VATICAN CITY (CNS): People craving deeper meaning or greater fulfilment in their lives should look to what the Catholic faith has to offer rather than turn to the spiritual promises of the New Age movement, a Vatican official said.
“We live in an age in which people go to the spiritual supermarket. We have to remember that within the Catholic Church there is such a variety of mystical traditions, such a variety of religious charisms,” said Richard Rouse, an official of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Mr Rouse was part of a Vatican working group that organised an international gathering from June 14-16 to offer practical tips and help promote a 2003 Vatican provisional report on the New Age movement, “Jesus: The Bearer of the Water of Life”.
Bishops’ conferences from around the world sent New Age experts to the three-day consultative sessions to respond to that report.
A Jesuit priest from the Philippines said people in his country are drawn to the New Age movement because it offers a sense of community, which is sometimes lacking in Manila’s overcrowded congregations.
The New Age label has been placed on everything from crystals and hugging trees to yoga and foot reflexology.
But there is a difference between taking a yoga class or receiving a therapeutic massage and getting wrapped up in the spiritual or metaphysical promises that activity may promote, said Irish Dominican Father Louis Hughes.
Fr Hughes warned that the Church must provide positive outlets to fulfil people’s needs.