Boston Archdiocese Offers Yoga

The Boston Archdiocese is offering a yoga class at the Pastoral Center.

As most people know, yoga  (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग, yoga) is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India.We reference the definition in wikipedia:

The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on the Hindu concept of divinity or Brahman. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.

Here is the email notice sent by Carol Gustavson, benefits administrator, to Pastoral Center employees promoting the program:

Subject: yoga sessions at the Pastoral Center

Good morning – following up on the wellness theme presented at this month’s staff meeting, and in honor of Richard Ely, who was a dedicated student of yoga, we hope to have a series of yoga sessions starting at the Pastoral Center in the near future.  The proposed structure is as follows:

*4-6 sessions (approximately one hour each) on Tuesday evenings at 5:00 pm

*instruction provided by a local yoga instructor

*fees to be paid directly to the instructor in advance to cover all sessions; approximate amount $10/session

*bring your own mat and other optional equipment

No prior yoga experience is required, just an interest in increasing the fitness level of your body and mind.  If you have an interest in joining us for this series, please let me know by Friday, March 2.  Once we have a headcount, we will determine the actual cost and the start date for the sessions.

It should be noted that the current pope, Benedict XVI, previously issued a document in 1999, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation,” published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1999) stating that “Eastern” practices such as yoga, Zen, and transcendental meditation posed a danger, in that they could “degenerate into a cult of the body” that edged out “the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit.”  Yoga poses could create a feeling of well-being in the body but it was erroneous to confuse that with “the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit,” the document said.

This article, by the late Fr. John Hardon entitled, “Why is yoga incompatible with Catholicism” says:

Yoga is incompatible with Catholicism because the best known practice of Hindu spirituality is Yoga. “Inner” Hinduism professes pantheism, which denies that there is only one infinite Being who created the world out of nothing.

Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who for years was the Vatican’s chief exorcist has said yoga is Satanic because it leads to a worship of Hinduism and “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation.”  “Practising yoga is Satanic,” he said.

This article at Catholic Culture, “Yoga — Health or Stealth?” by a former advanced yoga practitioner merits reading:

At its best, yoga is a very beautiful and intricate system devised thousands of years ago to mimic the states and powers of saints in order to attain their virtue. At its worst, it is a tool of hidden and dangerous power that destroys minds and lives. At its heart, it is nothing more than a flawed shadow of the truth in comparison to the power of the Paschal Mystery and the sacraments. In any light, it is now incontrovertibly incompatible with and antithetical to the Christian walk.

In closing, yoga and all New Age practices have filled the void that exists because we abandoned the greatest source of bliss and comfort, the Eucharist. A return to the Eucharist and a renewed program of instruction on contemplative prayer will bring many Catholics back from these deceptively beautiful practices and philosophies.

BCI could go on and on about why offering yoga at the Pastoral Center is a bad idea.  Defenders and sponsors will say they have a “Catholic” yoga instructor, they have removed any poses or references to Buddhism, and are doing this for health and wellness purposes.

Bull.  That is merely perfuming the pig, as it were. If they want relaxation for all of the stressed-out Pastoral Center employees making $150K+/year or the dozens who are underpaid, then offer something other than yoga.

BCI consulted a prominent Catholic exorcist regarding the situation and got a response that relaxation is not bad, but, “The trouble is if invoked beings, energies, and especially if we put our heart, our trust in anything, as more effective than God, there the devil can infiltrate and mislead, pushing people away from God, and bringing them to sin. I do not see it, personally, that the Catholic Church should be used for other purposes outside of prayer, meditation of the word, etc.”

As an aside, we are troubled by the U.S. Government imposing a requirement to pay for contraception on Catholic organizations against our consciences, but it is somehow OK to voluntarily bring yoga into the Pastoral Center, which the CDF warned, could “degenerate into a cult of the body”?

This yoga class is apparently happening under the noses of, and with the approval of Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Vicar General Msgr. Deeley. Call the Vicar General at 617-746-5619 or email vicar_general@rcab.org to complain about this.

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147 Responses to Boston Archdiocese Offers Yoga

  1. This fact should be sent to the pope. Can we trust those who surround him either? Some of the people who had positions at the vatican -(from America) had endorsed Romney for president at the very beginning of the campaign! This was announced on EWTN news and I have suspended my donations until I see improvement in Arroyo’s choice of people he has on his show. Does he manage the news segment?
    Romney has been proven a liar and Obama’s adm has taken exactly all aspects of the Romney rule in Mass -even down to ignoring the law (giving illegal permits for gays to marry)the healthcare bill (not allowing catholics to opt out) and lieing profusely about all of this.
    How can we know about people over there and if the pope gets the info he should have!??

  2. Boston priest says:

    BCI,
    Excellent post! I heard about this from a parishioner who worrks at the pastoral center and was planning to attend the yoga class. I advised against it for similar reasons as BCI has cited. Those offering this are terribly misguided to believe you can somehow create a “Catholic” version of a Hindu practice. If Msgr Deeley, who worked for the CDF for years, is aware of this and is permitting it, that says BCI’s hope for him is misplaced.

  3. Jack O'Malley says:

    And the gospel this Sunday is from the Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit: भगवद्गीता, Song of God):

    At that time, Lord Krishna said to his disciples, go ye and teach all nations the contemplation of the navel. Is there not more wisdom in the fingernail (Sanskrit: करभू) of a Brahman than on the elbow (Sanskrit: कफोणिगुड) of a Kshatriya? And when Vishnu approacheth in his chariot (Sanskrit: विष्णुरथ), will he find a cosmic traffic jam? And truly I say to you, is traffic jam better sustenance for the soul than traffic marmalade? And when Shiva the Destroyer cometh and destroyeth the world, will he find faith in the world? Lo, I say unto you he shall not, for he shall destroy the world and all the faithful together. And all shall find annihilation (Sanskrit: निर्वाण) together. This is the word of the Lord (Sanskrit: अहं कृष्णः, I am Krishna, speaking)

    And I ask all parishioners to open their hearts and their pocketbooks for the fourth collection today which will be for Mary Grassa O’Neill, who is in severe financial straits and cannot afford the price of yoga classes. So let us show her good ecumenical Catholic-Hindu charity (Sanskrit: भैक्ष) so that no pastoral center navel may go uncontemplated.

    • teddyballgame says:

      O’malley,
      This is good!!!

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Thank you, Teddy.

      But I gotta admonish you in good conscience that it is neither just nor charitable to imply that the Holy Father was shooting down American planes.

      Based upon my extensive reading in the history of the papacy, I can safely say that you don’t get to be pope by being a straight shooter. Starting with St. Pete himself.

      All I can say is that if Seán Yogi O’Malley is going to sit cross-legged on the floor and stare at the tip of his nose chanting “Om” in a psalm tone, you will find me doing tai chi outside the Arch Street chapel every morning before the 7 o’clock mass.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      That didn’t read the way I intended. The joke about “straight shooter” wasn’t meant to negate my admonishment of Teddy’s claims about the Holy Father.

      For the record, I completely endorse what Bill Redmond and A Priest have written below.

  4. teddyballgame says:

    BCI,
    90% of your blog is right on the money. However, this one is dumb and could affect your credibility. BTW, because Joseph Ratzinger made his pronouncement against yoga 13 years ago doesn’t make him right. He’s the kid who was a member of Hitler Youth (age 14 & 15) and was later a member of a German antiaircraft unit from 1943 to 1946. Do you think he shot down any of our planes? For the then Cardinal to be casting aspersions about yoga is a tad disingenuous given his past.

    • Bill Redmond says:

      Teddy,

      Come on man, Have you lost your head?

      BTW – In your off point criticism you forgot to claim that the pope also changed the church teaching on condoms.

      • teddyballgame says:

        Bill,
        How is this off point? I have a problem trusting someone who for 4 years was involved with Nazi Germany. He thinks Yoga is bad but shooting at liberating American aircraft is ok. So what if he was only 18—-I guarantee, there were 18 year old crewmen on those planes. Those kids were smart enough to oppose the Nazi punks, but Ratzinger was not?

      • Bill Redmond says:

        The other comments do a fine job of explaining why it is off point.

    • A Priest says:

      “Teddy”

      You can agree or disagree about the yoga but to say a 15 year old in Nazi Germany had a choice about the “Hitler Youth” is way off base and you’re letting some red herring paint your world view on this Pope. The Pope and his family did what they could to not participate in Nazi activity and any cursory research would show that…do your homework before you criticize. Please.

      Loyal Priest

      • Lick King says:

        The man lost a cousin with Downs Syndrome to the Nazis, I really doubt he was a willing member. Nothing angers me more than people saying how they’d have done things differently, and 70 years after the fact too. Quite brave.

      • teddyballgame says:

        Father,
        Some cursory research would show that Joseph Ratzinger was 15 when he was drafted into Hitler Youth. However, when the war ended, he was an anti-aircraft gunner aged 18. The war in Europe ended in May 1945 and he was born April 1927 = 18 years old.

      • Perhaps it was unclear from our previous response, so we will say it one more time–this post is not about the Holy Father-it is about yoga sponsored by the Boston Archdiocese.

        If you have issues with Pope Benedict XVI–including from when he was 14 or 18 years old–kindly take them to another venue.

    • teddyballgame,

      If you have issues with the Holy Father, you will need to take them to another venue.

      The topic of the blog post is whether the Boston Archdiocese should be offering yoga, so we ask all readers to stick to that topic. The argument is that engaging in these exercises is spiritually dangerous, as the practitioner is very likely–intentionally or not intentionally–exposing him or herself to demonic influences. It seems those advocating for this would suggest that you can somehow separate the movements from the meditation, but others would argue that any pagan practice opens oneself to demonic influence.

      An analogy from this site: if an atheist took Eucharist, the true Body of Christ, and simply said “I don’t believe it,” it’s still real and he still blasphemes the Body. We can’t just say “I don’t believe it” or “I’m thinking of God” and practice yoga “safely.” “Yoga is by its very nature a Hindu religious practice. Yoga is not primarily about limbering up the body; it is about using physical means to achieve a spiritual end. So the question of separating the physical from the spiritual in Yoga is really a contradiction in terms.*

      You can do any variety of stretching exercises and many work. If you believe it is permissible for the Catholic Boston Archdiocese to offer and promote a program that opens people up to potential temptation, you are entitled to that opinion. But it is the position of this blog and countless others that is it a bad idea and should be halted.

      • teddyballgame says:

        BCI,
        Only reason I picked on the Pope is that BCI cited him as the authority who has condemned Yoga. My only point is that someone who was in the German army during WWII may be a little confused as to what is right and wrong. BTW, where is his ecumenical spirit? If he condemns yoga It appears that he is condemning the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduhism.

      • Teddy, You continue to keep trying to change the subject away from the topic of the post, and that is becoming increasingly annoying–and time consuming for BCI to respond.

        This blog is faithful to the teachings of the Church as handed down by the Magisterium of the Church. That includes the letter by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. If you have issues with the teaching authority of the Catholic Church and the Holy Father, this blog is the wrong place for you. If you continue on this path, all future comments by you will be moderated. This is your final warning.

      • alex says:

        I totally agree with you. As a former Hindu I know the dangers of syncretism. White-washing any formal psychophysical/spiritual practices from another religion, for “health benefits” is dangerous and unjustified. We Christians must stop looking to the East for relaxation, fitness or some combination of the two. The Hindu cult I was in loved to say that one could be a Christian and a Hindu…how convenient. We are supposed to KNOW BETTER! There is along Catholic tradition of meditation/contemplation, especially in Carmelite tradition (St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.) And there are plenty of “secular” exercise systems for relaxing/strengthening the body (eg., aerobic dance, Zumba,). Practices that do not require even a hint of eastern spiritual influence. Don’t be Fooled!

    • daisy says:

      Teddy what was a 15-18 year old supposed to do? Refuse and get shot? None of us, if we’re honest would’ve done any differently.

      • teddyballgame says:

        Daisy,
        I would have done just what he did—join up. However I’m not the Pope. Popes should not be former German soldiers.

      • teddyballgame says:

        BCI

        Not trying to change the subject. Just trying to impeach one of the authorities on yoga—The Pope

      • Bill Redmond says:

        a) Impeach the Pope in general.
        b) Impeach what he says about yoga.

        If you do (a), then who becomes your pope, you?

        You have not done (b).

      • teddyballgame says:

        Redmond,
        Didn’t you see the “final warning” I received? If you keep this up the authorities at BCI will shut you off!

    • Cecily says:

      Be very careful about bearing false witness. A bit of aged wisdom in the internet age for you teddy is “Verify before you vilify”.
      Mt:15:18 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile.”

  5. Shawn says:

    Is anyone shocked by the actions of this Archdiocese?

    I believe the “The Wanderer” once wrote that yoga
    leads to in-differentism, which lead to no longer being a
    Roman Catholic.

  6. Anni says:

    From what I have read about yoga, in the minds of most practitioners and teachers, it is not possible to separate the physical posture from the “intent”, which is a state of “mindfulness” through self-fulfillment and enlightenment. Some postures and gestures have great meaning for us as Catholics, such as the Sign of the Cross and genuflecting. They mean something, and we cannot divorce the posture or gesture from its meaning. It is difficult to understand how people say that they can practice yoga and divorce themselves from the meaning. The “sun salutation”, for example, is a form of sun worship, with a mantra said at each of the twelve positions.

    The main purpose of Buddhist meditation is to focus inward, on self and on achieving unity with the universe. The main purpose of Catholic Christian meditation is to focus on the mysteries of Christ and on our salvation. There is no divine savior in Buddhism, which is what makes Buddhist practices incompatible with Catholicism. The Buddhist can find peace in harmony with the universe completely within him or herself. Christians know that true inner peace comes only when we are in harmony with God our Creator and our Savior. That is the BIG difference.

    My concern with people who are practicing “innocent” yoga for the “exercise” is that they will not be able to separate the ritual from the practice that leads to meditation and self-realization.

    There are a lot of good exercise systems out there that incorporate stretching and balance and that do not buy into the psychic baggage that is inherent in the practice of yoga.

    Sometimes when we leave the door open just a little bit the devil can come in whether we invite him or not.

  7. You got to be kidding me! I’m seriously considering writing to Pope Benedict about this.

  8. Anni says:

    Another thought…

    You cannot “go through the motions” and convince yourself that it means nothing. Recall Eleazar, the old man in 2 Maccabees 6, whose friends tried to convince him that he could “pretend” to eat pork and thus save his life. Eleazar understood that you can’t pretend. The external action is symbolic.

  9. YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

    Not everyone is opposed, nor do they see it as antagonistic to Catholicism:

    http://www.americancatholic.org/news/report.aspx?id=3579

    Most people today do not view yoga as a religious practice at all. Rather, it is a a way of decompressing from the chaos of the day’s residue.

  10. FYI says:

    The Pastoral Center is not alone among local Catholic institutions offering Yoga. The Benedictine Monks at Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham offer weekly Yoga classes to the public. A sign prominently posted at the entrance to the Abbey property announces this program.

    • FYI, BCI is aware that other Catholic groups offer yoga. So what? That does not make it right or approproate.

      If you read the arguments in the blog post, the question is: Is it approproate for this archdiocese to offer yoga? BCI would argue the answer is NO.

  11. Catholicyogi says:

    Namaste!

  12. Newt says:

    The body meditation known as Yoga is, like Tai Chi, a form of tantrism which is a system of female-centered sex worship.

    Tantrism
    1. the teachings of the Tantras, Sanskrit religious writings concerned with mysticism and magic rituals.
    2. the beliefs and practices of Hindu adherents to the Tantras in place of the Vedas, especially magic rituals for healing, averting evil, and union with
    the female creative principle. — Tantrist,

    See also

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantra#Relation_to_Yoga

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      It was probably not a good idea to reveal this connection. Now there will be a clamor for Kama Sutra instruction at the chancery.

      I would advise against it. In my youth I attempted the practice of the, errrr, “exercises” in that hoary and venerable volume. That is, at least until I threw out my back, sprained a wrist, and dislocated a hip. It was not for me. My lithe, svelte, and conveniently double-jointed girl friend was a natural. I still get knee pain when it rains in Calcutta.

      Namaste, Oy veh!

  13. julia says:

    http://WWW.CHRISTIANANSWERSFORTHENEWAGE.ORG check this website out it speaks to this issue and others that find their way into the Catholic Church.

  14. julia says:

    On http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org be sure to click on “About Cana”….and read Marcia’s story.

  15. Johan says:

    Well, Yoga *is* more relaxing than watching a rock band invade the sancturay of the cathedral, isn’t it?

    Maybe BCI should say something about this, as well…

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

      Not sure BCI will ever talk about that. Nor am I sure he should.. I suspect we are both thinking of the same concert. Now that shocked me. I don’t shock easily. The content of the concert was not as objectionable to me as the fact that they charged admission to a RC church.

      • Thanks for your comments. Writing a blog takes a lot of time, and BCI does not have the capacity to write about every single thing that happens in the Boston Archdiocese.

        BCI is aware of a recent concert at the Cathedral featuring one of the Irish Tenors, for which admission was charged. That was not a “rock band.” There are the equivalent of “rock bands” in many parishes doing LifeTeen ministry or providing music at Sunday Masses. Though BCI is not a fan of rock bands in the sanctuary or rock music during the liturgy, this happens so often and has been going on for so many years that we have not felt it was particularly newsworthy or timely for us to cover. Should BCI report on rock music in every church where that accompanies a liturgy? Why not bad liturgical music too? Why not ugly church architecture while we are at it?

      • Johan says:

        Not the tenors. But the LifeTeen rock music. C’mon, BCI, didn’t the “then-Cardinal Ratzinger” have something to say about Rock Music? Oh! And doesn’t the current Pope have something to say about liturgial music? Alas! I bet the bottom dollar that the professionals will say that, since the Pope is not a “liturgist,” what he says doesn’t matter (at least, when it come to liturgical matters).

        Yes. Several parishes are manifestly oppressed by this Rock Music at Mass, and, as you say, you just don’t have the time to blog about it. But honestly, BCI, how many Cathedrals are oppressed by such Rock Music?

        Go to the Ordinary’s Blog. Search and you will find digital pictures of the sanctuary of the Cathedral – the Cathedral, I say! – taken over by a Rock Band, in the dark and surrouned by candles.

        If this is not a HUGE archdiocean problem, then nothing is, and it’s time to close shop at BCI.

    • jwsr says:

      I think Johan is talking about The God of this City Tour. Admittedly not a fan, and find the whole operation of questionable value, but they DO get kids to Confession.

      Once that awful music stops

      • Johan and jwsr,
        Thank you for your comments. Johan, it is not clear if you are new to the blog, or if you have been reading for a while and just now chose to comment for the first time.

        BCI is familiar with what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote about secular “rock music” in his book, “Spirit of the Liturgy,” published in 2000. We also agree with his perspectives on sacred music. The praise-and-worship style music you refer to has been a staple in youth and young adult ministry for decades, and as jwsr observed, it does get young people to Confession, and to prayer before the Eucharist. BCI is not a fan of this type of loud Christian rock music in Church, but we cannot find something in Catholic Church teachings that says it is contrary to Church teachings or is morally wrong. For you to comment for the first time here on the topic of the “God of this City” tour and suggest that it is time to “close shop at BCI” because we have not dropped everything to blog about the praise-and-worship rock music in the sanctuary of the Cathedral seems extreme.

      • Johan says:

        You’ve lost me BCI. The Sanctuary was once reserved for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. You don’t seem to have a problem reserving it now for a Rock Band – which becomes the source, center, and summit of the liturgical action of some of these Life Teen innovations.

        I agree, Yoga is a problem. But it will probably take place in some little room with about 5 people. The Rock Band will reign in the Cathedral over hundreds of people. This is corruption.

        Oh! It gets them to the Eucharist and Confession?? Well, I suppose it’s good then. Brainwashing likewise can get people to the Eucharist and Confession – do you recommend we do that, BCI?

        Alas. I had been an avid follower of BCI, thinking that you guys are exposing corruption. But I see now: BCI = RCAB You’re the same as the Pastoral Center at Braintree. How can I say that? You will tolerate corruption if it keeps the church afloat.

      • Stephen says:

        BCI,
        PLEASE do not let Johan’s point die.
        Yoga and Life Teen are absolutely kindred spirits.
        The roots of Life Teen will make your jaw drop.
        Modernist thinking picks and chooses orthodoxy.

        “we cannot find something in Catholic Church teachings that says it is contrary to Church teachings or is morally wrong.”

        I’m sorry, you need to look a bit more diligently.
        So how loud should the music be? What about a Rolling Stones cover song like say; “Sympathy for the devil”? Would that be OK? Who gets to say no? The dogmatic stand on reverence and orthodoxy becomes a personal preference and based on cultural deviance.

        It ain’t the money, it ain’t the goofy political alliances, it isn’t the hack make work jobs, it isn’t even poor leadership.
        IT IS THE HERESY OF MODERNISM.

        Why do you think yoga of all things has developed such interest?
        The ‘something wrong’ and the rat people smell is the break with tradition and rejection of orthodoxy. This literally defines modernism.

  16. Angry Parish Council Member says:

    The email notice says the yoga classes are offered in honor of Richard Ely. Richard was Director of Planned Giving and Stewardship for the Archdiocese of Boston before his sudden, unexpected death in mid-December of 2011. I didn’t know Richard, but heard good things about the man and also heard something of his cause of death. I believe he was the second Pastoral Center employee within a year to take his own life.

    This obituary says he was an “accomplished yoga instructor.”

    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/providence/obituary.aspx?n=j-richard-ely&pid=155055179

    Yoga is controversial.If we as Catholic Christians are to attain some state of perfect tranquility, that tranquility should come from abandonment to Christ. Yoga doesn’t get people there, and I don’t see how honoring Richard’s memory by offering a yoga class is bringing people closer to Christ.

    BTW, I’ve did yoga in the past before for exercise and stopped. I was always turned off by the Hindi salutations like “Namaste” and the poses that imitate animals (“downward dog”, “cobra,” and aspects of nature (“sun salutation,” “tree”). Seems kind of kooky to me in hindsight. I can’t imagine how they would ever do a “Catholic” yoga class. Bad idea.

    • DBP says:

      Credo in unum Deum,
      Patrem omnipoténtem,
      Factórem cæli et terræ,
      Visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.

      We say that, in English usually, at every Sunday Mass we attend. Problem is, most people – including most members of the hierarchy – don’t believe in the invisible world. It’s part of our faith, like the presence of the Evil One and exorcisms, but it’s thought of as an embarrassing vestige of our past ignorance (if it’s thought of at all).

      I didn’t know Mr. Ely. I am sure he was a nice man and a good employee. But something led him to take his own life, something which goes against our most basic human instincts. Could it possibly have come from opening himself up to a part of the invisible world in yoga? Church teaching (as opposed to modernist commentators) continues to warn us against dabbling with the spirit world (via horoscopes, Ouija boards, yoga, etc), but we pooh-pooh them.

      How ironic, then, that the folks at the Pastoral Center seek to “honor” Mr. Ely by introducing a practice that may have led him to the despair that eventually cost him his life.

  17. David S. says:

    So what’s next? Will the Archdiocese of Boston start hiring Feng Shui practitioners to assist in the design and layout of Churches?

    • Ciao says:

      I’m sorry to any good people who live in Boston, but, does anything good ever come out of Boston????

      • mary says:

        Good point. Having worked at the “Pastoral Center” myself, I can tell you that nothing good comes out of there.

  18. Michael says:

    A Catholic Yoga class … well … in the Archdiocese Pastoral Center it would be done like this …

    Standing in an upright position, Mary bends over and looks at Jim’s large check sitting on the ground in front of her. Jim leans left and looks at Scott’s check which is emerging from his shirt pocket. Scott bends all the way back touching the floor in a backwards bridge position and focuses all of his attention on Mark’s check which is laid out next to eleven other checks from highly paid employees of the Archdiocese of Boston representing the twelve positions of the sun.

    At the end of the session, everyone looks at each others’ bellies aware that those checks pay for some very expensive and highly caloric meals; leaving them all just bit overweight, feeling a little less than satisfied, and conscious of their collective weight problems. Nonetheless they each leave the session with a feeling of peace and tranquility, because deep down, they are convinced that the widow’s mite has been well spent.

  19. Carol says:

    David, cleansing enemas.

  20. Jonathan of the Cross says:

    You’ve lost your minds. Reading this post and the comments about a few people doing yoga,you’d think it was something really serious. You have to much time on your hands if this silly little thing causes such a response. If you don’t like yoga, don’t go. What’s happened to this web site? It used to be an open and forward thinking space. Now it’s like a cross between Opus Dei,and the Society of Pius X blog. Tempest in a tea pot.It really makes me sad to read this stuff. Get away from your key boards, visit the sick, whatever. Does anyone do anything right? Report to the pope? this stuff is way over board. It’s no wonder people are leaving the church by the thoudands, with this kind of tiny, little mentality who wants to hear what the church has to say? May you all live in the Heart of Jesus

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

      Thank you!! Yes, “It’s no wonder people are leaving the church by the thoudands, with this kind of tiny, little mentality who wants to hear what the church has to say? ”

      It is only yoga. No one even connects it with a religion. It is a form of exercise, plain and simple. That is how most people perceive it. Lots of senior citizens take yoga today and benefit greatly from it. .

      • Ciao says:

        Fine, let them go down to the senior center in their neighborhoods and practice it there.

      • Mugiira says:

        It doesn’t matter if seniour citizens take yoga and benefit from it. But it matters if you are a christian and take up yoga practises. It opens doors for the devil to infiltrate. But if one doesn’t even believe in the existence of the devil, then there lies the problem. God and yoga are not compatible. God gave us free will. Choose who you want to Serve. The living God or the devil through yoga. Ask the Holy spirit of God to guide you and for sure He will show you how yoga is of the evil one.

      • People leave the church today because people lose their union with God thru sin. The Good News is that we have been blessed by God with the sacrament of confession and when we come back and humbly confess our sins. God restores the union thru grace. He welcomes us home like the loving Father in the prodigal son. God never changes people do. Many may leave but that is because of free will. God puts before you blessing or curse, life or death….choose life…He is the life…Your choice. It does not matter how people perceive occult practices such as yoga. You have opened a door for the devil to enter. The wages of sin is death.

      • alex says:

        But again, I protest. As a FORMER Hindu now an obedient (as best I can) Catholic, I realize that what seemed like no big deal really was! It was harmful to me and did not lead me closer to Christ or towards Christian faith, but away from it. Only by the grace of God was I shown (spiritually, by the Holy Spirit, through CONVICTION..ever heard of that?) that I was going down a dangerous and SINFUL (yeah) spiritual path….The “benefits” are counterfeit and the end result can be the loss of one’s ETERNAL SALVATION (going to heaven as opposed to the other place, remember?). To try to be obedient to the WISDOM of Mother Church does not make one stupid or ignorant. It is wisdom to know when someone else (like the Holy Father perhaps?) might know better than oneself on something. To say it is silly or that “no one connects” yoga with religion is FALSE. And if people leave the church because they have no wish to be obedient to what she teaches than good riddance, sadly…they have already left in practice.

  21. Tim says:

    Great comments Jonathan. Well said!

  22. Ciao says:

    It really saddens me to read about some parishes going in for novelty. When we have Jesus, who taught us how to pray and through the countless examples in the Old and New Testaments on how to pray and find peace and fulfillment that only God can give, it never ceases to amaze me that some “practicing Catholics”, by their actions, seem to be saying, about the wealth of Catholic prayer and sacraments, ” yeah, that’s nice, but …….”.
    I think it appeals to pride and leads to confusion and separation from the light of truth.

  23. If the Pastoral Center wants peace and tranquility for their employees, they should go downstairs to daily mass and receive Jesus Christ himself as well as maybe spend some time in adoration praying the rosary. Jesus Christ thru the Holy Spirit is the only one who can provide peace …a peace that no man can give. If you are receiving peace, healing or energy from anyone other than the Holy Spirit than you are receiving it from the devil who will enter you when you open the door whether you know it or not. “My people perish because of lack of knowledge”. Are we going to wake up as Catholics and understand that there is a war on for souls and realize that the devil is trying to destroy the church and families and anyone who will give him access to their soul or their organizations. If anyone should know this, it should be the archdiocese and anything that is being offered should be discerned correctly by people that are praying and receiving the sacraments and not just calling themselves Catholic. The devil can give peace for a short term and can heal cancer or disease, however it will not be long lasting. The cost here is not just a few disagreements over a perceived exercise program. We are talking about eternal life and where people will spend it. We can not afford to engage in any occult or new age practices. Check out this link from a convert from the occult to the Catholic Church. http://www.spiritbattleforsouls.org/ God bless you all. Jesus have mercy on us. God bless you all…Pray and Discern…

    • Jonathan of the Cross says:

      You need some kind of spiritual direction or counceling to help you find some direction in your beliefs. You don’t sound like you have a lot of peace of mind. I think your lack of knowledge and Catholic theology is your own enemy and thus makes an enemy of you to others. Please get some help, your way over board and most of what your saying isn’t even truly Catholic. Please get some help.

      • Mack says:

        Jonathan, do you think that CC’s suggestion to find peace through the Mass and Eucharistic prayer is not truly Catholic? It makes me wonder where you are coming from. Your comment that CC doesn’t have peace of mind is also a baseless one–how do you know that? Even trained psychologists don’t presume to diagnose a person’s mind and heart without intensive interviews first.

      • John 15:20-21
        Matt 5:11-12

  24. Miss M says:

    Why not try meditating on the Blessed Sacrament and fasting? That is greater than any ‘health and wellness’ program.

  25. julia says:

    http://WWW.CROSSVEIL.ORG another good source for discerning all the things coming into the Catholic Church that are not Catholic. Also….nothing is so destressing and decompressing as time in an Adoration Chapel.

  26. Stephen says:

    Yoga?
    You really can’t make this stuff up.
    The diocese at this point is like the USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy yard. “is it really the ship?”
    – Well, through the years all the wood has been replaced –
    “So it really isn’t the ship that fought in the War of 1812?”
    -Sure it is!- – Didn’t you read the sign out front?-

    Confused?

    When the church breaks with tradition is stops being the church.

    Is Yoga intrinsically evil? The Church of Rome seems to suggest so.

    Putting aside the occult nature of Yoga and Shamans. Any honest Catholic heterosexual male can tell you; sweaty females in lulu lemon outfits in odd somewhat exotic (erotic) positions is not an appropriate activity for the diocese.

  27. Capt Crunch says:

    Houston, we have a problem.

    For those of you who think this issue is insignificant to be discussed and, specifically, for those in the RCAB who think that offering Yoga classes is a good idea please

    1. read the comments on this article to see what is being do to the flock…
    2. read sections 2284-2287 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

    Scandal is scandal is scandal…

  28. Lazarus' Table says:

    In Jesus’ 3rd temptation in the desert, the devil offers to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he would just “bow down and worship me”. Divided loyalties– to the Father and the Devil. A divided heart. Synergism. “I personally dont like abortion but I wont force that belief on someone else.”
    Looking at the activities of the archdiocese over the past several years, it is easy to believe that it has been “bowing down and worshipping” the devil’s values, all in the name of the Gospel; noone would claim or believe it is being led by the Spirit of Christ. Much of what the diocese embraces is a repudiation of the Spirit of Christ.
    And so along with all the lies and deception that are given birth at 66 Brooks, yoga is a hilariolusly natural addition. (Can you picture some of those guys trying to get into a lotus position???)
    Jesus continues to be scourged at 66 Brooks.

  29. YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

    Wow, I thought this was a frivolous topic. How enlightening and probably good in the long run for all of us to share “our own positions” on the topic. I have learned much here. That does not change my belief that yoga is not antagonistic or inconsistent with being a good Roman Catholic.

    • Stephen says:

      Fr. John Hardon and Benedict XVI disagree with you.
      Your beliefs about Yoga are incompatible with universally accepted Catholic and Christian beliefs, regardless of how ‘good’ you feel about them.

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        Stephen, I don’t even like yoga, nor do I practice it. it is far too boring for me and I hate that kind of repetitive chanting. I was a trained acrobat. (True, and no joke). I just don’t view yoga as Satanic, nor do I condemn people for engaging in it. I listen and read here since it never even occurred to me that anyone would be objecting to it on religious grounds. I am actually quite shocked by this. I suspect that perhaps Jehovah’s Witnesses object also and perhaps the Mormons? Fascinating. I have Witnesses in the family who are Elders and I will ask them. I already know what they think about Halloween. Perhaps many here object to that also on the same grounds?

        I think it is very helpful for folks to hear that some are shocked at the idea that yoga is satanic and it is good for folks like me to hear that some think it is satanic.

  30. angel says:

    Jesus Christ recently told the European Visionary “Maria Divine Mercy” that yoga comes from Devil to snatch Christians away from Christ
    Read this link: http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/the-first-seal-is-the-apostasy/

  31. Joe Ott says:

    Yoga and Reiki are concoctions of the devil. In either practice you are worshiping self. Like a previous writer stated prayer, fasting in front of the Blessed Sacrament is a healing and grace – filled devotion which will benefit all!

  32. Anne Feaster says:

    Anne says:

    I have a ministry exposing the New Age after years of study. Yoga and other Eastern meditations such as TM, Zen, Centering Prayer take a person into altered states of consciousness or semi-hypnotic states. Studies from psychiatrists and psychologists from different countries show that these altered states can cause depression, anxiety and panic attacks,psychosis-like symptoms, mild disassociation, uncomfortable kin aesthetic sensations, addiction to meditation, and other symptoms. For info on other New Age practices, check my website, swordoflightandtruth.org

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

      I looked at your site. Very interesting.

      • alex says:

        I am glad you are open, YGTBK, because as a former practitioner of Hinduism and now a faithful Catholic (also a PhD psychologist) I know first hand that these Eastern paths are dangerous and antithetical to being a Christian. Use of words like “satanic” may be making you think we are overreacting, but again, as someone who used to practice this stuff, was harmed and then found her way to the Truth of Jesus Christ and His Church and the Sacraments, and the Magisterium (the teaching authority), it is definitely a blessing to be out of these things. I pray that others are not mislead as I was so they don’t have to spend years getting out of something or possibly dying in a state of mortal sin and missing out on spending eternity with Jesus! Good luck as you study and discern.

    • JerryB says:

      Thanks, Anne. Let me add that “Centering Prayer” is widespread in the Church. So is the evil Enneagram, notably promoted by the LCWR (apostate Sisters), who delve into Eastern practices and Jungian thought.

      A big problem is that Catholics no longer view Hinduism as demonic, thanks to the interreligious antics of Cardinal Tauran and others. For example, Archbishop (now Cardinal) Dias of Mumbai once lighted a lamp in front of the deity Ganesha at a 1997 conference on “Hindu-Christian cosmology.” Or recall the infamous incident where a statue of Buddha was placed on an altar at Assisi in 1986. How do we fight the New Age when our bishops give such bad examples?

      • alex says:

        Not to forget, Pope John Paul II kissing a Koran too! Yikes! That almost kept me from coming back into the Church!

  33. daisy says:

    By the way, instead of yoga why aren’t these people working?

  34. Liam says:

    I do think the fears here are overblown to the point of caricature; they are like saying Easter eggs are a door to paganism because they derive from Zoroastrian customs for the new year, Nowrooz (which falls on the vernal equinox).

    • alex says:

      But the act of dipping eggs into colored water is not the same as getting one’s body into a specific and difficult posture that HISTORICALLY and DOGMATICALLY in a different religion is designed to put one into contact with a specific “demi-god” (meaning demon really) as some of the Yoga postures are.

  35. Ann says:

    May the Lord have mercy on Boston and open the eyes of the blind. I have read that the postures in yoga are the postures used to bow to false gods.Yoga has no place in the Catholic Church. I know of Catholics who do not understand the dangers of yoga. We are not being taught the dangers of the new age and the occult. I attempted to explain the dangers of yoga to my pastor a few years ago when the nurses tried to get a yoga program started in my parish. Sadly he did not believe me. However, thank God the program never took place.

    • alex says:

      Good try though! More of us EX-Hindus who were harmed need to speak up and explain the dangers….

  36. Capt Crunch says:

    The RCAB needs leadership not Yoga…

    http://spiritdaily.com/bishopsdisciples.htm

  37. Jonathan of the Cross says:

    One of the holiest, and most educated priest I know really..are you ready for this….does yoga. He has serious bone,joint, and muscle problems. He spends and hour every day in front of the Blessed Sacrament, has great devotion to Our Lady and yes he actually does yoga. God forgive me..but I think all these posts about the devil, etc… are just plain nuts. With all the real issues riping us apart your losing sleep over yoga?? Why are so many thousands leaving the Church?? You think it’s about a yoga program in Braintree?? Lord Jesus, save me from Your followers. Amen

    • Jonathan of the Cross,
      You seem to be new here. On this blog, we have covered a variety of different issues, including the decline in number of Church-going Catholics in Boston. We most recently covered that topic in this post:

      http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/archdiocese-turns-to-evangelizing/

      Perhaps you were unaware that we have covered that topic multiple times already. In every single post, we do not write about why people are leaving the Catholic Church. If you know of another blog that covers that topic more effectively and has figured out how to solve that problem, please let us know, or feel free to focus your attention and comments in that venue.

      You might want to ask your priest friend about demonic forces at work in this world and in our lives and see what he says. That one holy and well-educated priest you know with a Marian devotion does yoga for joint and muscle problems does not seem to BCI to somehow make it “right” for everyone, or be justification for the Boston Archdiocese to offer yoga proactively to employees. Is that the best evidence you have in favor of “Catholic yoga”? Substantial evidence has been presented here that yoga is controversial and presents spiritual risks to those who practice it. No one criticizing this blog post has presented any evidence in the teachings of the Church to the contrary or teachings that say it is spiritually appropriate for Catholics to practice yoga. We maintain our position it is wrong.

    • Jonathan of the Cross,

      People leave the church today because people lose their union with God thru sin. The Good News is that we have been blessed by God with the sacrament of confession and when we come back and humbly confess our sins, God restores the union thru grace. It is absolutely beautiful. God is so loving and merciful. He welcomes us home like the loving Father in the prodigal son. God never changes people do. Many may leave but that is because of free will. God puts before you blessing or curse, life or death….choose life…He is the life…Your choice. It does not matter how people perceive occult practices such as yoga. You have opened a door for the devil to enter. The wages of sin is death.

  38. Capt Crunch says:

    @Jonathan of the Cross

    What are the “real issues”? Go ahead and list the reasons why thousands are leaving the church. BTW, where did you get the number thousands are leaving the church?

    Please impart your divine knowledge to us imperfect mortals who are nuts and still believe in the devil…

  39. YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

    BCI and Capt Crunch,

    I would hope that you would value the participation of Jonathan here. If you only hear your own words, you learn nothing of the other side of the argument and you learn nothing of how your words could be perceived by the “ordinary” Catholic – fanatical, frivolous. Once perceived that way, no one listens.

    I wholeheartedly support Jonathan’s position here. Perhaps your postion is rooted in a far deeper understanding of the occult than I have but now I find myself supporting yoga and I don’t even like the practice.

    • Michael says:

      Yougottabekidding … supports Yoga notwithstanding the fact that it has been mentioned several times here that the Pope has condemned the practice of Yoga as contrary to our faith. Yougottabekidding, are you trying to tell us something about your ability to discern proper Catholic Church teaching on subjects of faith and morals?

  40. YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

    Michael, simply put, I think many don’t want to hear any counter argument and do not want to hear how you might be perceived. Recall, I don’t practice yoga and don’t even like it. To be quite honest, I have a hard time taking all of this seriously. I feel quite comfortable being judged as not informed and not as “devout” as some of you.

    • The comments from Jonathan are welcome. No one has shut him down. He sounds like he is new here on the blog, and is not aware of other topics we have been blogging about for the past 21 months. When someone is new commenting on this blog, they often presume things based on one post that are not reflective of all of the history.

      So far, the only arguments presented in favor of yoga offered in the Pastoral Center or by the Catholic Church are basically that “other people are doing it.” There are many well-documented arguments and reasons against the practice, including the statement by the CDF.

      Opinions are welcome, but we would prefer to debate logical, rational arguments rather than emotions or opinions that are not presented with logical, rational evidence behind them.

      • teddyballgame says:

        BCI,

        This has degenerated into a fight among the participants and is “off point”. This is your first warning.!

    • Capt Crunch says:

      YOUGOTTABEKIDDING,

      Who says says I don’t value the participation of Jonathan here?

      I’ve offered my opinion and backed up it with Church teaching (CCC) and references, spirit daily. In fact, I’ve SPECIFICALLY asked Jonathan for the issues that he thinks are more important and to back up the statistics that he has presented with sources…

      I, for the life of me, cannot understand how you’ve drawn the conclusion that I don’t value opposing opinions when I’ve specifically requested those very same opinions…

      Just sayin’

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        Capt Crunch, Read your own post to Jonathan. I know it is a problem with blogging in general that often we come off dismissive and sarcastic; I am guilty of it more often than not:

        “What are the “real issues”? Go ahead and list the reasons why thousands are leaving the church. BTW, where did you get the number thousands are leaving the church?

        Please impart your divine knowledge to us imperfect mortals who are nuts and still believe in the devil…”

        This is the end for me on this subject. Respectfully, far too much time and energy has been spent on it than it deserves. IMHO.

  41. Capt Crunch says:

    YOUGOTTABEKIDDING,

    You and Jonathan have basically told the rest of this board

    1. this issue is not important
    2. having this position is due to lack of Catholic knowledge
    3. having this position is just plain nuts
    4. we’ve lost our minds
    5. this is teeny tiny mentality
    etcetera

    But we’re the ones that come off as dismissive and sarcarstic. :-)

    So long and thanks for all the fish….

  42. Stephen says:

    Fascinating go-round.
    I am probably softer on Yoga than many, I hope nobody enters a lake of fire for stretching their hamstrings. In America today the notion that Yoga in demonic would generally be perceived as positively whacky. Obama has gambled that contraception would be seen the same way. In prudence I’ll follow to church on both.

    The modernists in our midst reject all dogma. They embrace a personal subjective tradition and test truth using ‘gut feeling’ and a school yard level fairness code. The trouble is that most are unwitting, deceived and genuinely some of the nicest well intentioned folks you could ever meet.

    I know for sure only one player in Braintree who would support Yoga at the pastoral center with full knowledge of Church teaching.

  43. Jack O'Malley says:

    Two questions ought to be asked: (1) What is the chancery attempting to accomplish with this promotion of yoga, and (2) if there is a conflict between the practice of yoga exercises and the theology of the Church, what alternate practice might a Catholic employ to achieve the peace, tranquility, inner splendour, cosmic harmony, etc. etc. that yoga purports to bestow?

    I rule out with prejudice the ingestion of noxious quantities of poteen even on the vigil of the feast St. Patrick.

    Does the Church not have sufficient spiritual depth to provide an alternative to a pagan ritual? Do we not have John of the Cross, Ignatius Loyola, Thomas à Kempis, to name but three?

    Suggestions have been made that the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, attending Mass are “stress relievers” and “decompressors” (whatever that means). Those are habits worth cultivating. Perhaps even learning to chant the various litanies and the daily collects in the Usus Antiquior would put the practitioner into a state of irenic bliss as well as congruence with the mind of the Church.

    But there is an Eastern practice which might with benefit be introduced into the Western Church, that of hesychasm. The writings of Gregory Palamas have not received the attention they ought to have, even given the orgasmic ecumenicity of the post-V2 Church. The practice incorporates various meditative postures and the continuous rhythmic repetition of the prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

    But that is a prayer at which the “I’m OK. You’re OK” crowd in the chancery will balk.

    • alex says:

      Yes, we need to mine our own contemplative traditions for all the incredible GOLD that is in them! As a former Hindu who used to meditate for hours and had many interesting experiences doing so, I can attest to the fact that practicing Carmelite types of contemplative prayer and even saying the Rosary with focused attention and visualization of the mysteries associated with the life of Christ has brought me more peace and a depth of feeling connected with the Blessed Trinity. I am happier and more at peace than I ever was with the Hindu stuff. The thing about counterfeits is that they are not easy, at first, to distinguish from the real thing and require a degree of expertise and EXPERIENCE. But they are false. We need to be able to communicate the dangers without coming across as hysterical or fanatical so I appreciate all the thoughts of YGTBK and Jonathan.

  44. Bob says:

    Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles (LA, LA Land) teaches it and you can get a certificate for Yoga, too. What do you want from a bunch of Jesuits?

  45. YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

    I know I said enough on the subject but just got the inside scoop from Jehovah’s Witness elders. There is yoga and then there is yoga. The TM kind that is really considered the practice of a religion in which you rid your mind and soul of all consciousness is not a good idea. Opens you up to Satan. The run of the mill exercise as most people practice today is not objectionalble at all. JW’s do not object.

    Upshot: JW’s more accepting of yoga than Catholics here.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      JW’s are more accepting of error than RC’s.

      Gee. And I’d thought that Revelation had ceased.

      Jehovah. Not a name.

      • alex says:

        Dont be so snotty Jack :)…really, the arrogant approach will push people like YGTBK further away from the Church and our goal is to “speak the truth in love”….try harder to be nice, just sayin…
        And “Jehovah” is a fairly old way of rendering the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, for Yaweh (I probably misspelled this), which as you probably know was not written out fully in the Hebrew Old Testament. I believe the work Jehovah may even be being used in a new Catholic bible that I heard about …not sure on that though…

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Alex, I thought you’d gone to bed. Don’t trouble yourself over the Tetragrammaton. Codladh sámh agat.

        Hint: that’s not Hebrew.

    • alex says:

      But why would you go to the JW’s for information? They have a distorted bible (see John 1:1 where they call the WORD (Jesus) “a god” instead of God. In fact I am surprised that they are more accepting of yoga, but since JW are a false religion why rely on them instead of on the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Catholic Church that goes back 2,000 years as opposed to just around 1850 as the JW’s do?

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        Oh, not relying on JW’s as any kind of evidence for either side of the argument or as a source of “truth.”. If you read my earlier post, you would see that I was the one who was shocked that anyone would object to yoga, since I never thought it religious at all. I then wondered whether Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons also object. I remembered how JW’s seem to be more alert to “satanic” influence especially in their opposition to Halloween, Harry Potter etc. So, as it turned out I got an email from a JW relative and called her. We had a good conversation about “yoga.” I find it interesting to learn how people of other faiths perceive the same issues.

  46. Capt Crunch says:

    @teddyballgame

    Point taken, I’ve said my piece and will no longer post on this topic.

  47. Lazarus' Table says:

    Talking with a priest friend about this left me more than a little discouraged. I guess this kind of offering should not surprise anyone; they proceed from the “storeroom” of the rcab’s heart. What else do they have to offer? Certainly not the example of wise, brave, committed faith. Like hospitals are being run by businessmen not medical people, so the church also is being run by businessmen, whose faith might indeed be sincere but which lacks the training, formation, understanding of ministers of the gospel. The ‘small church’ Pope Benedict talks about is surely insight, and perhaps that small church is a deliberate goal of rcab. Well, deliberate or not, thats what’s coming.

  48. Devoted to yoga and God says:

    The word “yoga” means to ‘yoke’ or ‘unite’. The unity to which yoga refers is that of the individual spirit with the universal spirit (God). Yes, yoga allows the individual to choose what “universal spirit” means for themselves, however for a member of the Catholic Church, the practice of yoga lends itself to creating a deeper connection with God. It promotes a healthy, relaxed body and a clear mind with which to listen to the voice of God. After all, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is inside you and it is outside you.”

    Yoga thrusts no belief system upon those who practice it and allows each practitioner to define for him or herself what the practice means. If the Catholic Church continues to condem practices that allow one to deepen their spirituality on one’s own terms, more and more followers are going to choose a different path.

    • DBP says:

      “Devoted” – your love of yoga has caused you to spout arrant nonsense. In Luke 17, our Lord is quoted in response to the Pharisees, who ask when the Kingdom of Heaven is coming. Jesus says, “…the Kingdom of God is in your midst.” Some have suggested that the Syriac codices evidence usage of a Greek word that signifies “within” rather than “among” or “in the midst of,” but the context of the quote shows that Jesus is again attempting to show the hard-headed Pharisees that He (Jesus) is the Only-Begotten Son of the Most High God, and therefore, the Kingdom of God – Jesus’ presence – is among them NOW and need not still be awaited. This is one of the most common themes in the New Testament – Jesus makes God’s presence obvious through signs and wonders, and there are still those who refuse to see.

      Your description of God as “the universal spirit” is at odds with our understanding of the Triune God. Yoga is at odds with Christianity In exactly the same way as Islam is at odds with our faith; both profess belief in a different god than the One True God.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        You are correct, DBP.

        Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism are all at odds with the Christian concept of God. And so is Judaism, at least insofar as the Talmudic interpretation of the rabbis is concerned.

        The one fundamental belief that cannot be compromised is the belief in the Three Persons in One God.

        We do NOT all worship the same God despite the modernistic, heretical, vitriolic corrosion of the Faith since Vatican 2.

    • Mack says:

      Devoted, your comments show exactly what is wrong with yoga. We can’t define God for ourselves, as if God is whatever we want him to be. Relativism is the real problem here.

    • alex says:

      The reason followers choose a different path is BECAUSE the Church has not clearly and coherently and in a UNIFIED way taught that these eastern paths are not Christian!

      If the Church had been teaching clearly instead of allowing pagan (which means non-Christian) practices to be brought in over the past 40 years, and at the same time had been making the Church’s wonderful meditative/contemplative prayer traditions (which I will grant you are sometimes more difficult to get a good understanding of when you just read original source material like writings of St. Teresa and/or St. John of the Cross) more ACCESSIBLE, perhaps we would not have all these misled Christians looking for an experience of peace and tranquility in the highly advertised and easily accessible New Age practices! Like I did for 15 or 20 years before Jesus saved me.

      To be a Christian/Catholic means being devoted to Jesus as the second person of the Blessed Trinity which also includes God the Father and the Holy Spirit….not some vague “Universal Spirit.”

      • Michael says:

        Pope John Paul II’s, “The Threshold of Hope,” discusses the contradictions with Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam in relation to our Catholic Faith.

  49. Sally Renolds says:

    This site has finally jumped the shark — and no yoga was required to be performed in preparation of the jump.

  50. Jack O'Malley says:

    Let me just say that I think that BCI’s exposition of this chancerial unorthodoxy is exactly on the mark.

    The general ignorance of the pagan aspects of yoga is widespread. That Cardinal O’Malley and Msgr. Deeley have countenanced this ignominy is beyond belief. This archdiocese has become a slough of Satanic slime.

    So much for the great hopes for Deeley. Another fellow traveler of the modernists.

    • alex says:

      Jack, I worry that your hyperbole and inflammatory yet colorful ways of stating your opinions will push people away from the Church…Don’t you have to agree that calling the AD a “slough of Satanic slime” would be off-putting to the outsider or non-Catholic that might be reading this? I am just gently asking you to think about how your tone will be interpreted by non-believers or others that we need to be sensitive to. I hope you are not offended by my comments, trying to be charitable in asking you to be also. But I don’t live in Boston…. :)

      • Michael says:

        Alex,
        You really gotta live here to have a sense of the evil that is rampant in the Archdiocese. Fr. Corapi said he was afraid to come to Boston becuase it is ground zero in the spiritual battleground.. I strongly believe that goodhearted people who are sincerely interested in becoming Catholic would find the truthfulness of this discussion helpful in their journey.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Alex, I couldn’t care less about being “off-putting”. I am not a minister of the “new evangelization” (whatever the hell that is). Or even the old evangelization.

      The Good Lord was “off-putting” and I’ve a long way to go even to pretend to emulate Him. I am just an abject sinner and know that I am. I don’t confuse the Law of God with my own will or weakness of the flesh or confusion of the intellect.

      Catholicism is about carrying a Cross. It has nothing to do with being “sensitive” or “welcoming”. It has to do with admitting you are a sinner and begging for the remission of your sins by virtue of the Cross of Christ and his shed Blood. And going forth and sinning no more. If you think your intellectual and voluntary indulgences are consonant with the will of God, you are a fool. So am I if I so think. So are we all.

      That is my charity, Alex. The charity of Christ comes with a price.

      I am not offended. Please don’t you be either. Accept the message or reject it.

      You don’t have to live in Boston. All the better if you don’t. You may hear preached the Word of God from an orthodox cathedral.

    • Stephen says:

      Jack, could you please describe what exactly what Modernism is?
      A few of us BCI regulars seem to see it very clearly, and it explains “the problem” here.

      I love your style, it is better to hurt another’s feelings than to allow them to sink into the fiery pit.

      Change nothing!

  51. Full disclosure: I have practiced “yoga” exercises in the past (I put the word in quotes because I didn’t find it at all necessary to do and say all the stuff that goes with the religious practice…so call me a “cafeteria `yoga’ person” ;-))

    I did it because I have panic disorder and, plain and simple, the *exercises* helped control my breathing. Period.

    That said…and there’s always a “that said” isn’t there? I would (a) never do my exercises in my WORKPLACE for crying out loud and (b) have always found that on my lunch hour, daily Adoration and Mass — which the Pastoral Center offers IN HOUSE — to be by *far* more beneficial than the exercises.

    So. I know what Yoga is about. I understand that the exercises per se — without the chanting and other mind-effecting stuff that goes with it — can be beneficial.

    But what the BLEEP this has to do with the running of the Archdiocese is ‘way beyond my imagination. Can you imagine, you regular work-a-day folk, being able to simply walk down the stairs on your coffee break to sit with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? And/or to take a break from work, drive or walk *nowhere* and participate in the daily — DAILY! — Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? No you can’t. The folks who work for the A of D *can* do this.

    So tell me. What’s with the Yoga (or even, “yoga”)? It’s not only, if the way BCI described it, totally inappropriate for a Catholic institution…it’s a “perk” I don’t think the A of D can afford. Spiritually or monetarily. (Or sanely, for that matter.)

  52. Judith Brown says:

    One of the best articles on yoga is to be found on the web site http://www.crossveil.org by Clare McGrath Merkle. It is called Yoga: Health or Stealth. Clare is a Catholic ‘revert’ and was interviewed by Johnette Benkovics in 2003 on Living His Life Abundantly.

  53. Karl says:

    Image: meet self-image.

  54. [...] follow-up of our post several days ago, Boston Archdiocese Offers Yoga, we learned yesterday that the Boston Archdiocese is proceeding with the yoga class, despite [...]

  55. Michael says:

    Martina … by any chance … are you the “yoga” instructor? You just seem a bit more personally invested in this particular issue.

    • JerryB says:

      Good question! That might help, actually. Years ago a relative gave me a yoga video series, for the exercise, ya know. The cover was, well, let’s say it would give Sports Illustrated’s “swimsuit” issue a run for its money. Was I going to watch this hard-body doll contort herself into … well, I didn’t. But it might have helped to know she wasn’t interested in guys.

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  58. James Joyce says:

    God help us if we can’t survive a little Yoga.

  59. Martina says:

    BCI:

    I’m beginning to think you all really love the leash. Your constant need to point out each and every flaw, without being honest and willing to do anything to change said flaws, leads me to believe that you’re in it for sport. In truth, I’m under the impression that you simply don’t know how to function unless you’re dwelling on what’s wrong – dwelling on it without bothering to take any kind of step toward solution.

    And, really. If you’re satisfied playing in the mud (as my kids and dog love to do) that has you mired, hooray for you. What’s annoying about it is that you don’t seem to consider how banal it is for the rest of us who get to listen to your near constant bitching. About everything.

    You ask for input, but you don’t really want it. You glom on to every statement uttered, every disagreeable event, but you don’t apply any of the noble principles to address them. You whimper and manipulate as if you want someone to take you into their lap, feed you milk toast and rock you to sleep.

    Guess what? The real world awaits you. That’s the good news. The maybe not so good news is that the this real world is never ever going to be what you expect it to be. But guess what? And this is important, so write it down: That’s life. It’s a phrase also known as “@#!$ happens.”

    I know you, you’ve got a giant hard-bound book of orthodoxy that’s just filled with perfection. This is why you not only don’t accept advice, but you really don’t want it. You are an illogical creature at best, and one simply cannot expect illogical creatures to seek simple wisdom.

    I actually had a conversation the other day that went like this:
    *sigh* “I totally hate my church!”
    “So, quit.”
    “What?! No way! What else would I do?!”
    “What would you want to do?”
    “Well, I want it to be like it was in 1965.”
    “So, find a church where you can be 1965, better yet, open your own church.”
    “Oh, but I couldn’t.”
    “Why not?”
    “Because this is the ONLY one.”
    “Can you be happy in what you do counts for something, can you contribute in an honest way.”
    “I just… can’t.”
    “No, you’re right. You can’t. I guess you should just stick with what you’ve got.”
    *sigh* “Oh, but I hate my church.”

    You folks are the type that don’t much like hearing straight talk, but here it is…
    ~Quit with the !@&ing excuses. You don’t like something? Change it. It’s difficult? Heck yeah, welcome to Life.
    ~There is no easy way out. Put on your big kid pants and get on with it.
    ~Unless you’re in a dire emergency and your health and well-being are at risk, or something truly tragic has happened in your life, nobody wants to hear about your issues.
    ~Unless you’re ready to get real, don’t ask for advice.

    Maybe you’re unaware of how much negative energy you’re sending out into the universe. Maybe you’re unaware that your friends sigh and roll their eyes behind your back and mutter, “Enough already!” Maybe you just don’t understand what a downer you are.

    I’m not saying that we all have to be happy and perky all the time – that’s an unreasonable expectation. However, I’ve known people in dire circumstances who still manage to make the world brighter just by keeping a realistic attitude. So if you don’t want to, or simply can’t change your world, do yourself and the rest of us a favor. At least think about what you’re saying before you say it.

    Perhaps you just need a little lesson in language. Very well. There’s a difference between inconvenience and disaster. There’s a difference between bummer and tragedy. There’s a difference between disappointment and devastation. There’s a difference between ouch and agony.

    What it all boils down to is this: if you’re looking for empathy, stop soaking in apathy. No more complaining. No more bull@#! excuses.

    Get real. As my friend and long-time partner Donna says, “Burn the leash already!”

  60. Jack O'Malley says:

    Holy St. Martina, Martina. I think I’m in love with you. I’ve not heard such passion since, well, let’s just say she was a devout Ukrainian Orthodox.

    Do you have a facebook account? I’ll friend you if you do. ;-)

    Don’t tell your husband (partner ?) that you posted this because I’ve already committed adultery in my heart. That’s not half bad.

    God bless you. I hope we meet in the Elysian Fields. Or Heaven. Or even on the Common someday.

  61. Martina,
    Thank you for your comments. You must be new here, since this is the first time BCI has gotten a comment from you. Your comments suggest you are not really familiar with BCI and what we have been doing, and you have come here for the first time, creating your own story to characterize the blog.

    Before we take much time to respond, did you say that your long-time partner is “Donna”? If the lens you are viewing BCI through is one where you do not acknowledge or have respect for the teachings of the Catholic Church, then we are in totally different places, and there really is no point in engaging. You are in the wrong place reading BCI, if indeed you read it regularly.

    You wrote, “What’s annoying about it is that you don’t seem to consider how banal it is for the rest of us who get to listen to your near constant bitching. About everything.”

    First off, we have commended people, programs and actions when worthy of commendation. We criticize things that are off-base and appear wrong. If you really are a regular reader, which is not clear to us at all, and do not like what BCI writes, then why do you bother coming back to read the blog?

    You say we do not bother “to take any kind of step toward solution.” We have been offering solutions and making suggestions since Day 1. This further suggests you are not a regular reader.

    BCI suggests you probably should find another blog to read if you do not like this one.

  62. Stephen says:

    “Maybe you’re unaware of how much negative energy you’re sending out into the universe.”

    Ya maybe

  63. James Joyce says:

    Hear! Hear!

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