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May 29, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. You recently wrote about Reiki as something not in accord with Church teachings. What about yoga? — L.S., via email.
A. In his book Catholics and the New Age, Fr. Mitch Pacwa said that the word “yoga” is Sanskrit for “yoke” or “union” and, in Hinduism, it describes “the general category of various kinds of disciplines meant to unite a person with the divine. Yoga can refer to physical (hatha), mental (raja), sexual (tantra), or other disciplines to achieve enlightenment” (p. 225).
He cautioned Catholics to remember that “Hindus did not devise these exercises for athletic limbering or muscle building. All were meant to lead the practitioner to enlightenment and the awareness of his or her inner divinity” (p. 33).
There is a great deal more about the spiritual dangers of yoga in the book Spiritual Deceptions in the Church and the Culture by Moira Noonan and Anne Feaster. Miss Noonan spent many years promoting yoga and other New Age spiritualities before rejecting that life and coming back to the Catholic Church.
In Spiritual Deception, she noted that millions of Americans, mostly women, are involved in yoga, and they spend more than $10 billion a year on classes, wellness programs, CDs and DVDs, conferences, festivals, and retreats. She said that “the basic goal of yoga is…union with the ultimate reality, the impersonal energy force, god-force, or universal energy. Hindus believe that when this is accomplished, the spirit is no longer bound to the body; it is free to roam the netherworld, guided by a spiritual entity” (p. 58).
While Hatha Yoga, the most popular form of yoga practiced in North America, “is presented as nothing more than a stretching program,” said Noonan, “in reality it is very different from jogging, jazzercise, aerobics, or Pilates, for in the discipline of yoga, the goal is to transcend the body through postures and breathing techniques, to use the body to detach oneself from the body. In yoga the belief is that the spirit is held in bondage by the physical body, and the objective is to free oneself from that bondage.
“Sacred Scripture does not tell us to try to detach ourselves from our bodies or that the body is evil; this is Gnostic teaching. St. Paul teaches us in 1 Cor. 3:16 and 6:19 that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that ‘the immoral man sins against his own body’ (1 Cor. 3:18). Thus, the body itself is not evil; sin is evil” (p. 61).
Not only can yoga open up the desire to practice Eastern religions, said Noonan, but it can “lead individuals out of their faith as it did for me, sending me further into apostasy at first and then occultism.” She said that “most Christians who take yoga classes are not aware that they are in a practice whose intention is to connect to the universe, which is a belief of Hinduism, not a belief of Judaism or Christianity….As Christians, we know that we are not divine, that only God is divine; therefore, this view is contrary to the Christian Faith” (p. 63).
To those who think that yoga can be “Christianized” by adding quotations from Scripture or prayers to Jesus, Noonan said that “this is mixing two religions, which is syncretism, and the Catholic Church warns against syncretism.” She said that those who think they can mix Christianity with non-Christian religions should heed the words of St. Paul: “Do not bear the yoke with unbelievers. For what has justice in common with iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what part has the believer with the unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 6:14-16).
The book includes warnings against yoga from such Vatican documents as Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age, which was issued in 2003 by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Letter to Bishops on Certain Aspects of Christian Meditation, which was issued in 1989 by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Q. When the churches are reopened, it would be inappropriate to ask the congregation to wear masks. It would be disrespectful if people were dressed as Jesse James. If anyone is nervous, they should stay home. How do you feel about it? – J.W., New Jersey.
A. A working group of Catholic priests, doctors, professors, and experts on infectious diseases has put together some guidelines, dated April 28, on “Infectious Disease Protocols for Sacraments and Pastoral Care” to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. While saying that the pandemic “presents a serious threat to physical health,” and that “public authorities are right to place limits on gatherings, to discourage unnecessary activities, and to call for physical distancing,” the group said that “at the same time, access to divine worship and to sacraments is of high importance for the spiritual good and the overall well-being of the faithful.
“As Catholics, we maintain that Christian worship and sacraments are just as necessary for the human person — indeed, far more necessary — than many commercial activities now permitted. This is particularly true in a time of widespread anxiety and potentially grave sickness.”
The group considered the reopening of churches in three phases: (1) Public Masses with strict limits on public gatherings (10 people or fewer) and strict physical distancing (six feet between persons outside one’s household). (2) Public Masses with moderate limits on public gatherings (up to 50 people) and moderate physical distancing (avoiding “close contact” with persons outside one’s household, generally six feet if the contact will last for 15 minutes or more). (3) Public Masses with no size limits on public gatherings and physical distancing aimed only at avoiding crowding when entering or exiting the church.
Under all three phases, the faithful are dispensed from their Mass obligation if they are concerned about getting the virus, they are advised to stay home if they have a cough or are feeling sick, hand sanitizers should be placed at the doors and commonly touched surfaces should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, and the faithful should wear masks. The priest celebrant and other ministers should not wear masks or gloves during Mass, say the protocols, since this would be a “detrimental countersign” to the liturgical symbolism of the Mass.
Regarding distribution of Communion, there is to be no distribution of the Precious Blood, and persons with masks must remove them before coming forward for Holy Communion, and they must remove gloves if they are to receive Communion in the hand.
The group said that “we have carefully considered the question of Communion on the tongue vs. Communion in the hand. Giving the Church’s existing guidance on this point (see Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 92), and recognizing the differing judgments and sensibilities that are involved, we believe that, with the precautions listed here, it is possible to distribute on the tongue without unreasonable risk.”
As for when Communion should be given, the group focused on two options. Option One is distribution of Communion after Mass, which is “our recommended option because it respects the symbolic and liturgical integrity of the Mass (which should be celebrated without mask or gloves), avoids any practices in the Mass that could become sources of future liturgical abuse, gives a greater freedom to the faithful to determine whether or not they will come forward for Holy Communion (some may be nervous about doing so), and also provides for additional precautions to reduce risk.”
Option Two is distribution of Communion during Mass, which the group calls “a reasonable option, especially in circumstances where mitigated precautions are appropriate. Given that Holy Communion is distributed during the Mass, more care should be taken to avoid adopting hygiene measures that could become a counter-sign to the liturgical and sacramental signification of the priest’s actions at Mass. This option therefore does not recommend the same level of precautions as Option One.”
Those precautions involve having the priest, if he senses that his fingers have made contact with a person’s hands or mouth, pausing, placing the ciborium on the corporal, and using hand sanitizer.
Other precautions during the Mass would include omitting the Offertory procession, taking up the collection so as to avoid passing baskets from one person to another (perhaps having central boxes or collection points where the faithful can put in their donations), omitting physical contact at the Sign of Peace, and discouraging choirs since “vigorous singing, especially in close proximity to others, may increase the risk of viral spread.”
How this will all play out remains to be seen, but it seems to us that, with proper distancing, masks could be eliminated, especially since the effectiveness of masks in protecting persons from the virus is a matter of some dispute among doctors and scientists.

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Please educate yourself on this! Toward the end of this statement 2 points are made that are contrary to FAITH...#1 opposing the nuclear family (where is dad?) and #2 opposing God’s plan for sex as a union of male & female. This agenda is DANGEROUS!

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Today . . .

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Fulfill The Word Of God

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Catholic Replies

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