Spiritual Warfare Forum: Tai Chi
Tai Chi QUESTION from Ann August 8, 2001 What is Tai Chi? Is it permissible for Catholics to practice Tai Chi for exercise or relaxing? Our Wellness commission in our parish had someone come to talk to interested persons. I did not attend, but I to administer the parish library. I'd like to give pertinent information to the chair of this group if the method is inconsistent with Church teachings.
Thanks for your help. God bless!
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 13, 2001 Dear Mrs. Ann:
Tai Chi is a Chinese Martial Art. It's gentler meditative approach makes it easier for the elderly or others not as athletic to participate.
Although there are healthful effects in the various martial arts, and surely a self-defense benefit, and even to some degree a mental and spiritual benefit, we cannot lose focus no what these exercises are designed to do. These exercises are intimately linked with Oriental philosophy and religion that is utterly incompatible with Christianity and a Christian worldview. The exercises cannot be truly separated from the philosophical presumptions upon which they are based.
Indeed, the bodily movements and exercises are specifically designed to bring a person to a state of serene emptiness and to align the body with the forces of the universe. The Church specifically warns against meditatitive technique that lead to an emptying. This is dangerous as it can open the door to the enemy.
Even if you can find an instructor that teaches Tai Chi WITHOUT the underlying philosophical presumptions and worldview (which is VERY hard to do), I still advise great caution since the design of the movements of Tai Chi facilitate a false idea of the world and of God.
I would also recommend reading the Letter to Bishops written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the subject of meditation:
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