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Baginski, B. J., & Sharamon, S. (1992). Reiki. Lenergia vitale universale. Padova: Meb.

Bhatnagar, A. (2002). Transform Your Life with Reiki. New Delhi (India): Penguin Books.

Bhatnagar, A. (2003). Correspondence with the author of the paper. E-mail, 17th February 2003.

Berzano, L. (1999). New Age. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Brown, F. (1992). Living Reiki. Takatas Teachings. Mendocino (California): Life Rhythm.

CESNUR [Centre for Studies on New Religions]. M. Introvigne, P. L. Zoccatelli, N. Ippolito Macrina, & V. Roldán (2001). Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia. Leumann (Torino): Elledici.

Carmignani, U. (2001). Reiki sistema Usui di guarigione naturale e la religione degli Orishà: due vie iniziatiche al servizio della guarigione. In M. Aletti, & G. Rossi (Eds.), Lillusione religiosa: rive e derive (pp. 239-246).Torino: Centro Scientifico Editore

Canil, D., & Petter, F. A. (2000). La vera storia del Reiki. Padova: Edizioni GB.

Coney, J. (1999). Osho Rajneesh e il suo movimento. Leumann (Torino): Elledici.

Cristofanilli, G., & Tarozzi, G. (1995). Il Reiki delle origini. Giaveno (Torino): Amrita.

Eliade, M. (1957). Das Heilige und das Prophane. Vom Wesen des Religiösen. Amburgo: Rowohlt. Trad. it. Il Sacro e il Profano. Torino: Boringhieri.

Eliade, M. (1976). Initiation, Rites, Sociétes secrètes. Parigi: Gallimard.

Ellyard, L. (2002).The Tao of Reiki. A Transpersonal Pathway to an Ancient Healing Art. New Delhi (India): Full Circle Books.

Fizzotti, E. (1994), (Ed.).Religione o terapia? Il potenziale terapeutico dei Nuovi Movimenti Religiosi. Roma: Libreria Ateneo Salesiano.

Fox, J. M. (2002). Osho Rajneesh. Studies in Contemporary Religions, vol. 4. Salt Lake City (Utah): Signature Books.

Greil, A. L. (1993). Explorating along the Sacred Frontier: Notes on Para-religions, Quasi-Religions and Other Boundary Phenomena. In D. G. Bromely, & J. K. Hadden (Eds.), Religion and the social order. The handbook on cults and sects in America, vol. 3A (pp. 153-172). Greenwich (Connecticut): Jai Press.

Greil, A. L., & Robbins, T. (Eds.), (1994). Religion and the Social Order. Between Sacred and Secular: Research and Theory on Quasi-Religion, vol. 4. Greenwich (Connecticut): Jai Press.

Greil, A.L. (1996). Sacred Claims: The «Cult Controversy» as a Struggle over the Right to the Religious Label. In D. G. Bromley & L. F. Carter (Eds.), The Issue of Authenticity in the Study of Religion (pp. 47-63). Greenwich (Connecticut): JAI Press

Hammer, O. (2001) Claiming Knowledge. Strategies of epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age. Leida - Boston - Colonia: Brill

Hervieu-Leger, D. (1993). La Religion pour Mémoire. Parigi: Cerf.

Klatt, O. (2002). Interview with Lawrence Ellyard. In Reiki Magazin, July 2002: (last visit: February, 18 th 2003).

Introvigne, M. (1996). La costruzione sociale delle near-death experiences: il caso Betty Eadie. In La Critica Sociologica, n. 117-118, aprile-settembre 1996 (pp. 78-88).

Introvigne, M. (1999). Sûkyô Mahikari. Leumann (Torino): Elledici.

Introvigne, M. (2000). New Age & Next Age. Casale Monferrato (Alessandria): Piemme.

Introvigne, M. (2001). Del buon uso delle teorie secondo la lezione di Enrico Nicolis di Robilant e della nozione di religione. Relazione alla giornata di studi in onore del professore Enrico Nicolis di Robilant. Facoltà di Giurisprudenza dell’Università degli Studi di Torino (19 ottobre 2001). To the author.

Lee Rand, W. (1998). Reiki for a New Millennium. Southfield (Michigan): Vision Publications.

Lee Rand, W. (1998) Reiki.The Healing Touch. First and Second Degree Manual. Southfield (Michigan): Vision Publications

Manual, M. (1995). Il mio Reiki è anche tuo! Le nuove regole. Dal 2000. Per la prima volta vengono rivelati i simboli segreti del 2° livello. Borgofranco d’Ivrea (Torino): Blu International Studio.

Melton, J. G. (2001). Reiki: The International Spread of a New Age Healing Movement. In M. Rothstein (Ed.), New Age Religion and Globalization (pp. 73-93). Aarhus (Danimarca): Aarhus University Press.

Menegotto, A. (Ed.) (1999).New Age: fine o rinnovamento? Le origini, gli sviluppi, le idee, la crisi, la fine del New Age e la nascita di un nuovo fenomeno: il Next Age. Una nuova sfida per la Chiesa, San Giuliano Milanese (Milano): Sinergie.

Milione, S. (1999-2000). Salute e salvezza nella terapia Reiki. Tesi di laurea. Facoltà di Scienze Politiche dell’Università degli Studi di Torino.

Pavesi, E. (Ed.)(1994).Salute e salvezza. Prospettive interdisciplinari. San Giuliano Milanese (Milano): Di Giovanni Editore

Petter, F. A. (1997). Reiki Fire. New Information about the Origins of the Reiki Power. A Complete Manual. Twin Lakes (Wisconsin): Lotus Light Publications.

Petter, F. A. (1998). The Legacy of Dr. Usui. Rediscovered Documents on the Origins and Developments of the Reiki System, as Well as New Aspects of the Reiki Energy. Twin Lakes (Wisconsin): Lotus Light Publications.

Petter, F. A., & Usui, M. (1999). The original Reiki Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui. Twin Lakes (Wisconsin): Lotus Light Publications.

Ries, J. (Ed.), (1986). Les rites dinitiation. Louvain-la-Neuve : Centre d’histoire des religions. Trad. It. I riti di iniziazione. Milano: Jaca Book.

Stein, D. (1997). Il libro del Reiki. Milano: Pan - Armenia.

Takata, H. (1989). Mrs. Takata Speaks: The History of Reiki. Southfield (Michigan): Vision Publications.

Udgatri, M. P., & Masseglia, S. (2001). Rei-Ki. Antica pratica di guarigione e autoguarigione. Firenze: Demetra - Giunti.

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Zoccatelli, P. L. (1997). Il New Age. Leumann (Torino): Elledici.

7. Yoga in philosophy and practice is incompatible with Christianity

by Father James Manjackal MSFS


EXTRACT: In my charismatic retreats, the majority of the participants come with various moral, spiritual, mental and physical problems in order to be liberated and healed and to have a new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. With all sincerity of heart I will say, 80 to 90 % of the participants had been to Yoga, reiki, reincarnation, and other Eastern religious practices where they lost faith in Jesus Christ and the Church. In Croatia, Bosnia, Germany, Austria and Italy, I had clear instances where individuals who were possessed with the powers of darkness cried out I am Reiki, “I am Mr. Yoga”, identifying themselves to these concepts as persons while I was conducting prayers of healing for them. Later, I had to pray over them by the prayer of deliverance to liberate them from the evil possessions.

There are some people who say, “There is nothing wrong in having the practices of these, it is enough not to believe the philosophies behind”. The promoters of Yoga, reiki, etc, themselves very clearly state, that the philosophy and practice are inseparable.


8. The Lure of Alternative Religions. Interview with Author Roberta Grillo

MILAN, Italy, March 1, 2007 ( People who enter alternative religious movements or sects are often seeking that "something which is lacking," says the president of Milan's Socio-Religious Research Group.

Roberta Grillo, who is also a religion professor, is the author of "Attenti al lupo. Movimenti religiosi alternativi & sette sataniche" (Beware of the Wolf: Alternative Religious Movements and Satanic Sects), published in Italian by Edizioni Ares.

In this interview with ZENIT, Grillo explains the incompatibility between the practice of Reiki and Christianity, and the difference between alternative religious movements and the ecclesial movements recognized by the Church.

Q: Do you think that people who frequent these new alternative religious groups would be at ease in the Church?
Grillo: The reasons that impel a person to enter one of these groups are many, while that which enables them to remain in them is due in part to the massive mental conditioning always exercised on the victim.
At times, the triggering factor that has caused their joining is a lack of acceptance, or serious incomprehension on the part of a relative, friend or teacher. Other times it is curiosity or the desire to acquire instruments that give power, success ... but it is always the desire for happiness.
I believe that the Church, precisely because she is "mother," should make it easy for these people who are "searching" to find acceptance and charity, joined to science, good guidance and discreet and wise psycho-spiritual support.
Q: Sometimes, the fear of some parents as regards new alternative religious movements makes them also mistrust new movements in the Church. How can this confusion be resolved?
Grillo: There is an essential difference between these two realities. Alternative religious movements always create a very strong, binding mental conditioning. The ecclesial movements, on the other hand, are such because they are based on the Gospel, and the Gospel is a proposal, not an imposition.
At times the Church might seem to be too large a family. People can then choose that ecclesial movement or community in which they can find those charisms that are more suited to themselves. Not to speak of the religious orders, committed already for centuries to the Church, each according to the charism received -- contemplative prayer, dedication to the poor and suffering and preaching.
Q: In your list you include Reiki and state that one cannot be a Christian and practice Reiki. What is it and why do you consider it dangerous?
Grillo: It is about a universal energy, possessed once by the prophets and Jesus Christ.
The pity is that instead of referring to Jesus Christ, the Bible and the Gospels, these "therapists" draw their power from Buddhist spirituality and the doctrine of the "chakra," known by yoga philosophy and practiced by Hinduism and Buddhism. Proposed as a positive instrument, useful for one's own and others' well-being, Reiki is in reality a secret discipline in its symbols and contents, associated with health therapies that have no scientific basis such as crystal therapy and therapeutic astrology, aromatherapy and chromotherapy.
Not to speak of the relationship between Reiki and Christianity. There can be no compatibility for the Christian, other than the loving acceptance owed to every person, according to the word of the Gospel.
Hence, there can be no "dual belonging," which includes adherence to this pantheist, Gnostic and occultist system, diametrically opposed to the Christian.
9. Yoga – Health or Stealth

from: The Cross and the Veil


EXTRACT: Tantra Yoga and Kundalini Yoga Two other yogas of immense popularity are Tantric and Kundalini Yogas.  Tantra Yoga is a product of Shaktiism, the worship of the Hindu supreme goddess, Shakti (Power).  Shakti is worshiped as both the divine will and the divine mother who calls for absolute surrender.  In her fierce destructive aspect she is depicted as Kali.  Shakti is also the power that lies dormant in the base of the spine, coiled like a serpent (kundalini).   Kundalini energy is aroused and guided up the spine to open chakras and attain spiritual liberation. It is the rising of this serpent power that marks the removal of karma and the push toward enlightenment. 

Tantric practices are found in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain sects and are classified as secret esoteric practices involving purification, control of psychological processes as well as spells, rituals, symbols, black magic and necromancy. 

Tantraism utilizes sexual energy (whether through ritualized overt sex acts or subtle psycho-spiritual stimulation) to achieve bliss states.  A number of other yoga paths or combinations thereof exist in the US.  Numerous teachers or experts mix and match yogic traditions, increasing the likelihood of malpractice, abuse and ill effects.  The excitation of the kundalini (serpent power), this mysterious form of psychic or physiological energy is, in fact, the result of all forms of yoga.  The effects, both bad and good, are the subjects of not a few texts. Secret tantric texts are also the basis of the "healing" technique known as Reiki - most popular now in Catholic circles and promoted at many hospital healing centers.  Reiki has as its base the use of secret tantric practices which are most deadly and damaging spiritually. 
10. Church Warns Clergy, Religious Of Popular 'Ki' Experience

January 23, 2001 KOREA SEOUL (UCAN) Seoul archdiocese has cautioned priests and religious regarding the increasingly popular practice of "ki" (energy) sessions that blend physical movement, breathing and concentration. Auxiliary Bishop Peter Kang Woo-il of Seoul sent Jan. 12 a document titled "Alert on ki training culture" to all clergy and superiors of religious institutes in the archdiocese. 63.

"Recently there has been an increasing number of clergy, Religious and laity who frequent centers of 'ki-gong' and 'abdomen breathing,' and they invite others to join them," Bishop Kang said.

He said though people begin the practice for health, they gradually develop it to a kind of spiritual dimension. "The religious dimension to which such ki culture leads becomes easily linked to a mystical, transcendental and individualistic outlook of the world -- that is not easily compatible with Christian faith," the bishop noted.

The Church leader asked clergy and Religious who practice ki techniques for help in spiritual concentration or meditation to use "discernment because such a practice can cause confusion among ordinary Catholics." "Unlike established religions that seek the common good of society, some new religious sects promise individual peace and physical health," he said.

Citing the letter "Orationis Formas" (On some aspects of Christian meditation) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Oct. 15, 1989, Bishop Kang stressed that trying to develop prayer as a skill may be opposed to the child-like spirit stressed in the Gospel. "Pure Christian mysticism has nothing to do with a skill," he said, citing the Vatican document which was published in Korean in 1999.

Ki and ki-gong, or "qi" and "qi-gong" in Chinese, are generally regarded as belonging to the Taoist stream.
11. Reiki Healing and the Catechism, Part 1

Hello, friends!

The other thread, we were discussing Reiki healing. I would like to show, using reason and nothing more than the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the writings of the International Center for Reiki Training, the following claim:

It is impossible for Catholics of sufficient knowledge and faith to accept that Reiki healing is not a manifest moral evil.

I know we learn that the Sophists always began by stating what they sought to convince and arguing backwards from it; I hope it is understood that the only reason I start here with my conclusion is for complete transparency. It also makes it easy for me to define terms, as such:

Reiki healing: “(pronounced Ray-Key) is a method of natural healing based on the application of Universal Life Force Energy,” “…one of the more widely known forms of healing through direct application of Chi, or a force very similar to Ch’i” , “a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that allows everyone to tap into an unlimited supply of "life force energy" to improve health and enhance the quality of life,” “The word Rei as it is used in Reiki is more accurately interpreted to mean *supernatural* knowledge or spiritual consciousness. This is the wisdom that comes from God or the Higher Self. This is the God-Consciousness which is all knowing. It understands each person completely. It knows the cause of all problems and difficulties and knows what to do to heal them.”

Sources: Well, I had them down at one point, but I got rid of them when I removed my footnote references by mistake. Anyhow, they come from Reiki advocacy Websites.

Manifest moral evil: Evil that is clearly apparent or obvious to the mind or senses.

Pertinent Church Teaching [italics are added emphasis]:

Genuine charisms of the Holy Spirit are “ordered [to the Church’s] building up;” and are considered as gifts given—not skills; and all charisms are discerned by and submitted to “the Church’s shepherds.”

“799: Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.

800: Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms.

801: It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church’s shepherds. ‘Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good,’ so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together ‘for the common good.’”

Occult practices conceal a desire for power, contradict the love of God alone, and are not justified by health-seeking or cure-seeking variants. All of these are called “superstition.”

“2116: …Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117: All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others—even if this were for the sake of restoring their health—are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her own part warns the faith against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.”

“2138: Superstition is a departure from the worship that we give to the true God. It is manifested in idolatry, as well as in various forms of divination and magic.”

Authentic Christian healing is characterized by “inviting belief,” in being granted “to those who turn to him in faith,” by “strengthening faith” and by “bearing witness.” Genuine acts of Christ are ordered towards freeing “men from the greatest slavery, sin.” Miraculous healing is always inextricably intertwined with faith, and with the remission of sins. 64.

“548: The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him. To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask. So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father’s works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God. But his miracles can also be the occasions for “offense; they are not intended to satisfy people’s curiosity or desire for magic. Despite his evident miracles some people rejected Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons.

549: By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness, and death, Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the greatest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God’s sons and causes all forms of human bondage.”

“2616: Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman). The urgent request of the blind men, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David’ or ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ has been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: ‘Your faith has made you well; go in peace.’”

The sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick contain in themselves the fullness of Grace for the purpose of human healing, and never so at the exclusion of authentic spiritual healing consisting not only in ease of mind but more essentially of the remission of sins.

“1421: The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.”

“1468: ‘The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship.’ Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament.”

The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is always mindful of the special value of suffering, whereby people “[unite] themselves to the Passion and death of Christ,” or in their subsequent maturation, provoking “a search for God and a return to him.”

“1499: ‘By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord. That he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.’”

“1501: Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.”

But once again, physical healing and reconciliation are inextricably intertwined.

“1503: Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that ‘God has visited his people’ and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of…

1504: Often Jesus asks the sick to believe. He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, mud and washing. The sick try to touch him, ‘for power came forth from him and healed them all.’ And so in the sacraments Christ continues to ‘touch’ us in order to heal us.”

However, in all things, the “victory over sin and death” takes precedence.

“1505: …But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover…”

Interestingly, the authenticity of Christian mystical healing is signified by its sometimes refusing to “work,” not for a failure on part of the healer or the recipient, but merely as a reflection of God’s will.

“1508: The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord. But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses. This St. Paul must learn from the Lord that ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,’ and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that ‘in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church.’”

Some questions for Christian Reiki practitioners:

1. Is Reiki ordered towards the “building up of the Church”?

2. Is Reiki a gift given by the Holy Spirit, or a practiced skill attainable by all by their own volition?

3. Are your “shepherds” (Bishops) in full knowledge and consent of your practice of Reiki?

4. Can you derive the sense of value of the Reiki you practice exclusively by its results?

5. Is Reiki a power that you control?

6. Does Reiki purport to “control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural”? Does Reiki have “distinctive qualities that produce unaccountable or baffling effects”? Can Reiki be described as “seemingly requiring more than human power; imposing or startling in performance; producing effects which seem supernatural or very extraordinary; having extraordinary properties”? (These are the definitions of ‘magic’)

7. Does a Reiki treatment involve invitation of the patient to belief in Christ? 65.

8. Does it require a plea based on faith in Christ?

9. Does it bear witness to the Gospel?

10. Is Reiki ordered towards freeing the recipient from the bondage of sin?

11. Does Reiki teach that there is any value in suffering, any participation in selfless love or unconditional giving?

12. Can Reiki help to bring about a “victory over sin and death”?

13. Is Reiki guaranteed to work given that all the measurable conditions are in place?
-- Skoobouy (, December 11, 2002


Footnote: The line beginning with the words "The sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick contain in themselves" should be bold; it is my authorship and not a quote of the Catechism.

-- Skoobouy (, December 11, 2002.

Great job, Skoobouy! I have added a link to this thread at the bottom of the original Reiki thread, so that visitors there may see your serious theological analysis here. JFG -- (, December 14, 2002.

I hope this is a response space for the reiki/healing/jesus web information, if not, sorry. healing energy is all around us and is a divine gift that is for us all. healing energy has been called many things over history today one of the methods used to access this energy is called Reiki. the reiki master studies how to access/connect to the energy and becomes only a channel to let the energy come down and work on the students or patient. the reiki master is a master and tool in all this because of the intent to "connect". reiki education tells us that originally Dr. Usui in Japan was asked by one of his students how did Jesus heal. he meditated and prayed about this until he was enlightened and shown a series of symbols that represented how to anchor the energy of healing here on earth. even thought reiki is open to all religions and belief systems it is based on how Jesus healed. John 14-12, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me, can do the same miracles I have done, and even greater things than these will you do." we all are still learning and there is room to expand our knowledge from the dark ages. reiki is a light that gives of a vision of what tomorrow can be.
-- cindy lee (, March 09, 2003.

The passage you quoted, John 14:12, is the very reason why methods like Reiki healing are not of God. When Jesus said "anyone who has faith in ME", He was emphasizing that He alone is the one in whom we place our faith, not in methods or systems or "series of symbols that represented how to anchor the energy of healing here on earth". All of these approaches are violations of the first commandment. They are false gods - sources which people look to and place their faith in, INSTEAD of in God. The fact that such methods are "open to all religions and belief systems" stands as clear evidence that it is not of God, or compatible with His teaching, which is NOT open to all belief systems, but insists on belief in the TRUTH. -- Paul (, March 09, 2003.

Skooby's words (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) bear repeating:

2117: All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others—even if this were for the sake of restoring their health—are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her own part warns the faith against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.”

Jesus didn't "train" to heal others; those healed by Him did not need to come back for a re-check; Jesus healed body and soul; He did not charge for healing. These are just a few differences between Christ's healing and reiki.

The biggest difference, of course, is that Christ's healing came from God.

Reiki healing does not invoke God at all, but rather channels "energy" or power from some other source. The "energy" has an intelligence all its own, and goes where it will. The reiki practitioner has no control over it, except to pass it on.

Reiki practitioners all use the same Bible quote as the one cited above by cindy lee, when trying to woo Christians. They also all chant the same mantra, "reiki can do no harm." Yes, it can. Beware. Pax Christi. -- Anna (, March 10, 2003.

I have no answer, but a question? Reiki as I understand it deals with Chi. I am an acupuncturist and use the concept of Chi in my practice to help my patients, would you consider this "New Age?" Is oriental medicine in your opinion in the same category as other occult practices? Would you consider having acupuncture for low back pain? Thank you for your reply. PHS -- Dr. Paul H. Stuetzer (, April 28, 2003.

Jmj Hello, Dr. Stuetzer.

You stated: "Reiki as I understand it deals with Chi. I am an acupuncturist and use the concept of Chi in my practice to help my patients, would you consider this 'New Age?' Is oriental medicine in your opinion in the same category as other occult practices? Would you consider having acupuncture for low back pain? Thank you for your reply."

If you are a Christian, and if you practice "non-Western" techniques without involving elements of any "Eastern" religion, then there is nothing immoral in using them. If the only way to use something like acupuncture is to involve some non-Christian religious elements, then it should be avoided. I know too little about acupuncture to know whether the legitimate "medicine" therein [if there is any] can be divorced from the "religion" therein [if there is any] -- but you would know.

On the other forum thread on Reiki, one of our excellent "regulars" here, Anna, wrote in February:
"[T]he Vatican has ... come out with a statement on the New Age, and although reiki practitioners claim that this practice is derived from ancient practices, many aspects of it could be categorized as New Age. 66.

The philosophy behind reiki is 'pantheistic,' while Catholicism (and Christianity) is 'monotheistic.' Pantheism is the belief that 'everything is God, that the world is God, or that the development of the world is the development of God' (Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 285). Monotheism is the belief that there is One True God. In reiki, the 'universal life force' (or qi, ki, chi) is drawn from the earth or atmosphere, through the reiki practitioner, and channeled into the recipient (or 'patient.') This channeling of energy [allegedly] brings about a physical change in the patient. Some reiki practitioners will call this 'universal life force,' 'God.' [Catechism] paragraph 2117 condemns this practice, even if it is being used to restore one's health. Try a bit of research at, which explains reiki far better than I ever could. A former reiki practitioner, now Catholic, describes reiki in detail." [Thanks, Anna.] God bless you. John -- J. F. Gecik (, April 29, 2003.

Thanks, John, for your response. I've been away from this forum for just a couple days. I don't claim to be well versed in reiki or the new age, but I can tell you of an experience of someone dear to me who received reiki treatments to alleviate migraine headaches. She ultimately came to the conclusion that if some unknown supernatural force or power other than the power of Christ was being used by the practitioner to alleviate her pain, she'd rather live with the migraines and offer them up for the poor souls in purgatory! We can actually sometimes benefit ourselves or others spiritually by our physical sufferings. Not all means of alleviating physical sufferings are "spiritually good" for us. Pax Christi. -- Anna (, April 30, 2003.
12. Reiki, Compatible with the Christian Faith?

Miguel Pastorino April 19, 2009

Translated from the Spanish original by Luz Maria Engineer, Mumbai, India

Recently the North American bishops published a document regarding the incompatibility of the Christian faith with the practice of Reiki. In order to go deeper into this theme Zenit interviewed Fr. Miguel Pastorino, who participated in the International Consultation on New Age which took place in the Holy See in 2004, which was dedicated especially to the study of new therapies promoted by this movement. Fr. Miguel Pastorino is founding member of the Ibero American Web for the Study of Sects (RIES) and presently Director of the Department of Social Communication of the Archdiocese of Montevideo, (Uruguay).

What is Reiki actually?

It is not merely therapy, but a spiritual vision of the cosmos, with initiation rites and a pantheistic spirituality which is amalgamated with Christian elements and esoteric and agnostic principles, according to various schools or systems. Reiki is defined as a “spiritual path” or “system of spiritual growth” by many of its masters. As a ‘method of natural healing by means of the universal cosmic energy” Reiki is a term of Japanese origin which refers to the “universal (rei) vital energy (ki)” which flows through a person who has been attuned into Reiki.

Rei” describes the universal, impersonal, omniscient being which bestows life, like the rays of the sun upon all living beings. “Ki” is what emanates from the “rei”, is the energy or vital force which passes by means of all that lives. Usually “ReiKi” is translated as: “Spiritually guided Universal energy” Reiki affirms that all illness is always caused by an “imbalance of the vital energy.” For this reason, one must find the “harmony” “balance” of the energy existing in the different energy centers of the body (chakras), by means of the imposition of hands. Many of its practitioners promise great relief for those who receive it, in the physical and spiritual plane, a great relaxation and deep sense of interior peace… a new life.

Reiki centres offer courses of up to 3 or 4 levels: In the first level, the four inferior chakras are opened, which function as receptive channels of energy (other authors speak of ‘learning to attune the energy” and do not speak of the opening of the chakras) by means of some established ceremonies, and the use of hands for healing is learned; in the second level other initiatory steps are given and the symbols which characterize Reiki therapy are revealed and healing from a distance can be done (3rd symbol). In the third level, maturity is achieved and one reaches mastery, although actually there is a forth level for this.

What are the Chakras?

Yes, well, not all Reiki systems use the resource of Chakras; New Age has dispersed the use of the same n different alternative therapies under the pretense of scientific truth, which it obviously does not have.

Chakra is a masculine gender Sanskrit word which means “wheel, circle”, that is, charkas are vortexes or very active centers, like whirlwinds, of cosmic energy in the human body (7 main ones in Hinduism, 4 according to Buddhism). It is a belief of Hindu origin, related to the 7 bodies (esoteric, physical, mental, astral, ethereal, subtle, animist). They are reflections of the subtle body, found in the human body, which subsists after death and contributes to the animation of the foetus at the moment of reincarnation of the soul in another body. That is, it is a religious belief.

What is the origin of this system?

Healing by means of ‘energy’ has a millenarian antiquity in Asia, but Reiki sprang up at the beginning of the 19th C with Mikao Usui (1865-1929), dean of a small university in Kyoto, Japan; a noble, virtuous and admired person. A teacher with the charism of guru, he had mystic visions, and created the new healing system, which is not only a technique but a spiritual path as well. It is said he went up to Mt. Kurama, Kyoto, and that in the course of meditating he received the capacity to channelise universal energy. Usui placed Reiki under the system of natural healing which he began to reveal from then on. In this way he established the Usui Reiki Risho Gakkai in Tokyo, where he established initiation ceremonies for is disciples. 67.

In its initial stage Reiki emerges as a sect (Universal Vital Energy) which is later brought to the West (not secularized fully) as a curative practice. Then in 1980 the American International Reiki Association is instituted, contributing to its diffusion in Western countries. The same name, Reiki, is used by the Usui sect as well as for the practice of ‘alternative or complementary therapy’, from which springs the confusion among many. Similarly to other Eastern Masters, Usui redefines some ethical principles of Confucianism and other Asian traditions. Actually, there exist many diverse schools and systems of training for Reiki, as a result of the natural adaptations that the original version went through upon arriving in the West. This is the reason why it is difficult to speak of one unique Reiki system.

Because there may exist Reiki Masters who teach it in fidelity to Mikao Usui, having no intentions of deceiving anyone, Christians cannot ignore the doctrinal incompatibility of its doctrines with the Christian faith, though it may present itself as harmless therapy. It is well known how difficult it is to delineate the borderline between the therapeutic and the spiritual in eastern disciplines. While defending works on the spirituality of the person, an implicit religious content is always included, though it may not be called religion.

In general, which are the main elements of the cosmovision of Reiki which are incompatible with the Christian faith?

In the first place, the cosmic dualism of Taoist origin, the theory of opposites (Yin-Yang) living in constant “spiritual warfare” against negative energies, from which one is safeguarded by protecting symbols (’shields’), amulets which promote a magic and superstitious mentality. On the other hand, in its writings there underlies a pantheism which reduces God to an energy which can be channelised if one concentrates and learns the techniques to do so. The syncretism is such that in its prayers to the “Father”, he is called “the Universal Superior Being” and the Holy Spirit is equated to “Ki” or “Chi”, that is to say, the energy permeating all which is received from the Universe, since God is no longer a person, but an energy which we can channelise. In some cases they resort to a pseudoscientific language to explain that we do not see God simply because he is an energy at another frequency level. This suffices to understand that they are very far from the Christian faith and steeped in the New Age.

Similarly, some manuals of other Gnostic anthropologies speak of a “divine spark” trapped in our flesh and 90% of its adherents believe in reincarnation. Also, Jesus is called a great master healer who imposed hands and even funnily, propose him as a very ancient Reiki master. They include a doctrine about Jesus which disfigures his identity as God-made-man and as unique Saviour, making him a healer among many. The Christian sense of the imposition of hands has nothing to do with the use they make of this gesture in Reiki.

Suffice it to say that no one can call himself a Christian and have such a vision of God, of the world, of humanity and life after death. I have nothing against therapies of Japanese origin, but I always warm Catholics about the incompatibility of this doctrine that presents itself as a simple “therapy” with the Christian faith.

Seeing that the world of new alternative therapies is so complex, how does one discern when it is distancing us from the Christian faith?

Serious discernment is required with reference to the multitude of eastern disciplines imported to the West, since in the case that it may not be prejudicial in itself, it is important that one does not err in rejecting what is different just because it is unknown, nor giving naïve credence due to lack of a critical sense and adherence to the faith. The majority of Eastern disciplines brought to the west in the second half of the 20th C (Yoga, Martial Arts, Zen Meditation, Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, etc.) enjoy the beneficial healing testimonies received by those who practice them. That is because when practiced in a well purified content and with serious discernment, it is not a problem for a Christian to practice any one of them, except when it includes the learning of doctrinal and spiritual elements. An actual difficulty is that many of these are being reinvested with esoteric spiritualities promoted by New Age. One has to discern case by case and an important “vaccine” for good discernment is a deep experience of faith in Jesus Christ and solid Christian formation.

The North American bishops have declared the scientific invalidity of Reiki. What is your opinion in this regard?

Clearly it has no scientific validation, as well as many other therapies imported from the East, and much less do those pseudo-therapies promoted by the New Age. I believe a dangerous situation is brought about when a person abandons medical treatment in order to immerse himself in endless strange therapies with no scientific validation. One of the problems brought about by some Reiki masters is the promise of total healing, which obviously is not true. Reiki contradicts all advances made in the medical field. It presumes to find the cause for all that is bad in the energetic, spiritual and psycho-somatic imbalances. In this sense, there is a lot of dogmatism, lack of seriousness, discernment and honesty in this type of affirmations. The so called “complementary therapies”, among which Reiki is included, enjoy good propaganda, but not all are equally serious and are not always as effective as promised. It is true that traditional medicine has not opened itself too much toward new paradigms in its field, but it is also true that today anyone can proclaim himself “therapist” and one does not know of what discipline, where he graduated from, nor if anything he says is true.

With all the scientific advances and the presence of new forms of uninstitutionalized religion it becomes difficult to draw conceptual limits, and thus, the border line between science, magic, the paranormal and the religious appears to be diluted in a gnostic magma. Many are confused by the misinformation that exists with regard to this topic.

You are from Uruguay. What is the situation like in your country?

The socio-cultural fashion of the New Age is the main distributor of Reiki in our country and the majority of its healing centres are truly centres of eastern spirituality, syncretic, where its practitioners end up believing in reincarnation, and that they form part of the great universal, impersonal and energetic being. Instead of fostering faith in the grace of God they foster faith in the energy that invades everything and whose absence brings about the deterioration of beings. 68.

Jesus Christ is relativised into another healer among the many in the history of humanity as he is equaled to “other” Buddhas (enlightened), and his identity is altered when he is not recognized as God among us.

Just like the many disciplines promoted by New Age, Reiki is accompanied by a series of manuals and theoretical material which minimize Christianity with a syncretism that relativises the basis for the Christian faith behind a Buddhist and even esoteric fascination. It presents itself as “non-religion” when all the themes it touches upon and about which it attempts to bring newness are clearly religious.

Many Christians thirsting for peace, harmony, security and inner and physical healing go out to search in the East i (and at times perhaps in the consumeristic caricature New Age has made out of ancient eastern traditions) for what they have not found in the West that is colder, more rationalist, dried up by secularism, and empty of spirituality. The historic churches have at times been imprisoned by a modern paradigm and a secularized theology, making themselves incapacitated in the art of giving answers to the spiritual thirst of our times. On the other hand, the religious marketplace is the “latest” novelty for the anxious consumer of new spiritual experiences masked as therapies, thus taking the lead in the battle to offer answers to the “spiritual” needs that are most urgent.

Then again, I cannot generalize, since there are many Catholics, who ignoring the doctrinal incompatibilities, launch out on spiritual paths they think are complementary and have found therein something of peace and spiritual well-being. That is certain, yet one must not cease to explain that sooner or later those paths will distance them from the gospel. This situation addresses us with regard to our mission of evangelization. Why does one have to go seeking in other wells for what in Jesus Christ will satisfy thirst in abundance?

Some people classify Reiki as a sect. How should we think of it?

It is not a sect but the question is a complex one. People who practice it have very good intentions: to improve their life and that of others, to be channels of love {cosmic and divine}, to be instruments of healing. Many conduct their sessions absolutely free since charity cannot be priced, all of which is a sign of the ethical and spiritual renewal which is produced in many of these ambiences, which is a very positive thing. Yet, on the other hand, anything tied up with the New Age is being turned into a new religious business for many. We are becoming swamped with Reiki masters who charge up to $2,000 and higher per level, extremely costly courses which enjoy a good reputation in Fitness Centers. If one looks at the promotional material of various centers in Montevideo one finds testimonies of what Reiki has done in their lives, their spiritual search and how Reiki appears as the answer, even selling amulets with symbols that attract energy…

They also say it is “compatible with any religion” because all religious syncretism present itself as such: “all is complementary” while being faced with the opposite. Many new syncretic religious movements present themselves as ‘complementary” when in reality they are substitutes for traditional religions. Many are those who under the façade of simple therapy have found a spiritual master who listens to them, a welcoming community, and environment of peace and harmony, a new religion which since it is not institutionalized they say is not a religion.

In any case it must be said that it is not a Church, or a sect, but it suffices to read the manuals to see that a cosmo-vision like this is a religious proposition with doctrine, cult and spirituality. This is how we are able to see in a practitioner of Reiki psychological traits of a “new convert”: fanaticism, close-mindedness and persecution paranoia towards those who want to questions “certain aspects” of their new discovery. When one listens to their conversation, they are not speaking about matters of therapy but spiritual ones.

We should not condemn the good intentions of so many people who want to improve the quality of their lives, but we Christians can fall into the temptation of taking spirituality for granted or importing it from Asia as a result of having dried up our own well. It is not in vain that the Holy See has named the document regarding the New Age “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of living water”, calling us in the face of the New Age to rediscover our own genuine Christian spirituality, which we have not always cultivated in depth. Besides, with the great problems we are submerged in, in the agonizing and alienating anonymity in which we live, many pay any price in order to feel important, feel special, by being an energy or healing Master. Today everyone wants to be a guru.

What challenges does this type of therapy promoted among its own believers present to the Church?

Many of these present problems within our Church are solved with a spiritual renewal, with a true conversion and today is the appropriate time for the first proclamation and adult catechumenate which will truly initiate Catholics into life in Christ and the mysteries of our faith. As our Latin American bishops affirmed at Aparecida, a faith reduced to cultural baggage, a list of moral norms and devotional practices, the occasional practice of some sacraments, cannot resist the onslaught of the times. Our greatest threat is the grey pragmatism of the Church in which apparently all is moving normally but in reality faith is wasting away.

The solution to many of the present problems is to have a real and profound existential encounter with the Living Christ, which changes lives and centers the pastoral life in the inexhaustible fountain of the Christian life, which is Jesus Christ himself. A true pastoral conversion is required which will help us come to the realization that we cannot neglect the essential. Perhaps as Christians we have spoken little or almost nothing to our brothers about the love God has for us, about our reality as unique and unrepeatable beings, about grace, about the life of God poured on us, about the need for being healed of our spiritual, psychic and physical wounds; and perhaps this type of thing will tell us that we have left some vacuums which others have come to fill. Today many are those who manifest a hunger and thirst for spiritual growth, especially in counties that are highly secularized. I am happy to see how in many places in the world there is an awakening of a spiritual renewal in the Church, which without doubt is the best vaccine for many of the present challenges facing us. 69.

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