An Account: Catholics and the Dangers of the New Age Movement

A Catholic priest who had been deeply involved in the New Age movement before his reconversion to his Catholic roots, tells of his involvement in it and then how he was healed of the New Age influence on his soul.
see www.catholicmessenger.net/2011/01/catholics-and-the-dangers-of-new-age-movement/

I think/hope the new age stuff has fallen out of favor at least somewhat since the '90s. Maybe it’s just selective memory, but it seems like that stuff was everywhere in those days between Oprah and Miss Cleo and the self help industry.

I think this is one area where Catholics and atheists share disdain.

It definitely produced some relaxing music though…

In the 1970s, right on the edge of of the Wayne State University campus, was a bookstore filled floor to ceiling with books on Eastern mysticism. The books did not get there by themselves. My brothers and sisters, Catholic morality was out. Anything, as long as it was not Christian, was marketed in non-obvious ways. Yoga was cool. Transcendental Meditation was cool. Trust us (they said). Wrong. Bad mistake.

A whole new world! Change! The “old ways” are gone! Explore! Expand your consciousness! Uh, no. It was just “bury yourself in this stuff and find deeper something…!” No way. I won’t share a lot in order to help the curious not to fall into this trap. I didn’t but it became pretty obvious after looking through the books that this was old stuff (the mantras, etc.) for a new generation. For Westerners looking for something, and being in unfamiliar territory, it meant opening themselves up to demonic possession, and spiritual problems where the tools/books/classes were provided to us by others. Who? Why? Think about it.

The promises were made. YOU will get what you want, you will experience more success at work and in your private life, you will be your “true” self. Man, and evil spiritual beings, will get you where you want to go in life. Some celebrities took the bait. Some were apparently convinced that they were God or there are many paths to God. As the years passed, different variations were sold under different labels. I won’t list them.

The young are often lured by the new. Be careful. Learn, as this man did, what it really means to be involved in New Age practices.

Best,
Ed

It is good to read of the testimonies and warnings of those who have been involved in New Age practices.
Some of the stories sound mild compared to those who get into the very dark occult type of stuff.

May the Lord help us to get better informed, and more prayerful so that our children can be forewarned of the dangers.

Our Blessed Mother and meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary is a good place to fight this darkness.

New age stuff is still out there and still just as popular, but under some different names nowadays, new catch phrases, same old beliefs though.

I know its not good to get into, but for the most part, from what Ive read about it, it seems to be all about peace, loving and caring for others, no violence, or retribution, none of that…how can something peaceful be demonic?

By wasting chunks out of people’s lives when they could have developed their potential earlier. By sapping initiative especially in interceding and trusting God, and teaching one’s peers likewise.

This doesn’t mean being narrow minded or necessarily uninterested in knowing about things oldfangled and newfangled oriental or even newfangled western, it means not subjecting oneself to what one doesn’t choose to subject oneself to. Things that are intended to take one by surprise can be only superficially “peaceful”.

Also as Father Kienmeyer said, and you say here as well, a lot of stuff has been restyled. Neuro-linguistic programming is very big in all the churches including Catholic.

I would also recommend the book called Catholics and the New Age by Father Mitch Pacwa.

It can sound very esoteric, but does it tell about the Incarnation, Life, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ? Does it glorify the Lord?

When satan cannot tempt people with obnoxious sins, he uses deceptive, esoteric means.

Scripture tells us that the devil can appear as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Westerners always seek out what is foreign and exotic; and the so-called new-age is just a relabelling of Oriental religious practice into the Western mind.

Consider how at its height, maybe 20 years ago, it was all the rage to believe in reincarnation. The perfect faith trap: as there would be no “you” in a subsequent life to receive the fulfillment of this life, there would be no need to repent, do penance, or perform works of faith.

ICXC NIKA

A mantra is a “sacred utterance.” It opens us up to worshiping idols. Positive thinking is good but God is God and Jesus is our role model. Our goal is to end up in Heaven when we die.

The New Age may include peace and love but it also involves practices that are deceptive and open us to a spirit realm which includes beings pretending to be helpers. I won’t use the names of the helpers. By allowing them entry, you open yourself to demonic possession. Will crystals help you in life? Will certain marked stones help you divine or get answers to questions or concerns? There are books available that claim to contain “real” spells. There are references to the “Earth Goddess” or “Mother Goddess.” There is material about pagan rituals.

A personal experience: I had a friend who was looking for a religion/belief system. He invited me to a meeting of a group I had not heard of. Since I had reference material regarding various symbols, practices and related esoteric things, I was somewhat surprised at what I saw at my first meeting with this group. There was a symbol which was painted above the doorway. I looked it up and found it was connected to a certain religious (non-Christian) group. I heard a chant that sounded familiar. I looked it up and discovered it was an ancient chant that was Eastern in origin (non-Christian). There were two statues there. One Christian, one non-Christian. All members were seated as they repeated the chant over and over and then stopped. I saw something else that they were praying to.

My friend was briefly involved with them and later married a non-Catholic Christian. I then lost contact with him.

Ed

This is an interesting topic for me. Firstly because I’ve been leading yoga classes for about 10 years now and secondly because my view has changed some since I’ve been a member of caf. When I first started here I had been leading classes for a few years or so and I’d get really angry, agitated when people would write about the evils of yoga, chanting, etc… I still believe there is nothing wrong at all with the postures of yoga or meditation in some “eastern” ways. For me this is the breath. The postures are not evil, demonic or anything of the sort. This is in my view ridiculous however I have concerns about crystals, prayers or chants that I don’t know what they mean, and other things I find superstitious. Having said that I find superstition in all traditions and tend to keep anything I view as superstitious at arms length.
When I began taking yoga classes I was told yoga is not a religion but can help deepen your practice of your religion if you practice one(I didn’t and still don’t). I believe this to be true but just as someone who is catholic for instance may go to a mega church etc… and get caught up in the excitement of something new if they aren’t well formed or are searching for something else they may begin to question their beliefs, the same can be said of new age teachings as well. To keep my filter strong and to help others see that yoga isn’t a religion I use quotes at the beginning and end of classes that are from swamis, catholic saints, protestant pastors, people like Helen Keller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Buddhist, and Taoist teachings and the list goes on and on.
If one practices yoga(hatha yoga) in a gym or at the “y” I seriously doubt there is a need for concern as here in the west(in the u.s.) most folks are in the practice for physical health only and not a few view it as a social thing and after class head out for coffee with their classmates. The draw can be strong to look for something more if like me someone has no faith tradition or if it weak or cultural? only. Keep the filters on and “be not afraid”.

Here is an article from Catholic Answers that clarifies yoga.

catholic.com/magazine/articles/the-trouble-with-yoga

The New Age covers a wide range of things. And even faithful Catholics need to discern new or strange teachings. This means finding out what the Church tells us about, for example, crystals that have a number of claimed uses like divination and other powers/abilities. Our primary concern should always be: make sure something new is compatible with Church teaching. So, for all reading, find out what some new thing really is. I review esoteric publications from time to time to find a new word or philosophy spring up. There is no warning label :slight_smile: You are just told it will help you in some way. The descriptions are usually well written and sound like “this really could help me” but that’s the catch, they all sound like that. Good, positive, helpful.

Be careful. Look into it. Find out what the Church has to say. And yes, the Church knows what that odd word means.

Take Reiki:

usccb.org/about/doctrine/publications/upload/evaluation-guidelines-finaltext-2009-03.pdf

Ed

Thank you edw… for sharing that link regarding yoga. Personally I thought it was a nice piece. Often I read threads where it seems like many folks are confused and fearful. Articles such as this will go a long way toward people having more knowledge and being more open to something different than what they may have learned growing up. Thank you again-be well.

There is a lady who has often been a guest on “Women of Grace”. Her name is Susan Brinkman, and I just find her talks on spiritualism and the occult so fascinating! Johnnette had her on her show for a several part series one time a while back, and Susan covered everything from what we believe to be “ghosts”, the true dangers of Yoga and New Age, and astrology. She’s very interesting.

I felt a little disappointed, though, that absolutely everything to do with Yoga is to be avoided. Because I do think the exercises (and no, not the Lotus position) are more relaxing.

Hey, I was born in Davenport (I have lived in Dixie most of my life). Anyway, I saw this guy on EWTN. New Age is starting to make a comeback amongst certain demographics, sadly. I wish it would die out all ready.

We need to pray a lot and make sacrifices for this evil to die out.

The New Age teachings just mutate to suit the style of the times. Currently all these movements that teach you that you can obtain what you want through repeating a mantra of what you want (can’t remember the name of the best-selling book about it) and the continued fascination with mediums (media?) who claim to talk to the dead, which is necromancy in another guise, are just the latest versions. The “Prosperity Gospel” movement has some New Age elements to it.

What’s always surprised me is that in the search for novelty, millions have looked to such practices while ignoring the incredibly rich mystical practices of the Church, which have existed for millennia. But because those practices and forms of prayer focus on improving one’s relationship and union with Christ, and not how to force the universe to give you a million dollars or help you get the man or woman of your dreams, they are largely ignored.

It is so easy for all of us to fall into sin, to desire novelty or become curious about the “new.” The new is just repackaged old. New terms, names, slang/slogans and promises. Lots of promises! Do this and you get that. The Bible tells us the road to destruction is wide.

The people pushing all this are usually excellent writers and public speakers, and package their “ideas” into pretty little pictures and images. “XYZ will give you the peace and prosperity and things you want in your life.” or some variation of that. Just buy their books and CDs, go to their web site, attend their lectures…

Perhaps some fall into the “I tried God but He didn’t help.” category, others just believe that doing whatever you want is OK and/or religion is too restrictive. Or they can remake God to be a different god. Others simply reject the Word and Truth. It’s all relative, right?

Ed

I can’t see by this article any “danger” this priest experienced.

He meditated and did yoga, which didn’t seem to harm him in any way (if it did, he doesn’t say).
And then he decided to stop and embrace his Catholic roots again, which he felt good about. And he’s fine.
And then – many, many years later – a priest tells him that because of his years doing meditation, he must “denounce every Hindu God”.
And he does what he’s told. And he’s fine.

What difficulty or pain did his years of meditating give him?

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