Dear Editor, I refer to criticism levelled at Bishop Phonsie Cullinan concerning yoga in Catholic schools. Catholic bishops as direct successors of the apostles have a duty of pastoral care by teaching and upholding the Catholicism which comes to us from the apostles themselves, commissioned by Jesus.
Regrettably, the laity has largely been left without timely guidance from Catholic clergy on yoga and other New Age practises, despite readily available Church guidelines.
Both Hinduism and Buddhism inform yoga, despite contrary claims. Originally employed as an ascetic ritual by both traditions it enabled people to undergo a series of reincarnations before achieving Nirvana, a state of Enlightenment, without suffering, or desire: rather a sense of emptiness. In Buddhism, this is believed to happen when people are released from Samsara, a constant cycle of death and re-birth.
The ‘om’ Hindu syllable is used to induce a trance like state. This ostensibly leads to a higher spiritual awareness, union with the ‘Inner Self’, or the Supreme Self, ultimately with the Hindu god, Brahman.
Clearly, performing healthy exercises without religious or philosophical connotations does not conflict with Catholicism. However, mantras used in yoga indicate meditation and self realisation techniques at variance with Catholic teaching. In A Call to Vigilance, Archbishop Carrera (1996) states that “the physical and spiritual connotations of yoga cannot be fully separated: therefore, their occultic meaning remains unchanged”.
Clients are often unaware of side effects. This applies in particular to Kundalini yoga.
Notably, the 1989, Vatican document entitled A Letter to…Bishops of the Catholic Church…Some Aspects of Meditation cautions against exercises involving prayer and meditation which do not have the Trinitarian God at their heart.
Julie Walsh Power,
What’s the price for being pro-choice and Catholic?
Dear Editor, Great play is given these days to health statistics. Deaths due to smoking, cancer, heart disease and obesity are often quoted, but at near 56 million deaths annually, the worldwide loss of life from abortion exceeds deaths due to the aforementioned causes combined.
The Church has always proclaimed that abortion is murder but now we have the deplorable actions of nationalist politicians advocating intrinsically evil acts by failing to prevent the imposition of abortion in Northern Ireland.
This scandalous behaviour of politicians, who claim to be Catholics, while flouting the Church’s teaching, arouses anger and frustration among the faithful.
Why do our bishops allow Catholic politicians who actively endorse and support a serious immoral act involving grave matter to receive Holy Communion?
Bishops have a solemn and sacred duty to make certain that those entrusted to their pastoral care are aware of the moral gravity and spiritual consequences of their actions and a serious obligation to protect other parishioners from being misled by appearing to be tolerant of this behaviour of some Catholics in public life.
Bishops must attempt to speak with such people and, if they persist in their actions, then they should be told not to present themselves to receive Holy Communion.
The bishops should implement the Canon so that priests and extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are authorised to withhold the sacrament
What we need are bishops who are unafraid to use the methods at their disposal to protect the faith of believers.
If they teach by their example that a Catholic politician can vote and advocate for abortion and remain a Catholic in good standing, they should remove themselves and let other bishops lead who would be willing to correct such ‘Catholic’ politicians and deny them Holy Communion.
Flexibility on vexed issue needed
Dear Editor, Bishop Dermot Farrell has said that the vocations crisis is really a crisis of faith that will not be solved by making celibacy optional (IC 14/11/19)). But is it really a case of either or? Surely some flexibility regarding the rules of celibacy and perhaps even women deacons, might add to our parish ministry teams, in undertaking the important work of evangelisation.
The days of visiting schools to encourage teenagers to consider the priesthood and a lifelong commitment to celibacy are gone. But encouraging more older married men to consider ministry is still an option and there are no theological reasons preventing this, other than tradition. At this stage within the Irish Church, it is surely all hands on deck to ensure the radical and positive Gospel message gets heard, among the liberal din of individualism.
Templeogue, Dublin 16.
As described in an interview, is archbishop truly a ‘great guy’?
Dear Editor, I was not aware until listening to Dr Peter Boylan on the Marion Finucane radio programme last Saturday that Archbishop Martin had approved the transfer of the St Vincent’s Hospital group from the sisters of charity into the hands of the state. How can this be? Surely he is aware that by this approval he is shaking hands with the devil? Is this why Dr Boylan referred to him as a “great guy”?