Has anyone else been a little suspicious of some odd "spirit" words in Catholic writing?


Sometimes, I’ll pick up a Catholic book and I’ll see stuff like “spirit energy” “spirit self”, sending bad energy to others. It sounds like an anime story. Am I alone in thinking it’s a bit suspect? I can’t follow that new talk. The old talk you read in something TAN publishes is easier to follow, I think. It seems much more straight-forward, despite flowery formal prose.

I don’t have that concern about St. John of the Cross, because he was an honest to goodness mystic. He lived a life of which would give one the impression it’s solid and the imprimaturs and nihil obstats and such gives you the guarantee that it is, because those bishops seemed to be pretty straight in their thinking. They, Catholic authors and clergy who approve their writings, weren’t playing around with Protestant, Buddhist, what we’d call new-agey thoughts etc. concepts in those days either.

One of these “spirit energy” people sent me a personality test I could do and the book list had names like Meiuster Eckhart and Enneagrams. Should I assume the others are influenced by new-agey writing as well? One of them had God talking to the reader. I can trust He’d say what “Imitation of Christ” would say but, in these times, unless written by a traditionalist or at least an EWTN personality, I don’t feel comfortable reading it. Pop-theology has gotten too fuzzy in many quarters to trust just any writer’s quality, especially without a bishop’s declaration of the work having no errors in doctrine. Even then, that can be worked around consciously or influenced by erroneous doctrine.

What do you think?


“FM”… what you’re describing does sound a bit “New Age”. Can you post a link to one of these books… where we can look at the text and the author?

I’m usually pretty careful about picking up spiritual books. Like you, I lean very heavily toward traditional Catholicism. That includes reading. A link would be helpful for a discussion. Thanks and God bless.


I like the works of saints myself, especially the Church Fathers.



The words “enneagram”, “spirit energy”, “reiki”, etc. all generate big red flags. This material can be dangerous to weak souls or the misguided. It can lead them down a long dark path that they may not recover from before their time is up here on earth. Someone’s eternal life may be at stake. Weak souls and strong souls should avoid this material altogether.

Our faith is filled with this “fluff.” Check out a “catholic” bookstore in your area and you will most likely find similar material. There may be a few books by our Pope scattered around but if you really look at what is on the shelf, you will most likely find this misaligned media. An example are books by Joan Chittister. Fortunately, her and her group are only a few steps away from excommunication.

I had to endure two years on a religous education board where the DRE used books by Joan Chittister, reading one chapter before each monthly meeting, as a “spiritual formation” exercise. If you understand what I am saying here, then you know, my parish is way off track. That is a story for another time however.

There are good resources like TAN (already mentioned), Ignatius Press, Scepter Publishing, and more.

If you want to save souls for the Lord, alert those you are in contact with, that have ears to hear you, that this material, and this organization it comes from, is best … left behind. Pun intended.:slight_smile:

Before you depart this group however, try to rescue as many others as you can.


The one with the reading list is of the Sisters of The Precious Blood. To say the other would be to name names, but I’m thinking one might be weary if one sees new-agey sounding terminology. I know nothing about the priest. Maybe he’s Ok and it’s just my mostly melancholic temperament, but those words sound iffy. You can get feelings that one is being not nice, but to say it’s some kind of energy being set off is not theological or scientific (baybe psychologically poetic). Someone can be said to take up much space in a room, but that’s more psychological than anything like energy. I could be wrong, but it’s too new-agey for Catholic reading.


Our Catholic bookstores (2 in the general area) are very orthodox and I have had no trouble from either of them. You can also order directly from a publisher like TAN, Ignatius Press, or Sophia House. But if you are limited to local sources, try to stick to writings by Saints or simply read the lives of the Saints. I have found many Saints lives in my local library under biography. There are some very good current authors, but if you simply read books by Saints, you won’t go wrong. Start with St Teresa (little flower), St Francis de Sales, St Josemaria Escriva. Their writings will keep you busy for many, mnay months!


In a college senior-level seminar I had to read a book called “The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America.” It wasn’t a particularly good book, the author took great leaps in logic, and his thesis wasn’t well supported. The professor knew this and this is why he assigned the book. So when the day came that we reviewed the book in class, he asked: Was this a good book? We determined that, no, it wasn’t. He then asked a very difficult question: Why read bad books?

It seems like you’re approaching reading from a very nuanced, arbitrary position. Anything that conflicts with your pre-conceived notions of “Catholic” or “orthodox” doesn’t deserve reading. That seems a bit unfair. Are books not meant to cause discussion?

Now, if reading this material will make you stumble, then you certainly shouldn’t read it. If your faith is weak, or you’re in no way to refute what you disagree with, then you should probably only stick to the material you’re comfortable with. Otherwise, why not engage the books you disagree with? Why not strain yourself to find out why you intellectually disagree with this author on the basis of his/her argument? Even the Church Fathers had to read pagan fodder in order to annunciate more clearly the truths we live by.

Just some thoughts.


wow what books are these??

i’ve never seen such Catholic books before.

I suggest reading books by the Saints, and from good publishers like TAN :slight_smile:
you can’t really go wrong there…
try St Therese of Lisieux, St Liguori, St Faustina, etc. There are many to choose from, and they’re all really good :slight_smile:

If you want apologetics books, I only know of Scott Hahn but he’s reliable too…


As someone who struggles constantly to recover from NA involvement, I assure you those words are (or should be) huge warning signs to you. If you are using these books for spiritual formation I would advise staying away from these. And they should be reported to the people who do the ordering in the store you purchase from.

I wish I had never run across them:(


I can see this point of view if you are reading for intellectual pleasure and have a firm basis in Catholic theology and dogma. But for someone who is reading to develop their spirtual life or to gain that understanding of Catholic theology, than it is very important to read only orthodox sources.


Yes, to refine my point: if you don’t have very strong faith, or aren’t comfortable with the basics of Catholic theology, then make sure you have a good foundation. This is essential. We should always keep on hand good orthodox books, but after a while reading nothing but orthodox books can lead to complacency.


Folks, this is exactly the reason that there was once a list of “Forbidden” reading. The list is no longer used, for the obvious difficulties in enforcing it. More people are now literate. Printing of books is easier and more widespread. And much misinformation is now passed in other ways… such as the media. The “Dan Brown” movies are a perfect example (“DaVinci Code”… “Angels and Demons”) where all of these vicious lies about the Catholic Church are spread. These are offered under the guise of “entertainment”. It’s no longer necessary for them to do it through books. It can now be done, through other means.

I think the best way we can circumvent the danger of being misinformed or misled… is to use common sense and practice self control, in regards to curiosity. I would suggest that people stick to traditional (orthodox) Catholic books for spiritual reading. Especially… if one feels that his or her faith is shaky. :frowning: If you’re uncertain about a book or movie… FIND OUT beforehand. Do your homework! Don’t subject your soul to ANY unnecessary shock or scandal. It ain’t worth it!

My :twocents:

God bless.


Just because people are literate doesn’t mean you shouldn’t forbid certain books. Even in seminaries of old and in traditionalist seminaries, there’s an area the call “Hell”, where bad books (heretical ones) are kept and permission is required to use one–even though they may be in the final year and be firm in their faith. After all, if Henry VIII could fall due to a sentimentalism, who’s to say a well-taught and devout seminarian couldn’t fall?
I think it’s giving people too much credit to say “have self-control”. You might as well give them a movie that pretty good, except with a bikini scene.

I have read some bad books, when devout. Who’s to say I’m not a bit afflicted by something subconsciously, despite being a devout believer of and in The Faith?
“A bad book can ruin a monastery” is a wise adage we never hear. It can start with a seed and become a weed that propagates its kind. Unfortunately, many Catholic bookstores sell them. This traditionalist bookstore only sold one by a Protestant author who agrees with the Church’s teaching on contraception.
We need to reinstitute the Index of Forbidden Books again. We can’t play games with people’s souls by presupposing so much. So many are not protected enough, if anyone can be…


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