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13. Spanish diocese prohibits use of Catholic buildings by pseudo-religious sects and movements February 15, 2007

MADRID, February 14 (CNA) - This week the Archdiocese of Burgos in Spain announced it has prohibited the use of church buildings and facilities by pseudo-religious sects that disguise or hide their true identity, in order to thwart their “chameleon-like strategy of proselytism.” In a statement, the archdioceses denounced the “evil” and “fanatical” proselytism of religious sects “that employ the chameleon-like tact of toning down their own identity in order to resemble the religion of the majority in each place, which in Spain is Catholicism.” 
Thus, the statement continued, “sects initially encounter little resistance. Once they have conquered someone’s heart, their ‘reasons’ obscure common sense and it becomes easier to make the person a follower.”
The archdiocese warned that one of the strategies of such groups is to use Catholic facilities (schools, diocesan centers, retreat houses) to hold their events.  “It has been done and continues to be done despite the obvious manipulation intended to overwhelm the initial resistance of possible attendees and especially—if they are minors—of their parents or teachers, who in turn run the risk of concluding that such groups are compatible with the faith and with Christian morals simply because of the place where they are meeting.” For this reason, the archdioceses said no Catholic facilities would be allowed to be used by pseudo-religious sects associated with movements and philosophies such as the New Age, Yoga, transcendental meditation, Rei-ki, Dianetics, and others. If “the nature of a particular group that is requesting use of Catholic facilities is not known, the statement indicated, efforts must be made to obtain the essential information about the group that will enable officials to determine its purpose and goals.  Even if authorization is granted, “individuals capable of discernment may be asked to attend the meetings” to witness first-hand the group’s activities.
14 A. Reiki and healing touch

CHRISTIAN OR NEW AGE? PART III by Susan Brinkmann, Special to the Herald. Aug 9, 2007

This is the third part of a series that examines how Catholics are being challenged by followers of New Age philosophies.

Everyone wants to be healed. Anyone who has ever attended a healing Mass can attest to the crowds that flock to the altar of the Lord to receive his healing touch. Unfortunately, there are plenty of imitations available in the so-called "New Age" movement. One of the most popular is Reiki, with a variety of close cousins such as "healing touch," "therapeutic touch" and "hands of light."

Those alternative therapies are among practices that Catholics are cautioned about in a Vatican document, "Jesus Christ The Bearer of the Water of Life — A Christian reflection on the ‘New Age,’" issued in 2003 by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

In their warning, the councils note that in such New Age therapies, "the source of healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in touch with our inner energy or cosmic energy."

According to Moira Noonan, a former Reiki Master and author of a memoir, "Ransomed from Darkness," that is, indeed, what Reiki teaches. "Reiki is a method of healing through the transmission and activation of a person’s spiritual energy," she writes. "This therapy looks somewhat like the Christian laying-on of hands, but this is deceptive. The symbolism of Reiki is deeply influenced by Buddhist traditions and invisible spirit guides. These spirit guides are specifically invoked by name to confer their healing powers."

There is discrepancy in what is said to be the true history of Reiki. For instance, organizations that are involved in selling the concept to the largely Christian West either downplay or deny its association with Buddhism. See "What Catholics believe" later in this article. However, disinterested parties, such as academic centers for religious studies, seem to agree on certain key facts about Reiki.

First, it was said to be rediscovered in the 19th century by a medical doctor named Mikao Usui.

Second, Usui rediscovered Reiki during a 21-day retreat devoted to studying Buddhist Tantric texts. Tantric Buddhism involves the use of spells, incantations, complicated rituals and magical powers to achieve enlightenment.

And, third, Reiki energy supposedly entered Usui during his retreat. From that time on, Usui had healing power, and he initiated others into the secrets of that power through what he called "attunements."

In that procedure, "attunement energies" are channeled into students through Reiki masters, who are guided by the Rei or God-consciousness, and by other Reiki "guides" and other spiritual entities that help the process along.

Like other forms of New Age healing, Reiki is promoted as a technique that is obtainable through weekend workshops. Becoming a Reiki master can be expensive: Workshop fees range from $175 to $500.

Healing Touch

Healing practices that are based on using energy-channeling to heal have morphed into a variety of techniques known as "healing touch" or "therapeutic touch."

One of the most popular is promoted by Barbara Brennan, a former NASA research scientist turned New Age healer. The author of "Hands of Light," Brennan is regarded as one of the most widely recognized teachers of New Age healing that uses spirit guides. The former New-Ager Noonan attended Brennan’s institute.

"As Brennan herself admits, her ideas are drawn from direct communication with a spirit guide named Heyoan," Noonan writes in her memoir. "(Brennan’s) channelings from this entity are regularly published word-for-word by her institute, and offered to the world as expressions of divine wisdom. This is what I mean when I talk about the role of demons in the practice of Reiki," Noonan writes. 70.

Another former New Age practitioner, Clare McGrath Merkle, had similar experiences with energy healers, which caused her to return to the Catholic faith. Merkle is an accomplished author and speaker who has appeared on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and various national radio programs. She now devotes her life to warning people about the dangers of the New Age. Merkle says one popular, so-called energy healing technique is being promoted by a company called Healing Touch International (HTI). HTI was founded in 1993 by two nurses who wanted to bring the influence of New Age "energy channeling" techniques to hospitals, schools and parishes.

Merkle writes in the article, "Is Healing Touch at your parish?" that "The HTI web site describes the techniques as ‘energy based healing therapies from a Judeo-Christian perspective.’ They (say they) teach ways to ‘integrate Healing Touch into church/parish healing ministry.’" But, she says, beneath its Christian veneer, the principles underlying "Healing Touch" are not compatible with Catholicism. "If you go to their Web site and look at their recommended resources and books, it’s a mile long of occult texts," Merkle said.

That is not how it appears to the public however: "They work in teams at hospitals, and come around to your bed and ask, ‘Would you like us to pray over you?’ Of course people who are sick are going to say yes. Then they start doing their ‘energy’ work."

Is this deliberate deception on the part of Healing Touch practitioners?

Probably not, Merkle says. The problem is that most practitioners have done little more than read a few books or take a few weekend workshops in their training. Very few can correctly identify the source of the "energy" they’re trying to manipulate.

According to Merkle, many experts say that although such "energy" techniques are known by different names, they have the same root: "The root is in Kundalini yoga and the raising of the ‘serpent power’ up the spine, opening the chakras and giving people magical occult powers. She says New Age "energy techniques" and "healing modalities," as they are called, are forms of this magic.

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