Vatican Weighs In on New Age Movement

Ninety-page booklet urges caution; addresses channeling, crystals, reincarnation, and more.


03/22/2003 11:28:44 AM

The sad reality is that Catholics who do indulge in New Age practices will probably never know this document exists.


03/06/2003 01:52:37 PM

To think that the way you arrange furniture will change the energy flow to make you feel better or worse is at best superstitious and at worse giving undo "power" to inanimate objects, and It indicates a lack of trust in God. By the way, channeling is not the same as revelation except, perhaps, in the most superficial of ways.


03/06/2003 01:43:03 PM

I think it short sighted to not see addressing the New Age as an important thing to do. Saddam and his mess will be gone sooner or later but the New Age philosophies will be around for much longer to lead us astray. Not seeing spiritual dangers as being at least as important as physical ones is a big mistake.


02/21/2003 07:18:51 PM

I love the Church, but if they put as much thinking and time into more serious subjects I'd be a lot happier. How is Saddams feng shui? With any luck in the death position.


02/06/2003 08:42:51 PM

jkopanko I'm sorry you have so much hostility the Church. (Perhaps if you adjusted the feng shui in your work space it might help you tune in to a more harmonious energy flow.) Have even you read the Vatican report? I have, and I can't see how your Catholic bashing has anything to do with the actual content of the report. I would invite everyone to read the actual document before you jump to conclusions about what it says. It's long, but is a good read. It is not about knocking other people's faiths. It is written by Catholics, for Catholics to clarify--for Catholics--what the New Age is, what the Catholic faith is, and how the two are different. It is gracious, balanced, and well thought out. And by the way, I think Catholic churches have excellent feng shui. Peace David


02/06/2003 07:04:54 PM

to tmaster-- what new agers call "channeling" is essentially the same thing that muslims and christians call "revelation"--i.e., the direct reception of information from a source that (we believe) sees things more clearly than we do. muslims would oppose channeling because they believe revelation ended with the prophet muhammad--and it must fairly be admitted that this is a political doctrine designed to protect muslim orthodoxy by preventing another prophet from coming along and challenging islam the way muhammad challenged judaism and christianity. judaism and christianity also claimed that revelation ended with them. but some of us believe that relevation of various kinds is always going on and will never stop.


02/06/2003 06:56:12 PM

as for the catholic attitude towards nature, and that of monotheists generally, the foundation of it is the distinction between creaTION and creaTOR. nature is simply the product of the real source of divinity and so is always at a lower level of holiness. of course, different christians will have different ideas about how protective we should be of someone else's creation (especially when we are that someone else's creation as well), but this will always differ from the view of many forms of nature spirituality, which see the world itself as divine and thus worthy of the same honour & reverence that christians reserve for god alone


02/06/2003 06:49:00 PM

of course, if some new age group were to put together a list of what is and isn't acceptable in the catholic church, you can imagine how it would be pounced on. but perhaps they should, and they could start with the question of how a church that systematically protects child abusers can have the moral authority to pass judgement on anyone


02/06/2003 03:58:57 AM

PS... xce, When confronting institutional corruption and injustice, you will find that exposing it often requires complete, blunt honesty. I'm sorry if this seems impolite, but it's really nothing personal. You will come to realize that the power-holding institutions have the upperhand, and a long history of having things framed in a way conducive to maintaining their positions and interests--at the expense of objectivity and fairness. It becomes necessary at times to jar this intractible complacency in order to shift the long-entrenched perspective, which is necessary for creating a drive for reform, integrity, and accountability. Thanks again for your comments. Peace, JK


02/05/2003 06:44:18 PM

Sorry, folks but I don't mind people agreeing to disagree; but I can't stand arrogant displays of intellectual superiority when being presented as spiritually enriched commentary. I'm a Christian with a pretty strong theological background, but there will always be brothers and sisters out there with more knowledge. The bottom line, however, is that no matter what your faith and what your education may be, you deserve to be treated respectfully even when you happen to disagree with my beliefs. The way the Bible looks at this issue is referred to as partiality, and it is considered a sin to treat people differently based on socio-economic-intellectual status. If you follow a belief system that disagrees with this then I say you should look closely at those beliefs and reconsider.


02/05/2003 06:35:51 PM

Hey jkopanko! Why is that almost all of your comments on any given topic include several rude and vitriolic comments about whomever it is that you feel intellectually superior to at that moment while you are in the process of calling that particular party rude, ignorant, uneducated or poorly prepared. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. For all of your professions of the need for more love, tolerance, and a need for organized religions to show more of these characteristics; you do a very poor job of this yourself. If you doubt me, have an impartial observer read back over several of your comments in these beliefnet forums. I'd say that I'm praying for you, brother, but you'd become enraged and offended.


02/05/2003 02:54:26 AM

david your statement has only the most superficial validity. Catholic scholarship is what BUILT this model ("control" of Nature rather than participation and intigration with it) to begin with. It forms the basis of Catholic thought. "The World", vs "the Spirit", etc. Do your homework on this issue.


02/04/2003 09:38:01 PM

To be in control of Mother Nature, rather than be part of her, is their philosophy I'm sure there are Christians who think that way. But is not the dominant paradigm. Catholics believe in stewardship and caring for the earth.


02/04/2003 05:38:43 PM

Well there is a great surge of interest in finding a connectedness to the Great Someone(s). For too long the established churches have confused form with force, power and control with truth and love. To punish evil priests is seen as a slap at mother church (from inside the church). To not punish and stop the behavior of evil priests is seen as condoning the evil(from outside the church heirarchy). When the protection of the edifice overrules the need to honour the Source. The faith has become a religion. It has fallen from Divine Inspiration to human power struggles. Any other group is of course to be feared and denigrated as it poses a threat (not to God who needs no protection) but to the power of the established church. Burning is a no-no today so media slurs will have to suffice. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


02/04/2003 05:35:29 PM

That's no joke about santeria. One of my roommates found some santeria candles left by a former housemate and she did some shamanic purification on them. One of her hairs caught on fire in the process! Immediately after, a grey/white cat in the neighborhood came right up to her. I tend to think the cat knew something that I (at least) couldn't see... James


02/04/2003 04:45:42 PM

The Pope is too ignorant [REALLY!] to speak on this matter. A word: "Seek knowledge, even if it means crawling on your hands and knees to China." (Prophet Muhammad) Maybe Christians can't deal with knowledge that doesn't include belief in Jesus as the so-called "son" of God, but Muslims can: YOGA: Yoga is a science that works. If you've practiced it, you know that. If you haven't, you have nothing to say. Prayer is different. FENG SHUI: It's a science about proper placement of things, like furniture, to ensure good energy flow. I believe it, though I have yet to try it. CHANNELLING: Stay away from it. MEDITATION: Not prayer. But I ain't knocking anyone who does it. SANTERIA: NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!! CRYSTALS: I believe that crystal energy can heal physically. But you won't know, will you, unless you TRY it. No "demons" in crystals--they're just crystals, but they probably give off healinig energies.


02/04/2003 04:24:33 PM

If one believes that the furniture cares how it is arranged, then one is definitely engaging in occult activity. No, the point is that the arrangement of one's living space affects one's mind and spirit in ways that are too subtle for most of us to notice consciously. Of course feng shui is no substitute for an active spiritual discipline. But does it have benefits? Sure thing. It can even spur spiritual growth. Why am I completely unable to get my act together and cleanup my room? There's a spiritual block in there that I haven't really faced yet. And this snide comments about feng shui begs the question of why it's so important for the Catholic Church to denounce certain activities that do, demonstrably, contribute to spiritual awakening. James


02/04/2003 04:15:50 PM

Well, there's much to be cautious about in New Age philosophy. If fools and their money are soon parted, there is indeed no shortage of spiritual charlatans who are all too happy to rip off disillusioned boomers and gen-x'ers with the promise of easy transcendence. (Of course, the same criticism could be leveled at mainstream churches who talk the talk but stop short of real, deep transformation.) The Vatican is right to be concerned about this. I'm disappointed, though, that the magisterium is again turning its back on the very rich tradition of Catholic meditation practices -- or at least, by regarding meditation in general with suspicion, tainting this powerful and eloquent tradition. For myself, I had to begin to practice Buddhism before I could really understand my Catholic upbringing. That's a sad, sad comment on the state of spiritual instruction in the Catholic Church. It's all there; it just has to be dug up from underneath layers of doctrine and nonsense. James


02/04/2003 02:50:18 PM

If I am not mistaken, the idea of reincarnation was only rejected by the Church in about the 4th century C.E. (or "A.D." - whichever you prefer) - at the Council of Nicea.


02/04/2003 01:39:28 PM

I think jkopanko just about said it all. I would be interested is what they say about reincarnation because it is my impression that the ancient Jewish faith (the old testiment is a constant reference for Christians) included selective reincarnation although it may not have used that word.


02/04/2003 12:39:35 PM

This pronouncement comes from the same organization that recently named (or will name) a "patron saint of the internet". I practice yoga for health and stability of mind. I meditate. And, I pray. I also use the internet a lot.... thank God I'll have a saint to bow to before sending my emails. What hogwash.


02/04/2003 12:14:40 PM

Why is it so difficult for the Vatican to give up trying to OWN individuals, and societies, and get back to the basics of encouraging benevolence, hope, peace, and love? Its continual condemnatory pronouncements against anything and everything that has has nothing to do with it is a constant display of ugly display of arrogance, ignorance, insecurity, lack of simple good-will, and anal-retentive incessant nit-picking, critique and narrow insular cliquishness... which is repellent to modern democratic people. "Catholic"--"universal" is hardly a title this organization legitimately carries.


02/04/2003 12:10:01 PM

Puck, If one believes that the furniture cares how it is arranged, then one is definitely engaging in occult activity. And most of the interior designers I have known seemed to believe they were trying to interpret some mystical magic. They definitely claim to see stuff I can't see. But then, I tend to be unusually dense about such things. Jim


02/04/2003 10:45:35 AM

I would like to know how arranging furniture is an occult religion? Does that make interior designers High priests and priestesses of the occult? I would feel threatened if I was insecure about what I believe.


02/04/2003 10:32:18 AM

Of course the Catholics treat feng shui as a cult. The philosophy of feng shui is that human beings is part of the environment and therefore we should live in harmony with it. And that is not the thinking in Christainity. To be in control of Mother Nature, rather than be part of her, is their philosophy.