On Corpus Christi and Refuting New Age Dogma

 

 

Today it is Corpus Christi.

And recently we observed at this weblog:

“New Age culture moves in lockstep with the modern, liberal culture. And like that culture, it has little time for Christian understandings of the Fall, evil and sin. It tends very much to share the secular supposition of ‘Original Innocence’.

Like the secular world, it considers tradition and authority passé now. Rather than being universal, its spirituality is bound to the modern and particularly Anglo-American West. And just like that formerly Protestant culture, it excludes – reflexively – Catholic tradition from its ‘universal’ scope.

If we seek to guard the Catholic tradition, the growing New Age milieu demands something from us.

The task it demands is not aggressive arguments with New Agers. Rather, the primary work may be simply this: helping New Agers realise that they are making a decision.

Because New Agers are often entirely unconscious that they are making a very profound choice. Believing in their universalism, they do not readily see that choice. They do not readily see that they have chosen one particular spiritual approach – whilst utterly rejecting another.”

Today it is Corpus Christi and today is a day to ponder what it really is that separates the Catholic Faith from the New Age.

Let me explain.

The mindtrap of the New Age is that it genuinely believes in its universal, inclusive nature.

For the New Age proclaims a single, universal spirituality – which supposedly transcends every religion and which supposedly religion limits and distorts.

Indeed, although the New Age frequently disclaims any religious doctrines, here is its first fundamental dogma. It is the dogma that the New Age represents a superior, single, spiritual path which is only compromised by inferior, divided religions.

This dogma then solemnly decrees that the more one ‘transcends’ the separate, divisive religions, the more one achieves the ‘great universal truth’ that limited religion conceals.

And it is this New Age dogma which tends – at very least! – to render sincere New Agers blind to Catholicism.

For the idea that the Catholic Mystery might offer something truly different to their ‘holistic’ spirituality is likely to bowl New Agers over. Here is what I meant when I said that New Agers have often no idea about the very profound choice they are making in opting for so-called ‘holistic spirituality’.

There is a largely unconscious chain of reasoning in effect here – reasoning from false premises. It runs something like this:

First – i) There is fundamentally only one spiritual path.

ii) New Agers possess that path –  and therefore:

iii) It follows – ipso facto – that the New Age already offers whatever is true and real within Christianity.

Self-assured that the Catholic faith can offer nothing of real importance beyond the New Age, Catholicism becomes nothing but irrelevant trappings.

‘Window-dressing’ is how one old colleague of mine described it.

When she said that to me, she was, in fact, trying to be ecumenically sensitive. She was, in effect, telling me that our differences (meaning my very different Catholic views) posed no problem to her – because such differences were simply cosmetic.

Of course, she and I believed the same thing behind the ‘window dressing’.

In her well-meant attempt at sensitivity, she had no idea she was trashing everything to which I have committed my life in turning my back on the New Age.

For here is my dictionary’s definition of window-dressing:

“A means of improving appearances or creating a falsely favourable impression.”

Catholicism is not window dressing for the ‘universal New Age path’.

Dear old New Age friends, how often you mean well! But how often you fail to existentially confront what is truly at stake here.

I have not left you behind to pursue cosmetic ‘window dressing’ for what I already experienced as a New Ager.

I have left the New Age behind because I found something in the Holy Church and Her Holy Sacraments that two decades of New Age-ism never gave me and never could give me …

Twenty years of things like Findhorn, psychotherapy, theosophy, astrology, spiritual healing, Alice Bailey, Richard Moss, David Spangler, William Bloom, Krishnamurti and other New Age teachers never gave me and could never give me anything like this deepening communion with His Body, His Blood …

The possibility of communion with His Body – this is what we celebrate and venerate on this feast of Corpus Christi.

And the Corpus Christi is not window-dressing for the ‘great, universal New Age’…

 

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3 Comments

  1. Linus
    Posted 13 June 2013 at 23:24 | Permalink

    Very good!
    I think we must also realize that what is at stake in this particular conflict is western civilization itself as we’re come to known it because the new age beliefs rapidly spread coincidence with the general hedonism and would not have been able to gather such a hold on the western psyche had it not been for the dominant relativistic ideology that permeates everything in our cultures.
    First it must be reaffirmed that there are in fact absolute truths and that the Incarnation is that very truth & why, all in an accessible manner for the western mindset.

    We must also be able to effectively counter te very accessible & practical spiritual exercises offered by new age beliefs like eastern meditations & yoga with christian counterparts that will give just as good effects short term but guarantees long term superior spiritual benefits because of the fact that it is a developing relationship with the one true God who permeates all of reality. Eastern orthodox hesychasm & St Gregory of Palamas theology of essence & energies seems particularly in line with the current mindsetd frame of reference & preferences when it comes to theology as it speaks of a christian theology but in a way that I think would be attractive to the seekers of God who ended up in new ageism.
    Also, i think new age beliefs themselves are a rebellion of sorts to the very western/latin & post latin-christendoms theological & philosophical tradition that has been completely centred upon logic & reason ala scholasticism.
    Why dont catholic writers do a book on Angels & Angelic hierarchies for example when there’s such a hunger for it? Thats only one of many many openings. New ageism is gnosticism in a newer formb& it can be overcome but not without serious theological work by pro’s who can package is in a way that wont put people off. Fundamental for the belief kn the christian revelation is a belief in that the Bible is the word of God & evangelizers should concentrate on proving why it not just spiritual allegory to the seekers & when this belief is held, the Catholic Faith will only seem like a logical & fuller continuation of this belief.

    This is a daunting task that christians have before them

  2. Posted 4 July 2013 at 01:45 | Permalink

    Right on spot Roger, though I’d add that another problem of New Agers is that they fail to realize that wether you believe all religions are valid or not, all religions are “absolute” in the sense that even if more than one religion are valid spiritual paths, you cannot mix them. For example, Islam says Jesus is not God, Catholicism says he his. Islam says you shouldn’t pray to Saints, Catholicism encourages to do so. So, even if we admit that Islam may be a valid religion, then you can be Catholic or Muslim, but not both, you cannot mix them without falling into incoherence, fallacy, heresy and sin. Also, beyond any claims of validity, each religion is particularly adapted to the psychophysical constitution of it’s practitioners, thus New Agers praying the Pater and then reciting some Hindu Mantras are not only risking their Spiritual Salvation and well being but they are exposing their minds and bodies to severe imbalances that may lead to terrible consecuencies. You can see that in the many practitioners of Yoga in the Western world. So, my point is, New Agers not only compromise their eternal Salvation but their Temporal health as well.

    Blessings in Christ and Mary,

    Senko

  3. Posted 2 September 2013 at 17:49 | Permalink

    Linus, Juan – a very belated thank you to these comments at the site.

    Due to personal difficulties, I have hardly been able to put any time into this site (apart from posting some pre-written things – extracts from my book).

    Both of you say meaningful things, I think, regarding both the danger of syncretism and the value and importance of being rooted in a basis beyond relativism – which, of course, is not a basis one can ‘root’ oneself in at all!

    Also Linus what you say about the Church needing to respond to the contemporary hunger for the supernatural – a natural consequence of our arid, materialistic civilisation – with writings about the hierarchies of angels is a point very well taken.

    Again, sorry this simple acknowledgment took so long. Not an easy time, but this site should shortly be returning to some kind of life again …

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