Expert Answer Forum

tai chi QUESTION from Anne Doolan April 5, 2000 My son attends a Catholic high school and they are looking at including tai chi as an activitie, I need some information on this subject to take back to the school to explain why I don't want my son involved.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on April 11, 2000 Dear Mrs. Doolan:
In my opinion, in any situation like this, in terms of activities of one's children in school -- even a Catholic School -- when the magic words are given to the school -- My child will not participate in this activity because it violates (Church teaching or personal conscience) -- no further explanation is necessary in my opinion. You do not have to defend your point-of-view. If an activity violates your conscience, then keep your kid home that day, or otherwise prohibit his participation. Resist strong-armed Gestapo tactics to brow beat you into submission or make you feel like you are before the Inquisition to explain yourself. You need make no defenses or explanations. You need only say: My child will not participate in this activity because it violates my conscience (or Church teaching, as the case may be).
If I am sounding paranoid about how negative school officials might be it is because such strong-armed tactics of school officials has been demonstrated MANY times. Your school might understand right away and give you no problems, but then again don't hold your breath on that.
As for Tai Chi Chuan. This is a Chinese martial art. To quote from one of the Tai Chi Chuan masters, In a very real sense one can consider Tai Chi Chuan to be a physical expression and manifestation of the principles and philosophy of Taoism.
This should be easy to understand for Catholics. Catholics understand sacramentality. A Sacrament is the physical manifestation (expression) of an invisible reality.
The very physical movements that are made in Tai Chi are made as a physical expression of philosophy of Taoism. Tai Chi and Taoism CANNOT be separated.
Taoism is a philosophy from ancient China. It's cosmology is mostly pantheistic though multiple deities are identified, more in the lines of principles. The famous Yin/Yang symbol comes from Taoism.
Other Elements of Taoism are occultic.
The famous Yin/Yang is a symbol in itself that is completely hostile to Christianity. In this system of thought everything is reflected in pairs of Yin/Yang, such as Good and Evil, Beauty and Ugliness. One cannot exist without the other. Following this system of thought God and Satan are merely two sides of the same coin. They NEED each other and one cannot exist without the other.
This is nonsense and is hostile to Christian thought.
When a person participates in Tai Chi Chuan they are making physical expressions to these anti-Christian ideas.
Tai Chi Chuan is, in a sense, a Chinese sacrament. It is a physical expression (the exercises) of an invisible reality (the Taoist philosophy and cosmology).
When we participate in the sacraments we fellowship with what those sacraments mean. We partake in the invisible reality physically manifested by that sacrament.
That is why it is sacrilege for a non-Catholic, who is not in fellowship with the Catholic Church and doesn't believe in the real presence, to take communion. The person is still partaking in our Lord, even if he doesn't believe it.
And that, in the opposite way, is why we do not want to participate in this Chinese sacrament. We do NOT wish to fellowship or partake in the occultic and pantheistic philosophy of Taoism. To perform the sacrament (the Tai Chi exercises) -- EVEN IF we don't believe in the Taoism foundations --- nevertheless makes us partake in giving homage to false gods and ideas of Taoism.
If the school wants to have an exercise program for the kids, then do jumping jacks.
If the school wants to teach relaxation and stress reduction and the like, then teach CHRISTIAN meditation (that is CHRISTIAN mediation WITHOUT contaminates from Eastern Religions) and even moreso, have the kids spend a hour a day in adoration before the blessed sacrament.
Imagine it. What would happen is one class period EVERYDAY was adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and one class period was the Celebration of the Mass. Not enough time in the day, one might say. Think again.
We will revolutionize our kids and our world if every student spent one hour per day before the Sacrament.
If my child was in your school, I would TELL, not ask, that my child would not participate in the Tai Chi, but instead will spend that class period before the Blessed Sacrament.
We will be praying for you.
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