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Catholic Bishops Deem Use of Reiki Therapy As Superstious

By May 22, 2009

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On March 25, 2009 the Committee on Doctrine from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published their reasoning and conclusions in their evaluation of Reiki as an alternative therapy.

The Reiki community is all a buzz about this decision. If you haven't heard about this yet, here's the nitty gritty:

Catholic Church Recognizes:

  • Healing by divine grace
  • Healing that utilizes the powers of nature
Catholic Bishops' Conclusions:
  • Reiki does not support natural science or christian belief.
  • Trust in Reiki is operating in the realm of superstition.
  • Inappropriate for Catholic institutions or church representatives to promote or provide support for Reiki therapy.
ChristianReiki.org is solicitating letters from nuns, priests, and ministers who practice Reiki to write testimonial letters how Reiki supports their Christian faith.
From the Blogosphere

Riazat Butt, The Guardian: Catholic Bishops in US Ban Japanese Reiki - Reiki master Judith White, who is a Christian, said the bishops had misunderstood the therapy. "There is so much bad information about reiki, anti-Christian information, on the internet," she said. "It says we channel spirits and that's not true. Reiki balances energy in the same way as acupuncture or reflexology. I know of two nuns in the Philadelphia area, one who runs a retreat centre, who have done wonderful work. The bishops weren't talking to women like that."

Mary Riposo: Catholic Bishops Denounce Reiki - When I heard about this pronouncement made by the Catholic Church, I was initially saddened. It was clear to me that the people who wrote it were coming from a place of fear and misunderstanding. Reiki is not a religion and is not in opposition to the Catholic Church. The energy that we channel as Reiki practitioners is pure God consciousness and is available to everyone. As I sat in ghasso position with this information in my consciousness, I realized that Reiki healing is being called for in this situation. Since that time, I have been ending Reiki to the situation, and to the Catholic Church for their highest healing.

JoAnn Robinson: Reiki denounced by US council of Catholic bishops - The first interesting thing I found was that Reiki must be seen as an awful threat to the Catholic church. And I find that a very sad thing. For such a gentle, beautiful practice as Reiki to be viewed as a threat to anyone, or anything is really quite sad. So my heart goes out to my religion of birth. The Reiki Master in me reaches out to all of the church members who are now in conflict and wishes that only the "highest healing" take place.

Witchwyd: Catholic Bishops: No Reiki Treatment - I guess I’m confused since I did not realize that scientific proof was a such a big deciding factor for the beliefs of the Catholic Church. Until relatively recently they believed the earth was flat, and the sun orbited the earth. Then there is the question of evolution which is does have the support of science behind it. I also wonder if the lack of scientific support will cause the catholic church to shun the ‘laying on of hands’ ,’faith healing’, prayer, and exorcism and faith to name a few. It is very unlikely because the church has a history of nay-saying science in general.

Publication: Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy (pdf)

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May 22, 2009 at 9:37 pm
(1) Susan B says:

Last I knew the Catholic church was not in the business of health care, so should they have an opinion?

May 26, 2009 at 8:35 am
(2) Amy says:

I am catholic and I am a huge fan of reiki and I have it done quite regularly and I will certainly continue to do so

May 26, 2009 at 9:47 am
(3) Kathy Corrigan says:

I agree that we need to send Reiki healing to the Bishops Council. They are certainly misinformed and, hopefully, healing energy can help them to reevaluate their position.

I was born a Catholic but, over the years, I have become so disillusioned by the exclusive nature of Catholic Church doctrine. To be christian means to be Christ-like which, in my mind, means to be inclusive, accepting all people and to be loving and open to others’ points of view. Banning Reiki, especially in light of the Council’s lack of understanding of the nature of Reiki, does not seem to be Christ-like in any way.

Reiki, through divinely-guided touch provides the receiver (and the giver) with God’s loving and healing energy — it is prayer in motion. I am a Reiki master/teacher, I am a very spiritual person with a wonderful God-connection. I am sending continual healing Reiki energy to the bishops until they reevaluate their position on Reiki.

May 26, 2009 at 9:55 am
(4) nana says:

hmmmmm … fear of the unknown, on the church’s part ? Not sure they have quite a few intelligent and dilligent scholars in their fold.

I think it is all about control.
90% of their flock of sheep will heed what they say.

If the church supported Reiki, that would mean they support the thought that each of us, (or at least those who wish to take the time to notice and perfect their allowing of source), have access to the great divine, circumventing the church.

where would that leave the church in terms of the supreme and only connectors to source.

They would loose their importance.

I see this as a political and control decision, the fact that they are bringing science into the equation is moot.

May 26, 2009 at 9:55 am
(5) Betty Lou Jacobs says:

sounds like this committee is coming from fear.My knowing is REIKI comes from love not fear.And I agree that the Catholic church needs to look at thier motives for trying to put negativity onto a loving gift to self.Just one of the reasons I am a recovering Catholic.NAMASTE

May 26, 2009 at 11:24 am
(6) rev frederick says:

Phylameana, thanks for the invitation to share reiki attunement experiences. I just finished teaching a class and forwarded the invite to class members.. i hold no malice for the good catholic bishops..but Jesus of Nazareth was a pretty good example of a reiki practitioner. Amen.

May 26, 2009 at 11:49 am
(7) dafaolta says:

The Catholic Church has always been big on Or rather than And. This is yet another example of how that narrows your horizon. It also speaks volumes about their fear of even considering that there might still be ‘miracles’ possible in this day and time; ‘miracles’ happened a long time ago, far, far away, to other people. Given the behavior of many of the Priests, not simply their sexual misdeeds, I can understand their reluctance to consider that God still acts so directly thru healers, or anyone.

When I was a child, they told us we could have a ‘personal relationship with God.’ And then proceeded to nail the box around me that they thought was the proper framework for that relationship and insist that I employ it. That said, I am not the target of this ‘decision’ of theirs. After all, these are the people who railed against Notre Dame for daring to invite the President of the United States to speak at their Commencement because his views on One Subject differed from the hardliners’.

Organized churches/religions can be comforting in their enclosures. As a child of a ‘mixed’ marriage, religiously, the Catholic Church’s enclosure became more obviously exclusionary as I grew up. In my family, only one of us still attends Mass regularly besides my mom. I’m simply lapsed, but our other sibling became a Quaker and married a Lutheran Minister.

I don’t understand why they felt they had to come out with a negative ruling Now. Is Reiki too close to the bone? Or is it simply too close to the healing miracles of old for them to let such claims stand unacknowledged and perhaps seem to approve by not actively denouncing it?

May 26, 2009 at 12:14 pm
(8) Phylameana says:

Good comments so far, keep them coming…

Rev. Frederick, I’m enjoying reading the Reiki attunement stories – 22 posted so far. Thank you for passing on the URL for your students to post their experiences…

Reiki Blessings,

May 26, 2009 at 12:37 pm
(9) Roni K. says:

I am a Catholic, who as of late, is starting to have serious questions about the church’s motivations. I think this matter stems from control.
In Mark 16:18, it states that “…they will lay their hands upon the sick and they will recover.”
In John 14:12, it says that “I assure you that the man that believes in me will do the same things that I have done, yes, and he will do even greater things than these…”
It does not matter to me what the ill-informed bishops say. I know what truth is. Reiki can do no harm–it can only help, and to the degree the patient allows it.
I think it is a great (and obvious) idea to send Reiki to the matter. Love is the answer.
p.s.-By the by, I had two sessions with our parish priest, who thought (prior to the bishop’s statement) that the sessions were relaxing and spiritual. I do not think he knew our healing sessions were actually Reiki in nature, however. As far as he was concerned, I was merely a healer. Maybe he’s caught on.

May 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm
(10) JudyLynn says:

I find that a lot of the bishops’ reasoning actually contradicts their own teachings. Is it more “superstitious” to trust that God’s healing can come through a Reiki practitioner, or to pray for a miracle healing to come through some recently deceased person who is cited for potential canonization? I’ve had Catholic naysayers tell me that Reiki opens the door to demonic intervention. If all good comes from God, as the Church has traditionally taught, then how can our “greatest good” intention for Reiki be related in any way to the devil? I think that those who are afraid of Reiki actually assign more power to the devil than is warranted or deserved.

While the bishops’ document was addressed to Catholic health-care insitutions, I know that it is causing a lot of anguish for Catholic Reiki practitioners in general. I, for one, believe that the greatest good will be accomplished if I remain loyal to my own conscience. That conscience tells me that Reiki is my chosen path to a closer relationship with God. I have to continue practicing it. In fact, the negative hype strengthens my resolve to show the good that Reiki effects. I’ll ask permission from the bishops’ higher selves to send Reiki for their greatest good.

May 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm
(11) Linda Hamel says:

I wish I could say I’m surprised but alas, I’m not. I was raised Catholic and long ago realized the church rules through fear. When I was a child and told that I couldn’t access God except through a priest I began to step away from the church and their teachings. I’ve always had a wonderful God connection. Hopefully people who practice Reiki will just realize that the church is frightened or anything that threatens their hold over their “flock”. I’m always wary of those who tell us “their way is the only way.” I am a Reiki master and will continue to practice and communication with God.

May 26, 2009 at 3:09 pm
(12) Barbara says:

A Roman Catholic woman, schooled in Catholic schools. I am disgusted with the church. The two times I needed them, I was crushed. When battling alcholism, was told by priest “there is nothing I can do for a lost soul”. Got sober, went to college. Accused of abuse, all the priest said was “I can not believe it, your so pretty.” Went to mass the woman behind me stated”what is she doing here”. So needless to say I am not surprised.

May 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm
(13) Beki M says:

I think that the Catholics actually fear Reiki – not because it is supersticious or harmful, but simply because it is a threat to the way they control their people. Those of us who are attuned to Reiki are not only capable of self healing and healing of others, but also of blessing our own water, food, homes, etc., of communicating with spirit and confessing sins through meditation. Acceptance by these Religions will lead to more people becoming attuned to Reiki and those such people will realise that they are in control of themselves and their lives like never before. No more will they accept life as a sheep allowing a man in a cloth to preach from a book and tell them what is what. They will know things for themselves and take back all that was originally their own birth right anyway, which in turn, takes the power and control away from the orthodox religions.

May 26, 2009 at 6:42 pm
(14) Dirk S says:

The Lord and his disciples healed people by hand healing. So the Catholic Bishops commit blasphemy by saying the founders of their church were superstitious. Hey guys, maybe it’s time to enter the 21st century. A new age of spirituality, in which your institute will perish if you won’t go back to the Source: the One and Loving God in which We Are All One :-)

May 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm
(15) Dana says:

just another way for the church to try and have control over its members. That’s one reason why I left many years ago. Couldn’t stand the brainwashing anymore.

May 27, 2009 at 12:39 am
(16) R. says:

If you are Catholic,and want to adhere to all the pronouncements they make,dont do Reiki but if Oprah tells you to go buy a book run to the store!

May 27, 2009 at 3:28 am
(17) Han says:

There are a few points made by the catholic church.
-Can’t be predicted
By saying that if I use this technique, this patient will heal(reiki), it makes it very unnatural for the catholic church.
-separation of God and man
God and man is always separated(catholic), but reiki views man and God as one.
-reiki master
The Catholics believe that an attunement should not be needed in order to do healing, as seen by the saints or the nature of a prayer.
-universal life energy
Universal life energy is equal with God(reiki), but Catholics do not.
Thus the Catholic Church sees reiki as superstitious.
But, I do believe in reiki, because I have experienced reiki and feel good about it.
In my personal opinion, if the Catholic Church were to look at other forms of spiritual healing, such as the Barbara Brennan system of healing, they might be more agreeable to it.

May 27, 2009 at 6:48 am
(18) maureen says:

why doesn`t this suprise me? i left the church years ago as a teenager for reasons like this,rigid man made doctrine far removed from true spirituality..

May 27, 2009 at 8:27 am
(19) jackie says:

…errr didn’t Einstein prove that all life is made of energy????? First the Catholic church dismisses Reiki because it is not scientifically proven but then dismisses “life energy” even though it has been proven!

May 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm
(20) Cosmo Ohms says:

What would happen if we (Collectively) or I (Personally) found out how to heal ourselves, or connect directly to divine source (God, Higher Power, Divinity, Christ, Moses, Buddah, Mohammed)? Think about it…It might
change the way we think and RESPOND to the power grid….possibly making RELIGION and BIG PHARM obsolete……Hmmmmmmmmm. Or, making it accessible to everyone….breaking the shckles and ties that bind……FEAR….SUBROGATION……ECONOMICS…..FREEDOM FROM CONTROL…….Hmmmmmmmmm.
Lot of people would be out of work, wondering why people got free of them. There is much to be learned from manyu different sources of knowledge….but one must be FREE to give them a proper HEARING and evaluation. Then one must listen to the insides and sense the body, in quite and allow the inner force to appear… It is truly mysterious, but available to each of us, without an interpretor…..LISTEN INSIDE and be ready, but don’t make expectations….
We all feel the separation from source, but
we have access…if you are prepared for what you will see.

Cosmo Ohms

May 28, 2009 at 10:57 am
(21) Robin says:

I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Catholic Church, that refuses to support many other things that others believe in, does not support Reiki. If Reiki had remained intact, if we had not evolved a modern medical practice for mental health, perhaps the Catholic Church might have decided otherwise. The comment ‘trust Reiki’ is really sloppy thinking/speaking on the parts of practitioners who, I suspect, mean trust the energy of Reiki (that’s if you received your initiation from a true Master and not a bastardized version). Reiki is supposed to relax/open the individual to further healing. It is not designed to harm.

May 28, 2009 at 8:13 pm
(22) Fran says:

The fear of “the power” being back in the hands of the people is the issue. During Catholic healing masses and prayer sessions, and such, what exactly are we supposed to believe THEY are doing? Reiki is old, old, old, and was taught to Jesus and many before him. They know darn well it is NOT superstitious. We need to ask ourselves why only certain ones of them know how to do excorcisms, healings, and more. They know all these things; just don’t want us common people to know so that they are out of power positions in the world. Reiki cannot cause harm. Just an aside FYI: from a church that denounces astrology as well…they own one of the largerst observatories in the world. What would priests need that for, I wonder?
I’m a Catholic myself and believe it is time for change in the church, but also a need to get back to the basic teachings and principles. The churches have value and have brought comfort and guidance to many, but like so much of man’s world, things can become tainted when mankind gets their own agendas involved.

May 29, 2009 at 6:13 pm
(23) Richard Clements says:

I’m not a catholic, Pentecostal Christian instead, and I don’t really care what the bishops say about Reiki – instead I prefer to rely on the actual Word of God which clearly states if it is not of God, then it is against God. Those practicing Reike are dependent of the ‘power’ or ‘energy’ of the universe in order to heal – - – sounds like the Devil to me.

May 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm
(24) Rev. Loush says:

reiki practitioners are not dependent on universal energy, we all are universal energy. created by God! not the devil! so you should know what you are talking about before you comment sir. i am a christian reiki master teacher, and i felt i could not ignore the comment you made!

June 9, 2009 at 9:25 am
(25) Paula Baker says:

I enjoy your emails and find them to be very helpful and informative.
This one, regarding the Bishops’ announcement really infuriated me. I am
Catholic and have been a Reiki Master for 11 years. I have a private
practice as I am both a Labor/Birth Doula, and a Hospice Caregiver. I
also see clients/patients at hospitals and other facilities and use Reiki
and many other holistic modalities on people of all ages, with varied
health challenges.

What infuriates me is that these Bishops are, one, ignorant, and two, some
are hypocrites. I know for a fact that our bishop has come for reiki
treatments on a regular basis. I was taught Reiki by an Ursuline nun who
has been a pioneer in bringing Reiki into hospitals and other care
centers. She has taught nearly every reiki practitioner in the area. She
has been treated like a witch doctor by some of these ignorant people, a
shameful thing, as she is only about bringing healing to the suffering.
There are many Catholics who are on the fence about reiki and now, those
who actually value the opinions of these men may ultimately listen out of
fear and avoid something that is so gentle, so helpful, only because they
may now consider it to be ‘sinful’. What a sad situation for them. These
bishops should be looking among themselves for sinfulness and stay out of
something they don’t understand.

June 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm
(26) Shirley Ross says:

What a sad world this is getting to. I was taught Reiki from a Christian perspective. This world and all of the energy in the surrounding air, made by God for all of us to use. Stepping aside from EGO and letting God.
What a sad day.

June 10, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(27) Fr.Francis says:

Greetings from Fr.Francis, a catholic priest from India, and working in India. I read your comments on Reiki. It is true that it is not based on catholic teaching. The reiki healing power is not from the Holy Spirit. Therefore it cannot be permitted by the Catholic Church. What about Vasthu? Do you think that the Catholic Church can accept it?

May 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm
(28) Rev. Loush says:

reiki is from The Holy Spirit sir! and christians do not need anyones permission to utilize it other than God’s.

June 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm
(29) Stephen J says:

Most posters here have no concept of the role of a Catholic Bishop. It isn’t about power, or ‘control’. It IS about shepherding your flock, keeping them from harm, teaching them truth. Those who call themselves Catholic but don’t accept the bishops’ teaching are fooling themselves and no one else. Reiki has no scientific basis or scientifically validated results, so it doesn’t compare to medicine or other actual healing arts, and the bishops point that out. It also involves spirit ‘guides’ and ‘guardians’, so it can be quite harmful in that respect. Why people are so gullible concerning purported “healing” (but only if the receiver ‘allows’ it – very weaselly) is beyond me, and why you would allow yourself to be manipulated and led by some anonymous ‘spirit’ is beyond me. Many spirits exist – they are NOT all looking out for you and your best interest(UNLIKE the bishops,)so wise up, people.

May 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm
(30) Rev. Loush says:

as usual you do not know what you are talking about. the point of bishops is not sheparding but control historically. the catholic higherarchy system is pagan not christian. you don’t need reiki guides if you do not want them. God sends us the help that we need!

July 31, 2009 at 6:39 pm
(31) Fra Giles says:

A couple months back I was asked by an elderly nun who was feeling ill to pray for her. As soon as I gently touched my hand against her forehead she fell back a step and caught herself. Her eyes shot open and she looked at me incredulously and asked, “What did you do to me? Do you know Reiki? Do you have healing bubbles and healing spirits?” I simply replied, “Oh, no, Sister, there’s only one spirit who heals and that’s the Holy Spirit.”

And guess what…she has been healed…

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