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Dreamcatchers QUESTION from Faye July 11, 2000 I am a Roman Catholic of Aboriginal descent. The Dream catcher is not New Age and has been part of North American Aboriginal culture for thousands of years.
Aboriginal teachings rely upon observing of nature and the spirituality inherent in all things. All things and people are deserving of respect, neither greater or less than, different and valuable. All things come from the Creator, God, and are valued because of that.
Dreamcatchers were made from red willow branches, bent into a circle, and knots were tied from sinew to re-create a spider's web. Part of that is because of the lesson the spider has to teach us about patience.
The premise of the Dreamcatcher is that like the spider's web traps flies, the Dreamcatcher traps nightmares. Nightmares were believed to travel in the air, somewhat like moths, and so, could be trapped. This was thousands of years ago, before we discovered that dreams generally arise from our subconscious.
Dreamcatchers today have become largely decorative.
Many of my cultural beliefs are not incompatible with Catholicism, please do not disrespect my culture. There is an Aboriginal Catholic parish in my city, and there really is no conflict between the two.
I feel very hurt, when people display this kind of ignorance and racism.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on September 17, 2000 Dear Miss Faye:
There has been no display of ignorance or racism. To interpret that out of this subject is pure nonsense.
The concept of catching dreams IS a New Age idea whether you like it or not. New Age philosophies borrow from ancient mystical and spiritual practices. There is nothing new about the New Age. It is called the New Age because it is a new resurgence of ancient pagan, pantheistic, animistic, oriental mystical spiritualities.
You say the Dreamcatcher is largely decorative. It is OBVIOUSLY not just a decoration or you would not have taken such offense. However, I have already mentioned in my previous posting on this that the Dreamcatcher may have a benign use as a decoration -- though we must still pay attention to the damage that might be caused to our Christian testimony by having displayed even a benign New Age image.
But to consider the Dreamcatcher as real? No Catholic has any business involving themselves with talismans, or any other superstitious or occult or non-Catholic spiritualities.
Finally, you say: All things and people are deserving of respect, neither greater or less than, different and valuable. All things come from the Creator, God, and are valued because of that.
This is a doctrine of demons.
This is an expression right out of the New Age and right out of pantheism and animism (which are part of the worldview of many Aboriginal teachings) and are utterly incompatible with Catholicism.
All things are to be respected because God made them, yes. But all things DO NOT have equal respect. In Christian teaching, which means in GOD's teaching, the human being deserves and is to receive the highest respect and dignity. No other creature on the planet is to be given an equal or higher respect than that given to humans.
Because this is God's truth, if a house was on fire and there was a human and a cat in the house. I would rescue the human. If it is possible to rescue the cat AFTER rescuing the human and to do so without major risk to my own life, then I might go after the cat.
But the HUMAN deserves greater respect for life and for rescue than does the cat. ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE who does not agree with this, needs to see a psychiatrist. And should such a person allow the human to die because of a cat, that person should be imprisoned for the rest of his life for 1st Degree Murder.
According to God, humans, who are given an immortal soul, and are made in the image of God in a special and unique way, must be given the greatest respect of all, over any and all other creatures on the planet.
This does not mean that we rape the planet, do what we will with her, and do not care for her properly. God has made us stewards of his creation. We will be accountable before God on how well we tended His garden.
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