Centering Prayer

There is a flyer on the board of my Church advertising for some talks given by Basil Pennington and some Trappist Monks who will be appearing in the area for the first week of Lent. I looked up this man on this site and found that apparently he’s a “new-age” type and the centering prayer offered by him is sketchy and might not be exactly Catholic friendly. One, why would these Trappist Monks be appearing with this man and presenting with him, and two, how should I go about addressing this concern with my priest who must approve of the flyers put up on this bulletin board. I want to be charitable and not slander anyone, so if anyone knows much about this man or topic, itd be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

God bless,

Hi Paul,
I think this is a BANNED topic–but if you look in the section above on the “sticky” you will see NOTE: No private revelation, no centering prayer.
It has lots of explanations given that you can click on and read.
Hope this helps!

Basil Pennington is dead.

I’m not sure if its anti-Catholic. Its not Zen meditation. In a Zen meditation, the person tries to empty their mind completly. In centering prayer, the person “centers” their mind around a Christian aspect: whether it be Christ himself, a theme of His ministry, a lesson of Christ, etc.

A big proponent of centering prayer is Father James Martin, SJ. Just do a quick search of “James Martin, SJ, centering prayer” and you can find hits that explain it much better than I do.

God Bless.


in my opinion it could be detrimental and scandalous to the faith of a poorly formed Catholic to engage in any Centering Prayer groups. I have read several books by these groups and attended prayer meetings. I attended the prayer meeting for roughly 3 months and practiced “centering prayer” for about 6 months. The issue was not necessarily the discipline as much as the philosophy that accompanied it. The discipline is really nothing more than stopping the thoughts and finding silence. Its akin to aspirations, chants and other ancient practices found in christian tradition.The problem i found with the whole situation was in the way that the literature was read and shared on. The woman who lead my group was a well educated Catholic who had a divinity degree and also had extensive contact with the people who started the movement. The way the literature was harmonized with the Catholic theology and Oriental Philosophy at times traversed a very gray area. At one point some one asked about hell and the leader quoted thomas keating as saying “the Church doesn’t pronounce any one in hell, therefor i don’t have to believe any one is in hell” i don’t know if it’s true and that he said that, really it doesn’t matter because the group took it as a truth and acceptable Catholic belief. On the other hand the group leader knew extensive history on the heretics in the past and would at times assure the group that all that was written was ultimately acceptable for catholic to practice… yet i haven’t found any Nihil Obstats or Imprimaturs in the books… which, one would think, that a catholic lay movement, that big and resourceful, it would have no problem providing that… in the end i did take some of the discipline and apply to my regular devotion, i disregarded the rest. The trappist orders involved here are on the edge of the theological spectrum and have at times been reprimanded by bishops and the like. They have good intentions and are striving to find a way to stay relevant in a society that views deep prolonged silence as unthinkable. They are trying to bring the wisdom from the monasteries into the general public.The group i “prayed” with were kind loving people hoping to spread some inner peace around. I cant blame them since the people who taught them the faith are the ones teaching them the other stuff too.

“No private revelation?” Aussiegal, what are you talking about?

Sorry if I confused you–I just copied the whole sentence as it appeared in the “Sticky” section because I thought it would be easier for people to find.

The moderater Klara Collins states: NOTE: No Private revelation, No Centering prayer.

I know this thread applies to “Centering Prayer” and there are some interesting explanations given on the “sticky” section.

Well the thread is more about the proper response and how to approach it with the Priest. I apologize if that is banned, I just thought I’d get some advice and opinions here

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