New Age Spirituality

A Catholic Critique of New Age Spirituality

At the dawn of the 21st Century, the post-modern milieu of Western culture accommodates innumerable practices with real or alleged roots in ancient religions of both East and West. The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and good in other religions – but many practices are incompatible with Catholic faith and morals.

Sometimes the factors which make a ‘New Age’ practice incompatible with Catholicism are obvious, but often the problematic elements are very subtle. In these writings, I am attempting to discern the warning signs which show when a New Age practice cannot be reconciled with Christianity; and therefore, where every Catholic who seeks to honour the triune God alone, must draw the line.

A Checklist for Catholic Use of New Age Practices

  • New Age A5 LeafletAbstract: An A5 leaflet, intelligible to the lay Catholic, which gives a good guide to discernment of many practices.
  • New Age Rosaries?Abstract: Are common plastic rosaries tainted by New Age imagery? To the best of my knowledge, NO!

Christians and the New Age

  • New Age Sheet – one side of A4Abstract: This A4 sheet was commissioned by the Community of Grace (no longer active on the web) as an easy-to-read information leaflet for young people.

Framing a Catholic Response to the New Age Movement

  • New Age Research PaperAbstract: My full (unpublished) research paper, exploring the moral dimensions of New Age Practices. Fairly technical.

Critique of Reiki

  • A Catholic Critique of the Healing Art of ReikiAbstract: Reiki, like many Eastern healing techniques, relies on belief in the flow of an ‘energy’ – ki – around the human body. It is difficult to determine empirically whether such energy exists and if so, what its true nature is. Nevertheless, most Reiki practitioners believe this energy to be spiritual; and since involvement in a spiritual practice outside God’s revelation is forbidden to Catholics, Reiki on this basis appears to be incompatible with Catholicism.
  • See also these 2009 Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki from the US Catholic Bishops.