Yoga: Paying Homage To Hindu Deities

yogaposeToday, I enjoyed a conversation over lunch with a some Catholics from various parishes in Glasgow, including a young woman who was thoroughly informed about the New Age Movement and its impact on Catholics in this archdiocese and beyond. Unfortunately, I had an appointment so had to leave before the end of the chat, and without, therefore, taking in all of the detail, but, from what I did hear of this young woman’s own experience of parishioners who are deeply committed to the New Age phenomenon, it seems that it warrants our attention.  The spread of New Age-ism has worried the  Vatican sufficiently, for the Pontifical Council For Culture to issue a document on the matter: “Even if it can be admitted that New Age religiosity in some way responds to the legitimate spiritual longing of human nature, it must be acknowledged that its attempts to do so run counter to Christian revelation…”

 I’ve heard plenty of people defend Yoga, saying it helps them relax and is good exercise. But it is more than simple body exercise – it is Hindu prayer using body postures – click Here

Yogaprayerpostures

 

                                                    

Comment…

 

Have you noticed the advertisements forNew Age groups – under various guises, mostly Yoga classes – in church porches and in bulletins?  The fact that bookshops are filling their shelves with “New Age” material is one of the concerns found in the Vatican Document, A Christian Reflection on the New Age     

Should we be concerned? One priest in England was concerned enough to hit the headlines in 2012 – from the BBC to the Telegraph and plenty of headlines in between – click here to read the Catholic Herald report.  Will Yoga destroy the Faith of Catholics who participate in it, or is it possible to be a “New Age Catholic”?  

148 responses

  1. I’ve seen loads of adverts in church notice-boards for Yoga meetings. There used to be one in Edinburgh, in St Mary’s cathedral although I’ve not been there for a while. At first I was puzzled, as I had a feeling it wasn’t right for a Catholic priest to advertise but when it’s in the Cardinal’s own cathedral, you tend to squash the thoughts!

    The Southampton priest was very brave to stick to his guns in the face of all that publicity. I wish more priests were clued in on the dangers of Yoga Most people that I’ve spoken to think it’s harmless, just a way of exercise and de-stressing. I don’t think so.

  2. Reiki is another New Age de-stressing technique which is also very popular.
    http://www.reiki.org/faq/whatisreiki.html

    I see it was mentioned in the Catholic Herald article about the Southampton priest. These things are really of the occult, IMHO, and should not be encouraged by any Catholic, let alone a priest. This bit from the Catholic Herald report is very interesting indeed: Fr Jeremy Davies, the official exorcist for the Westminster archdiocese, warns against the practice of yoga: “Beware of any claims to mediate beneficial energies (e.g. Reiki)…any alternative therapy with its roots in Eastern religion… They are not harmless”, he insists.

    When an exorcist says they’re not harmless, we should pay attention!

    Well done Fr Chandler for taking a stand.

    • Nicky,

      I hadn’t realised what a grip these New Age techniques have on people. The young lady I mentioned in the introduction spoke at length about Reiki and told us that it is being promoted in hospitals etc. She is very knowledgeable on the subject – rivetting stuff.

    • We would all of us do well to read Father Jeremy Davies’ CTS pamphlet ‘Exorcism’ published in the CTS ‘Explanations’ series (http://www.ctsbooks.org/exorcism/). It really is an eye-opener.

      Davies qualified as a medical doctor before becoming a priest. He is a man with a reputation for holiness. I have not had news of him in a long time, but if he is still living he will be of great age.

      • In this pamphlet Fr. Davis recounts how a young homosexual man was able to visit a city he had never visited before and walk straight to a place of vice without ever having to ask directions.

        The pamphlet was published a few years ago now and Davies took a lot of stick for it, but he stood his ground very firmly.

        • Prognosticum,

          I will take your recommendation on this pamphlet, but generally speaking I am wary of the CTS, having checked out, at random, certain of their pamphlets in the past, and found them wanting. Not recently, I have to admit, but in recent years. For example, checking out a pamphlet on Baptism, I found no mention of Original Sin. Then, again, a reader sent me a pamphlet published YEARS ago, on homosexuality which was written by a (now) well known homosexual activist – the last publisher anyone would expect to place such material before unsuspecting readers. I’ve just checked to see if it survived my latest wholesale clear-out of papers but,at first search, unfortunately, looks like it didn’t.

          Anyway, the author of the pamphlet you recommend appears to be a different league so I’ll check it out asap. It certainly would be very useful to be able to quote an Exorcist on this subject, to those who insist these techniques are harmless.

          • Well I can certainly recommend anything written by Fr Jeremy Davies. He is a good holy priest, at one time curate to my uncle not that long after he was ordained.

            • I too have only ever heard great good spoken about him, not least as regards his humility. I found out recently that he, with the Italian Gabriele Amorth, is a founder member of the International Association of Exorcists which is active in trying to restore this ministry in the Church.

              • Fr Gabriel Amorth believes in Medjugorje. Which, given his status as an exorcist, is deeply troubling . . .

                • WF,

                  Yes, that bothers me quite a bit. If an exorcist can’t see the diabolical in a hoax as obvious as Medjugorje, well… that’s troubling.

                  • Exactly. It would be the Achilles heel by which the Devil could get to him while performing an exorcism. The devil knows all of their weak spots and will exploit them.

  3. On Sunday morning I get the bus to our chapel and speak to a lady who attends Mass in one of the city centre parishes. She attends a prayer group which used to meet at Gillies Centre which is owned by the Archdiocese. A couple of years ago she told me that the prayer group was moving to one of the nearby parishes as the centre was allowing yoga classes and the group disapproved of this. Apparently a few groups who used the centre relocated because of this.

  4. This is a really important topic. This new age-ism is everywhere. I’ve seen Yoga classes advertised in churches, as well, although I’ve never seen anything about Reiki. It’s a while since I’ve visited the city centre churches in Glasgow but I’m almost sure I’ve seen Yoga advertised in the Jesuit parish.

    I Googled to see if I could find anything out about it to contribute here, and I found this right up, a story from someone who got wise to it. http://legatus.org/new-age-deception/

  5. I wonder if this petition will be displayed in Church Porches “We call on the BBC to reject proposals to reduce and downgrade Christian programming.” Totally in keeping with the “New Religion” the head of Religous programming at Bahomets Broadcasting Corporation is a muslim. http://www.citizengo.org/en/34624-we-call-bbc-reject-proposals-reduce-and-downgrade-christian-programming?m=5&tcid=22705456

    Editor: Jim, I don’t know why this went into moderation. Another blip – apologies for any delay in releasing it.

  6. So far, I agree with everyone here!

    I must say, I am especially heartened by Vianney’s comment that a prayer group moved out of the Gillies Centre due to the presence of Yoga classes. It seems there are clergy who would laugh at the idea of a Rosary group but think nothing of permitting a Yoga class. What’s going on in their heads? Not a lot, if they’re effectively encouraging the worship of Hindu gods…

  7. I remember (then) Archbishop Nichols shocking public homage to hindu deities http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A341rcNicholsHindu.html and who can forget the outrage that happened at the Fatima shrine http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/060304rit.asp so our Church leaders hardly set a good example in this respect . . .

    A very good book on the dangers of the New Age movement is Randy England’s ‘Unicorn in the Sanctuary: The Impact of the New Age on the Catholic Church’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unicorn-Sanctuary-Impact-Movement-Catholic/dp/0895554518/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1463647605&sr=8-2&keywords=randy+england+unicorn+in+the+sanctuary

    Another fad – based on Buddhism this time – that is sweeping our parish halls and churches is ‘mindfulness’. I have looked into this quite extensively, and although some of the individual practices of mindfulness might seem to be beneficial to those suffering from burn-out / tension / stress / anxiety / clinical depression, many of the classes incorporate all the Buddhist clap-trap, so Catholics should be very wary.

    However, people turn to things like yoga and mindfulness precisely because they suffer from the above health problems. I myself have suffered from anxiety and depression so can understand the temptation to turn to therapies like this as an alternative to medication, which often has unpleasant side effects.

    The good news is that the rosary has been clinically proven to help with physical health as well as spiritual health! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC61046 Also, straight-forward exercise – not linked to any religion – such as brisk walking/jogging, swimming, gym-based activities, etc, have a dramatically beneficial effect on the mind and body. And for reading matter, I would recommend a little CTS booklet called ‘Why Worry’ by Fr William Lawson SJ which can be purchased here for £1.50:- http://www.ctsbooks.org/why-worry (caveat: I do not normally recommend CTS booklets – some of them are awful. This one, originally published in the 1950’s and written by an old school Jesuit, is fine) It can also be read online here: http://www.ecatholic2000.com/cts/untitled-730.shtml

    So if you hear of any Catholics who are suffering from the above health problems and are tempted to attend therapies based on false eastern religions and mysticism, please pass the above suggestions to them – rosary, straightforward physical exercise and good spiritual reading. They all help.

  8. I have to say that I doubt very much if the vast majority of people who go to yoga classes do so for any other reason than to try to improve their suppleness, exercise or for social reasons. I honestly don’t think that they intend to worship a Hindu god in the process.
    Reiki, mindfulness, etc are a different matter but are a response to the clamour for peace of mind in the modern world. As for the enneagram which is widely used in retreats and even in business, well I can see that it is ‘man centred’ rather than God centred but I have always thought, maybe wrongly, that it is no more than a tool to help us understand why we and others behave as they do. Used sensibly can it not have its uses?

    • I used to agree Elizabeth, that yoga was harmless when practiced by the majority of people, as I did attend a yoga class some years ago, and found the exercises very beneficial. I never did the breathing exercises or meditation. I did tend to pooh pooh suggestions that anything evil could be ascribed to mere exercises. However, after a discussion on this blog some time ago, I did a little research, and was dismayed to discover that many (or perhaps all) of the physical positions in yoga have pagan/demonic significance, so I’ve reluctantly changed my mind. It’s a pity, because yoga exercises can have a positive effect on posture and health, but the price of suppleness is too high, in my opinion.

      (I would just point out that I’m far from being fit enough to practice any of the exercises now, but that’s by the by!)

  9. No, the Enneagram can’t be used sensibly. It shouldn’t be used at all. Although it claims to have its roots in ancient sufi mystic wisdom, it was actually developed by the occultist Oscar Ichazo sometime in the 1960’s. Ichazo claimed to be in touch with spirits:-

    “Along the way Ichazo came to believe, as Gurdjieff did, in a hierarchy of spirits and entities. He allegedly receives instructions from a higher entity called “Metatron, the prince of the archangels,” and the members of his group contact lower spirits through meditation and mantras. Ichazo now considers himself a “master” in contact with all the previous masters of the esoteric school, including those who have died. Students of his Arica training are helped and guided by an interior master, the Green Qu’Tub, who makes himself known when a student reaches a sufficiently high stage of development. Apparently it is the same as Qutb i Zaman, the spirit in charge of the hierarchy that speaks through other spirits, as taught by Gurdjieff” http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/web/crj0146a.html

    Anyone who would want to dabble in anything developed by an occultist who speaks with spiritual entities is asking for trouble. The Myers-Briggs test is another widely-used example of such tripe.

    There is more about the dangers of the Enneagram here:- http://www.ris.org.hk/Discernment/Pacwa_article_3.htm

  10. Thank you for that WF. I had certainly not realised that there was an occult dimension to the enneagram. I have skim read the link you sent, scary stuff indeed!

  11. This may sound silly, but I think the Beatles played a large role in introducing New Age navel-dwelling, and its associated Satanic practices, to the West. As a priest recently pointed out, there is a picture of the British Satanist Aleister Crowley included on the cover of their “Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” album, and apparently that song is also a reference to him and the anniversary of his death (“It was twenty years ago today, Sargent Pepper taught the Band to play…”). I’ve also heard it claimed that John Lennon sold his soul to the Devil, which wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

    The father of lies always seems to find suitable servants for his dark purposes…including within the modern Church. Disorientation, which implies a lack of participation of the will to do evil, is one thing (see: “useful idiots”), but outright Satanism is another.

    • RCA Victor,

      I’m dismayed to read that about the Beatles, after me skipping school to see them when they came to Glasgow all those years ago, a couple or three or four years ago (!)

      Dearie me. What’s the world coming to, one asks oneself. As you will guess, I didn’t miss any English lessons 😀

    • I’ve also read that Mick Jagger allegedly sold his soul to the devil. Jagger and the Rolling Stones also made records called ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’. Well, it might explain how a bunch of geriatrics can still fill stadiums . . . but joking apart, although the rock/pop world has long used satanic imagery and symbolism to sell records, lamentable though this is, I think it is more likely to be based on immature rebellion and the desire to outrage and be ‘rock’n’roll’. In reality, Satan rarely likes to show his hand, and one of his biggest triumphs is to get people not to believe in his existence. His agents also prefer to remain behind the scenes. I’m currently re-reading a very good book by Fr Livio Fanzaga – The Deceiver: Our Daily Struggle with Satan https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deceiver-Our-Daily-Struggle-Satan/dp/1929291639

      • I was very surprised to see acupuncture included in the linked list of eastern therapies. I know it’s used widely in hospitals in lieu of anesthesia and in physiotherapy too. It doesn’t involve any participation on the part of the patient so I can’t see how it can be in the same boat as yoga etc.

        • Having been involved in New Age (Reiki, yoga, spirit release, hypnosis, past life regression, channelling, witchcraft etc. etc.)for a long time before my reversion I can tell you from experience and study that acupuncture is New Age and is Taoism – an Eastern ‘religion’. In my practice I would feel spirit guides helping me — demons in reality. It is all about the ‘chi’ …. same as Reiki .Yes is does involve participation of the patient… their will.
          Stay clear of ALL New Age occult therapies…. the root of all ecumenism.

          • Strictly Catholic

            Well said! All that Eastern mysticism stuff is influenced by the demonic. Catholics should never involved themselves in any way with it, unless their looking for a quick way to get themselves possessed.

          • Thank you very much for your reply and explanation. My aunt, a nurse, told me that in the 70’s she actually SAW a gynecologist perform a Cesarean section under acupuncture. Are you telling me that this was under demonic influence?

            Also, a friend of mine is currently receiving treatment for a back problem using acupuncture. Is this also suspect?

            • Helen,
              All sorts of operations can, and have been performed, without anaesthetic under emergency circumstances. The effect of the placebo on the human mind can be quite astonishing. Acupuncture is based on the system of ‘chakras’ allegedly found in the body, but just because a system of belief may be ancient, this doesn’t automatically give it any credence. Here is a piece on acupuncture and chakras:-

              “Acupuncture is part of the world of Chinese Medicine. It originates in Asia. Chakras are a part of Ayurvedic Medicine found, mostly, in India. Yet, these two seemingly disparate medical systems share some strong bonds and correlate in ways unimagined. Knowledge of one does not discredit the other. On the contrary, they work together to advance the efficacy of both.

              First, both systems are all about the movement and blockage of vital energy in the body. When energy does not move properly your body is disordered and diseases abound. Even more interesting is that both body modalities view this energy as two snakes coiling up the spinal column. Every time the two snakes cross each other a chakra is formed. These are usually represented on the front of the body and correlate with important acupuncture meridians and vertebral levels. Acupuncture and Ayurvedic Medicine also share the concept of the five elements which correspond to both the acupuncture meridians and the chakras. Further, the colors associated with each chakra and element are the same in both medical systems.

              So what are the chakras?

              1.Root Chakra: This Chakra is located at the base of the spine or tailbone. It is coupled with the color red. The emotional issues associated are ones related to survival, money, and food. It is also the place of being rooted or grounded.
              2.Sacral Chakra: It is located in the lower abdomen about 2 inches below your belly button. It is associated with the color orange and is often caused the pleasure seeker. It is identified with our feelings of abundance and our sexuality. It is the creativity center and is involved in our emotional connection to others.
              3.Solar Plexus Chakra: This is tied to the color yellow is found in the upper abdomen or stomach region. It is the power driver and is all about are self confidence and self esteem.
              4.Heart Chakra: As one might expect, this is paired with LOVE LOVE LOVE! By opening this chakra we open ourselves to love and being loved. This space is linked with the color green and is foundational for inner peace and joy.
              5.Throat Chakra: In the throat, this space is one of communication. Its color is blue and it deal with the truth spoken and secrets kept.
              6.Third Eye Chakra: You will find this place between your eyes and you can focus on it if you close your eyes and gently let your eyes role upwards and to the center. It is one I try to be aware of on a regular basis to make better decisions and grow in wisdom. When strengthened you increase your intuition and imagination. Indigo is this special color.
              7.Crown Chakra: It is found on the top of the head and in connected with the color violet. It is the center of beauty and bliss and connection with the spiritual.”

              As you can see, this is all based on eastern spirituality and mumbo-jumbo, and Catholics should avoid it, and all these ‘alternative therapies’.

    • RCA Victor

      I agree entirely about the Beatles and the Crowly link. I have never liked the Beatles or their product. For me, they are an overrated crowd of misfits who ruined good music. What amazes me, though, is that the world’s top people; intellectuals, financiars, politicians, newsreaders, scientists, etc., etc., are united in a common worship of this group. Now that is definitely not normal or natural.

      It’s actually quite amazing to study the history of rock groups from the 60s on, as well as of individual performers who reached great heights of success. One theme that recurs throughout with many of them is drug use and the influence of the demonic.

      • Re the world’s top people. I think perhaps you are confusing “quite like listening to their music” with “united in common worship”.

      • Athanasius,

        Just remind me again… when IS your 125th birthday? 😀

        I absolutely HATE “Rock” music and I am definitely NOT one of the “world’s top people” but I liked the Beatles’ music. It was the opposite of “Rock”; take “Yesterday” for example – not one of my favourites, not remotely, but tunes like “Yesterday” would be about the closest you’d get to a ballad in the 60’s, if you discount Kenneth McKellar!

        You are right to say that the Beatles took to drugs, but as a teenager I didn’t know that and nor did (probably) most ordinary young people – certainly none of my friends ever mentioned the fact. I’ve not studied their history, so it may be that the drugs came much later, I don’t know. We took their music at face (or ear!) value and enjoyed the easy listening tunes. No more than that.

        Yesterday (! the real thing!) I stumbled across (and read) an essay on The Sound of Music, written by Bishop Williamson… the original claptrap, if ever there were such a thing as “claptrap”. His “review” left me speechless. That any man, let alone a bishop, could so lack basic common sense and discernment as to write a “warning” letter about that film, beggars belief.

        Call me a mad liberal if you wish, but I think it is a mistake to read too much into the passing fashions which – to a greater or lesser degree – influence secular culture for a time. Obviously, parents protecting their children need to be reasonably vigilant but most people can enjoy a catchy tune without following the singer(s) down town to the nearest drug dealer… 😀

          • Westminsterfly

            Are you speaking of the band or of the so-called evolution of the insect species? There is a slight difference in the time line, you know?

          • Elizabeth,

            Where DID you get that photo of one? One is even MORE glamorous than one realised hitherto… One really is astonished…

            Thank you for making me smile at the (almost) end of a very busy day which included a conversation with a young man at the supermarket check-out who tried his best to convince me of the truth of climate change by pointing out of the window to the glorious sunshine and saying “See? It’s not supposed to BE like that!” When I looked incredulous and said “What… not supposed to be sunny in May? You kidding?” it was HIS turn to look incredulous. I had to restrain myself from breaking into the chorus of “The Sun is Shining Brightly…. for ’tis the month of Mary, the lovely month of May” which we were singing before the nonsense of Climate Change had been dreamt up by people with too much time on their hands, as the lady said to her husband when he threw the alarm clock at her… 😯

            So, thank you very much for making me smile – and for posting that lovely photo (she said in all modesty) of me in my youth… 😀

      • Athanasius,

        I have to confess, along with Editor, that I used to be quite enamored of the Beatles in my foolish youth. In fact, the murder of John Lennon back in 1980 (on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, no less!) was a terrible shock – even worse than the Beatles’ breakup in 1970 – esp. as I knew very well the woman who was their (John & Yoko’s) “psychic du jour.” Naturally, the fact that this woman failed to predict his murder didn’t exactly register as an asset to her reputation….have I got stories for you!

        My main point, however, was not about their music, their Satanic associations or their ingestion of assorted psychedelic drugs, but that they were significantly and maybe even largely responsible for the mushrooming (pun intended) of New Age/eastern religion practices and beliefs during the 1960s and 70s – esp. through George Harrison and his connection with the “Maharishi.”

        And now, we have a Vatican populated by men who may as well have been screaming Beatles fans in their foolish youths, and who no doubt nod their heads in approval at “All You Need is Love.”

        Anyone want to take bets that Pope Francis’ next video of his monthly intentions will feature that tune in the background?

        • RCA Victor,

          Thank you for that opening sentence. I was just thinking of investigating the possibility of being exorcised… Phew!

  12. Andrew

    No, I meant exactly what I said. There is no such thing as “I quite like listening to their music” where the Beatles are concerned. One would think these little nothings from Liverpool were divine beings to hear people speak of them. I’ve been amazed at some high profile people I previously respected gushing over the Beatles. It just shows that human intelligence is a vastly different thing from common sense, otherwise known as divine wisdom.

    • Oh dear. I can see I’m now (possibly) among the “previously respected” – I say “possibly” assuming, cheekily, that you ever did “respect” me. Oh dear. On second thoughts…

      Well, my final word on this is that I can assure you that I have never, nor do I, consider the Beatles to be “divine beings.”

      But neither have I ever considered them – or any human being for that matter – to be “little nothings” (whether from Liverpool or anywhere else) since even the Beatles had souls which are precious to God.

      I suspect you’re having a bad hair day or whatever, because I doubt very much if you would seriously think of anyone as “a little nothing” so I suggest a wee dram of something nice (tea/coffee/milk, cocoa!) and a quiet few moments listening to…er… Mozart, before hitting the hay!

      • Editor,

        I think that Athanasius ought to try some Transcendental Meditation along with the Mozart and the dram….or, more befitting his 125 years, I recommend JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which was written to cure a fellow musician named Johann Gottlieb Goldberg of his insomnia…

        • RCA Victor

          I welcome any potential cure for insomnia, Transcontinental Meditation included! I’m off to get me some Gottlieb Goldberg!

          • Athanasius,

            I believe you can purchase some Gottlieb Goldberg either with or without haggis!

        • Or, RCA Victor, take a look at a photo of those four clean cut Liverpool lads, with their short hair and suits, contrasting sharply with the dirty, long haired rock singers of the day and say, well, they were not all bad.

          I grew away from them when they changed their appearance (shallow teenager, and proud of it!) and I especially distanced myself from John Lennon and George Harrison with their long hair and funny religions. See, even I wasn’t ALL bad, even then… I think…

          • Editor

            I’m just peeping out from behind my rock (pun not intended) to say that I still like the Beatles early music; it went badly astray when they went to India, grew moustaches and got into the Transcendental M stuff.

            I suppose we’ll have to undergo a strict regime of Gregorian Chant reprogramming to be purified of our bad taste. Ah well, we’ll always have “She Loves You”…..

          • Editor,

            Yes, I do remember their early appearance was quite different (so were the early Beach Boys, whose music is much more interesting harmonically). However, strictly in musical terms, omitting the hirsute accessories, I liked their late music (from Sgt. Pepper forward) much better. What can I tell you, I definitely became a hippie after I got to college. I’ll send you a college picture of myself with long hair and a headband if you promise not to post it here!!!

            Before college, though, I remember my stepfather refused to allow me to watch them on TV, even for their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show – and he was a Protestant! What a deprived childhood!

          • As a matter of interest, I always wondered who the Beatles song “Fool on the hill” referred to. I found this on Wikipedia:

            “Alistair Taylor, in the book Yesterday, reports a mysterious incident involving a man who inexplicably appeared near him and McCartney during a walk on Primrose Hill and then disappeared again, soon after McCartney and Taylor had conversed about the existence of God; this allegedly prompted the writing of the song.”

            It’s also interesting to read the lyrics of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, especially the line “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky…”

            Suits and short hair cuts or hippy rags and flowing locks, these guys were obvious from the outset. I seem to remember another incident where they claimed to be More famous than Jesus.”

            Just shows that we can’t judge by looks.

            • Athanasius,

              I don’t remember “Fool on the Hill” at all but I didn’t like each and every song. I definitely didn’t like “Imagine” and that was before I knew the lyrics.

              No, I can safely say I didn’t like all of the Beatles’ music but then neither do I like all classical music. One picks and one chooses…

              Oh and yes, I’ve quoted that dreadful comment about “more famous than Jesus” many times, although, having said that, it had slipped my mind until you reminded us!

              I simply don’t believe that those of us daft schoolgirls were possessed by the Devil because we liked/swooned over those clean-cut lads, who were topping the charts with their catchy tunes in the swinging 60’s. I think we all “get it” now, though, that they went off the rails and were very naughty lads in due course.

      • Editor & RCA Victor,

        I wasn’t referring to you or any other youthful swinger of the 60s with a bad ear for music (she loves me yea, yea, yea!). No, I’m perfectly certain that you have both matured into true music lovers in the decades leading to your present eligibilty for carbon dating.

        I can just picture RCA Victor now, lying back on his recliner chair holding that big record label trumpet at his ear and waving his spare hand around in the air in mock conduction to strains of the Mantovani orchestra.

        My comment was aimed at those who have maintained a love for the Beatles and their music throughout the decades, those old groupies who, instead of being red faced over the counter-cultural music fashions their youth, still beam with admiration at the Beatles, as though the revolution of the 60s was something to be proud of. There are many such groupies in high profile positions today.

        Editor, there are three points I would like to make to you personally. The first is that Matt Munro sang ‘Yesterday’ much better than McCartney. The second is that I wasn’t referring to their souls when I called the Beatles “little nothings”. I meant talent wise, though I accept that I was not very clear on that. Finally, As long as the wages keep coming you may be assured of my most profound respect!

        As for bad hair days: I count myself fortunate to have hair at all at my age, even if its propensity for static charge does occasionally make my head look like a busby. I’m now off to boil up some magic mushrooms!

        • Athanasius,

          I’d forgotten about Matt Munro’s version of Yesterday. Well, he was no rock singer!

          I am now aware of the fact that, clearly, I was no giant thinker in my early teens – that must have come later 😀 I just bobbed my head and clicked my fingers along with the pop tunes of the Beatles (which were never “rock” – they left that to the “Rolling Stones”) and went on my merry way rejoicing. I never had the money to buy any of their records, so I wasn’t that exposed to them which perhaps explains why I am relatively undamaged (!) and can still enjoy some Gregorian chant without feeling deprived.

          Anyway, I’ll leave it at that…. except to say… wages in bank. No deductions for attacking my once favourite pop group – “we can work it out!” 😀

          • Editor,

            Perhaps a Blog Motto would be in order: “We try with a little help from our friends”?

        • Athanasius,

          Speaking of the old Beatles/60s groupies, there is a conservative radio talk show host over here, Michael Savage – who was banned from the UK for his politically incorrect opinions – who calls these people “Red Diaper Doper Babies.” I’ve always thought that was quite apropos.

          And now, back to the haunting strains of Mantovani….now where did I put my baton?

    • Athanasius, if you mean that the song can never quite be separated from the singer, I agree with you wholeheartedly. That is what makes rock music so potent as a genre and so dangerous as a phenomenon.

      • Andrew

        I certainly hope so. The point being that they achieved nothing for the glory of God and the salvation of souls with the talents given them. Quite the opposite, in fact. Whatever we do that is not in and for Christ Our Lord is but dust.

  13. I find myself agreeing with Athanasius to the extent that I have always considered rock music and its derivative genres to be one of the worst aspects, if not the worst aspect, of the hideous popular culture which has done so much to harden hearts and banish goodness, truth and beauty from our midst. (I seem to remember ‘The Remnant’ newspaper publishing a series of articles on this theme–or was it a book?–but that is going back at least a decade and probably more.)

    Of course one can point to this or that lovely ballad by this or that particular artist, but the fact remains that this type of music has, as a whole, both accompanied and driven a cultural revolution whose destructive force most of us are still to fully realise. And its not just the music; it is the music’s connection with the mass media, with the fashion industry, with the sexual revolution which has done so much to destroy the natural family, with the cultural legitimacy and even desirability of drug taking, with the cult of celebrity, and so on. A watershed moment in this cultural revolution was, in my opinion, when in the early 1980s music became bound to video through the new digital technology, and so the extremely powerful medium of the music video was born. If anyone here doubts the utterly poisonous nature of this union, especially on the masses whose critical faculties are probably less honed than those of most of us writing here, then I suggest he spends an afternoon in the company of MTV. I was obliged so recently in the course of a visit to one of those American-style burger parlours where it was prescribed viewing on huge television screens throughout the meal. My verdict: satanic beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    But this thread brings me back to one of my all time favourite books, C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Screwtape Letters’. Now Lewis, unlike Tolkien, never became a Catholic and the book is shot through with elements of Anglican thinking which would not find favour with most of us here. But its substance is absolutely bang on; I would even go as far as to say that Lewis, who was writing, let it not be forgotten, in 1942–well before the rise of rock and The Beatles–is prophetical in his immagining of how popular culture would develop, including some very pointed remarks about the British education system which he would later develop in ‘Screwtape Proposes a Toast’ (1959). Concerning popular culture, he makes the point that it renders direct intervention by the Devil unnecessary. ‘Catch the bellwether,’ he says ‘and the whole flock will come running after you’ (or words to that effect), recalling the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram (a wether) leading his flock of sheep. The movements of the flock could be noted by hearing the bell before the flock was in view.

    And so it has been. For at least two generations now the sheep have emulated the bellwethers in what they sing and dance to, in how they dress, in what they think, in their perceived need to get high, in the fission of their personal relationships, etc., and all of this in a stream of conciousness which places the self at the centre of the universe and comes to dissolve history, especially salvation history, into the unbounding now which is essentially an extended legal high of personal a-responsibility. Legal, in the sense of approved by the common consent of society, but morally illicit to the nth degree and supremely destructive.

    It is intersting that Lewis calls the kingdom of Satan the Kingdom of Noise. What we must never forget is that we, as human beings, are made up of body and soul. What the body does, including hearing, has an effect on the soul, and vice-versa. I would contend that continuous wilfull exposure to any phenomenon that is inspired by Satan will in the long run cause serious spiritual harm and open the gates to more satanic influence. If we think about it, it could not really be otherwise.

    In conclusion, I would invite everyone here to reflect on this matter further by contrasting rock with Gregorian chant. ‘Ridiculous,’ I hear you say. ‘One is about young people enjoying themselves; the other is about the public worship of the Church!’ Well, think for a minute about the effect of the music. Anyone who has been exposed to Gregorian chant over time knows that it is an incredibly powerful balm for the soul. And this effect is felt even if one does not know Latin. (The same is true of the liturgical chants of the Russian Orthodox, and I for one have to brush up on my Old Church Slavonic.) Why? It must surely have to do with the felationship between the beauty of the melody and the truth it has been constructed to convey, and vice-versa.

    In any evaluation of the culture in which we are immersed, one must be careful to distinguish the wood from the trees. There has always been, and always will be, a place for legitimate entertainment and for art forms which tell of man in his ‘natural’ state. But this legitimacy cannot blind us to the bigger picture which is essentially one of a culture of death into which the rock-mass media nexus has injected poison in abundance.

    • Prognosticum,

      I do agree about with videos now in vogue. I think they are very dangerous as they (the few I’ve seen) do sport the most hideos and immodest fashions and the music is of the rock variety, which I’ve never liked. I do think there is a difference between “rock” and “pop” music of the lighter variety.

      As for the rest – I’m clearly not a deep thinker. I just clicked my fingers along with the catchy tunes and thought no more about it!

      • Editor

        And here I’ve been responding so long to that finger clicking thinking it was a command to obedience! You should have enlightened me sooner.

    • Prognosticum,

      Very well said! Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea, a well-known traditional Mission priest on this side of the pond, calls rock music “straight from Hell.” Interesting that he himself came from the wrong side of the tracks, but cooperated in Our Lord’s rescue mission….

  14. Prognosticum

    Very accurately put. It seems the devil knew long before the rest of us just how potent music could be on the soul. He has exploited his findings to the full since the 60s.

  15. Two other important influences on the spread of the “New Age” rubbish come to mind: one, the “Star Wars” film series, which presents (aside from some the worst acting ever to appear on the silver screen) “the Force,” that is, according to Obi-Wan Kenobi, an energy field created by all living things, and demonstrates a spirituality which is “within,” not revealed. Star Wars, in fact, took off as the Beatles faded into oblivion. How convenient…

    Two, the Harry Potter books and movies, which are overtly occult.

    • RCA Victor,

      Again though, youngsters who like the Harry Potter books are seeing only the superficial story. Anything of the sci-fi or fantasy genre doesn’t attract me at all, but youngsters seem to enjoy that sort of thing and whatever dark intents were in the author’s mind (which, having seen whatshername Rowling interviewed, and been decidedly underwhelmed by her alleged “mind”,I seriously doubt) I think, again, it’s a mistake to read (!) too much into these things.

      • Editor,

        I agree that youngsters will not see dark intents and merely enjoy the entertainment, but this from the Alta Vendita comes to mind (actually, from John Vennari’s little book on it) (my adaptive insertions in brackets):

        “The Instruction called for the dissemination of liberal [substitute: occult/New Age/eastern religion] ideas and axioms throughout society…so that…[the populace] would gradually be imbued with progressive [substitute: occult/New Age/eastern religion] principles. In time, this mind-set would be so pervasive that [everyone’s thinking] would be in step with modern thought….”

        It seems to me the same strategy is at work in society as has been for the past – what, almost 200 years? – for the destruction of the Church. Youngsters who have grown up play-acting with magic, light-sabers, casting spells, and whatnot (not to mention playing Harry Potter and Star Wars-related video games) will probably have few qualms about following up on their childhood games as adults…

        • RCA Victor,

          I think your point about the New Age etc ideas being imbued in youngsters who are hooked on certain books, films, is a good one. It’s the same with everything else – the permissive mentality, for example, becomes imbued and eventually makes it difficult for people to see that there is anything wrong with intimacy outside marriage. That’s how the Devil works. He’s a clever…er… devil!

          So, while I hate to admit it, game, set and match to thee!

          • Editor,

            I would gladly leap over the net to shake hands, but I’d probably trip and fall on my face!

  16. Just whizzed through this thread (can’t always get on-line in this spot) and, apart from having a good laugh at the dafter crack, have been brought to the realisation of just why I was so bothered by that NO Mass I suffered last Sunday. As an NO Mass it had fewer abuses than many I’ve endured, but the ageing group of ‘musicians’ were playing and singing in the style of some of the rock/pop (sorry I don’t know the difference) groups of their 70s youth. It was more than a very nasty assault on my hearing – it was deeply spiritually disturbing to me, as was the fact that most of the congregation were swaying to these ‘hymns’, which suggested that the hypnotic groove they were getting into had nothing to do with the Mass. Pope St. Pius X can have had no notion, when he wrote his Motu Proprio on Sacred Music,’Tra le Sollecitudini’, of the satanic abuses that our age would see. But it is nevertheless instructive to read his introduction in the context of these ‘musical’ performances that priests are allowing into the very sanctuary during Mass.

    ‘Among the cares of the pastoral office, not only of this Supreme Chair, which We, though unworthy, occupy through the inscrutable dispositions of Providence, but of every local church, a leading one is without question that of maintaining and promoting the decorum of the House of God in which the august mysteries of religion are celebrated, and where the Christian people assemble to receive the grace of the Sacraments, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, to adore the most august Sacrament of the Lord’s Body and to unite in the common prayer of the Church in the public and solemn liturgical offices. Nothing should have place, therefore, in the temple calculated to disturb or even merely to diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that may give reasonable cause for disgust or scandal, nothing, above all, which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and is thus unworthy of the House of Prayer and of the Majesty of God…’

  17. When I was little I borrowed a book on yoga from the public library. The exercises were described and illustrated by black and white photos of a wizened old Indian clad only in a dhoti. The exercises were mostly physical. Only the preparation for meditation mentioned the use of the mind. The exercise in preparation was to lie flat and relax limb by limb. Thoughts were to be quietened, until mind and body were in repose. That was as close as the book got to any religious expression. As for the physical exercise being pagan, that is something of a stretch. The Japanese traditionally sit cross-legged with no Hindu influence at all. If one pursues this theme, are not athletic contests pagan, being Greek in origin?
    Our Western medicine has its beginnings in trial and error based on incomplete understanding (humours etc equating to chakras?) and reached its current sophistication by following a technological route. Of course, it remains very limited, especially as regards prediction and prevention, and has very few treatments that are not chemical or mechanical, i.e. unnatural. Acupuncture is also a technical route to health and should not be conflated with witchcraft or spritualism.
    Quote: “The different stages of advancement through which the soul passes were shown to be processes of self-renouncement carried to an ever higher degree of perfection, and penetrating ever more profoundly to the depths of our nature.”

    But is this quote from Yogi Vithaldas or Rev. Edward Lean C.S.Sp.? Answers to be written on a flying carpet and sent to the Editor, please.

  18. Andrew Paterson

    Yoga in any and all of its manifestations is forbidden to Catholics because it is based in, and proceeds from, the pagan Taoist philosophy, which is humanist and syncretist. My understanding of acupuncture is that it may only be used by Catholics in cases where it is clearly divorced from its parent pagan philosophy, that is, with the Western neuroscientific understanding and application of it rather than the Eastern Taoist method of “channeling energy” by manipulation of the opposing forces of “ying” and “yang”.

    • Thanks for your response. I thought that I had made it clear that the yoga to which I referred was a series of physical exercises. To forbid physical exercises because they may have been originated by pagans is nonsensical, even if there were proof. The exercises demonstrated in the Olympic Games had pagan origins. Catholics may therefore not participate in athletics? The system of Hindu-arab numerals that we use was pagan in origin. Should we cease to use pagan mathematics?
      I also suggest that the approach to the use of the mind, its management as an instrument, has commonalities across different religions.
      I may use a knife (a pagan invention) to cut cheese or cut a throat. It is the use that we make of things that results in good or harm.
      I may buy a prayer mat in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and use it to save my knees when pulling weeds from the border of my garden. As the mat has its origins in islam, is this wrong? If I use the mat to kneel on when worshipping my tree, that would certainly be wrong. Therein lies the difference.

      • Andrew Paterson

        It is not wrong to use any means of physical exercise for the body provided it is just physical exercise, though I would caution that if our exercises mimic those of Yoga then there is the danger of bad example to others who will doubtless think we practice Yoga.

        Meditation methods originating form Eastern pagan philosophies are an altogether different matter, however. We cannot employ these methods with a simple name change and call them training of the mind. There is a purpose built into these pagan mental practices, preparing the mind for the the entrance of goodness knows what kind of supernatural influences. So the Church rightly forbids our adaptations of Eastern Meditation pracices.

  19. I’ve re-opened this thread due to news in a couple of taboids today, about a family in Rutherglen, Glasgow who have been experiencing diabolical interference – witnessed by Police Scotland! Click here and here to read reports.

    It’s a Catholic family so interesting that all that the priest did was to “bless” the house. Perhaps they need to call an exorcist but notice the concluding comment from the Catholic Church – or rather, the fact that there is no comment forthcoming. Heavens above, could they be wrong? Could there actually be a devil after all?

    Actually, this is ongoing and even as I write, the above may be out of date; there’s definitely more to follow on this. I’ve got my own ghostly source (so to speak!) so stay tuned…

  20. How frightening for the family! I’m sure a “devout Catholic” family would have the home blessed to start off with which then begs the question: how could this occur?” Over the years I have heard of such things but they were usually brought about by some “opening” or other such as a seance. I don’t see how, at this stage, a mere “blessing” would suffice; more appropriate would be an exorcism.

    I once had a new house blessed by a priest and it was quite a ceremony, not just a quickie blessing.

    • I have read Fr Gabriel Amorth’s book “An Exorcist Tells His Story”. He says that he always uses the term “blessing” when referring to an exorcism as this doesn’t alarm the family or the person being exorcised. If a person was at it, and pretending to be possessed, they would remain perfectly calm because of their belief that only an explicit exorcism works. However, the devil knows fine well what is happening and is forced to reveal himself during this “blessing” – which is, in fact, an exorcism.

      I know for a fact that there is an appointed exorcist in Scotland, so maybe that’s why the diocese is not revealing who attended or what happened.

        • Editor,

          I must have missed that bit. Admittedly, I scanned the article quickly, having heard about this a few days ago.

          That’s appalling if it definitely was only a simple blessing. It sounds quite severe to me, dogs flying around the garden??? I think the first thing a bishop should do is summon an exorcist. However, the bishop himself could perform the exorcism should be find it difficult to locate an experienced exorcist. It is part of the bishop’s ministry.

          Sadly, most of the Scottish bishops are in need of an exorcism themselves, so the chances of them performing one are quite slim!

          • Petrus,

            I’m not sure that was in the article but I know it from a reliable source.

            Two things…

            Firstly: could you supply the name of the exorcist for Scotland? I know it used to be the case that every diocese had its own exorcist but that is not the case now, so who is the exorcist for Scotland, to whom you refer?

            Secondly: how do you know that exorcism is part of a bishop’s ministry? I did not know that, and if so, it would seem odd that a bishop has not succeeded in doing an exorcism.

            A little later…

            I have just checked this with a priest who replied: “technically yes, but it was a minor order before Vatican II so all priests had it; now an exorcist is appointed.” End.

            By the way, I laughed at the idea (From Fr Amorth’s book) that he would use the term “blessing” in order not to frighten the family. How could they be any more frightened than living in the midst of overt diabolical activity? Priceless. I believe Fr Amorth is a Medjugorje fan so his confusion is worrying on more than one front!

            • Editor,

              I don’t know the name of the exorcist as it’s apparently not public knowledge. However, rumour has it that it is a priest from an order. Around 15 years ago there was a rumour that it was a Paisley priest. I asked a priest of the diocese about it and he burst out laughing, saying that he “knew” it was a priest from outside the west of Scotland.

              Yes, it was a minor order before Vatican II but I’m pretty sure a priest still had to obtain permission before performing an exorcism. I found that practice of giving the minor order of exorcist before ordination to the priesthood a little odd. Only an ordained priest can perform a Solemn Exorcism so I don’t see what the point was. Maybe I’m a Modernist 😉

              I laughed at your comment on the family not being scared enough, however, I’m assuming you are referring to diabolical possession? This is only one form of extraordinary diabolical activity. Diabolical oppression and obsession also require an exorcism. Therefore, a person may end up on the door step of an exorcist without looking like Linda Blair!

              I didn’t know that about Fr Gabriel Amorth – very disappointing!

              • Petrus,

                You lost me in your penultimate paragraph. The Rutherglen case is not about possession, as far as I can see, but about diabolical activity in the home. Made me think of someone, perhaps, practising Yoga (hence I thought of this thread) or maybe playing with a Ouija board.

                • Editor,

                  I’ve retread my paragraph and I see where the confusion arises. My fault. When you said about the family being frightened I see that you were, of course, referring directly to the Rutherglen case. I thought you were commenting on Fr Amorth’s comment regarding exorcisms in general. That’s why I mentioned the other types of diabolical activity. Apologies. Maybe I should send for the Exorcist! 🙂

                  Of course, the case in question would be diabolical infestation. It’s criminal that the Church merely sent a priest to bless the house.

                  • Petrus,

                    I really wasn’t only referring to the Rutherglen case but to Fr Amorth’s statement about using the term “blessing” rather than “exorcism” in order not to frighten people. I actually meant that, no matter what the type of diabolical activity, where or when (not just Rutherglen) it could hardly be more frightening to suggest exorcism rather (I would have thought, it would be comforting!) than suffering the activity.

                    And I wouldn’t jump the gun by assuming “the Church merely sent a priest…”

                    As I said above, more to follow, so stay tuned!

    • Crofterlady

      It would be worth while for the police to inquire if anyone at the property has been messing around recently with a Ouija board or other occult-type practice like Transendental meditation. These are extremely easy ways to get yourself and/or your property demonically possessed, though this family may be perfectly innocent victims of a previous owners activities.

      I was quite appalled by the police finding it hard to admit to supernatural activity at that house. All humanity has accepted the existence of evil spirits since the foundation of the world. The documented evidence is indisputable. Today, though, they can’t bring themselves to believe what even manifests itself before their very eyes. How pathetic is that? The blindness that comes upon those who reject God sometimes astounds me. It’s lunacy beyond words, a very high price indeed to pay for a secular, ‘do as you please and call it a human right’, society.

  21. It says in the article that a ‘demonologist’ said that this might be caused by ‘teenage energy’. It is invariably the case, I believe, that there is usually a teenager, and more usually a girl around when poltergeist activity occurs. An authority on paranormal activity was Father Thurston, SJ, who wrote in the 1930s: “Although I am myself quite satisfied of the reality of many of these poltergeist phenomena, I have no thought of contesting the fact that nothing more purposeless—one might say nothing more childish—could be imagined than these incomprehensible displays of some Puck-like spook bent on every exasperating form of mischief….To attribute all poltergeist activity to “diabolical agency” is difficult, if only because we credit the enemy of mankind with a higher level of intelligence than that which seems to prompt these outbreaks”. He also says that exorcism and other rites of the Church are not generally effective in permanently ending poltergeist disturbances, but that he has come across some cases where a special novena or the saying of Mass seems definitely to have got rid of the nuisance.

    • Christina,

      I can’t agree with that priest. How can he say poltergeist is not diabolical activity? If not, then what is it? I also disagree that it’s “purpose-less” – it’s purpose is to draw people further into the occult. That’s why the Church forbids us to go to fortune-tellers and use ouija boards and such like. That can all seem innocent and a bit of fun but it is drawing us further into the diabolical and that’s why it’s forbidden.

      For that priest to say in the 1930s “To attribute all poltergeist activity to “diabolical agency” is difficult, if only because we credit the enemy of mankind with a higher level of intelligence than that which seems to prompt these outbreaks” sounds very confusing, to put it mildly. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that is the sort of thing I’d expect to hear from a modernist priest or bishop.

      The fact that he admits cases where a special novena or saying Mass has got rid of “the nuisance” seems proof that the activity is actually diabolical.

      I found his reasoning difficult to follow. The bottom line is, anyone who says the poltergeist activity is not diabolical activity, has to say what it actually is. It has to be something – objects don’t rise up and travel across a room by themselves.

      • I think there is a difference between “vexations” and complete possession, but both of them are definitely diabolical. Here is Fr. Gruner on vexations:

      • Josephine, without knowing far more about the subject matter on which Fr. Herbert Thurston, SJ was a prolific and authoritative Catholic writer, I would not write him off so readily. Very highly regarded in his day, he studied and wrote exhaustively, mainly on parapsychological subjects, and he studied and wrote on spiritualism from the perspective of Catholic theology at a time when it was taking society by storm. One of his recent rationalist critics says of him Thurston, as a Catholic theologian, measures everything in terms of his own subjective, personal Catholic beliefs. So he rejects any information which is inconsistent with his beliefs, which is recommendation enough for me. He was particularly interested in poltergeist activity, and Father Amorth, in his own work on the subject, has not disagreed with what Father Thurston had to say on the subject.

        For a modern take on poltergeist phenomena Imprimatur has this to say:

        Poltergeists:
        Poltergeist activity, along with so-called haunted houses are far more complex questions than simple good or evil entities. From stories we hear that poltergeists tend to be attached to a particular person, often an adolescent. These poltergeists tend to be mischievous, but mainly benign.
        According to Fr. Herbert Thurston, SJ, (Ghosts and Poltergeists, page 2)

        “A poltergeist is simply a racketing spirit, which in almost all cases remains invisible, but which manifests its presence by throwing things about, […] in the course of which the human spectators are occasionally hit by flying objects, but as a rule suffer no serious injury.”

        He says further that particular aspects of the poltergeist are,

        “the invisibility of the agents, the sporadic and temporary nature of the manifestations, and notably their dependence upon the presence of some particular individual- usually a young person and often a child- who must be assumed to possess strange, if unconscious, mediumistic powers.”

        Interestingly, Fr. Thurston seems to imply here that poltergeist activity is caused by “mediumistic” [psychic?] powers on the account of the central individual. Maybe in the case of poltergeists we are dealing with unconscious psychic powers of ‘sensitive’ individuals.
        In fact, Fr. Amorth’s treatment of the subject does not rule out this possibility. (An Exorcist, More Stories, page 160-161)
        (My emphasis)

        I became familiar with some of Father Thurston’s work (the only available Catholic work on the subject) in the 1960s, when I had had some rather nasty paranormal experiences myself, (and so later did one of my sons as a teenager), and the modernist Jesuit to whom I had turned for help sent me packing from his door! So that is the reason why this topic interested me.

        Poltergeist activity is classed as infestation, but is usually mild (except to those experiencing it!) and self-limiting. There are, of course, cases where an evil spirit is involved, and the ‘target’ of the manifestation is not always the obvious one. it may be someone connected with the obvious target – even the exorcist that the evil spirit wants to be summoned.

        So it is a complex, little-understood phenomenon, and I do not believe that the Church – even the modernist Church – will rush into a full exorcism without first trying prayer, holy water, minor blessings, etc.

        My own attitude is that there are more things in heaven and on earth………

        For those advocating immediate recourse to an exorcist, as opposed to a traditional priest, further thoughts on the problems of modern exorcisms may be found here:

        http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_2002_SU_Father_X.html

        • Christina,

          I can’t make sense of that at all. It means there can be loose souls travelling around making mischief for no possible reason. Is the Church’s teaching not that at death a soul goes either to Heaven or Hell, with purgation if necessary, but not left roaming around. I just can’t believe that at all.

          It doesn’t need to be a choice between a traditional blessing by a priest or an exorcism, but it has to be an evil spirit surely, whatever the degree of danger? If it’s not an evil spirit from Hell, what is it? The priest you quote seems to be saying they are sometimes evil spirits involved but that there are also just some souls just allowed to float around. That is too odd for words, IMHO. Why would God allow that?

          Maybe I’m being thick but it doesn’t square with Catholic teaching on death, hell or heaven, for me.

          • Laura, if you can’t make sense of that at all, that proves the wisdom of the Church in forbidding Catholics without special training (such as you and I) from enquiring into such matters. Perhaps it is a pity that the topic came up if some find it disturbing, but once it had and some bloggers were assuming that diabolical agencies only could be at work in poltergeist activity, it seemed appropriate to point out that completely in line with Catholic tradition less drastic explanations are possible.

            You are right about dogmatic eschatological teaching as set out in CCC 1021, 1022, about the soul after death. However, in full accordance with Catholic tradition, God seems to allow souls to appear to the living for His own inscrutable purposes. There are many examples in scripture and tradition, especially in the lives of the saints. We are free to believe or disbelieve this. Nevertheless no less an authority than St. Thomas Aquinas says that “separated souls sometimes come forth from their abode and appear to men…”, and this can be both for “intimidation” (i.e., damned souls) or for “instruction” (i.e., redeemed souls). He also claims that souls may appear to others “in order to seek our suffrages” (i.e., souls in purgatory). Nobody is suggesting that souls are just left to ‘roam’ or ‘float around’. Thus, Catholics are free to believe, without a strict theological basis, that departed souls can and do appear to the living with God’s permission and to accomplish His purposes. If they do so appear, then it is certainly not ‘for no possible reason’.

            • Christina,

              I’m sure the souls God permits to return to Earth wouldn’t throw things around a room or send dogs 7ft up a tree!

              Sent from my iPhone

              • “I’m sure the souls God permits to return to Earth wouldn’t throw things around a room or send dogs 7ft up a tree!”

                I don’t think anyone suggested that, and I know I certainly didn’t!

                The second paragraph of my 9.13pm post is in reply to the last paragraph of Laura’s 11.04pm one. There is no connection, as far as I know, between poltergeist activity and souls that God permits to return to earth, and nor did I intend to make one. To tediously repeat what I said in my long 10.51pm post (on 14th), the former is little understood and maybe even, ‘in the case of poltergeists we are dealing with unconscious psychic powers of ‘sensitive’ individuals’ as Father Thurston suggested and Father Amorth did not rule out’. We have yet much to learn about the powers of the human mind.

                Now wakey wakey, Petrus, and if you have wakey wakeyed then stop pulling my leg 😁.

                • Christina,

                  I’ve been scratching my head following your exchanges with others, because I have never for a second doubted that poltergeist were a diabolical infestation. I’ve never heard it suggested that it could be down to “dealing with unconscious psychic powers of ‘sensitive individuals’.”

                  That just sounds like a psychological theory to me, and if it is true that a human mind could cause poltergeist activity, then what would be the point of prayers and Masses?

                  I know you have Fr Thurston SJ in high regard, but could it be that he was one of the first of the Jesuit modernists? After all, they didn’t suddenly appear at Vatican II from out of nowhere. When I read the quote you posted, it didn’t resonate with me at all as Catholic teaching.

                  I usually agree with your posts, so I am a bit sorry to have to say that I don’t agree with you on this, but hope we remain friends – LOL!

                  • I’m the same, Nicky. I think Christina is an excellent blogger, but I think she’s just wrong on this one.

                    Sent from my iPhone

                • Unconscious psychic powers? Are you pulling my leg?

                  Christina, I know I quoted Fr Amorth but we must remember that he is a Modernist. The Jesuit priest you quote was, I think, suspected of Modernism too, or so a very wise woman told me recently.

                  Sent from my iPhone

            • Christina,

              I don’t find it a “disturbing” subject – to me, the great thing about the Rutherglen story is that it proves the existence of demons and of Hell. I think it must be making those police officers think about that.

              What I find puzzling is that the priest you quote (and now yourself) seem to want to downplay the idea of the diabolical, as if there could be beings of some kind that are allowed to intimidate us like the poltergeist in the Rutherglen house, for no apparent reason.

              With due respect, I don’t think the example you quote of God allowing the souls of departed people to appear after death fits this debate. That is not the issue, because no soul is “appearing” – just throwing stuff around, switching lights off and on etc. and that seems to me to prove only one thing – that there is a devil and demons and that they do act in this way. I cannot see why that priest or anyone else, doesn’t want to allow for that fact.

              The souls of the departed “appearing to the living” does happen, as we know, from various apparitions, approved by the Church, but that is not what we are talking about here, IMHO. We are talking about souls that are not appearing but acting in a pointless way,and terrifying people.

              I can’t find anything in Catholic tradition that teaches that this is from God. We are forbidden to do anything that might encourage diabolical activity such as what has been happening in the Rutherglen house. If it was a soul that God had allowed to come to intimidate us or whatever, then there would be no need of special prayers of Masses to remove the nuisance because it wouldn’t be a nuisance if it comes from God and is part of Catholic traditional belief.

              I’m really sorry if I am being thick but short of saying this is diabolical activity at some level, I just can’t make sense of it. I’m no spring chicken and I’ve never heard of such goings on being described as anything but from the devil. As I say, death, judgment heaven or hell. That’s what I was taught – no mention of being allowed back on earth to open drawers and chuck stuff around to frighten people – LOL!

  22. I know you’re not thick, Laura, and I don’t think I am, but somewhere along the line I’ve failed to communicate, and, as I was a teacher, that’s got to have been my fault! Anyway, I’ve had it up to here with poltergeists for now, so I’m off to make mischief some place else.

    • Christina,

      “Anyway, I’ve had it up to here with poltergeists for now, so I’m off to make mischief some place else.”

      LOL!

    • RCA Victor, I checked your link and noted the reference in it, without citation, to Fr. Thurston’s opposition to the canonisation of St. Bernadette. He did write an article in The Irish Quarterly Review, December 1933, entitled ‘Bernadette of Lourdes: A very human saint’ which I have been unable to access, but which hardly sounds too hostile.

      Fr. Thurston, who was probably previously unknown to many younger bloggers, has received some criticism on this thread, thanks to my mentioning his name. As far as his opposition to the canonisation is concerned, I know that he wrote on ‘The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism’, and that he was cautious about some of these, in accordance with the mind of the Church. Of himself he wrote, in this book, explaining his sometimes sceptical stance:

      “The role of Devil’s Advocate is a thankless one and does not make for popularity, Indeed, I may confess that, when writing somewhat in the character of a doubting Thomas, I have felt at times, in spite of good intentions, that I was even playing a mean and an unworthy part.

      “Why, I have asked myself, should a skeptical line of argument be put forward which may possibly trouble the simple faith of many good people much nearer and dearer to God than I can ever hope to be? And yet in these days of widespread education, universal questioning and free discussion, a premature and ill-grounded credulity cannot in the long run be of advantage to the Church. The Christian has to be able to justify his beliefs, and adequate equipment for an encounter with rationalists or agnostics requires some previous study both of the position, which it is intended to take up and of the form of attack to which that position may be exposed”.

      His pamphlets were very popular in the wholly orthodox pre-Vat.II piety stalls and the CTS of those days, and the breadth of his learning is revealed in the many subjects he wrote on. This link, if it pastes, will give an idea of his output.

      http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=au%3AHerbert+thurston&fq=&dblist=638&start=31&qt=next_page

        • Christina,

          Sorry, I had forgotten all about this discussion, so had to remind myself what it was about. I do remember coming across Fr. Thurston’s voluminous output whilst trying to find out about him.

          I’m sorry to say that I’ve had some very personal experiences with the “unconscious psychic powers of ‘sensitive’ individuals.” That’s because from 1975-1981 I was essentially a groupie at the New York City apartment of a woman who claimed to be “psychic,” and who made her living by giving “psychic readings” and holding various discussion and prayer groups in her house.

          As I discovered years later, the numerous “psychic readings” she gave me, which I had on tape, were worthless, and I threw them all away. However, I can verify that she was indeed one of those “sensitives” mentioned by Fr. Thurston. That is, she was physically sensitive to people’s thoughts, including mine to a startling degree, could “hear” them, and was often in considerable physical pain because of them (esp. thoughts of anger, condemnation, etc.).

          For example, I clearly remember one incident where we were sitting around her table, the conversation was straying well wide of the topic, and certain people were dominating the conversation with meaningless babbling instead of letting our hostess talk. I was getting very fidgety and eventually downright angry about this meandering, and I shouted mentally “Would everyone please shut up and listen to [hostess]? No sooner had I completed the angry thought than she looked at me quite startled, her head jerked back a bit, and then she gave me a knowing smile. She had obviously heard what I had thought!

          I can also assure you that her sensitivity had nothing to do with “poltergeists,” as there were never any physical disturbances or unusual occurrences in her apartment. I don’t know how to explain the sensitivity of people like her, but it does exist – and looking back on it, I think it is quite dangerous, as the Church tells us.

          As for souls appearing to us on earth, I recently came across a tradition that certain souls in purgatory, for whom we are praying, might appear to us during the Ember Days.

          • RCA Victor,

            I would have thought that woman, the “psychic”, had powers from the devil, if she is able to read thoughts like that. Would God allow that i.e. make some people so “sensitive” in that way, that they can read our thoughts? That’s scary.

            • Laura,

              I honestly don’t know where her sensitivity came from, but I could tell you another story that would raise the hair on the back of your neck! I never sensed anything satanic about her though.

              Anyway, with all that storytelling, I forgot to state my main point, which was that, in my experience, these sensitivities are anything but subconscious or unconscious, and they have nothing to do with “poltergeists.”. This woman also had several friends with similar sensitivities, though not as acute.

              • Christina,

                I nearly answered the same way to Laura but then I got to thinking, yes, Padre Pio and St John Vianney I believe, could read souls, but isn’t that different from what psychics claim to do? Reading someone’s thoughts, or communicating from beyond the grave, doesn’t sound good to me. The saints could read souls by a special grace for the purpose of saving that soul, but is that really what psychics are all about? I could be wrong, but psychics are every religion and none, so I don’t see them in the same way as I see the saints – but please show me where I’m wrong, as I’m no expert on the paranormal – LOL!

                • Michaela,

                  ‘… but psychics are every religion and none, so I so I don’t see them in the same way as I see the saints’

                  NEITHER DO I MICHAELA!!! Sorry for shouting, but if I’ve learned anything from getting involved in this thread, which I now regret, it is that what blogger B says in response to blogger A gets somehow conflated in the minds of bloggers C, D, etc. with what blogger A has said. The result in this case might well be that I will be accused later of seeing psychics ‘in the same way as I see the saints’ because you used those words!!! I’m not getting at you, Michaela, you’re a good blogging friend, but one of the frustrating things about blogging is that most people are busy and sometimes speed-read, so that they misinterpret literal plodders like me 😞.

                  ‘Cos I have got a literal mind, and I do read things literally, trying not to ‘interpret’ what people say, but taking their words at face value. So Laura said:

                  “I would have thought that woman, the “psychic”, had powers from the devil, if she is able to read thoughts like that. Would God allow that i.e. make some people so “sensitive” in that way, that they can read our thoughts?”

                  So Laura is saying simply that she thinks the power to read thoughts must come from the Devil and asks if God would allow some people to read thoughts, and the answer is yes of course He can. He is omnipotent and all power comes from Him. What the Devil does, he does only because God allows it for His own inscrutable purposes, as we learn from the Book of Job, and that is the mystery of iniquity that we cannot fathom.

                  Next, in your post you used the words ‘read souls’ and contrasted it with ‘reading minds’. That comes, I think’ from the headline of the link. But the article itself begins with the words ‘Padre Pio of Pietrelcina manifested the ability to read minds’, and these examples it gives resemble those of RCA’s account insofar as what was in the person’s thoughts was ‘read’. No doubt Padre Pio read ‘souls’, like Jesus read the soul of the adultress at the well, but in the confessional Padre Pio read the thoughts – things actually present in the minds of people, as these examples show, and this is what I meant in my reply to Laura.

                  ‘On a May 25, a woman wanted to say happy birthday to Padre Pio, but he was too far away, so she just thought about it. A few days later, at the end of the confession: “Happy birthday. Sorry I couldn’t say it the 25th.” “But you did already.” replied Padre Pio.

                  Padre Pio was at the confessional when a woman in line was just told that there will be no more confessions for the day. She had a thought: “Father, send me a blessing, I need it.” Instantly, Padre Pio turned his head from the grille of the confessional, looked at her, made a blessing sign, and then turned his face back to the grille.’

                  Just one last thing, I’m not an expert on the paranormal, in case anyone picks up on your mentioning such folk. I just once had experiences that would make our good friend RCA Victor’s pale into insignificance and that made me afraid to go to bed, and so I read what Catholic theology permitted (we had the Index then), and prayed, so I know just a little bit about things that go bump in the night and don’t want to know more!

                  One other last thing, that’s my last word on this pesky thread!

                  • Christina,

                    I think we all take things literally, what the person writes, at face value that is why we have to check out that we have understood properly. Sorry this seems to annoy you but for me I would prefer the chance to explain more fully what I meant, as you have done, than to leave people with a wrong idea.

                    One last word – I don’t think this is a “pesky thread” because I have learned a lot from it, including from you.

                  • Christina,

                    This is all very interesting but, on balance, I think the First Commandment forbids us to dabble in psychic powers, so whether or not some saints had the power of reading minds, I still don’t like it.

                    I get your point – that you were answering Laura to show that God did allow this power to holy saints like Padre Pio, but that doesn’t mean we can approve attending psychics – however I do know that is not what you are saying! LOL! I get it! I’m just stressing that those who seem to have the power to read minds are not to be assumed that they get this power from God, except as you say in the indirect tolerance of evil which we call the permissive will of God.

                  • As anyone can tell you, I’m no saint, and hopefully they will also tell you that I’m not possessed of a devil, but I’ve often known, quite specifically, what someone was thinking**, and I’m sure most of us have experienced thinking about someone just before they ring you on the telephone – or is that just me? Should I call an exorcist?

                    Unfortunately I’m never able to transmit my thoughts to others, but my face usually does that for me.

                    **I know because I’ve checked with them.

                    • Therese,

                      I can relate to that. I remember once deciding not to pay any bills, no gas, electricity, phone, you name it and I thought “I bet they’ll start phoning me up now…”
                      Guess what – they did! Unbelievable! I could read their minds. I could just tell that they were thinking: if she won’t pay her bills, we won’t let her have the services. Bang on; the calls and letters started arriving… And when I ignored them, I just knew they would call and write again! Whiz kid, or what? Me? Moi

                      On the other hand, last night I had a call from someone who’d been asked for my phone number by a friend from the days of my youth. Yip, one of the few of the generation who still has a reasonably good memory! But I hadn’t a clue. It came as a total surprise to me, I hadn’t read her mind. 😀 Sorry, Therese, can’t resist the sarcy warky bit now and again!

                      Well, folks, I note that this thread is now a couple of months old multiplied by two (!) so I’m going to close it down tomorrow. Last chance for those who are keen to have the last word!

                      I’m still full of the cold, folks, and had one of them there days, so forgive my absence. Normal service will be resumed as soon as the Beecham’s starts to work!

                    • See Ed, I just knew you were going to post something sarky – your thoughts drifted over the miles from west to east and reached me just before I read your post. I think we can agree that that’s Proof Positive.

  23. UPDATE…

    I’ve now met with one of the priests involved in the Rutherglen house situation and he has given me permission to publish the following information, although I do not have permission to publish his identity.

    There was, indeed, new age stuff going on in the house, including Yoga. The attending clergy emphasised to the woman of the house that she had to go to Confession and make sure all of this was admitted and repented, if she wanted to put an end to the infestation.

    Father – like the others in attendance – witnessed the material (clothes etc) flying around the room and it was a very frightening experience. Father said those on the blog who said an exorcism was needed immediately, were wrong. He said “you don’t use a sledge hammer to crack a nut” and there has to be an investigation firstly, to see if there is any possible explanation apart from the diabolical.

    Having established that there was no apparent trickery of any kind, and no other explanation, the priests offered the appropriate prayers of the Church, and also offered a Mass for the soul of a deceased friend of the family who had suffered a sudden death, to eliminate the possibility of a soul seeking deliverance from Purgatory.

    Nothing has worked. Despite the efforts of several priests and a bishop, the poltergeist activity continues, and the family have decided to live elsewhere until the matter is resolved.

    Father said that now, all else having failed, it will be necessary to do an exorcism. He was surprised that one of the bloggers here had said there is an exorcist in Scotland because he, Father, doesn’t think there is, and the Church authorities are going to have to find one.

    Father said that this experience has changed him forever. He is now more acutely aware of evil and of the evil in the world which, he (rightly, I think we would all agree) considers is quickly escalating to the point of something huge happening in the world. Another priest who attended, refused to return to the house.

    This was a harrowing experience for all those involved so we should pray for them all.

    • That’s an amazing update. I felt chilled that the priests were so affected by the experience. It must be horrendous to know you are in the presence of demons. The very thought makes me shudder!

  24. ” offered a Mass for the soul of a deceased friend of the family who had suffered a sudden death, to eliminate the possibility of a soul seeking deliverance from Purgatory.”

    That’s a new one! I’ve never heard of a soul seeking deliverance from Purgatory making clothes fly around a room and sending dogs into a tree!

    I was told about 15 years ago there WAS an exorcist in Scotland. However, he could have died, moved on etc.

    • Petrus,

      The priest(s) wanted to ELIMINATE any possibility – I thought that was clear in my update so apologies if that is not the case.

      There’s no shortage of credible stories of souls appearing to seek prayers for their deliverance from Purgatory. Google to read some of them. Some are apparitions, but others are “sense” experiences, and once there has been a Mass for that soul, or a series of Masses, the phenomenon stops. Offering Mass for the deceased friend, who was young and died a sudden accidental death, was an attempt to eliminate that possibility, and, in any case, to offer the Mass, of course, for his soul.

      Whatever you were told 15 years ago, there’s no exorcist in Scotland at the present time.

      • Editor,

        Yes, I have read stories of souls appearing but not souls throwing things around. However, as this was to eliminate the possibility that makes sense.

        That’s interesting (and appalling) that there is no exorcist in Scotland. Every diocese should have one. Then again, would they find eight priests in Scotland who believed in the devil?

        Sent from my iPhone

  25. Thank you for that update, Editor. It is extremely interesting that ‘new age stuff’ was going on in that house. Catholics were always taught that ‘all dealing with the Devil and superstitious practices’ are forbidden under the first Commandment, and that indulging in the latter may form a gateway for the entry of evil spirits. One must pray that God will bring good and conversion out of the experience of these people and that He will give strength to all of His priests who may become involved.

    I was struck especially by Father’s reported words to the effect that:

    “…those on the blog who said an exorcism was needed immediately, were wrong….you don’t use a sledge hammer to crack a nut, and there has to be an investigation firstly, to see if there is any possible explanation apart from the diabolical”.

    I hope that those who posted on the topic can now accept that the Church has always been prudently cautious in these matters, and that there are possibilities other than diabolical activity involved in such disturbing events. Sadly this seems certain not to be the case here.

    It is really high time the Leonine Prayers were restored after NO Masses.

    • Christina

      I don’t think it’s a case of those who argued for an exorcism to “accept that this is not the case”. I think it’s just an opportunity to learn. I suppose lay people commenting on these types of things are a bit like passing comment on heart surgery. It’s a complex issue.

      Having said that, Fr Gabriel Amorth states that if there is doubt then an exorcism will certainly do no harm. Indeed, this is especially the case in a house that is infested. Perhaps it might fuel the behaviours of a psychopath but this wasn’t the case here. But then he is a follower of Medjugorje so he could be wrong.

      Sent from my iPhone

  26. Neither of RCA Victor’s last 2 links will come up and the reload symbol has been going round and round for ages! However, the printed word comes up okay. Any ideas anybody?

    • Lily, thank you very much. The other one was about “vexations” in a YouTube video by Fr. Gruner.

        • Lily,

          Ask Helen what caused the death of her last servant…

          Cue for a joke…

          A man hears from a doctor that his end is near so he heads over to a lawyer to write a will.

          The secretary watches as the man walks into the lawyer’s office and as three minutes later the man walks off in a huff.

          “Can I help you?” asks the secretary, dashing after the obviously upset man.

          “HELP ME? THIS GUY IS CRAZY! I asked him to help me write a will and he says to me: ‘sure, let me just ask you a few questions and then leave it all to me.’ I’ve heard before how lawyers are dishonest but this just takes the biscuit!”

    • Helen and Lily, if you’re interested I’ve put something about that link below RCA Victor’s post in which he gives it.

    • Helen

      I wouldn’t say you were dim, but I’m sending you a copy of Jokes for Dummies 😀

      The joke is that the man goes into the lawyer’s office to make his will (leaving his worldly belongings/money etc to his family etc) but when the lawyer says he’ll just ask a few questions “then you can leave it all to me” (meaning, leave the work of creating the will to me) the man interprets that as the lawyer going to take all his money for himself,… instead of “leaving [his worldly goods] to his family” the man thinks the lawyer is saying the man is leaving his money to him, the lawyer.

      Goodness, that was hard work. Remind me never to tell another joke on this blog!

      PS just dawned on me that I went to all that trouble to explain the “will/lawyer” joke, when you may mean you don’t get the joke of me telling Lily to ask you what caused the death of your last servant. Just a wee bit of fun because Lily investigated the problem of the links for you. Just kidding. Honest!

        • Helen

          Let’s take this slowly. What is it that you didn’t understand…

          1) the joke about the lawyer and the will

          OR

          2) my comment about Lily’s last servant.

          • It’s No. 2. Your comment about about Lily’s last servant.

            Sorry, I have to go as one of the bairns is howling.

            • Helen,

              I was poking fun at your request to Lily to supply the links from RCA Victor’s post. I was hinting that you could have done that yourself, instead of treating her like your servant – BUT I WAS ONLY JOKING, DON’T BE MAD!

  27. Well, I am completely at a loss. Therese posted a comment about reading people’s minds, and I submitted a reply but I cannot find either comment when I scroll. They both appear on the sidebar and when I go into “Comments” I can see both of them. I am puzzled to bits.

    If anybody else can find them, on scrolling, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll have to put up that poster again, right above my computer – the one that reads: “Of all the things I’ve ever lost, I miss my mind the most…”

    N O T I C E

    I said in my reply to Therese, that I would be closing this thread tomorrow, so if you are one of those who likes to have the last word, you’d better get a move on, since the end draweth nigh… 😀

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