Church Teaching on New Age Therapy

fr. earl The New Age Movement is not so new anymore. Those who don’t know Jesus and perhaps even some who do (but not well), may seek out other “powers” to assist them in healing and life. As Fr. Earl Fernandes, Dean of the Athenaeum, demonstrates in the following article for The Catholic Telegraph, however, powers which exist beyond the natural realm will either be good (God and His angels) or evil (demons, aka the fallen angels)–there is no middle ground and no reasonable cause to follow a queer path.

Dear Father, What does the Church teach about Reiki? Why do people turn to these types of things instead of Jesus or the saints?

Dear Reader: Thank you for your question. Some years ago, I was in the Metaphysics section of a bookstore. I was edified thinking that a mainstream bookstore had philosophy books. I began browsing. Much to my dismay the books dealt with magic, spells, Wiccan worship, the New Age Movement, Reiki, and other forms of therapy.

In his book, Why the Church?, Msgr.Luigi Giussani describes the medieval culture as one united by a common faith. The building of the great cathedrals- a common effort- and the cathedrals, places where God dwelt with His people and where all the people- saints and sinners alike- gathered, were signs of this unified, Christian culture. Giussani traces the gradual fragmentation of this culture the Renaissance and modern period. Today, we live in an increasingly fragmented, secular world in which Christian faith appears on the wane. The problems that people face, including the reality of human suffering, remain.

As Catholics, we believe that the suffering and death of Jesus give meaning to suffering. When faith in God (and in Christ, in particular) wanes, people look elsewhere to find healing. The First Commandment warns against idolatry and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2115-2117) addresses the various forms of idolatry that result from a lack of faith in Divine Providence. Christian faith rejects forms of divination, Satan worship, conjuring the dead, and the like. The Catechism (2116) reads: “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.”

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