggestion, positive affirmation etc., demonic?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1852

July 10, 2013

 

I have been using for some time autosuggestion, positive affirmations, related visualization techniques, maintaining a positive mental attitude etc, (in a Christian way, so to say). Are they demonic? There is a reason behind this question. Recently I incorporated some of the principles of Napoleon Hill (not for growing rich — but only to streamline my life). But, soon I started having couple of dreams where elephants were seen in a demonic way. Please help. –Francis

To begin with, you need to totally abandon this quack Napoleon Hill and all others in that “positive thinking” cult.

As for positive affirmations try this one that is 100% Christian: Who You Are in Christ.

Autosuggestion is a hypnotic technique. Any form of hypnosis can be dangerous not only psychologically, but especially spiritually. Hypnosis leaves you vulnerable to demonic attack.

Visualizations and affirmations can be valuable, but be careful. These need to be 100% Christian. The affirmations I linked above have helped many people. Most of us do not fully realize who we are in Christ.

Another great affirmation is to read and contemplate the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3–12).

For healing visualizations I recommend Deacon Frank O’Connell and his At the Waters Edge ministry. If for any reason he is not available right now, I can send you his CD.

The bottom line:

-stay away from any hypnotic or similar technique like autosuggestion,

-run far away from Hill and his positive thinking groupies, this includes Norman Vincent Peale, and the Positive Confession preachers like Kenneth Copeland,

-keep to that which is 100% traditional Christian,

-the focus of any visualization or affirmation needs to be Christ-centered. Do not under any circumstance use New Age techniques. –Bro. Ignatius Mary

 

Reading Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. [Hinduism]

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1850

July 8, 2013

As a Catholic, is it acceptable for me to allow my children to read classics like
Ramayana, Mahabharata
, etc? –Francis

In my opinion it is absolutely unwise and dangerous for a Catholic parent to expose their children to foreign (non-Christian) ideas, cultures, histories and writings. It is the parents’ job to teach their children the faith, the Saints, and Church History, not that of other religions. Until a child thoroughly grounded in his own faith, it is dangerous for him to go poking about other faiths and their ideas. The brain of a child is not fully developed until around 20-21 years of age. That last part of the brain to develop is that part responsible for wisdom. This is why a teenager, for example, may have an intellectual understanding that something may be harmful to him, but he goes ahead and does it anyway. He does not that the capacity to evaluate the information with wisdom.

I strongly suggest to you that it is improper to expose your kids to Hindu material, or any other religion. Comparative religions is not your job. You job is to firmly ground your children in the faith. Then and only then can they perhaps read and investigate other religions safely. Hinduism, by the way, is one of the most hideous and even demonic religions and cultures on the planet.Bro. Ignatius Mary

 

*

Note: The following Q&As are from the “Faith and Spirituality” forum -Michael

Bad retreat centres [Inclusive language]

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=128
EXTRACT

September 1, 2004

I attended a Young Adults retreat this past weekend at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, run by the Franciscans. I’ve undergone a painful month and the retreat allowed me to enjoy fellowship and the peace there to clarify things and I appreciated the experience overall.

However, a few things concerned me. One of the exercises was saying the “Our Father” aloud slowly, using various physical gestures. Then, the retreat leader substituted the words “Father” and “king”dom with the words “Mother” and “queen”dom. I thought that was waaay strange.

I questioned him on that in front of the group and he said that we call God many names, including Mother. While I understand that, I still thought it was inappropriate for him to use substitutions for the Lord’s Prayer. I hope I didn’t offend him, as I know he was making the effort, but I wanted him and others to think about what he had just done.
In another post on this site, I remember reading someone discouraging participation at retreat centers, particularly ones run by lay people because they do some New Age practices or other things inconsistent with authentic Catholic teaching. Those retreat centers are a good place for peace and for reflection, however I think retreat leaders need to focus more on authentic Catholic teaching, rather than confusing people like myself (who are still learning more and more about their faith), with their “creativity.” The “team-building” / “ice-breaker” format I could easily get from the corporate world. –May

What this priest did was blasphemy, a serious sin. Calling God “mother” and referring to God’s kingdom as “queendom” is an affront to God and an idea that comes from New Age and Feminist heresies. It is an attempt to de-Throne God the Father.
God reveals Himself as Father, who are we to call Him “mother”. Such profound arrogance we humans can be. I am reminded of this arrogance in the Book of Job. God responds, “Where were you when I created the world…..” I think we need to resign the position of being a neo-god and submit our egos and our whole selves to the True God and Creator of the Universe who was so gracious to reveal Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. –Bro. Ignatius Mary

 

The difference between true contemplative prayer and Centering Prayer

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=568

April 25, 2007

I know that you often advise against things like “centering prayer,” or forms of prayer that involve “emptying the mind.” I’ve read that contemplative prayer is one of the highest forms of prayer, and the saints usually prayed this way. What exactly is contemplative prayer, and how does it differ from “centering prayer,” and the “emptying the mind” type of prayer? –Omar

The highest form of contemplative prayer is available only to those God chooses to grant this grace. The problem with Centering Prayer is that it tries to cheat. It essentially says to God, “You have not given me this gift, so I am going to steal it by using this method.”

But no “method” in itself can bring one to the mystical marriage of infused contemplation.

All of us can practice a form of contemplation in which we quietly meditate upon our Lord and allow God to commune with us and speak to us. The higher forms, however, are only available to those God chooses.

A summary of information about contemplative prayer is found in the Formation lesson for Novices in the Order of the Legion of St. Michael. This lesson is adapted from the formation material of the Carmelite Order.

One definition of contemplation is that it is an intuition of the truth, which can be either from natural causes or from God. Some suggest (rather simplistically) that supernatural contemplation allows one to watch the Lord in action and put ourselves into the scene (i.e., we are then in the presence of God) or that it is becoming absorbed in the life of Jesus (i.e., entering into His viewpoint).

Contemplation, however, is more a gaze of faith that is fixed on Jesus. “I look at Him and He looks at me;” this is what a certain peasant told the Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney, about his prayer before the tabernacle. (Catechism, #2715)

In our St. Michael Charism, we adopt the Carmelite tradition in which contemplation is passive prayer, the Holy Spirit praying within the person. Unlike some other traditional spiritualities, it is not the person acting but God acting within the deepest core of an attentive soul. It is always totally the gift of the Divine Lover.

There are numerous definitions given for contemplative prayer. For example:

-Continuously living in the presence of God.

-God present in my aspirations, in what I think about, in my all.

-The prayer of being a stance of allowing God to pray within our depths, a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts.

-A gift from God, a communion of love bearing life for the multitude, to the extent that it consents to pass through the night of faith. (Catechism, #2719)

For those so gifted, this level of prayer is meant to be a gateway to the highest levels of Christian perfection, which can be attained here in this life, but will only be complete when one enters the Kingdom of Heaven.

PERFECTION

Union with God is our goal and God’s plan for us. It is not the substantial union God has given us by giving us existence. Rather, it is a transformation in God through grace achieved by a union of wills, that is, by friendship. This is perfectly achieved when our will becomes one with God’s Will. It is a union effected through faith and love.

Perfection consists in bringing our senses and our reason into perfect submission to God’s will as known to us through faith. Thus we become perfectly docile to His will. This is true perfection (i.e., we living in God as perfectly as He lives in Himself).

This state cannot normally be achieved by human effort alone. The part we play is by “simply disposing ourselves for a state of contemplative prayer.”

Disposing ourselves for a state of contemplative prayer means undergoing a process of purification. For some, this may be relatively brief; for others, a never-ending struggle.

THE TWOFOLD PROCESS OF PURIFICATION

St John of the Cross refers to this process as a twofold process, consisting of the Night of the Senses and the Night of the Spirit. Both of these nights have an active part and a passive part.

Night of the Senses

The active part of the Night of the Senses takes place when a person undertakes the Night only after one has begun to know God to some degree through the lights and consolations of prayer and has become united to God in a love that is now strong enough to endure some difficulty in His service.  Persons begin this Night sooner who are recollected (i.e., those whose minds and hearts are fixed on God).

This purification is actuated by the person in acts of penance and ascetical practice, preparing one to encounter the Lord passively. Meditative prayer is a help here in focusing on God, seeking our good and enjoying happiness in God alone.

The passive part of the Night God begins to take over. In this Night, one often feels that God is out to destroy everything a person thought was good and valuable, which proves how wholly inadequate the person is to accomplish this work of purification.

St. John of the Cross gives three signs which help one to discern when this night begins: (Dark Night L Chapter 9, #2-3 & 8, pp. 377-380. Also Ascent of Mount Carmel II Chapter 13, pp. 189-191). All three of these signs must appear together.

1. an inability to meditate as formerly done; instead, an inclination to remain alone and in quietude: “They must be content simply with a loving and peaceful attentiveness to God, and live without the concern, without the effort, and without the desire to taste or feel Him” (Dark Night I Chap. 10, #4, pp. 382).

St. John of the Cross even speaks of this as the surest sign when he mentions the three signs again in the Ascent (II, Chap. 13, #4, pp. 189-190).

 

 

 

Meanwhile, St. John says: “Accordingly, such persons should not mind if the operations of their faculties are being lost to them; they should desire rather that this be done quickly so they may be no obstacle to the operation of the infused contemplation God is bestowing so that they receive it with more peaceful plenitude and make room in the spirit for the enkindling and burning of the love that this dark and secret contemplation bears and communicates to the soul. For contemplation is nothing else than a secret and peaceful and loving inflow of God, which, if not hampered, fires the soul in the spirit of love.” (Dark Night I Chap. 10, #6, p. 382)

2. little or no pleasure is found in the things of God, which now leave one dry, and also in the things of this world which are no longer esteemed or desired;

3. a general longing for God together with a fear that one is falling away from God through one’s own fault.

All persons must go through some form of this passive night if they are to come to the state of contemplation. For some, this may last for many years.

In this state, one no longer seeks security in oneself but only in God. The person sees the truth of who God really is and who we are. Sometimes one feels confusion.

Discernment and, most probably, competent spiritual direction are needed.

Three basic fruits of this passive night are joyful humility, confidence and a great growth in faith.

Night of the Spirit

Both nights of the spirit, (i.e., the active and passive phases), belong to those who have made considerable progress in the spiritual life. These nights are treated in the books by St. John of the Cross, Books II and III of the Ascent of Mount Carmel and Book II of The Dark Night. They form the passage from the state of one proficient in spirituality to that state of perfection called transforming union in God. This union is the very goal of our spiritual journey.

In the passive night of the spirit, the soul is meant to be receptive. If it is not, it can impede (if not understand) the union desired and begun by God. To benefit from this night, the soul should cooperate with God’s action, desire God’s action, and pay attention to God’s action within oneself.

St. John explains this with an illustration: “If a model for the painting or retouching of a portrait should move because of a desire to do something, the artist would be unable to finish and the work would be spoiled.” (Dark Night I, Chap. 10, #5, p. 382)

So: “If individuals were to desire to do something themselves with their interior faculties, they would hinder and lose the goods Chat God engraves on their souls through that peace and idleness.” (Ibid)

Symbolically, the highest experience of union between Christ and the person is called by many classic authors in spirituality: spiritual marriage. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila also add the state of spiritual betrothal to one about to enter into spiritual marriage.

ST.TERESA’S INTERIOR CASTLE

St. Teresa’s Interior Castle is an allegorical description of the soul. God dwells in the center of this castle and there are seven concentric series of rooms around this center. They are not equal states but more like rungs on a ladder. There is much variation in going from one mansion to another and in the time spent in each one, the progress too often being a difference in kind. The seven mansions are “stages” in one’s journey to God, relative and hard to put into neat little packages.

Blessed Titus Brandsma calls the last four mansions the last four degrees of the mystical life.

Comparisons can be drawn between Teresa’s mansions and St. John of the Cross’ insights on what happens to the soul as one lives out the contemplative way of life – (e.g., the Process of Purgation).

The following is a brief summary of each of Teresa’s seven mansions:

First: This is the mansion of beginners in the spiritual life. Good intentions abound here, but the soul is still very much preoccupied with worldly affairs. One is usually rooted in vocal prayer. Detachment must be learned.

Second: This is a mansion where one is practicing prayer, where one becomes quite involved in meditation and will find delight in prayer, but also where one may complain about aridity. The person must learn courage.

Third: Here is the mansion of exemplary life, where one lives a good life, integrating well one’s prayer with worldly necessities. The soul must learn humility in this mansion and be patient with the aridity that often accompanies those in this state of prayer.

Fourth: This mansion is a place of transition to passive recollection. Teresa calls this the “prayer of quiet” The person finds God dwelling within his or her soul, and rests wonderfully in His presence, which gives the soul great spiritual delight and makes the will (in particular) want to remain in this state.

Fifth: This is the mansion of union, as it were, where the soul is blunted to the external life and is carried away in the contemplation of God, as if in a spiritual sleep-the state of spiritual betrothal.

Sixth: This mansion is closely linked with the fifth and seventh mansions. The person is completely immersed in the contemplation and the enjoyment of the object of love: God! Detachment from the world is complete.

Seventh:
Spiritual marriage at last! It is here where the soul is living only in and through its beloved, lovingly drawn to God, never to escape again.

NOTE: In the last three mansions, the soul and God become more and more one until in the seventh, they become inseparably one. A difference in these mansions is simply the degree of permanency of the union. Other differences have to do with the type of mystical experiences that the soul has in these states of its spiritual journey.

Even with this brief discussion of genuine contemplative prayer one can compare with Center Prayer and see how deep the tradition of contemplation is and how shallow Centering Prayer is.

 

 

Centering Prayer tries to short-cut through this depth of Contemplative Tradition. To do that it uses non-Christian aspects that cannot be reconciled with our Faith.

For a detailed discussion of the dangers of Centering Prayer see the article by Father John Dreher. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

The Star Wars “Force”

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=728

August 23, 2007

What do you think of the push in Australia and other countries to get the mystical energy field known as the force from the Star Wars films recognized as a legitimate religion? May the Force be with you -Ulric
What do I think of the Star Wars “Force” recognized as a “legitimate” religion? Stupid, dumb, idiotic, ridiculous, asinine, and dangerous.

The “Force” is already a “religion” of sorts — it is part and parcel of New Age concepts of spirituality. Star Wars just quantified it in a specific form.

This concept is very dangerous in that it utter distorts the real spiritual realm. It promotes a “thing” a “force” instead of a god. The “force” has no morality in itself, rather a light and dark side to which it can be used (borrowing from Chinese Yin/Yang cosmology).

If this mystical “energy” of this “force” ever has any “real” effects those effects will be demonic. It is not of God. For the most part, however, adherents to this “religion” will not experience any real effects other than the effects of their own stupidity, and perhaps, unfortunately, the demise of their own souls.

May the God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be with you. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Priest-psychologist recommending New Age solutions for OCD

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=907
EXTRACT

February 12, 2008

I struggle from Scrupulosity/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Just last week I was referred to a priest who is a licensed psychologist as well, so I went to him and he began recommending Yoga and Reiki and all of that stuff. I told him that I don’t practice those things because they are of Satan. He was shocked. So you see Brother, I just don’t know where to turn for this disease. –Matthew

[…] As for the psychologist who recommends Reiki and Yoga, he is an idiot. Find another psychologist, or at least a psychologist who will respect your Faith on such matters and approach the therapy in a traditional manner without the New Age garbage. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Guiding possible New Agers

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1021

May 21, 2008

I was approached by the husband of an artist/author from whom I purchase books and materials. He practices meditation, but is not a practicing Catholic. He asserts that God wanted him to contact me and ask me for advice or guidance on his meditation and spiritual life.
I have spent years meditating upon the Rosary, as well as other meditations during Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament, and I also have aided priests in healing, inner-healing and deliverance, having been a part of a group of prayer teams. I have also studied a great deal about these things, including exorcism, and have had some experience with folks who have been both oppressed and possessed.
This fellow who has asked me for guidance says he had called upon the angels in one of his meditations last week, and an old Indian man appeared to him wearing bright, colorful peacock feathers. Now, I know how absolutely literal the evil one is and one carelessly uttered word may open the door to evil spirits — especially if an individual does not partake of the sacraments, nor is in the state of grace.
This “vision,” of course, sets off warning bells for me, as perhaps a spirit disguised as a spiritual guide to this fellow. He is very excited about it. There is always a real possibility that God has encouraged this man to write to me in order to ask for guidance, so I do want to do right by Him. I have sent the gentleman a few simple letters regarding the ways of the Holy Spirit, but I need to lay out a prayer/meditation plan for him that can prepare him for meditation with our REAL creator, and not some dead-beat spirit that happens by. I fear that perhaps his calling on the angels, but not specifically calling upon the “holy angels” may have instigated this alleged vision. Perhaps not praying in the Name of God, or Christ, opened him more to darkness as well.
Do you possibly have any material that lays out the manner in which an individual may prepare to meditate on only the things of God, emphasizing proper wording, since words do have power, and he may already have had a brush with the evil one? Since he is not Catholic (and very possibly has been attracted to New Age spirituality), perhaps there is something more generalized that non-Catholics may use to ensure that they are addressing only God. –Maggie

Well, the first thing this man needs to do is to come back into full communion with the Church. Without that he will always be in spiritual danger. He must discipline himself to do only Christian meditation and to reject all other forms. He is unlikely to do that given what you have described.

 

 

For a Church document that speaks direction to this issue see: On Some Aspects of Christian Meditation.

Perhaps you can take that document and use excerpts or re-write parts of it into a form that he will accept.

The bottom line, however, is that we should not do forms of meditation that lead us into altered states of consciousness. This is dangerous and opens us to spiritual entities (and those entities will not be God’s angels). Indian men or shamans and the like are not visions of God.

We are not to empty our minds. This also opens us up to spiritual invasion.

What we are to do is to focus, to engage our mind, on Christ.

Pray for him about this, but pray more that he will come back to the Church. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1027

May 26, 2008

I totally agree with you that this individual will never find the fullness of faith and spirituality anywhere but the Catholic Church, and that the type of meditation he is leaning towards is very dangerous.

Nevertheless, his first step in asking a Catholic for advice opens the door for finding the truth. Thanks very much for pointing me to the Church’s document on aspects of Christian Meditation. It is such a valuable document, and I am sure that I will find exactly what I am looking for when I re-read it.
Although frequently those individuals we encourage do not initially heed our advice, I have found that if the seed is planted, much further down the road that individual surprises us and seeks union with the Church. All we can do is share with these people, pray for them, and let God do the rest. It never fails to greatly inspire me when I learn that one of these folks has turned to the one true God!
Thanks so much again, Bro. Ignatius. I pray that all is well with you. You are an invaluable fount of knowledge to us all, and we are grateful to you for your willingness to grant us your input from your years of experience. God bless you, and may he grant you an abundance of graces in all your endeavors. –Maggie

You are welcome. And you are very correct. We are all to be Johnny Appleseeds planting seeds everywhere we go. We may never see those seed germinate let alone flower, but it is our job as Christians to plant the seeds.  Someone else may come along to water the seed. Yet someone else will come along and cultivate the growing seed. The Holy Spirit brings the rain and the sun and nudges the life-force (soul) within the growing flower.

We may never see any of it. That is fine. Just keep planting the seeds. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Near Death Experiences

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1041

June 4, 2008

I was just curious to see if you had any thoughts on whether or not Near Death Experiences are simply neurological, or actually metaphysical in nature. –Omar

There are some neurological issues that may explain some of these Near Death Experiences. But, I think there has been enough anecdotal evidence in this area to suspect that the experiences are spiritual.

What many people do not know, because it has been largely suppressed, is the number of people who do not “see the light” but have hellish experiences.

There are also people who have Near Death experiences who report “seeing the light” but who then begin to develop ideas that are contrary to the truth of God. In those instances I suspect that their experience is either stimulated by neurological functions or stimulated by demons, either way, the demons exploit the experience to instill ungodly ideas into these people.

If one is truly seeing the light of God, they will not be coming away from that experience with ideas and notions that are contrary to God’s teachings through His Church. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Christian reiki

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1077

June 27, 2008

What would you say to this man who proposes a Christian Reiki? –Perry

This man (the link has been removed so people will not go to it) is delusional. There is absolute no way Reiki can be considered Christian.

I would refer this person to these documents from the Vatican:

A Christian reflection on the “New Age”

On Some Aspects of Christian Mediation

I would also refer him to my own essay in a previous Q&A on Reiki*. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

*http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=462 See page 31

 

“Angels in my hair”

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1114
See also page 49

July 24, 2008

Do you know anything about this so called Irish mystic Lorna Byrne who claims to see angels and who has written the book, ‘Angels in my Hair’, now on the top spot of Irish best sellers?

 

 

She was brought up a Catholic but her website doesn’t state whether she still practices, well if it does I can’t find it. Is she therefore outside the jurisdiction of any bishop?

What does the Holy See know about her? Is the CDF entitled to examine these writings and make a judgment? –Jane

I looked at her website. There is no reference to the Church or whether or not her visions have been discussed with a spiritual director or examined by the Church.

Given the utter lack of a meaningful biography on her site, and the lack of any mention of the Church, I would put out a red flag. Without more specific information she could be approaching this in a New Age fashion. Her “visions” may be imagination or they could even be demonic. Who knows?

If she is no longer in the Church she would not be under the jurisdiction of a Catholic Bishop. If she is Catholic then she is obligated to submit her visionary experiences to the scrutiny of the Church.

Since none of that is mentioned on her site, I would avoid her. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Acupuncture and Tazo Tea

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1115
EXTRACT

July 24, 2008

1. I have read your explanation of the incompatibility of acupuncture with Catholicism, and also the Holy See document “Jesus Christ Bearer of the Water of Life”.

When I encounter resistance, the typical line is that the Asians have been using this method for thousands of years. My only comeback is that the occult has also been around for thousands of years.

Therefore, can you help me on how to answer this fact that these are medicinal methods used by the Asian people? If it never healed them, then it would have died out centuries ago.
2. For you and your viewers: I listened to an interview of the person responsible for “Tazo Tea” – sold at Starbucks and supermarkets – and he mentioned that the tea leaves purchased in India are blessed by a Shaman. I would not drink anything blessed by the occult. -Christina

1. Acupuncture has been studied scientifically. It has been found useful in pain control, but not in much else. Even then, traditional pain killers are just as effective as and even more so than acupuncture. It is interesting to note that Chinese surgeons, in China, do not always use acupuncture in their practice.

Acupuncture is based upon the idea of energy in the body that flows through “meridians.” What acupuncture is suppose to do is to remove blockages (that cause disease) in this “flow”. When that happens the person is suppose to get well. The idea is also to balance the energy within the body with the energy of the universe. This is the Yin/Yang dynamics.

All this is hogwash. There is no evidence of meridians and this “flow” through them that affects health.

What acupressure may do is stimulate endorphins and other chemicals in the body that have healing functions. But the claims of major healings of everything from cancer to whatever has never been substantiated.

We can also not neglect the power of the placebo effect.

Bottom line: is it the acupuncture or something else that may facilitate healing? One a properly conducted scientific study can determine that. Those studies have not shown the great healing powers of acupuncture itself.

Studies would also have to be conducted in China as to how many people are ACTUALLY healed as oppose to those who only claim to be healed.

This is the same with so-called Faith Healers. Just because they say people are healed doesn’t make it so…  yet people flock to these faith healers even when they have been proven a fraud.

Even if acupuncture had no effect at all, it would still flourish and be used.

2. I would agree. If the tea leaves of this tea are blessed by shamans it is best to avoid it. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Prayer with yogic exercise

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1295

February 7, 2009

I find that it is often helpful for me to say prayers (Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Jesus Prayer) during my exercise sessions. One of the things I often do is stretching exercises which some might say resemble some yoga movements. Most are clearly not yoga postures and others I do not consider them Yoga as I do not include any kind of Eastern spirituality or mind emptying techniques such as Transcendental Meditation or Centering Prayer, but as I indicated, the use of such prayers such as the Jesus Prayer or Divine Mercy Chaplet allows me to concentrate during the stretches and gives me a continuous prayer during normal daily activities. I also include these prayers when driving or walking. Am I out of line on this thinking? -Jeremiah

I think it is great to say such prayers while you are exercising. But, why use yoga movements? There are plenty of exercise and stretching techniques that does not involve yoga postures.

The problem is that according to yoga masters and former yoga masters who have converted to Christianity have stated that it is impossible to remove the Hinduism from yoga even if you so not practice any Hindu spirituality in doing it.

The very movements and postures themselves are designed to create states of consciousness that a Catholic should not be messing with. Since these postures are inherently tied to the Hindu spirituality we take a risk in practicing them.

Especially since using yoga postures are utterly unnecessary and other exercises can do what it needed, why take the risk?

Here is a warning from none other than Carl Jung, whose psychology was intertwined with the occult:

 

 

“One often hears and reads about the dangers of Yoga, particularly of the ill-reputed Kundalini Yoga. The deliberately induced psychotic state, which in certain unstable individuals might easily lead to a real psychosis, is a danger that needs to be taken very seriously indeed. These things really are dangerous and ought not to be meddled with in our typically Western way. It is a meddling with Fate, which strikes at the very roots of human existence and can let loose a flood of sufferings of which no sane person ever dreamed. These sufferings correspond to the hellish torments of the chönyid state…”

–C. G. Jung, Introduction to The Tibetan book of the Dead

I have had a couple of deliverance clients who have been harmed by the “Kundalini Awakening”.
I think anyone interested in Yoga ought to read an article by Subhas R. Tiwari, a professor at the Hindu University of America. He is a graduate of the famed Bihar Yoga Bharati University with a master’s degree in yoga philosophy.
The article is Yoga Renamed Is Still Hindu
Also of interest are the words in an Open Letter to Evangelicals about Hindu evangelization:

Hindus everywhere are becoming stronger and more assertive: … 2) The West is clearly open to the Hindu message, ready to hear about yoga, meditation, mysticism, healing and the ancient ways. Such “products” were too sophisticated for public consumption 30 years ago, but today they’re the hottest item on the shelf. Not a small part of this phenomenon is related, indirectly, to the coming of age of the New Age movement…

Consider these words a warning:

A small army of yoga missionaries – hatha, raja, siddha and kundalini – beautifully trained in the last 10 years, is about to set upon the western world. They may not call themselves Hindu, but Hindus know where yoga came from and where it goes.

This letter was written in 1991. Since then the “missionaries” have already set upon us and in large part have converted many, even those in the Church.

The Hindu writer made a factual error, however, is saying the Vatican permitted the practice of yoga. He misinterpreted the document. A Christian Reflection on the “New Age”  mentions yoga negatively as a list of practices inconsistent with Christianity.Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

World Community for Christian Meditation

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1601

March 31, 2010

What do you know about this organization and the director Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB? I have seen some pictures of him with children sitting on the floor in a yoga position and what seems like chanting a mantra of some sorts. There will be an event in August at a local Catholic Church and I know some friends who are considering going. –Joshua

From looking over the material of this person and organization I find it almost identical to Hindu Transcendental Meditation — same techniques, same/similar language. These people cleverly avoid their own questions in their FAQ about how they are not oriental mediation. They basically think, it seems, that any meditation is okay as long as we apply our Christian faith. This is false.

In addition, the meditation taught by these people includes the emptying of the mind. This is NEVER to be done. They call it silence. The mantra is used is exactly the same way as in oriental mediation as it can cause an altered state of consciousness to “transcend ourselves” or “turn in to ourselves”. They talk about mediation making contact with “enlightenment”. Ah, enlightenment comes from the Holy Spirit through prayer, not through meditation. Christian mediation is prayer, not a hypnotic mantra-technique. Inserting the trappings and language of Christianity does not make this Christian.

I would say that no Christian ought to be involved with this “World Community for Christian Meditation”. Any parish that sponsors an event from these people ought to be horse-whipped.

I suggest reading the Church documents:

On Some Aspects of Christian Meditation

A Christian Reflection on the New Age

And the evaluation of Centering Prayer, which applies to this also: Dangers of Centering Prayer

Bottom line: Do not walk, but run away from this so-called, “World Community for Christian Meditation”. At best this is nonsense, at worse it can cause spiritual harm and open oneself up to darkness. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Stress Management Techniques

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1610

April 10, 2010

My young daughter has autism and struggles with sleep issues. I have found books and CDs for children that are supposed to teach things like deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and the use of “positive affirmations” to help manage stress, improve sleep and build self esteem. I am worried that these might be New Age-type practices in disguise, but not sure how to discern it. –Fay

Well, without knowing the specific material you are using, or thinking about using, I cannot speak directly. In general, however, we need to avoid any music or technique that is designed to place us in an altered state of consciousness, to get in touch with the “inner self”, or place us in a hypnotic state. Positive affirmations can be okay, depending on what they are. Any positive affirmation must be consistent with a Christian worldview. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

 

Fr. Richard Rohr

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1613

April 14, 2010

Will you let me know the creditability of Fr. Richard Rohr teachings? He does not wear his clerics. He seems to be somewhat sarcastic in some of his comments about the Church authority, and the Papacy. –Susanna

I cannot recommend Father Richard Rohr for anything. The man is s dissident priest who disagrees with the Church’s teaching on homosexuals, encourages homosexual advocacy, supports Call to Action, radical feminism, the enneagram, meditation contrary to Catholic teaching (links directly to the World Community for Christian Meditation (see my comments on it), supports Centering Prayer, promotes pagan rituals (in his “male spirituality” gobbledygook), and flirts with heresy on 1) the nature of God (opposing the notion of God as Father), 2) Original Sin (denying the spiritual reality of Original Sin), and on 3) the Redemption (denying the necessity of the Cross for redemption).
This guy is a mess and hardly Catholic in his views and practices and has no credibility.
A good summary of Rohr is written by Bryce Andrew Sibley, The Fr. Richard Rohr Phenomenon, in the New Oxford Review
A good critique of Rohr’s Center For Action and Contemplation was written in The Wanderer by Stephanie Block. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

Fr. Richard Rohr is one of the leading protagonists of the occult personality-typing device, the Enneagram.

 

Ayurveda

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1631

May 5, 2010

I was wondering what your thoughts were on the Ayurvedic philosophy of body types – vata, pitta and kapha.
They seem to have a list of suggestions of what food, climate etc. suits different body types. I know that Ayurveda is deeply rooted in Hinduism but wanted to check if following their protocols of what food is good and bad for different body types puts one’s soul at risk. –J

As it is with Chinese Medicine, the fundamental philosophical presumptions and cosmology are hostile to the Christian philosophy and cosmology. An Ayurvedic website explains:

The basic premise of Ayurveda is that the entire cosmos or universe is part of one singular absolute. Everything that exists in the vast external universe (macrocosm) also appears in the internal cosmos of the human body (microcosm). The human body consisting of 50-100 million cells, when healthy, is in harmony, self-perpetuating and self-correcting just as the universe is. The ancient Ayurveda text, Charaka, says, “Man is the epitome of the universe. Within man, there is as much diversity as in the world outside. Similarly, the outside world is as diverse as human beings themselves.” In other words, all human beings are a living microcosm of the universe and the universe is a living macrocosm of the human beings.

The site further explains that how we come to be unhealthy and how we gain health is pretty much the same as in Chinese medicine — to balance energies in the body with the universe.

Vatta, Pitta and Kapha are specifically of the order of “balancing” energies. In this case the energies are to be brought into balance. This is the Concept of Tri-Dosha in which the “five elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether into three “Doshas”:

Dosha means “that which changes.” It is a word derived from the root dus, which is equivalent to the English prefix ‘dys’, such as in dysfunction, dystrophy, etc. In this sense, dosha can be regarded as a fault, mistake, error, or a transgression against the cosmic rhythm. The doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, one with the others. Doshas are required for the life to happen. In Ayurveda, dosha is also known as the governing principles as every living thing in nature is characterized by the dosha.

The three active doshas are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata is related to Air and Ether, Pitta is related to Fire and Water, Kappa is related to Water and Earth. The website explains:

Every person (and thing) contains all three doshas. However, the proportion varies according to the individual and usually one or two doshas predominate. Within each person the doshas are continually interacting with one another and with the doshas in all of nature. This explains why people can have much in common but also have an endless variety of individual differences in the way they behave and respond to their environment. Ayurveda recognizes that different foods, tastes, colors, and sounds affect the doshas in different ways. For example very hot and pungent spices aggravate pitta; but cold, light foods such as salads calm it down. This ability to affect the doshas is the underlying basis for Ayurvedic practices and therapies.

A balance among the tridosha is necessary for health. Together, the tridosha governs all metabolic activities. When their actions in our mind-body constitution are balanced, we experience psychological and physical wellness. When they are somewhat unbalanced, we may feel uneasy. When they are more obviously unbalanced – when one or more of the three dosha influences are excessive or deficient-discernible symptoms of sickness can be observed and experienced.

Regardless of the percentages of vata, pitta, or kapha influences, your basic constitution represents your psychological and physical nature. When balance is maintained, health is at optimum.

All this is nonsense. As with almost everything a grain of truth can be found. Obviously eating well, getting exercise, and the like will facilitate health. One does not need some nonsense Hindu cosmology to know that or practice a healthful life-style.

The problem is even the parts that may be a grain of truth are inextricably intertwined with the Hindu worldview and cosmology. Hindu meditation and yoga is part of this, too, by the way, which is very dangerous and for which no Christian has any business in participating.

 

 

If you wish to maintain a healthful diet talk to a qualified nutrition, but do not go down this dangerous road away from Christianity. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

The St. Ignatius Retreat vs. Centering Prayer

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1635

May 6, 2010

At your suggestion I have read the thorough and extensive analysis of the Pros and Cons about the Catholic Renewal in the essay, “Charism Gifts Building up the Church”.
Several years ago, my wife and I took part in the “St. Ignatius Retreat” which was given by a very reverent and holy Catholic Jesuit Priest. During this retreat we were taught many different things, one of which was Contemplative Prayer.
Centering Prayer, as it is described below, is somewhat similar to the St. Ignatius method of Contemporary Prayer.
Since, number 70 below discusses “Centering prayer” as a definite no no, although I feel that the St. Ignatius retreat has, and is still, benefiting both my wife and me in our spiritual growth, I find that, what I read below, to be somewhat disturbing.
Your analysis of both the St. Ignatius Retreat and Centering Prayer would be greatly appreciated.

70 “Centering prayer,” we would suggest is an attempt to rob God. It seeks to attain the levels of intimacy with God that are really reserved to the gifts of the higher forms of contemplation and to mystical union. It seeks to acquire the mystical gifts that God only gives to a few. It says, in essence, God, you did not give me the gift of mystical union, so I will steal it through the techniques of “Centering Prayer.”
The Letter to the Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Mediation (n. 23) reminds us:
Without doubt, a Christian needs certain periods of retreat into solitude to be recollected and, in God’s presence, rediscover his path. Nevertheless, given his character as a creature, and as a creature who knows that only in grace is he secure, his method of getting closer to God is not based on any “technique” in the strict sense of the word. That would contradict the spirit of childhood called for by the Gospel. Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God, and the one who benefits from it knows himself to be unworthy.

-Vincent

Vincent is referring to footnote 70 in the document
Charism Gifts Building up the Church.

One will find similarities between legitimate Christian meditation and the Eastern Meditation techniques. This is because there are some elements in common to all meditation/contemplation. The differences, however, are critical and beg the Christian to avoid Centering Prayer and all pretenders to Oriental methods.

Also in the Charism Gifts document at footnotes 30 and 58 is found quotes from the Letter to Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation:

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation (15 October 1989), nn. 22-25, from footnote 30:

22. Finally, the Christian who prays can, if God so wishes, come to a particular experience of “union.” The Sacraments especially Baptism and the Eucharist, are the objective beginning of the union of the Christian with God. Upon this foundation, the person who prays can be called, by a special grace of the Spirit, to that specific type of union with God which in Christian terms is called “mystical.”
23. Without doubt, a Christian needs certain periods of retreat into solitude to be recollected and, in God’s presence, rediscover his path. Nevertheless, given his character as a creature, and as a creature who knows that only in grace is he secure, his method of getting closer to God is not based on any “technique” in the strict sense of the word. That would contradict the spirit of childhood called for by the Gospel. Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God, and the one who benefits from it knows himself to be unworthy.
24. There are certain “mystical graces,” conferred on the founders of ecclesial institutes to benefit their foundation, and on other saints, too, which characterize their personal experience of prayer and which cannot, as such, be the object of imitation and aspiration for other members of the faithful, even those who belong to the same institutes and those who seek an ever more perfect way of prayer. There can be different levels and different ways of sharing in a founder’s experience of prayer, without everything having to be exactly the same. Besides, the prayer experience that is given a privileged position in all genuinely ecclesial institutes, ancient and modern, is always in the last analysis something personal. And it is to the individual person that God gives his graces for prayer.
25. With regard to mysticism, one has to distinguish between “the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the charisms” granted by God in a totally gratuitous way. The former are something which every Christian can quicken in himself by his zeal for the life of faith, hope and charity; and thus, by means of a serious ascetical struggle, he can reach a certain experience of God and of the contents of the faith. As for charisms, St. Paul says that these are, above all, for the benefit of the Church, of the other members of the Mystical Body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 12:17). With this in mind, it should be remembered that charisms are not the same things as extraordinary (“mystical”) gifts (cf. Rom 12:3-21), and that the distinction between the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” and “charisms” can be flexible. It is certain that a charism which bears fruit for the Church, cannot, in the context of the New Testament, be exercised without a certain degree of personal perfection, and that, on the other hand, every “living” Christian has a specific task (and in this sense a “charism”) “for the building up of the body of Christ” (cf. Eph 4:15-16), (29) in communion with the hierarchy whose job it is “not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good” (LG, n. 12).

One of the Eastern Meditation methods we are to avoid is the practice whereby one suspends the intellect and yields oneself to the “spirit.” In a section called, “Erroneous Ways of Praying”, nn. 8-11, 18-19, footnote 58 quotes (para 18 mentions the Ignatius Exercises):

 

 

8. Even in the first centuries of the Church some incorrect forms of prayer crept in. Some New Testament texts (cf. 1 Jn 4:3; 1 Tim 1:3-7 and 4:3-4) already give hints of their existence. Subsequently, two fundamental deviations came to be identified: Pseudo-gnosticism and Messalianism, both of concern to the Fathers of the Church. There is much to be learned from that experience of primitive Christianity and the reaction of the Fathers which can help in tackling the current problem.
In combating the errors of “pseudo-gnosticism” the Fathers affirmed that matter is created by God and as such is not evil. Moreover, they maintained that grace, which always has the Holy Spirit as its source is not a good proper to the soul, but must be sought from God as a gift. Consequently, the illumination or superior knowledge of the Spirit (“gnosis”) does not make Christian faith something superfluous. Finally, for the Fathers, the authentic sign of a superior knowledge, the fruit of prayer, is always Christian love.
9. If the perfection of Christian prayer cannot be evaluated using the sublimity of gnostic knowledge as a basis, neither can it be judged by referring to the experience of the divine, as “Messalianism” proposed. These false fourth-century charismatics identified the grace of the Holy Spirit with the psychological experience of his presence in the soul. In opposing them, the Fathers insisted on the fact that the soul’s union with God in prayer is realized in a mysterious way and in particular through the sacraments of the Church. Moreover, it can even be achieved through experiences of affliction or desolation. Contrary to the view of the Messalians, these are not necessarily a sign that the Spirit has abandoned a soul. Rather, as masters of spirituality have always clearly acknowledged, they may be an authentic participation in the state of abandonment experienced on the cross by our Lord, who always remains the model and mediator of prayer. Both of these forms of error continue to be a “temptation for man the sinner.” They incite him to try and overcome the distance separating creature from Creator, as though there ought not to be such a distance; to consider the way of Christ on earth, by which he wishes to lead us to the Father, as something now surpassed; to bring down to the level of natural psychology what has been regarded as pure grace, considering it instead as “superior knowledge” or as “experience.”
10. Such erroneous forms, having reappeared in history from time to time on the fringes of the Church’s prayer, seem once more to impress many Christians, appealing to them as a kind of remedy, be it psychological or spiritual, or as a quick way of finding God.

My comments:

Similar techniques were subsequently identified and dismissed by St. Teresa of Avila who perceptively observed that “the very care taken not to think about anything will arouse the mind to think a great deal,” and that the separation of the mystery of Christ from Christian meditation is always a form of “betrayal” (see: St. Teresa of Jesus. Vida 12, 5 and 22, 1-5)

11. However, these forms of error, wherever they arise, “can be diagnosed” very simply. The meditation of the Christian in prayer seeks to grasp the depths of the divine in the salvific works of God in Christ, the Incarnate Word, and in the gift of his Spirit. These divine depths are always revealed to him through the human-earthly dimension. Similar methods of meditation, on the other hand, including those which have their starting-point in the words and deeds of Jesus, try as far as possible to put aside everything that is worldly, sense perceptible or conceptually limited. It is thus an attempt to ascend to or immerse oneself in the sphere of the divine, which, as such, is neither terrestrial, sense-perceptible nor capable of conceptualization. This tendency, already present in the religious sentiments of the later Greek period (especially in “Neo-Platonism”), is found deep in the religious inspiration of many peoples, no sooner than they become aware of the precarious character of their representations of the divine and of their attempts to draw close to it.

My comments:

The passions (empirical faculty) are neither good nor evil in themselves, but they must be guided by reason, as already mentioned, and must be guarded from their natural tendency toward selfishness. The emptying of the mind (turning off the intellect) in prayer refers to this emptying of selfishness, not a denial of created things, of which the intellect is a major gift. Paragraphs 18-19 of the Letter to Bishops speaks of this:

18. The seeking of God through prayer has to be preceded and accompanied by an ascetical struggle and a purification from one’s own sins and errors, since Jesus has said that only “the pure of heart shall see God” (Mt 5:8). The Gospel aims above all at a moral purification from the lack of truth and love and, on a deeper level, from all the selfish instincts which impede man from recognizing and accepting the will of God in its purity. The passions are not negative in themselves (as the Stoics and Neoplatonists thought), but their tendency is to selfishness. It is from this that the
Christian has to free himself in order to arrive at that state of positive freedom which in classical Christian times was called “apatheia,” in the Middle Ages “Impassibilitas” and in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises “indiferencia.”
This is impossible without a radical self-denial, as can also be seen in St. Paul who openly uses the word “mortification” (of sinful tendencies). Only this self-denial renders man free to carry out the will of God and to share in the freedom of the Holy Spirit.
19. Therefore, one has to interpret correctly the teaching of those masters who recommend “emptying” the spirit of all sensible representations and of every concept, while remaining lovingly attentive to God. In this way, the person praying creates an empty space which can then be filled by the richness of God. However, the emptiness which God requires is that of the renunciation of personal selfishness, not necessarily that of the renunciation of those created things (i.e., the intellect) which he has given us and among which he has placed us.

Bottom line: The meditations/contemplation in the Ignatian Exercises do not violate the principles of proper Christian Meditation and Contemplation assuming the priest who ran the retreat was teaching it properly. If he mixed in ideas from Centering Prayer then he would have violated Ignatius’ teaching.

For details on Centering Prayer see the articles, The Danger of Centering Prayer and A Closer Look at Centering Prayer. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Baguazhang

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1845

February 2, 2011

 

I am age 52 and looking to get back into martial Arts. At my age the internal (soft) arts are recommended. There is one specific art I was looking at called Baguazhang.
My question is: Being that this Art was originally founded by a Taoist Monk, are there any spiritual implications to be concerned with? This particular subset style is more scientific and American. -Rich

Baguazhang is meditative in nature as I understand it. It is more concerned with the non-existent forces found in oriental cosmology than it is with physiological exercise. Thus, I cannot recommend it. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Is Tai Chi a safe activity for Catholics?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1427

April 16, 2011

I am trying to grow in my faith and lately, after having read some material by Fr. Jeremy Davies, am concerned about an activity which I had undertaken which I enjoy very much. It is Tai-Chi, an Eastern system of movements which direct the flow of energy in the body and which, I am told, are very beneficial for one’s health. Even though I enjoy Tai-Chi very much I am prepared to give it up if this is not a “safe” activity. Your advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated. –Irene

The “flow of energy” that Tai Ch’i is suppose to effect does not exist. Such an idea is part of the cosmology of the orient that is inconsistent with and hostile to the Christian worldview.

The idea behind all “energy flow” activities, such as Tai Ch’i, various other martial arts,  acupuncture, acupressure, yoga, and many other “techniques” of yin and yang, is to balance that so-called energy in the body with the energy of the universe and to unblock any blockages in the body that prevent this balancing. It is all nonsense and an affront to God. This “energy” of the universe is replaces the notion of any kind of god. In this oriental cosmology God is, in essence, a cosmic plasma to which we must all have balanced energies with. God is a real person, the Creator of all things visible and invisible, not an impersonal cosmic plasma or universal consciousness.

There are other ways to exercise or to meditate that will be consistent with Christianity and the True God. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Meridian Regulatory Acupuncture

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1849

February 7, 2011

Have you heard of Dr. Nemeh and his healing ministry in Cleveland, Ohio? Do you think it is legit? I have seen that a Bishop (emeritus, I believe) of Cleveland seems favorable to him. –Melissa

I cannot recommend Dr. Issam Nemeh because he proposes and practices what is called Meridian Regulatory Acupuncture. It is called “Scientific Acupuncture”. Great marketing. Use the word “Scientific” and people listen, even if it is the same ‘ol hogwash.

It is standard practice amongst these Oriental or Indian cosmologies to claim scientific grounding in order to tell their wares to the Western World. Transcendental Meditation, for example, is nothing more then Hindu meditation wrapped in scientific language to make it attractive to Americans.

I used to practice acupressure, a kind of acupuncture but without needles. It was said back then, in the early eighties, that scientific evidence existed of these so-called meridians. There was no evidence then and no evidence now.  Meridians filled with invisible energy fluid do not exist.

According to Dr. Nemeh’s website:

Meridian Regulatory Acupuncture (MRA) is different from traditional Chinese acupuncture. MRA consists of two parts, a diagnostic procedures and a treatment procedure. The diagnosis involves measuring the electrical resistance of the body at different points on the skin, known as meridian points. These measurements are graphed and interpreted by the doctor to develop a treatment plan for the meridian points of the body. This treatment is performed with a small, single needle that is temporary inserted at various meridian points of the body, usually for just a few seconds. This tiny needle is used to deliver a small, painless flow of electricity through the meridian point it is inserted into, lowering the excitation threshold for nerves while increasing blood flow.

Does the term “gobbledygook” come to mind in reading this? This is nothing more than a new twist to Chinese acupuncture. It is claiming the very same thing that is claimed by Chinese acupuncture, but performing it in a slightly different way. For those who are unaware of the issues and the nature of acupuncture and other Chinese alternative medical techniques, this description might sound interesting. All I can smell here is “snake-oil.”

How is the “electrical resistance of the body at different points on the skin, known as meridian points” supposed to diagnose disease? How is causing the flow of electricity into non-existent meridians heal anything? Where are the independent scientific studies for this?

The purpose of acupuncture/acupressure as well as various kinds of martial arts, yoga, and some mediation is to free any energy blocks in the body so that the body’s energy (Ch’i) may be in one with the universe. Nonsense. At best it is quackery, at worse such things can open doors to the demonic.

Now, with that said, there is scientific evidence that acupuncture can reduce pain. The needles do release endorphins in the body. But, studies have shown that this method is no better than traditional pain control drugs. In certain cases, however, where the drugs are contraindicated, acupuncture therapy for pain reduction may be useful.

There is also some evidence that sufferers of Asthma have been helped by acupuncture. Stroke victims have shown some improvement in physical rehabilitation. None of these positive effects, however, has anything to do with non-existent meridians.

 

Whenever anybody claims that a single technique cures wide and broad spectrum of disease and conditions, one need to run, not walk, away from such a snake-oil salesman.

Acupuncture can have some limited results on a limited number of conditions. It is not, however, a miracle cure, and certainly not a cure-all.

For interest sake, here is an article from the Cleveland Magazine about Nemeh.

Bottom line: I would not allow this man to “heal” me, even though he claims to have healed people with some conditions that I share. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1851

February 9, 2011

Your response about his practice of acupuncture is not surprising, but Dr. Nemeh also holds prayer services at various churches (including Catholic parishes) in which he lays hands on individuals. It is my understanding that the Bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Cleveland celebrated Mass at one of the healing services.

Anyway, I have some friends who went to one of his healing services. The husband felt heat move through his body where his medical condition is located. The wife felt that God was telling her to seek the God of Healing, not the healing itself. A friend of my friends also went; she said that after she had been prayed for, she was healed of her asthma. Would these prayer services be tainted because of his practice of acupuncture? –Melissa

Personally, I would not ever seek out this person’s help. As I understand his method, despite its claims to science, it appears to still include the Chinese cosmology concerning meridians and non-existent energy flows. The question then arises whether or not his “healing gift” is from God. The devil has no problems facilitating an apparent healing if it will advance his cause. I say apparent healing, because the devil cannot perform miracles, but he can facilitate psychogenic effects.

But, regardless of that, all so-called “faith healers” need to be scrutinized very closely. 

Many conditions can be relieved through a placebo effect (though sometimes only temporarily). The only way to verify whether a faith healer is really from God is to have scientific evidence, not anecdotal reports, of healings. The condition must be of the type not subject to placebo or any other psychological effect. This condition must be well documented in advance of the healing. The healing must be immediate and complete, scientifically proved, with no relapse later. As one medical doctor suggest:

(1) The ailment must be one that normally doesn’t recover without treatment;

(2) There must not have been any medical treatment that would be expected to influence the ailment; and

(3) Both diagnosis and recovery must be demonstrable by detailed medical evidence.

Pope Benedict XIV, in the 18th century, laid down strict criteria to assess the veracity of alleged miraculous healings. These criteria are used at the Lourdes Shrine by the Lourdes International Medical Committee.

The Committee created a 16 query scheme, which among other things, requires:

1. Ruling out any psychopathic component

2. Ruling out other subjective pathologic states or manifestations

3. Including only accounts of recovery from serious and provable affections, the only ones that could be deemed as “scientifically inexplicable”.

4. A medical report supporting a “certain and medically unexplainable” recovery, only when:

-The diagnostics and authenticity of the disease has been preliminarily and perfectly assessed;

-The prognosis provides for an impending or short-term fatal outcome;

-The recovery is sudden, without convalesce, and absolutely complete and final;

-The prescribed treatment cannot be deemed to have resulted in a recovery or in any case could have been propitiatory for the purposes of recovery itself. These criteria are still in use nowadays, in view of their highly logical, accurate and pertinent nature.

When applying these criteria used by the Church, the veracity of the vast majority of faith healers will be lacking.

The heat experience of your friend’s husband is easily photogenically created. Even the relief from asthma can be psychogenic. And remember, for a healing to be from God, the healing must be permanent. There can be no relapses even years later. For example, in Lourdes a healing from leukemia is not considered verified unless the person healed remains disease free for ten years.

With all that said, even if a faith healer’s gift is not from God, that does not mean that healings cannot happen. Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34). God can heal someone in honor of their faith even if the “healer” is not legit.

Secondly, it is also possible for a faith healer to have a legitimate gift from God, but still make mistakes in his thinking on other things, or even have wrong motivation.

St. Paul speaks of this principle, which can be applied to healers too, that we ought to praise God that His message is preached even when the people doing the preaching are questionable:

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of partisanship, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in that I rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18)

The bottom line: If Dr. Nemeh is facilitating genuine healings, even if he is wrong-headed concerning the meridians and such, we need to praise God. Certainly we can rejoice that people have been freed of their afflictions, even if that freedom was psychogenic and not miraculous.

 

 

The question is whether or not he is really facilitating genuine miraculous healings. That can only be determined by careful scientific scrutiny per Church criteria, which to my knowledge has never been determined.

Without verification of these healings based on the criteria of the Church we must, in my opinion, look skeptically at this man and be very cautious about allowing him to attempt a healing on us. If this man’s “gift” is not from God, then the spiritual consequences on those who follow him and especially upon those who are “cured” by him can potentially be serious.

In our Deliverance Apostolate we have had clients who eventually become demonized after having hands laid upon them for healing. This consequence is not rare. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Kyokushin Karate

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1887
EXTRACT

April 26, 2011

I am actively involved in the practice of Kyokushin Karate, a style devised in the 40s by a Korean immigrant to Japan named Masutatsu Oyama, who developed the system after spending a couple years in the mountains with the karate he had learned from other masters. It is a rather direct, effective, and rational style with high emphasis on discipline and technique rather than spirituality or chi-movement, such as in styles like Tai-Chi.

However, there can be minimal spiritualism to it. For example, my sensei teaches a warm up that is taught to be performed before every class that is designed to build “chi energy.” I do not do this warm-up, because not only do I recognize that chi does not exist but I know it to be a grave violation to the Catholic worldview (even before I reconverted to Catholicism I did not have any enthusiasm for the warm up, because I somehow did not believe it really did anything).

I am progressed enough in the style to teach, and I teach children and people my age. However, I filter down the teaching purposefully to include absolutely no “chi energy” exercises prior to class. I simply narrow the practice down to nothing but the techniques, sparring, and katas (which is 99% of this particular martial art)…

Does the Church allow [one] to practice martial arts provided they do not engage at all in any of the aspects of Eastern cosmology, only the techniques? This style is not at all like yoga where the whole system and its movements is based on a cosmology. The origins of the system were solely techniques, concrete/wood breaking, and sport sparring. –Ryan

The problem with much of martial arts is that the very movements can be based upon maximize Ch’i energy. Even if a practitioner does not specifically believe in or practice Ch’i exercises such as the warm-up, the whole of the martial art is a Ch’i exercise.
Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1947

July 14, 2011

I just came back from a very abrasive dinner, where I informed my former martial arts instructor that I was leaving the martial arts both for obedience to Christ and because of its ch’i origins. From there on out it was civilized for about 5 minutes and voices began rising thereafter.
A list of some of the things he was saying was:
“What’s the difference between Jesus’ grace and chi energy? God created everything so my yoga and my karate is my way of becoming one with God, of utilizing my power and rising above my limits. You mean to tell me you’re going to box yourself in with a narrow mind and stop doing this and utilizing your true power?”
“Roman Catholicism is pagan. (he then asked me about the Christmas tree, to which I responded that the tree itself has pagan origins but then he cut me off right there before I could continue laughing at me saying…) see? That’s what I mean. You admitted it right there.”
“Jesus is just a figment of your imagination. Where is he Ryan? Is Jesus with you? Where is he, I don’t see him! The difference between me and you is that my experience is tangible. I do real things with yoga and martial arts. You’re just subjecting yourself to something that isn’t tangible at all. You’re boxing in your whole life.”
“I was an altar server for years, and I knew 3 gay priests and they all talked about the faith and all that $%^#@$. I can’t believe someone as smart as you is getting involved in a cult.”
“You just read some books and are blindly doing what they tell you to do.”
This started because I spoke about the spiritual dangers of chi and yoga, and how yoga is not only spiritually dangerous (resulting in some demonic attacks) but idolatrous and that chi doesn’t exist. He treated this as bogus, and when I mentioned this was based on legitimate theology and demonology he said I was being brainwashed into a cult.
I kind of lost my temper after a while because he kept cutting me off (kind of like the Christmas tree comment) even as I was trying to explain logical reasons for my faith, such as the overwhelming Old Testament evidence, the historical evidence attesting to the Bible, the scientifically verified Eucharistic miracles, etc. I didn’t say anything too inappropriate to him, but I eventually called him a bigot and also said “You are completely defunct of the faculty of logic. You have no capability to think logically” a little while before he said he wouldn’t listen to me because I “obviously” was devoid of logic. He then said, “See, where’s the compassion of Christ in you? What’s Christ doing for you now that you’re talking this way?”
I am dismayed because I think I failed in representing Christ fully. Christ said we would be hated for His name. I am not dismayed for that. I am blessed for such persecution. But I wish I could help people like this. I feel like I lost a soul from Christ and could have been better. –Ryan

Your experience merely proves the imprudence and even possible danger of involving oneself in “arts” that derive from oriental cosmology. Besides that, from what you are describing this person is a bigot. Bigots have no interest in the truth and arguing with them is unproductive and should be avoided.

 

 

St. Paul teaches us not to engage in unproductive argument (Titus 3:9) and in Matthew Jesus tells his disciples:

And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10:13-14)

I think I would have said something like, “You are wrong in your view of Christ and his Church. I am sorry for that. I am deeply saddened that you have chosen not to respect my views or me. I think that the evening is ended. Have a good night.” Then get up and go home. Never contact him again.
Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

NES therapy or NutriEnergetics Systems

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2009

October 4, 2011

Is it alright for me to use NES therapy for Sjrögen Syndrome? –Speranza

NES is based on the false notion of energy flows through he body. It is just a pseudo-scientific version of the notion of meridians of energy that flow through the body according to Chinese cosmologists.

These meridians of energy flow do not exist.

All Christians need to stay away from any therapy or procedure based on energy flows in the body, unless there is scientific corroboration of observable effects. 

For example, acupuncture is one of these energy flow therapies. But, scientific studies have shown that acupuncture can help to control pain. This effect is not due to meridian energy flow, but to the needle stimulating the body’s own natural pain killing chemicals: endogenous opioids, or endorphins. Acupuncture as little use beyond pain-control. 

Bottom line: we need to stay away from energy-flow therapies. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

New Age

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2055
EXTRACT

November 14, 2011

Can you give a brief description on what is meant by “New Age”? –Marie

The New Age cannot be defined briefly. The Wikipedia article is as good as any to describe the New Age.

To learn about the New Age from a Christian point-of-view the book Unmasking the New Age and Confronting the New Age: How to Resist a Growing Religious Movement?, both by Douglas Groothuis are recommended. Groothuis is a Protestant, but these books are good. We use them as textbooks for our students. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Affirmations

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2057

November 16, 2011

I wanted to ask your opinion on Affirmative Prayer in regards to whether you feel it is Christian or more New Age?
As I’ve read many which seem to express faith in God by knowing that our prayers will be answered, but if you could give me some information about Affirmative Prayer; it would be really helpful. –Lydia

I think you are talking about Affirmations.

Positive Affirmations are popular in the New Age. Those sorts of Affirmations need to be avoided as they generally affirm that we are our own gods.

Affirmations can be used in the Christian context. In fact, we use affirmations in our deliverance counseling: Who You Are in Christ. These affirmations help us to remember who we are in Christ which helps to overcome thinking errors that we are worthless, etc. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Tai Chi

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2099

February 20, 2012

Is practicing Tai Chi, as exercise, acceptable under church law? –Al

Tai Chi is a meditative art designed to get the non-existent “energy” running through non-existent meridians in the body to balance with the energies of the universe.

Any technique that seeks to balance these non-existent “energy flows” in the body are to be avoided.

I get a lot of questions of people asking, “Can this, that, or the other be done if it is only for exercise.” In most cases, the answer is no. Why do we look to these eastern methods when we have the traditional exercises that work just as well, if not better? I mean, if one wishes to exercise, what happened to the normal exercise such as biking, swimming, jogging, sit-ups, etc. There are standard low-impact exercises for the elderly or for anyone who cannot exercise at a normal level.

Stick with traditional exercise. That is the safest way from avoiding trouble. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Norman Vincent Peale and Positive thinking

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2147

May 13, 2012

 

 

 

I wanted to ask your opinion about the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Although he was the Pastor of Marble Collegiate Church for 52 years, I’ve read that he was a Freemason and his popular book “The Power of Positive Thinking” was a form of hypnosis and he also believed in many things that were like occult practices.
I happen to have his book and I want to know should I get rid of it, as even though he seemed like a very peaceful man; I wouldn’t want to go against God by having anything anti-Christian in my home.
Also there are many other people like Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer who teach about positivity and how to obtain happiness by changing they way you think and have also mentioned God during their seminars, but are viewed differently by Christians.
What I’d like to know is, if a person is more spiritual and practices peace, positivity, and wants others to have happiness; does God disapprove of it if they may or may not be of a certain denomination, even though they believe in Him?
If you could give me some insight on this, as well as any further information on the people I’ve mentioned, I would really appreciate it. –Crystal

Norman Vincent Peale’s thinking was doctrinally flawed with many New Age-isms. The other people you mentioned are also inappropriate. These people are not Christian thinkers. Avoid them. If you cannot burn them, I would advise ripping the books up as best you can so others cannot read them. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Kelly Howell’s Brainwave synchronization meditation music

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2192

July 27, 2012

Is listening to Kelly Howell’s Brainwave synchronization meditation music against our religion? –Kelly

This method proposed by Kelly Howell includes, for example, Astral Projection. This very dangerous activity was made popular by New Agers. Astral Projection is when your spirit body leaves your physical body.

I have tried this myself when I was involved in the New Age. My spirit did leave my body to about a foot above my body. I then saw hordes of demons surrounding me. I stopped the projection and never did it again.

Our spirits are not supposed to leave our bodies until death, or in some other rare occasions, but never on our own initiative. This is dangerous beyond any scale.

When your spirit leaves your body on your own initiative, that is, without God’s permission and initiative, you will be in the realm of the spirit unprotected and in the devil’s territory. This is a good way to get yourselves possessed.

Astral Projection should never be attempted.

The fact that Howell includes Astral Projection proves that he cannot be trusted, that his techniques are New Age and dangerous, and that he should be avoided at all cost.

Be very skeptic of claims that this technique has been “clinically proven.” Even if there are grains of science in this technique and even if it is true that major universities use it, that does not remove the spiritual dangers here. Remember, that the researchers who try to combine the spiritual and physical are mostly incompetent to do so as they do not come from the worldview of God, but from a worldview that tries to attain spiritual effects without God. Their worldview is of the world and humanism, and therefore of the devil. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Is the New Age the anti-Christ?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2311

January 18, 2013

There is word going around that the “New Age” is the anti-Christ etc. I found this website that believes that the “New Age” is anti-Christ. Should I be concerned about this? –Jane

No, the New Age is not the anti-Christ. Not even close. Whoever is saying this is quite ignorant.

The anti-Christ will either be a person, a leader who will become a world leader, or a governmental regime based upon “atheistic secularism and/or dialectic materialism” (source: Navarre bible Commentary). The New Age, however, is a system of thought that was part of the development of a society that becomes an atheistic secularism and/or dialectic materialism.

These philosophical systems that will allow the rise of the anti-Christ exist today and are fast flourishing. It is called Progressivism. Our current President [Obama] claims to be a Progressive. As such, we are seeing before our very eyes in this generation, the rise of the kind of government and society that will eventually give rise to the anti-Christ sometime in the future.

The website you mentioned I deleted as I do not wish to promote it.

This is one topic, the End Times, the Anti-Christ, and the Second Coming that we should not consider any non-Catholic sources as these non-Catholic sources are all wrong in some way. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2369

April 14, 2013

Our family has discovered this through the children’s education system as our Primary School child told us they were testing and teaching this model (Authentic Happiness) at the school. They are quizzed on their values and then taught accordingly. This is at a government school in a country outside America but with similar values.
One is an organisation involving a man named Martin Seligman doing research into the psychology of happiness and how to achieve it.


I believe the justification is to teach children ‘independent values’ but they are not transparent and we were not asked to give permission for this type of teaching. I was lied to by the teacher when I asked her if the questionnaire was recorded anywhere and she said it was only kept with her and not electronically. I since discovered it was recorded on an international database i.e. in the US.
Is there any potential for harm and should I consider changing my child’s environment to prevent exposure to this type of teaching if need be. –Rose

Seligman’s Positive Psychology is a humanistic psychology and as such is not competent to help others find happiness, in my opinion. Happiness can never be found in secular notions of happiness. When the pursuit of happiness is then placed in the realm of psychology, we find a coercion of the mind (brainwashing if you will) developing in that people are herded toward secular and humanistic definitions of happiness.

In fact, genuine happiness can only come from God. God gives us the gift of joy to which we can experience even in the midst of the most unhappy experiences on this earth. The secular notion of happiness is not guaranteed by God as it falls short of genuine joy and happiness that comes as a grace from living in friendship with God.

If this humanistic approach, which has no place in the schools experimenting on our children, is happening in your children’s school, I would seek to opt out my child. If they will not do that, then I would remove my child from the school and send them to a Christian school that does not do such things. If necessary, I would home school the children if that is a legal option in your country. You may want to talk to a lawyer about your options.

If you live in a country that seeks to force parents to have their children submit to State notions of education and socialization without the parents’ permission, such as the neo-fascist approach that is now developing in the United States, then you may not have a choice. But, in that event I would want to see all questionnaires, materials, reports, and notes on my child. If legal action is necessary to secure that, then that is what I would do.

Most importantly I would suggest developing a close relationship with one’s children whereby they can feel free to discuss openly the things they hear in school. Then you can correct the wrong notions they learn in school. Also, read all their textbooks, assignments, and other materials.

The best alternative, however, is either to have your child opted-out of this activity if possible, or better yet to remove the child from this school and placed in a Christian school, providing the Christian school does not do the same thing.

The State knows, and has always known, where the control is at to sculpt their version of the Brave New World — to control the education and socialization of children. This fact is one of the most dangerous threats to Christianity. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Skylanders Giants video game

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1875

September 5, 2013

My children received a new video game called Skylanders Giants. I didn’t really want them having this game- not sure why but it gives me the creeps. You have action figures that you put on what is called the “portal of power” and whichever character is in the portal is who is in the game. It’s a kids’ game, supposedly a good vs. evil theme. However, many of the “good” guys look very demonic. It seems to have some possible occultic elements like magic spells. I have a bad feeling about it not sure why. I may just be looking too much into it. I’m wondering if you are familiar with this game. There was even an article in the National Catholic Register saying what a good game it is. Any input would be appreciated. -Jessica

I could not find the review of this game from the National Catholic Register, but did find other reviews. All the reviews I could find, including from Catholic sources, were favorable. I find it very interesting that even good orthodox and famous Catholics, sometimes, have little grasp of the subtleties of the occult.

This video game is like most video games these days — a device to empty the pocketbook of parents. From what I understand to get to higher and higher levels requires the purchase of more and more characters to place on the “portal of power”. Since video games, by their very nature, are addictive, I imagine kids will be begging their parents to buy more characters. According the review on the Patheos website, “Right now, there are 37 different characters representing the 8 different elements, and more to come. At $8 a throw, simply unlocking the entire game will cost as [sic] additional $40.” And then there are “special expansion packages … with ‘powerup’ figures and whole new levels than can be added into the game” that may cost $20 each.

Also quoting from the Patheos review, “…every base package comes with three playable characters, each representing a different kind of elemental power: fire, water, air, earth, life, tech, magic, and undead.”

Patheos, a Catholic site, gives the game a good rating despite its presentation of a pagan and magical worldview. The characters use the “powers” of “fire, water, air, earth”, which are the same elemental powers used in witchcraft and nature cults.

It seems that Catholic reviewers are not concerned about the non-Christian worldview presented in these games. The worldviews of these games are not just non-Christian, but occultic, pagan, and witchy. Just because these games, and stories like Harry Potter, are good vs. evil, does not make them suitable. To begin with, a primary tenet of Christianity, or for that matter, of positive civilization, is that the “ends do not justify the means.” If evil is fought by means of evil then it is out-of-line. To fight evil with witchcraft, as does Harry Potter, and it appears this game also, is a seduction into Satan’s sandbox.

The Catechism states, 1759 “An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention” (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6). The end does not justify the means.

 

 

 

What part of this do reviewers not understand?

In addition, St. Paul reminds us that not only are we to avoid doing evil, but we are also to avoid even the appearance of evil: “From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves” (1 Thess 5:22).

What part of that do reviewers not understand?

I know that it is hard to stand for truth, to guard the door from subtle seductions of the evil one, against “it’s just a game” or “it’s just for fun”. The devil counts on that naive attitude. The term “it’s justa…” was probably invented by the devil since this is the excuse most often made to justify activities that are at best imprudent and at worse directly evil in their worldview.

For those reasons I do not recommend this video game, or any other games, books, cartoons and the like that have as their base a worldview of the occult, pagan, magic, or witchcraft. At the very least such activities are playing in Satan’s sandbox. If we play in the evil one’s sandbox we will get his sand in our shoes. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1876

September 10, 2013

Everything you said is exactly how I felt about the game. It’s very disheartening that I couldn’t find any Catholic reviews to validate my feelings. Please pray that I stand strong on this issue. My husband doesn’t agree with me and this has caused some tension. The game has since been returned to the store. The NCR article that I referenced is actually reviewing the other Skylanders game called Spyros Adventure. Here is the link in case you are interested:
http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/taking-to-the-skies.
Also here is the ONLY Catholic resource I could find that basically states the dangers of such games:
http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=10551. –Jessica

Thanks for the reference. The fella at National Catholic Register admits the occultic connection yet recommends the game anyway. What a numbskull.

Women of Grace are usually pretty right on about things. There comments were far more appropriate than the idiot at NCR.

We will pray for you and your family, and that your husband will have his blinders removed. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Bro. Ignatius Mary on Homoeopathy in the Faith and Spirituality Q&A forum

Naturopathy/Homoeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=2205

August 17, 2012

I am wondering how familiar with Naturopathy you are, and whether or not the Church has a stance on it. I can see how it has the potential to be dangerous given that in some cases the idea is to break psychological blocks which cause physical symptoms or ailments, so the patient is very vulnerable during that time. However, my concern with conventional medicine is that it doesn’t address or recognize that our minds and bodies are very much connected, especially on a subconscious level. So, back to my question: does the Church take a stance on this type of medicine? –Phil

At one time, when I was an apostate who had abandoned the faith in favor of the New Age, I was heavily into things like acupressure and homeopathy/naturopathy.

Homeopathic/Naturopathic medicine has at its core the idea that the body develops imbalances that must be corrected. The “vital energy” theory is the same as the “universal energy” theory in that they both seek a balance between the “energies” in the body with that if the “vital/universal energy.” Although there are other aspects of Homeopathy, such as considering the whole person and not just the symptom or disease, this fundamental philosophical presumption behind Homeopathic theory is contrary to the facts of science and the body and to the Christian worldview. 

As for the defining principle of Homeopathy of the “Law of Similars” there is no evidence from appropriately designed studies that the “law of similars” actually operates. This “law”, as well as other non-scientific findings in Homeopathy that were made 100-200 years ago, were made before medical science fully understood the nature of health and disease. In fact those were times in which medical science had little knowledge of how to conduct experiments that separate cause and effect from coincidence as well as the placebo effect.
Given the totally anecdotal nature of the so-called “cures”, the illogical and lack of even the remotest scientific method in developing homeopathic theories and methods, the lack of understanding and recognition of the law of coincidence and the law of placebo, and the connection with the Eastern cosmology of “energies” and “balances” should lead a Christian to abandon Homeopathy in my opinion.


Thus, any aspect of homeopathy/naturopathy that speaks to “energy flows” (Ch’i), meridians in the body, chakras, etc. should be avoided.
Homeopathic/naturopathic medicine, removed from the oriental cosmology, if properly approached, is not a problem in-and-of-itself. Many of our medicines from drug companies are derived from herbs and other plants. Constant research on these resources is being done by the drug companies.

While homeopathic/naturopathic medicine in itself is not a problem, there are many problems with the people in that movement, most of whom are New Age.

There are some cautions that must be considered:

1) As with any medical remedy or procedure, there is no such thing as a cure-all, a magic bullet, a substance that can cure everything. Some people in the homeopathic/naturopathic movement make claims about various herbs and substances that are scientifically unverifiable and are exaggerated to the four winds. Stay away from such things.

 

 

Herbs, as with any substance, are effective for a limited number of issues; avoid exaggerated claims. Find out what has been proven to work for a specific condition or issue and limit oneself to those remedies.

2) While there has been much improvement over the last decade, there is still a problem with the quality-control of herbs and substances in homeopathy. One is never sure of the quality, potency, and dose of herbs on the market; there are no regulatory standards which with herbal companies must follow. If buying these products, be sure to do your research to find a company that offers the best quality-control, precise potency and dosage.

3) Herbs are not safe merely because they are “natural”. There are contraindications and adverse reactions that can exist between herbs and between the herbs and other “regular” medications. It is possible to do great damage to oneself by homeopathic/naturopathic self-medication when one does not know about overdose limits, contraindications, adverse reactions, and other factors. It is possible to even die from such contraindications and adverse reactions.

It is critically important, therefore, that one know the potency of a herb, what dosage is safe, and what contraindications and adverse reactions that may exist.

The people who publish the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) now have a PDR the deals specifically with herbs called the PDR for Herbal Medicines. Anyone practicing homeopathy/naturopathy needs to buy this volume and learn how to use it. It is expensive, around $60, but it is a necessity.

Here is brochure description of the PDR for Herbal Medicines

Building on its best-selling predecessors, the new PDR for Herbal Medicines, Third Edition has left no resource unturned to bring together the latest scientific data in the most comprehensive herbal reference compiled.

The third edition goes far beyond the original source, adding a new section on Nutritional Supplements and new information aimed at greatly enhancing patient management by medical practitioners. All monographs have been updated to include recent scientific findings on efficacy, safety and potential interactions; clinical trials (including abstracts); case reports; and meta-analysis results. This new information has resulted in greatly expanded Effects, Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions, and Dosage sections of each monograph.

-Indexed by common name

-Asian, Indian and Homeopathic Herbs Index

-Safety Guide

-Daily dosage information for unprocessed herbs and commercially available brand name products

-Manufacturers’ Index, including name, address, contact information and product list

-Trade names of available products added to each monograph

-Expanded Drug/Herb Interaction Guide

-Therapeutic Category Index

-Clinical Management of Interactions

To buy this volume, click here for Herbal-Medicines and here for Nutritional Supplements.

4) When consulting a homeopathic/naturopathic practitioner be very careful*. Homeopathy/naturopathy is a major interest in the New Age. A lot of practitioners may also be involved in New Ageism, occult or even witchcraft activities.

While it may be best to stay with established methods that have a proven track record, “However,” as stated by Dr. Rosenfeld in his book Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine : What Works, What Doesn’t And What’s Right for You, “for symptoms that are not life-threatening, and for which conventional medicine has either no treatment or a potentially toxic treatment, homeopathy may be a reasonable alternative.”

Dr. Rosenfeld continues, “If you decide to go that route, consult a reputable practitioner who is also an M.D.”

Following these guidelines, one should be able to navigate homeopathy/naturopathy world successfully.

Anyone with an interest in Alternative Medicine needs to read up on what really works and doesn’t work. “Testimonials” from the company selling the product or from your next door neighbor are utterly useless. One needs to have a scientific approach to analyze the claims of various Alternative Medicine claims. 

I highly recommend the book by Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D.

Dr. Rosenfeld is open to Alternative methods, and gives a fair and balanced evaluation of more than thirty alternative therapies. He gives the history of each therapy, explains a little about how the therapy is suppose to work, gives scientific information and research on the topic, and ends with a no nonsense “bottom line”.  

Dr. Rosenfeld begins his book with excellent chapters on people searching for hope are lured by alternative methods with clear advice on how to proceed with hopeful alternatives, the nature of the placebo effect, and how to spot a quack.

In terms of Church comments, the Church cautions about any approach that has a New Age or oriental worldview that is hostile to the Christian worldview:

In short, we must take notice when the cosmology (view of the way universe works) and ontology (view of the nature of man) runs counter to our Faith.

In terms of spiritual or theological principles the Vatican Document, A Christian Reflection on the New Age, and USCCB document, Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy, provides several principles useful in evaluating anything from the new age. Find other documents in our Spiritual Warfare Library. Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM
[all emphases his]

*Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM says: “be very careful”. My advice: “completely abstain” -Michael

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bro. Ignatius Mary on Homoeopathy in the Spiritual Warfare Q&A forum

Homeopathic medicine, etc

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=170

November 7, 2004

I have noticed that some of the questions concerning natural therapies are always suspicious in nature. There have been a lot of advances in studies involving vitamins and minerals as well as some herbs. Since a lot of these things should be in our food and have been depleted, why are these things so looked down upon?

Or is it alternative therapies that are linked to healing touch, acupuncture and other things that we should stay away from?

I ask this because the drug companies and their products have side affects that a lot of times are worse than the conditions they are trying to treat. Unfortunately too the medical industry is just that in most situations today.

I do not deal with any strange occult practices for any reason, but I also study the positive effects of things that naturally improve the way our body functions. I look at it as gifts from God that should be in our food, but due to over cropping, insecticides and picking them to early these things are not there.

Am I doing something contrary to the Faith? If so it seems that going to the hospital or doctor would be as well. With an overwhelming idea of people being looked on as commodities and drug ads on the TV with side effects ranging from itching skin to death, shouldn’t we be prudent about what we put in our bodies? -Lisa

No, you are not doing anything wrong, but I am troubled by the logic of the statement, “If so it seems that going to the hospital or doctor would be as well”.

What is true for one is not necessarily true for another. Although the two approaches seem similar, that does not mean they are the same. Thus we cannot use this logic as a defense of homeopathy. In addition, if the Church taught that the hospital is okay, and homeopathic medicine is not, (which the Church does not do, but if it did) then regardless of our opinions we are obligated to stay away from homeopathic medicine no matter how much it promises.

That aside, what I have been talking about are systems of thought, cosmology, and philosophy. Oriental medicine that deals with things like energy flows in the body are fundamentally flawed in its cosmology as well as in biology.

Martial Arts and Yoga are activities that are based upon the flawed cosmology of the same “energy flows” (Ch’i) that are involved in acupuncture and the like. The movements of these activities are specifically designed to balance these non-existent energies and/or place one in a state of altered consciousness.

Homeopathic medicine, on the other hand, IF properly approached, is not a problem in-and-of-itself. Many of our medicines from drug companies are derived from herbs and other plants. Constant research on these resources is being done by the drug companies.

While homeopathic medicine in itself is not a problem, there are some cautions that must be considered:

1) As with any medical remedy or procedure, there is no such thing as a cure-all, a magic bullet, a substance that can cure everything. Some people in the homeopathic movement make claims about various herbs and substances that are scientifically unverifiable and are exaggerated to the four winds. Stay away from such things. Herbs, as with any substance, are effective for a limited number of issues; avoid exaggerated claims. Find out what has been proven to work for a specific condition or issue and limit oneself to those remedies.

2) While there has been much improvement over the last decade, there is still a problem with the quality-control of herbs and substances in homeopathy. One is never sure of the quality, potency, and dose of herbs on the market; there are no regulatory standards which with herbal companies must follow. If buying these products, be sure to do your research to find a company that offers the best quality-control, precise potency and dosage.

3) Herbs are not safe merely because they are “natural”. There are contraindications and adverse reactions that can exist between herbs and between the herbs and other “regular” medications. It is possible to do great damage to oneself by homeopathic self-medication when one does not know about overdose limits, contraindications, adverse reactions, and other factors. It is possible to even die from such contraindications and adverse reactions.

It is critically important, therefore, that one know the potency of a herb, what dosage is safe, and what contraindications and adverse reactions that may exist.

The people who publish the PDR (Physicians’ Desk Reference) now have a PDR that deals specifically with herbs called the PDR for Herbal Medicines. Anyone practicing homeopathy NEEDS to buy this volume and learn how to use it. It is expensive, around $60, but it is a necessity.

Here is brochure description of the PDR for Herbal Medicines

Building on its best-selling predecessors, the new PDR for Herbal Medicines, Third Edition has left no resource unturned to bring together the latest scientific data in the most comprehensive herbal reference compiled.

The third edition goes far beyond the original source, adding a new section on Nutritional Supplements and new information aimed at greatly enhancing patient management by medical practitioners. All monographs have been updated to include recent scientific findings on efficacy, safety and potential interactions; clinical trials (including abstracts); case reports; and meta-analysis results. This new information has resulted in greatly expanded Effects, Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions, and Dosage sections of each monograph.

—Indexed by common name

—Asian, Indian and Homeopathic Herbs Index

—Safety Guide

—Daily dosage information for unprocessed herbs and commercially available brand name products

 

 

—Manufacturers’ Index, including name, address, contact information and product list

—Trade names of available products added to each monograph

—Expanded Drug/Herb Interaction Guide

—Therapeutic Category Index

—Clinical Management of Interactions

To buy this volume, click here.

4) When consulting a homeopathic practitioner be VERY careful. Homeopathy is a major interest in the New Age. A LOT of practitioners may also be involved in New Ageism, occult or even witchcraft activities.

Following these guidelines, one should be able to navigate the homeopathy world successfully. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

It beats me as to how a Christian can “be VERY careful” in consulting a homoeopathic practitioner. It is better for one to totally avoid these practitioners and their so-called remedies. Bro, Ignatius Mary himself admits that “Homeopathy is a major interest in the New Age“. There are no guidelines to ensure that homeopathy is “properly approached“. He apparently believes that the Church has not made clear enough its stand on homeopathy [“(which the Church does not do, but if it did)“]. In fact the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age [cited by Brother further below] not only lists homeopathy along with other New Age therapies, but explains the occultic nature of the “vital” or life force energy that is purportedly the active principle in homoeopathic concoctions and at the same time one of the foundational principles of New Age. –Michael

 

Should Christians take homeopathic medicines?

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=229

January 11, 2005

In previous posts, the phrase “homeopathic medications” seems to be used interchangeably with herbal medications in general. I am writing to clarify the difference, and obtain spiritual direction based on this.
While many homeopathic medications are made from herbs, they are unique in their manufacture and apparent mode of operation. Homeopathic medications are made from tinctures of natural substances, but that is where the similarity ends. These tinctures are then diluted and succussed (or shaken) repeatedly to increase their potency. Cures are affected through the “law of similars” by matching the effect of the natural substance on healthy people with the symptoms of the patient.
The problem rests with the process of potentization. The strongest remedies are indeed some of the most dilute and, in theory, may not even contain any of the original herbs. Given this, there is no apparent physiological explanation for why these medications work. Most explain their efficacy by pointing to energy-based theories of some sort. (This is true even of reputable homeopaths that prescribe on the basis of symptoms and get their remedies from modern pharmaceutical companies. I say this to differentiate between them and homeopaths that use divination, etc. as a part of their practice.)
Also, the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, was a Freemason and attributes his discovery of homeopathy to the “Father.” I have also seen a post on your site in which the “vital energy” referred to by Hahnemann in his writings is compared with the “universal energy” of New Age teachings.
My homeopath’s methods seem empirical, and the medicines do seem to affect a cure. Yet this contradicts the nature and history of the medicines themselves. I am confused? Should I continue taking them? Note that the Church, in “Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life” says New Age techniques are sometimes advertised under the title “homeopathy.” Please help. –Nancy

Homeopathic medicine has at its core the idea that the body develops imbalances that must be corrected. The “vital energy” theory is the same as the “universal energy” theory in that they both seek a balance between the “energies” in the body with that if the “vital/universal energy.” Although there are other aspects of Homeopathy, such as considering the whole person and not just the symptom or disease, this fundamental philosophical presumption behind Homeopathic theory is contrary to the facts of science and the body and to the Christian worldview. Given that Hahnemann was a Freemason, with their distorted view of God, a red flag should be immediate.

As for the defining principle of Homeopathy of the “Law of Similars” there is no evidence from appropriately designed studies that the “law of similars” actually operates. This “law”, as well as other non-scientific findings in Homeopathy that were made 100-200 years ago, were made before medical science fully understood the nature of health and disease. In fact those were times in which medical science had little knowledge of how to conduct experiments that separate cause and effect from coincidence as well as the placebo effect.

Given the totally anecdotal nature of the so-called “cures”, the illogic and lack of even the remotest scientific method in developing homeopathic theories and methods, the lack of understanding and recognition of the law of coincidence and the law of placebo, and the connection with the Eastern cosmology of “energies” and “balances” should lead a Christian to abandon Homeopathy in my opinion. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Homeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1028

May 27, 2008

Do you know what the Church’s teaching on Homeopathy is? I hear that many people turn to homeopathy because it works where allopathic medicine has failed.

But then there are so many reports such as
a) not understanding how homeopathy works


b) the religious beliefs of its founder
c) claims of occultic origin that make one wonder if this puts one faith and soul at risk.
Do you know if there is any truth to this? Can a catholic person turn to homeopathic medication for treatment? Does the Church specifically teach against homeopathy? Or is this something that we should stay away from because we do not understand how it works? -Joseph

The Church, as far as I know, has made no comment on homeopathy directly, but has warned about healing methods that include homeopathy as they relate to New Age philosophies and techniques.

In the Church’s extensive document on the New Age, A Christian Reflection on the New Age it is stated:

Formal (allopathic) medicine today tends to limit itself to curing particular, isolated ailments, and fails to look at the broader picture of a person’s health: this has given rise to a fair amount of understandable dissatisfaction. Alternative therapies have gained enormously in popularity because they claim to look at the whole person and are about healing rather than curing. Holistic health, as it is known, concentrates on the important role that the mind plays in physical healing. The connection between the spiritual and the physical aspects of the person is said to be in the immune system or the Indian chakra system. In a New Age perspective, illness and suffering come from working against nature; when one is in tune with nature, one can expect a much healthier life, and even material prosperity; for some New Age healers, there should actually be no need for us to die. Developing our human potential will put us in touch with our inner divinity, and with those parts of our selves which have been alienated and suppressed. This is revealed above all in Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs), which are induced either by drugs or by various mind-expanding techniques, particularly in the context of “transpersonal psychology”. The shaman is often seen as the specialist of altered states of consciousness, one who is able to mediate between the transpersonal realms of spirits and gods and the world of humans.

There is a remarkable variety of approaches for promoting holistic health, some derived from ancient cultural traditions, whether religious or esoteric, others connected with the psychological theories developed in Esalen during the years 1960-1970. Advertising connected with New Age covers a wide range of practices as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage and various kinds of “bodywork” (such as orgonomy, Feldenkrais, reflexology, Rolfing, polarity massage, therapeutic touch etc.), meditation and visualisation, nutritional therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by crystals, metals, music or colours, reincarnation therapies and, finally, twelve-step programmes and self-help groups. The source of healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in touch with our inner energy or cosmic energy.

Inasmuch as health includes a prolongation of life, New Age offers an Eastern formula in Western terms. Originally, reincarnation was a part of Hindu cyclical thought, based on the atman or divine kernel of personality (later the concept of jiva), which moved from body to body in a cycle of suffering (samsara), determined by the law of karma, linked to behaviour in past lives. Hope lies in the possibility of being born into a better state, or ultimately in liberation from the need to be reborn. What is different in most Buddhist traditions is that what wanders from body to body is not a soul, but a continuum of consciousness. Present life is embedded in a potentially endless cosmic process which includes even the gods. In the West, since the time of Lessing, reincarnation has been understood far more optimistically as a process of learning and progressive individual fulfilment. Spiritualism, theosophy, anthroposophy and New Age all see reincarnation as participation in cosmic evolution. This post-Christian approach to eschatology is said to answer the unresolved questions of theodicy and dispenses with the notion of hell. When the soul is separated from the body individuals can look back on their whole life up to that point, and when the soul is united to its new body there is a preview of its coming phase of life. People have access to their former lives through dreams and meditation techniques.

In addition to the New Age cosmology of many practitioners of homeopathy there is also the problem that homeopathy is not scientifically verified. The “evidence” for homeopathy almost entirely anecdotal. Anecdotal evidence is not reliable evidence because the placebo effect cannot be separated from the objective analysis.

The alleged positive effects of homeopathy seem to be merely placebos. According to Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, author of “Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine”, homeopathy is tolerated by the medical community as long as it is not used “to treat life-threatening illnesses for which conventional therapy is known to be effective.”

Dr. Rosenfeld points out, however, that the World Health Organization “considers homeopathy a legitimate form or traditional medicine and is sanctioned almost “everywhere in the world, including most of the United States.”

Dr. Rosenfeld’s recommendation is to “stay with establishment methods that have a proven track record. However, for symptoms that are not life-threatening, and for which conventional medicine has either no treatment or a potentially toxic treatment, homeopathy may be a reasonable alternative. If you go that route, consult a reputable practitioner who is also an M.D. Regardless of the treatment suggested, get a second opinion to make sure the diagnosis is correct.”

One reason to consult a M.D. who happens to also practice homeopathy is that he is in better position to know when to use conventional medications and when to use homeopathy remedies. Also, something a lot of people do not seem to know, is that taking herbs and supplements and the like can be dangerous. There are contraindications that can be present. Taking certain herbs together with other herbs or medicines can even be poison.

The people who put out the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) also product a PDR for Herbs and a PDR for Supplements. These reference books give possible contraindications that need to be know BEFORE taking various combinations of alternative substances or combinations of those substances and conventional medicines.

Always check with a M.D. about this.

Another problem is that herb and supplements are not regulated by the government so a person has no way of knowing for sure about the quality of the substance or its potency or dosage. This can be dangerous.

If one is interested in a homeopathy alternative they need to learn ALL the facts, consult a M.D., and research the market for product that can be trusted as to its quality and potency. (Note: because the label says it is high quality, doesn’t make it so). –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

 

Homeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1065

September 25, 2009

Whilst feeling rather ill I was taken to an iridologist yesterday by the best Catholic I know, a friend who has visited him for years. The naturopath is a friendly elderly gentleman but did have pictures in his office of Buddha and the Dalai Lama as well as rosaries and other Catholic pictures. He started with asking my birth date and examining my hands and eyes then proceeded to give a spot on analysis of my current emotional and physical state. It contained what I already knew in both areas. I also asked him about my son (who was not present) and he told me he could help him, and asked his birth date too. I asked him whether he got his diagnostic information because of ‘star signs’ and he told me that Nicholas Culpeper (the herbalist) taught that astronomy and plants were linked. You must use plants that correspond with the season in which the person was born. I pointed out some inconsistencies I know about astrology (Fr Pacwa’s book) and he agreed that horoscopes (that is, star signs which predict current events) are total rubbish. But, he maintained that the astronomy + plants element is true, and should be applied with the features of someone’s temperament (given sign they were born later).
He then gave me homeopathic remedies which will last a month and told me he could fix me up very well.
Whilst he pointed out exactly what was happening physically and how I can return to normal, I feel uncomfortable that he used star signs as part of his diagnostic tool. I have no problem with iridology as a diagnostic tool (please tell me however if I should!!) but I don’t like any link with tools that originate from other religions or especially astrology/astronomy.
Have I sinned by going to this fellow and sin further if I continue to take the homeopathic remedies? I intend to see my confessor in the next few days and will follow whatever his advice is also. –Bernice

From your description of this man’s practice, I think it is clear that you should not go to him. He is using methods that are incompatible with Christianity and is decidedly is into the New Age lunacy.

Iridology, by the way, is quackery. There is no scientific basis for its claims.

As for homeopathy, it is best to stay with established methods that have a proven track record. “However,” as stated by Dr. Rosenfeld in his book Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine, “for symptoms that are not life-threatening, and for which conventional medicine has either no treatment or a potentially toxic treatment, homeopathy may be a reasonable alternative.” Dr. Rosenfeld continues, “If you decide to go that route, consult a reputable practitioner who is also an M.D.”

While homeopathic medicine in itself is not a problem when properly administered by a qualified practitioner who is also an M.D., there are some cautions that must be considered:

1) As with any medical remedy or procedure, there is no such thing as a cure-all, a magic bullet, a substance that can cure everything. Some people in the homeopathic movement make claims about various herbs and substances that are scientifically unverifiable and are exaggerated to the four winds. Stay away from such things. Herbs, as with any substance, are effective for a limited number of issues; avoid exaggerated claims. Find out what has been proven to work for a specific condition or issue and limit oneself to those remedies.

2) While there has been much improvement over the last decade, there is still a problem with the quality-control of herbs and substances in homeopathy. One is never sure of the quality, potency, and dose of herbs on the market; there are no regulatory standards which with herbal companies must follow. If buying these products, be sure to do your research to find a company that offers the best quality-control, precise potency and dosage.

3) Herbs are not safe merely because they are “natural”. There are contraindications and adverse reactions that can exist between herbs and between the herbs and other “regular” medications. It is possible to do great damage to oneself by homeopathic self-medication when one does not know about overdose limits, contraindications, adverse reactions, and other factors. It is possible to even die from such contraindications and adverse reactions.

It is critically important, therefore, that one know the potency of a herb, what dosage is safe, and what contraindications and adverse reactions that may exist.

The people who publish the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) now have a PDR the deals specifically with herbs called the PDR for Herbal Medicines. Anyone practicing homeopathy NEEDS to buy this volume and learn how to use it. It is expensive, around $60, but it is a necessity.

Here is brochure description of the PDR for Herbal Medicines

Building on its best-selling predecessors, the new PDR for Herbal Medicines, Third Edition has left no resource unturned to bring together the latest scientific data in the most comprehensive herbal reference compiled.

The third edition goes far beyond the original source, adding a new section on Nutritional Supplements and new information aimed at greatly enhancing patient management by medical practitioners. All monographs have been updated to include recent scientific findings on efficacy, safety and potential interactions; clinical trials (including abstracts); case reports; and meta-analysis results. This new information has resulted in greatly expanded Effects, Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions, and Dosage sections of each monograph.

  • Indexed by common name
  • Asian, Indian and Homeopathic Herbs Index
  • Safety Guide
  • Daily dosage information for unprocessed herbs and commercially available brand name products
  • Manufacturers’ Index, including name, address, contact information and product list
  • Trade names of available products added to each monograph

 

  • Expanded Drug/Herb Interaction Guide
  • Therapeutic Category Index
  • Clinical Management of Interactions

To buy this volume, click here.

4) When consulting a homeopathic practitioner be VERY careful. Homeopathy is a major interest in the New Age. A LOT of practitioners may also be involved in the New Age, occult, or even witchcraft activities. Avoid such people.

Following these guidelines, one should be able to navigate homeopathy world successfully.

Anyone with an interest in Alternative Medicine needs to read up on what really works and doesn’t work. “Testimonials” from the company selling the product or from your next door neighbor are utterly useless. One needs to have a scientific approach to analyze the claims of various Alternative Medicine claims. 

I recommend the book by Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D., Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What doesn’t and what’s Right for You

Dr. Rosenfeld is open to Alternative methods, and gives a fair and balanced evaluation of more than thirty alternative therapies. He gives the history of each therapy, explains a little about how the therapy is suppose to work, gives scientific information and research on the topic, and ends with a no-nonsense “bottom line”.  Dr. Rosenfeld begins his book with excellent chapters on people searching for hope are lured by alternative methods with clear advice on how to proceed with hopeful alternatives, the nature of the placebo effect, and how to spot a quack.

I highly recommend this book. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

How does one being an M.D. make that person a more reliable dispenser of a quack remedy that claims to work on the alleged “vital body” of a patient? Do not buy the books recommended by Bro. Ignatius Mary.

There are a number of helpful articles and reports concerning homoeopathy at this ministry’s web site.

 

Homeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1073
EXTRACT

September 30, 2009

In response to Bernice about her naturopaths… many of these Naturopaths have new age practices, Hindu, Buddha references in their offices. It seems to get mixed into their field of medicine. My naturopath never brought anything up.

This is where I have a question. Why not give hope to those who are not Catholic and show them our loving joy of self denial and achieving great health because we follow their instructions for healing. We may have many opportunities to show these people how true Catholics live by their faith! -Elizabeth

As for giving hope to others (Catholic or not), hope comes from knowing the Truth. The Truth is that any system of medicine that incorporates the Eastern (Hindu, Buddhist, Taoism, etc.) philosophies and cosmologies and theories of how the body maintains health is a major problem. Those philosophies and theories are inconsistent with Christianity, and usually inconsistent with sound science. Unfortunately, the medical community has begun to adopt these techniques from the East, even though they have little to no scientific veracity, and practice them or refer their patients to practitioners. Many hospitals are now running what are essentially New Age medical clinics.

As the old saying goes, “Do not throw the baby out with the bath water”, thus we should not indict the whole of many Alternative medical approaches because some of the methods are quackery, or because some of the practitioners of legitimate methods indulge in Eastern nonsense.

We need to be careful to avoid those methods with no scientific veracity (hence my recommendation of Dr. Rosenfeld’s book).

With methods that may have some usefulness we need to be very wary of practitioners who incorporate the Eastern trappings and philosophies. Those who do that will be necessarily tainted in their medical judgment. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Homeopathy confusion

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1213

May 12, 2010

The forum contains contradictory info and advice regarding homeopathy. Some posts say it’s New Age and to be avoided, while others say it’s fine.
A 2004 post has an explanation of New Age energy healing. The list of occultic energy forces includes the vital energy of Hahnemann’s homeopathy.
The post says, “… it is better and prudent to stay away from anything that offers a risk of damaging our life with Christ…. We live in an age of MANY contaminations to the Christian worldview. We cannot be too careful and circumspect.” “The sneaky thing is that we can develop New Age attitudes and beliefs without knowing it. Once we open the door, even without our cognitive knowledge, we can find our thinking and belief system contaminated….” (“Therapeutic Touch healing,” November 4, 2004)
A few days later, a post said, “homeopathic medicine in itself is not a problem;” the practitioners may be bad. (“Homeopathic medicine,” November 7, 2004)

 

 


Then a 2005 post found homeopathy to be not only contrary to a Christian worldview, but contrary to science and the body. (“Should Christians take homeopathic medications?” January 11, 2005)
But in 2009, homeopathy was OK again. Readers were advised to purchase a PDR and a book by an MD. “Following these guidelines,” the post said, “one should be able to navigate the homeopathy world successfully.”
Considering the warnings of the first 2004 post, this advice — “to step into Satan’s sandbox” but to be careful — seems spiritually dangerous. Doctors are not authorities on what’s safe from a spiritual point of view (thus Reiki and New Age healing techniques in hospitals today).
From Susan Brinkmann‘s New Age blog (http://lhla.org/newage/?p=13):

“The only reason the FDA recognizes homeopathy at all is because a homeopathic physician who was serving as a senator in 1938 managed to have all the drugs listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States recognized as drugs under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938.
“However, information recently obtained from the FDA by a physician under the Freedom of Information Act found that approval of several dozen homeopathic products was withdrawn in 1970 and no homeopathic drugs have been approved since.”

Supporters of homeopathy, including the Huffington Post, theorize that homeopathy works on the quantum level, with “the memory of water” and we can’t understand it. In other words, we need to take it on faith. Note that that’s faith in “changed water.” The water that changes Christians is in baptism.
How can something that was created and manufactured on New Age principles no longer be New Age? I know that the Church has not condemned homeopathy as it did Reiki, but there must be some spiritual principles which we can apply to discern the truth. What are those spiritual principles?
As St. Louis De Montfort wrote in The Secret of the Rosary, “The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the science of Christians and the science of salvation.” –Lucy

First I would thank you tremendously for providing specific references. That makes my job much easier. Thanks.

I am sorry you are confused, but that confusion is coming from mixing apples and oranges, or not understanding the Homeopathy is not a monolithic endeavor.

In the examples you reference Therapeutic Touch healing is not Homeopathy. Therapeutic Touch healing and Homeopathy are two completely separate practices. Thus, what you perceive as a contradiction does not actually exist. Our readers can view the posts: Therapeutic Touch healing and Homeopathic medicine and easily see that these are two different topics.

There does appear to be a contradiction between the 2005 post, Should Christians take homeopathic medications?, and the 2009 post, Homeopathy and Diagnostic Tools, there really is not a contradiction. The problem was that I did not explain thoroughly enough in the 2005 post. I was speaking of the homeopathic practitioners who tend to have an errant cosmology.

In the 2009 post I clearly stated that homeopathic medicine may have value when administered by a Medical Doctor (M.D.). And I extensively quote Dr. Rosenfeld’s scientific analysis of homeopathic medicine. I also give many “cautions”. You cannot take that one sentence out of context of the whole post.

The Church officially teaches that truth can found anywhere, and anywhere it is found, to the extent of that grain of truth, we can acknowledge it as true.

Homeopathic medicine in it “theory” is incorrect. But, some of the herbs that are used in Homeopathy have valid use, or have no effect. As Dr. Rosenfeld said and which I agree with:

It is best to stay with established methods that have a proven track record. “However,” as stated by Dr. Rosenfeld in his book Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine, “for symptoms that are not life-threatening, and for which conventional medicine has either no treatment or a potentially toxic treatment, homeopathy may be a reasonable alternative.”

The bottom line is that the 2009 post is the accurate response. I am afraid I did not do a good job on the 2005 post.

As for the Huffington Post, they are a bunch of idiots and the idea of a quantum level and “the memory of water” is lunacy.

As to your question of how something that was developed with “new age” principles no longer be new age. Well, to begin with, I never said that the Homeopathic industry has ceased to be “new age.” Second, not every dotted “i” in the new age is wrong. Even the devil can say something right once-in-awhile. Satan recognized Jesus as God. He was right. If Hitler said that 1 + 1 = 2, is he wrong because he is Hitler? Truth is truth no matter who says it.

In addition, God can bring goodness even out of evil. Thus, even if something was sourced in evil, God can make it good. The Church has done this many times — taking pagan practices (which are in error) and Christianizing them (changing them to conform to truth) to evangelize pagan peoples.

As for Homeopathy, in as much as the herbs used in Homeopathic medicine have scientifically verifiable effects those herbs are okay — independent of homeopathy, or even if homeopathy did not exist. Either such herbs are useful or not objectively.

However, as I have advised, since the so-called Homeopathic practitioners almost always involve themselves in the New Age aspects and theories, I do not recommend them.

I agree with Dr. Rosenfeld, “If you decide to go that route (of homeopathic medicine), consult a reputable practitioner who is also an M.D.

And, I would add, since Dr. Rosenfeld does not understand the spiritual dangers, and since some M. D’s are new agers, that we ensure that any M.D. we consult does not does not approach his prescription of herbs from a point-of-view of new age philosophies.

As for principles to use to guard ourselves against something that is improper, I gave a list of cautions to consider in the 2009 post. I’ll repeat them here:

 

1) As with any medical remedy or procedure, there is no such thing as a cure-all, a magic bullet, a substance that can cure everything. Some people in the homeopathic movement make claims about various herbs and substances that are scientifically unverifiable and are exaggerated to the four winds. Stay away from such things. Herbs, as with any substance, are effective for a limited number of issues; avoid exaggerated claims. Find out what has been proven to work for a specific condition or issue and limit oneself to those remedies.

2) While there has been much improvement over the last decade, there is still a problem with the quality-control of herbs and substances in homeopathy. One is never sure of the quality, potency, and dose of herbs on the market; there are no regulatory standards which with herbal companies must follow. If buying these products, be sure to do your research to find a company that offers the best quality-control, precise potency and dosage.

3) Herbs are not safe merely because they are “natural”. There are contraindications and adverse reactions that can exist between herbs and between the herbs and other “regular” medications. It is possible to do great damage to oneself by homeopathic self-medication when one does not know about overdose limits, contraindications, adverse reactions, and other factors. It is possible to even die from such contraindications and adverse reactions.

It is critically important, therefore, that one know the potency of a herb, what dosage is safe, and what contraindications and adverse reactions that may exist. The PDR for Herbs is helpful in learning about this.

4) When consulting a homeopathic practitioner be VERY careful. Homeopathy is a major interest in the New Age. A LOT of practitioners may also be involved in the New Age, occult, or even witchcraft activities. Avoid such people.

In terms of spiritual or theological principles the Vatican Document, A Christian Reflection on the New Age, and USCCB document, Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy, provides several principles useful in evaluating anything from the new age.

In short, we must take notice when the cosmology (view of the way universe works) and ontology (view of the nature of man) runs counter to our Faith.

I hope this clears things up and I apologise for the confusion. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

 

Homeopathy

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1705

October 18, 2012

I did look up the questions on homeopathy, but need to clarify further.
I consulted a homeopath doctor registered at a hospital. He is not Christian. It was my first appointment and while he was checking on my background he asked me to show him my hands. He enquired about the number of children I had and then correctly told me that I had an abortion (actually I miscarried at 12 weeks, I did not abort). When I asked him to tell me how he knew, he said he couldn’t tell me, he was just learning about reading the hands.
While I do know a lot of people who have been successfully treated with homeopathy where allopathic treatments have had bad side effects, I do not want to do anything unChristian. I have been seeking allopathic treatment for my ailment but it hasn’t helped, and so was recommended to go see this doctor by a friend. I would appreciate your thoughts. –Agnes

You are correct in wondering about the practice of “reading hands.” This practice is not part of homeopathy. Many people who gravitate toward alternative medical techniques are occultist, witches, or New Agers. Beware of these people and run, do not walk, away from them. Find a homeopath who is not into these aberrations.

Such things as “reading of hands” and palm reading are forms of divination and is absolutely condemned by the Church:

Divination and magic

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future (cf. Deut 18:10; Jeremiah 29:8.). Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.

Never go back to this so-called homeopath.

Unfortunately, medicine is returning to superstitions and unscientific methods. While some homeopathic, naturopathy, and other alternative approaches have scientific veracity, some do not.

Often homeopaths, naturopaths, and other will indulge themselves in Oriental alternative medical approaches. This includes a cosmology that is utterly inconsistent with Christianity. There is no such thing as Ch’i, Chakras, energy flows in the body, and other such nonsense.

We recently placed Dr. Oz on our Hall of Shame for promoting physician-assisted suicide and other intrinsic evils. We are about to induct him again for his promotion of Oriental occultism (i.e. nonexistent ch’i, chakras, energy flows) as an alternative to legitimate medicine or homeopathic/naturopathic approaches.

 

 

Herbs and plants may have legitimate medicinal value, but be careful. Some herbs are marketed to do things for which they do not do, and thus can harm you. One should always talk to their doctor and never, and I mean never, self-diagnose or self-medicate. Various herbs in certain dosages can be poison. Some herbs can react to other herbs or medicines in way that can harm you.

The problem is that the FDA does not regulate the herbal industry, so you cannot know for sure about the real dose or quality of the herb you buy. Be careful. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

How many Catholics have enough knowledge to be able to “Find a homeopath who is not into these aberrations.“?


 

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Categories: new age

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