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More on New Age, and I’m a filthy liar November 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.

If anyone has ever thought I have some master plan for what I post, they’re wrong, I don’t.  I just post what the Spirit (or my insatiable ego) moves me to post.  I wrote a couple of weeks ago that, as has become tradition in the northern part of the diocese, a couple of New Age endorsing speakers will be coming into local area parishes over Lent.   Those “Collin County Catholic Church Association” churches that keep bringing these folks in (thanks Cecilia and Judy!!) are this year sponsoring a speaker, Sr. Maria Schwan, to talk up “centering prayer,” while, independently, St. Joseph is bringing in a wing dinger of a New Ager, Thomas Keating’s buddy Fr. Bill Sheehan, to talk up the same.  It’s almost like there is a concerted effort going on or something, at a parish whose pastor is a Bishop! 

I’m bringing this topic up again because I received some reinforcement recently on just how dangerous this New Age stuff is.  Sharon Lee Giganti was on EWTN radio last night, and she was relating stories and taking calls on this subject.  Centering prayer is a typical “gateway”  into New Age.  It’s a form of self-hypnosis/deep “dead” meditation.   From there, many people will go onto more advanced practices like using power crystals, lighting candles set in geometric shapes (a powerful legacy of European paganism),etc.  These practices can exercise a powerful hold over people.  One caller into Ms. Giganti’s program begged for help to stop returning to New Age practices when she was stressed, threatened, etc.  She constantly wanted to go back to the candle lighting, etc, even though she has come back to the Church and is trying to live an active Catholic Faith.  Another woman named Linda Kelly had a program detailing her own experiences with New Age and what a terrible impact it had on her life.  A disturbingly large number of people who play around with this New Age stuff wind up getting demonic infestations/obsessions/possessions, and those demons can exercise a hideous control over people’s lives, as Fr. Euteneuer related repeatedly in Exorcism and the Church Militant.  Once even moderately “deep” into the lifestyle, it can be very hard to get out, either due to habit or supernatural influence.

I’m going to be frank.  There is not a huge demand for these conferences, but there is a certain set from each parish who routinely attend these conferences, mostly the same people every year.  These conferences appeal primarily to women, and, specifically, women aged 50-70.  The vast majority of parishioners have no interest in these events, even if they have knowledge of them. Even though largely the same crowd attends every year, it is likely that a number of “first-timers,” probably ranging in the dozens, gets exposed to this New Age junk every year through these conferences, and some percentage of those probably get bogged down in it as a result.  But the fact of the matter is, there is no great clamor from the pews for these events, they happen because a small group of staff at these parishes push for these New Age speakers, and, these New Age speaker events have been going on so long, they’ve virtually become a tradition.   In addition, some of the pastors of the 5 parishes that make up the “Collin County Catholic Churches Association” have been, how should I say……..rather well disposed towards having these speakers come in (the parishes are Prince of Peace, St. Mark, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, all in Plano, St. Joseph in Richardson and Our Lady of Angels in Allen).  Certainly, Msgr. Petter of St. Elizabeth Seton expressed to me excitement that Sr. Rupp came last year, and Prince of Peace and its former long time pastor Msgr. James Balint are well known in the area for being heterodox and open to theological novelties like New Age.  The former pastor of St. Joseph in Richardson, Msgr. Don Fischer, who retired in June, was similarly disposed.   The reason why I’m providing all this background, which, I am certain  my detractors will say is “gossip,” is that its important to know why these events keep happening.  While these events have a certain popularity with a narrow subset of the membership of these churches, it is known that there is also genuine desire for more orthodox (or, if you prefer, authentic) Catholic speakers at these parishes, and yet efforts over periods of years to bring in speakers of a different caliber seem to meet with the same result year after year: nil (I am not including St. Anthony in Wylie and their almost uniformly excellent speakers/conferences in this analysis, due to the fact that Wylie is pretty far out in the diocese).

I am genuinely concerned for the state of the souls of those who attend conferences like these upcoming New Age talks.  I have been assured that our Ordinary, Bishop Farrell, always reviews and approves these speakers.  I was told that last year with regard to Sr. Joyce Rupp’s conference.  I think his approval was meant to assure me that she was fine.  The widely available evidence did not support that view.  These currently planned conferences are even more blatant in their focus on New Age practices – both focus on using centering prayer techniques that the Vatican and numerous other Catholic sources have specifically warned against for years.  I am doubly concerned that these conferences are becoming viewed as “part of the fabric” of life in the diocese, a tradition, and that the parish of the Auxiliary Bishop with the highest administrative perview in the Diocese, Bishop Deshotel, is hosting a veritable paragon of “Catholic New Age” in this Fr. Sheehan.  If one did not know better, judging by the apparent ecclesial support these new age conferences enjoy, one might get the impression that new age is becoming part of the recommended practice for Catholics in this Diocese.

 More than likely, the worst that will happen is that more Catholics will get more lousy catechesis and more distancing from a full, tradtionally authentic practice of the Faith, but the more I read about New Age, the more dangerous I realize it is for the faith lives and the very state of the souls of those who participate in events like this.

If you feel strongly that this isn’t right, you might, in your charity, consider contacting those involved in hosting these confereces.  If you do, please do so charitably, without foul language or extreme rhetoric like comparisons to demons, etc. 

Mary Edlund   Chancellor, Dallas Diocese   chancellor@cathdal.org 214-379-2819

Elsa Espinoza, Secretary, Bishop Kevin Farrell: eespinoz@cathdal.org 214-379-2816

St. Mark Parish
Father Cliff Smith – cgsmith49@aol.com or 972 423-5600

St. Joseph Parish

Pastor – Bishop Doug Deshotel (972)231-2951


Keep praying!

Oh, and yesterday I said I wasn’t going to be confrontational!  That’s why I’m a liar!  Forgive me, Lord!  You know I love You!


1. thewhitelilyblog - November 30, 2010

Oh I’m calling, all right. And emailing,too. You are absolutely right about the souls being lost. Maybe things have reached such a point in the Church that ‘they’ will listen, whereas ten years ago, not so much. Keep it up.

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