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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Christian Reflection on the New Age - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Christian Reflection on the New Age - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: A Christian reflection on the New Age refers to a six-year study by the Roman Catholic Church on the New Age movement. The study, published in 2003, is highly critical of the New Age movement and follows the 1989 document Aspects of Christian meditation, in which the Vatican warned Catholics against mixing Christian meditation with Eastern methods.

The document's title is Jesus Christ, the bearer of the Water of Life.  The document discusses the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, which it characterizes as "a paradigm for our engagement with truth".

The document was presented at a February 2003 Vatican conference on A Christian Reflection on the New Age. Monsignor Michael Fitzgerald stated at the conference that the "Church avoids any concept that is close to those of the New Age". Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said that the "New Age is a misleading answer to the oldest hopes of man."  Poupard, the Vatican's minister of culture, also warned that the New Age was based on "weak thinking".

The document has 6 main sections, as well as an appendix, and glossary of New Age terms. The main sections are:

1. What sort of reflection. This section discusses the context and timing of the document. It states that the Third Millennium, two thousand years after the birth of Christ, is a time when astrologers believe that the Age of Pisces is drawing to a close. Hence a time when the public is bombarded with the New Age message may be the right moment to offer an assessment of why it is not consistent with the Christian message.
2. New Age spirituality: an overview. This section provides an overview of the New Age Movement and its history. Referring to Harmony and Good Vibrations, it criticizes the approach of being in tune with nature or the cosmos, claiming that it blurs the distinction between good and evil and creates the mindset that "we cannot condemn anyone, and nobody needs forgiveness".
Golden living: The document claims that New Age practices can be associated with other practices, listing acupuncture, biofeedback, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology and various kinds of bodywork, polarity massage, meditation and visualisation, psychic healing, healing by crystals, metals, music or colors, and twelve-step programs.
Wholeness and dualism: The document states that the New Age encourages that we should overcome dualisms, such as Creator and creation, the distinction between man and nature, or spirit and matter.
Central themes of the New Age. The document claims that the New Age is not a religion, but is interested in what is called “divine”. Some common points in the New Age movement are:
  • The cosmos is seen as an organic whole, animated by an energy, soul or spirit
  • Credence is given to the mediation of various spiritual entities
  • Humans are assumed capable of ascending to invisible higher spheres
  • A "perennial knowledge" pre-dates and is superior to all religions and cultures
  • People are encouraged to follow enlightened masters.
3. New Age and Christian faith. The document states that for Christians, the spiritual life is a relationship with God. It criticizes Eastern meditation and states that all meditation techniques need to be purged of presumption and pretentiousness. It states that Christian prayer is not an exercise in self-contemplation, stillness and self-emptying, but a dialogue of love, one which "implies an attitude of conversion, a flight from 'self' to the 'you' of God".
4. New Age and Christian faith in contrast. This section criticizes several elements of the New Age practices. For instance, it claims that New Age practices are not really prayer.
5. Jesus Christ offers us the water of life. The document re-iterates that the Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ, who is at the heart of every Christian action, and every Christian message. It refers to the Gospel of John's account of the Samaritan Woman at the Well as "a paradigm for our engagement with truth".
6. Points to note. This section mentions several items, also stressing the need for pastoral guidance against the new age movement.

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