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Spiritual Warfare Forum: Hookah pipes

by Catherine Frakas 29 Jul 2002

Hookah pipes QUESTION from Debbie on November 6, 2001 Dear Brother,
I always like to stay away from anything that I know is evil. I used to be into horoscopes and horror movies, but when I learned that those things are evil I gave them up. I recently went to a party at my uncle's house, and my cousin had recently had a birthday. A friend of hers gave her a hookah pipe as a gift.
A man at the party who is studying to be a pastor (Protestant not Catholic) said anything that looks like that and comes from the East cannot be good. We all thought he was being fanatical and smoked the thing anyway, thinking it was fun. My cousin said it is for relaxation. The man was so angry that he left. When my mother and I went home we admitted that we felt high from the pipe. I know that Eastern religions and martial arts should be avoided by Catholics, but do you think it was wrong to smoke the hookah pipe? Maybe that man was right, and I'm sorry we all said he was being absurd.
Before I go I must ask some advice. I recently told my priest my very sad life story involving abuse from my violent father, and so on. He was very compassionate and prayed with me. Since I spoke to him he has seemed to feel more connected to me. Unfortunately, since I told him such personal things I find it embarassing to see him and want to avoid him like the plague! I love my priest, and I don't know what's come over me. I could tell that my story left him reeling in shock, and I felt guilty after speaking to him. After speaking to him I had hideous visions of demons that night, which makes sense as my father is evil-natured, and the priest prayed for Satan to stay far away from me. I guess the demons represent evil influences leaving my life.
I feel bad for shunning my priest since I spoke to him, and I hope he understands that I do not hate him, I am just troubled. I don't want to resort to going to a different church because I like the one I go to.
Peace be with you, Debbie
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on February 10, 2002 Dear Miss Debbie:
Here is a description of a Hookah Pipe that I found on the Internet:
-------------------- Also known as water-pipes, or nargilla to many Arabs (and occasionally called hubbly-bubbly by US expatriates), the hookah has long been a curiosity to the uninitiated and a source of pleasure to centuries of hookah smokers. Basically a pipe used for smoking, it has a long flexible tube whereby the smoke is cooled by passing through water (the Arabic word huggah means bottle of a water pipe). Though the hookah seems as synonymous with Turkish culture as carpets, in actuality it is popular throughout the middle-east.
Some people mistakenly believe that only hashish is smoked in hookahs. To the contrary, it is more likely used at a sidewalk cafe to drink the smoke of tobacco leaves, as one might sip coffee. Usually the tobacco is dried whole leaf, soaked and crumbled, or canned, then mixed with various herbs and flavors. This very moist mix is heaped into the bowl and covered with a small charcoal fire. The whole leaf burns for hours, making hookah-smoking a pastime conducive to leisurely philosophical conversing. In Egypt, a piece of camel dung, lit on fire, is typically resting on top of the tobacco. The dung smolders and slowly burns the tobacco, just as a hot coal would.
The pipes themselves are popular collectables. They are commonly made from silver and olive wood, and are sometimes quite large, standing two feet tall with one or more hoses extending three feet. A real conversation piece, as Lewis Carroll must have thought when he included a hookah-smoking caterpillar in his well-loved children's book Alice in Wonderland. ------------------
I am not aware of any particular dangers in a hookah pipe UNLESS you are smoking illegal substances. The Hookah Pipe was made popular in the West with the idea of smoking mind-altering drugs through the pipe -- such as opium or marijuana.
If regular tobacco, like you would buy at Walmart, was used, I am not sure there is any harm -- other than the usual dangers to smoking.
As for condeming the pipe MERELY because it comes from the East is childish. If we were to condemned all things Eastern we would have to condemn Fireworks (invented in China) and even spegghetti, (if I remember right was invented in China).
As far as your situation with your priest. It would seem that the devil wants you to feel embarassed and to stay away from the priest. That is probably the reason for the visions of demons. The motivation, of course, is that if you stay away from your priest then you will miss out on the graces that comes from that.
Don's let the enemy have his way. There should be some prayers in our Spiritual Warfare Catalog that might help in your situation.
Prayer to be healed of these feelings, and pray to the Father to cast away from you any demons that may be causing these feelings.
We will be in prayer for you.

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