What does the Church say about Elisabeth Kubler Ross' five stages of death?

At Sunday Mass on the Sunday before Lent, our pastor did not give his homily on the Gospel or the readings, but spoke on Elisabeth Kubler Ross and the 5 stages of death. He made a feeble attempt to relate this to the readings, but it was a disconnect for me. What is the position of the Church on Kubler Ross? When the pastor was describing these stages of death, it seemed New Age or occult to me. Please answer.

The Catholic Church does not have an official position on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. However, the Church can speak to her beliefs concerning the afterlife.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross believed……

*1) Death “is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow…”

  1. The soul judges itself and reviews every action of life and makes its own heaven or hell. *

Catholic teaching:

CCC 1021: Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.

1022: Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification594 or immediately,595 – or immediate and everlasting damnation.

1051 Every man receives his eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a particular judgment by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

*3) Dying is nothing to fear. It can be the most wonderful experience of your life. It all depends on how you have lived.
**Catholic teaching: **

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

4) There are four phases of the afterlife: leaving the physical body; meeting angels or spirit guides; traversing a tunnel or bridge toward a bright light; and becoming pure spiritual energy.”

**Catholic Teaching: **

Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven
(see Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Source of her beliefs: near-death.com/experiences/experts02.html ewtn.com/library/SCRIPTUR/ESCHATON.TXT.

Dr. Kubler-Ross became involved in spiritism and claimed to have spirit guides. She even recorded their voices on audio-tape.

Interesting quotes from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:

“Dying is an integral part of life, as natural and predictable as being born….Dying is nothing to fear. It can be the most wonderful experience of your life. It all depends on how you have

For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. …It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive - to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are…

When we have passed the tests we are sent to Earth to learn, we are allowed to graduate. We are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our souls …

When you learn your lessons, the pain goes away. Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“After a series of debilitating strokes, she fought for her health, even turning to natural healers. She kept a totem pole in her front yard, and she said spirits had told her she was a Native American in her past life.
8/25/04 USA TODAY


She died in August 2004.

Further reading:

Out-of-body-experiences: cin.org/mateo/mat93004.html

Jaws of Death (excerpt) by Dietrich von Hildebrand
He answers the question “When at death the soul separates from the body, what happens to personal consciousness?”



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