Can Catholics walk a labyrinth?

In our Sunday newspaper, there was an article about the local sisters and their new labyrinth. In the article the membership coordinator for the sisters says she does a few tai chi movements when she reaches the center of the labyrinth and goes on to say “These patterns are in our own body” and “It’s in our fingerprints” and “Walking a labyrinth really aligns your chakras.”

Can Catholics walk an outdoor labyrinth? I thought that labyrinths, tai chi, and aligning chakras was all New Age and should be avoided. If this is true, am I under obligation to inform the sisters?

In Christian spirituality a labyrinth originally was used to allow Christians to act as pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem in an age when an actual trip to Jerusalem was far too expensive and dangerous for ordinary Christians. It was, in a sense, what we today might call a “virtual-reality pilgrimage.” If a Catholic wished to use a modern labyrinth for the same purpose, using Catholic prayers, that would be perfectly fine.

Catholics should, of course, avoid non-Christian or other dubious spiritualities, and so should not use labyrinths for the purposes you report. You are under no obligation though to inform the sisters of this. You may, if you wish, but my guess is that they already know that the spirituality they are promoting is not a traditional Catholic spirituality.

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