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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 25 Apr 2003

enneagram/distorted religious views QUESTION from Kim March 4, 2000 Dear John-Paul:
Welcome home from Sioux City, IA. I trust you did some important work there for Our Lord.
As you know, I am trying to combat an enneagram retreat scheduled at Mercy retreat center in OKC during Lent. The retreat coordinator basically pooh-pooh's any opposition to the enneagram and stated plainly that there are many spiritual paths that can lead to Christ and that the enneagram is one of them worthy of our time and study. She is aware of Fr. Pacwa's scholarship on the topic, but regards it as insignificant. From two lengthy phone calls, I get the distinct impression she is a Modernist Heretic and, possibly, a New Ager. (She's planning a TM retreat for the fall with a well-known Indian mystic.) My question for you is what, specifically, is wrong with her viewpoint that many spiritual paths lead to Christ. I understand in a general sense that God can save anyone He so chooses and is not limited by our human understanding. However, I keep thinking there is something inherently flawed in her philosophy, but can't put my finger on exactly what it is. Your answer will help me form an intelligent letter of complaint that I intend to send to the Archbishop.
Thanks, welcome back and God Bless. Kim
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 11, 2000 Dear Mrs. Kim:
This is answered by Jesus Himself:
MT 7:13-14: Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.
The Church teaches that while non-Christians can find salvation through God's mercy, the Catholic Church is the most sure way.
We are Catholics and thus need to know the Catholic way, not the Hindu way. There is NOTHING in Hinduism that can benefit the Catholic.
Within the Catholic Church we already have a rich heritage of mysticism that we KNOW is safe for Catholics because it has been approved by the Church and practiced by the saints.
In going to Hindu technique we open ourselves up to the devil. For example, one mantra I was taught when studying Hindu meditation was om niva-shiva-ya. I didn't know it at the time, but this is a prayer to Shiva, god of destruction. This is a god form that as Christians we would call a demon. This is not to mention some techniques of Hinduism that are outright occultic.
This woman is TOTALLY incapable and incompetent to be teaching anyone anything if she is taking this course that you describe. SHe needs to be fired.
For further information about path to Christ, see the Catechism at around paragraph 839 and there-abouts. It deals with the path to salvation and our relationship to other faiths.
In your letter to the Archbishop I would mention Father Pacwa's evaluation of some of these things, express concern about this woman's disregard for that and her bringing in non-Catholic people to teach Catholics and bringing non-Catholic techniques to a Catholic audience. Mention her excuse that there are many path to Christ. He will see the immediate flaw in that idea as an excuse to teach non-Catholic ideas to Catholics.
Finally, public pressure may play a part. I have been thinking of creating a review system of Retreat Centers around the country. This system would warn people of Retreat Centers who are not in communion with the Church. This would be placed on our webpage and made available for all to see.
The national scandal of heretic retreat centers, or retreat centers who might not be technically heretic, but are not Catholic in their teaching must stop. If bishops don't have the guts to stop them, perhaps public protest by those loyal to the Church will (or at least warn people not to attend these centers).
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