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November 06, 2004

Radical Contrast

From the religion section of our local paper yesterday:

POD habit-wearing sisters come to local University. (These are the same sisters who taught my CCD program this summer).

Nutty local Jesuits hold Reiki training and retreats.

Don't you just love "diversity."

Posted by Fr. Bryce Sibley at November 6, 2004 12:04 PM

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What is Reiki, and why is it wrong? I ask this because a friend of mine here on campus does Reiki as wekk, and, as of yet, I can find no rebuttel to it. She has even practiced it on my other friends, and I don't know what to say. I have always had a "gut feeling" that it's wrong, and I would sincerely like to know why. Thanks, Father, and God bless.

Posted by: McKenzie at November 6, 2004 12:33 PM

I am deeply distressed to see Christians participate in Reiki activities. Why do some new age type stuff when our Christian faith teaches healing? My sister was drawn into Wicca because of her Reiki involvement. I do not believe she is alone in making the leap from Reiki to Wiccan activities. Yuk!

Posted by: Shug at November 6, 2004 03:49 PM

Let's excommunicate the Jesuits... What an insult to St.Ignatius Loyola

Posted by: tom at November 7, 2004 01:37 PM

Not that I am defending Reiki, but "Let's excommunicate the Jesuits"???

Who's the "us" in "Let's"… My gut instinct tells me that you (and probably all the fine readers of this blog) can’t excommunicate anyone.

And which Jesuits are you referring to? Certainly you don’t mean all Jesuits…

And for what offense? Again, I am not an advocate of Reiki, but I haven’t heard of anyone getting thrown out of the Church on their ear for renting space out to others to hold a retreat. Honestly, I am not even sure what goes on during those Reiki retreats; it may well be that whatever offensive elements Reiki might ordinarily contain have been taken out or replaced with something more explicitly Christian.

Posted by: Jesuit John at November 7, 2004 02:45 PM

Yes, "diversity" seems to be a nice, sugar-coated way of saying, "lukewarm." I don't feel that the Jesuits would honor the Christ and his Church in supporting a paagan form of spirituality even if it only through renting out a space. Diversity doesn't mean everyone's ideas are commendable. I'm not saying burn practictioners of Reiki at the stake, but their form of spirituality does not, in any sense, coincide with Catholic spirituality--not even Jesuit.

Posted by: Dorian Joye at November 7, 2004 06:34 PM

Dear McKenzie and Jesuit John,
Reiki is part of the New Age movement. It has to do with energy work. Clare McGrath Merkle has a very good website at www.crossveil.org that addresses the New Age movement and in particular "energy work". She is a former Reiki practioner. She goes into this on a tape you can get from lhla.org. Johnette Benkovic and Fr. Mitch Pacwa both have written about the dangers of the New Age movement. Clare Merkle speaks of the difficulty she had spiritually in trying to break free from Reiki. It would be well worth your while to look into this.

Posted by: Laura at November 7, 2004 06:40 PM

Laura — Amen to your advice! Further, I know several baptized Catholics who are now involved in this practice and follows various other New Age self-appointed guru's for sometime now. The morphing of their personalities has been gone amazing and sad —

I have heard statements like — "the Catholic Church has had its day it is now time for the New Paradigm" or

"Swami XX taught me that the Catholic Church use to believe in re-incarnation until the Bishop's decided they wanted to control the people..." (uh) or

"oh, I believe in god, but my god is not your God." (double uh)

etc. etc. & much, much more. And, all these fine and confused folks proclaim to be practicing Catholics .... sigh

Posted by: pml at November 7, 2004 07:40 PM

Oh, those kooky Jesuits in Grand Coteau...they also have a Zen mediation room in their hide out. I dare say, it seems like they've ceased being Catholics years ago. What's the next Grand Coteau Jesuit retreat..."Ouija Board fun, and how you can contact Dear long-dead Aunt Claudine"? I wouldn't be surprised. As the local "Catholic" high school pretends to be Pentecostals, the local Jesuit enclave pretends to be Buddhists. Ironically, the Lutherans (around the country, lately) are now pretending to be Catholics...(at least they're the one's publishing all our good Latin Catholic music these days)....


Posted by: jason at November 8, 2004 08:20 AM

"they also have a Zen mediation room in their hide out"

Hahahahahah... You make it sound so sinister!

It isn’t a “hide out.” The Jesuit Spirituality Center holds retreats year round, the vast majority of which are based on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. The same building is also used as a Jesuit residence and the novitiate for the New Orleans Province Jesuits.

Occasionally, they rent out space for other purposes, such as Alcoholics Anonymous retreats, Pauly D’Arcy retreats (dealing with grief through faith), and yes – something called Christian Zen.

What I am saying here is not to promote Zen, Christian Yoga, or any of that stuff. Personally, I find my hands full with Euro-Catholic spirituality. But I do think that you could benefit from withholding judgment and we could all benefit from avoiding the sinister characterizations of the Jesuits in Grand Coteau, most of whom I know well and can honestly say that they brought me closer to Christ.

Follow this link. Maybe it will give you a better picture of what goes on in the Jesuit “hide out.”

Posted by: Jesuit John at November 8, 2004 10:08 AM

I've learned through hard experience to check out any retreat center I plan on attending. Most have to offer a bewildering variety of programs to stay afloat...much like "schools of theology" (as opposed to diocesan seminaries) they are beholding to the fees paying/tuition paying customers. This means offering programs that appeal to those who have the time and money to take retreats. Since the New Age offers those with "itching ears" all the new philosophies they can absorb in one zazen, it only makes sense that retreat centers run to the trendy nonsense of Reiki, labyrinths, Wyrrd Wymin Moon Rituals, ad. nau., etc. to make money.

What we need are more orthodox groups like the Nashville OP Sisters running a retreat centers! What about it, sisters?!

Posted by: Philip N. Powell, OP at November 9, 2004 06:07 AM

My cause for concern w/ Reiki has to do w/ 2 things. One, Reiki Masters are endowed w/ the gift through a kind of laying on of hands. Red flag number one. Two, lots of pro-Reiki literature speaks of it as an intelligent energy. Big Red Flag.

It's roots are murky. And it smacks of an occult "I got the secret power" mumbo jumbo.

P.S. I gather none of you attended the "Praying w/ the UN Earth Charter" retreat we had here in Jersey recently.

Posted by: tony c at November 9, 2004 08:47 AM

Nothing really sinister about the Jesuits, actually. They just have the reputation of being a bit warped. I think Philip is right that crystal power translates into dollar power over in grand coteau. In another field, but along the same lines, the same is true in the realm of Liturgical music. Oregon Catholic Press as well as GIA will offer most anything to turn a profit -- and even brainwash their consumers, ur aghem, I mean "pastoral musicians" to convince them that their snake oils are the best thing going.

Instead of "Lord, hear our prayer" as the congregational response during the Universal Prayer, perhaps the choir ought to sing that rousing plea from Mendelssohn's Elijah: "Baal, we cry to thee"......but then again, having the choir sing the "Baal, we cry" would deprive the "assembly" of their full, active, conscious participation.....better just stick to crystals..

Posted by: Jason at November 10, 2004 07:02 AM

Hi All,

In reading through the discussions on Reiki, I feel that some may be holding on to the old belief that it is better to instill fear in others rather than try to understand something you do not understand. Therefore, I have found the following website called "Usui Reiki Net - With God's Love Embracing Humanity"(http (colon) (slash, slash) lancerei.texas.net) that gives a completely different view of Reiki in the *Christian* context. If the url does not appear here, you can do a search under that title with most any search engine. It does not include the fear tactics that many others promulgate in the hopes that the rest will swallow whole, just to try to control them. Surely you know better than to embrace fear tactics! That is what the Crusades did in the Sixteenth Century and just look at what resulted! Surely that is not what Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would have us to continue doing. This site brings real balance to the situation of that which people do not understand.

Posted by: Milan at November 17, 2004 06:39 PM