Introductory Remarks

They would like to see the whole universe become transformed before their eyes and changed into something radically new.  They would like to be freed once and for all from the world’s problems.

This dream lives on and is stronger than ever today, at the beginning of another millennium. Our world, with its advanced technology but spiritual hunger, experiences deep disappointment in the face of a material well-being that cannot eradicate poverty, a freedom of choice which is unable to remove its yoke of slavery, and a scientific knowledge which cannot resolve its deep uncertainty.

A cultural, philosophical, and religious trend has been emerging since the 1960s in reaction to the present state of humanity.  Its goal is to push society towards a new awareness, towards a new type of spiritual existence: We call this trend New Age and, nowadays, many aspects of our lives have felt in some way the effects of this trend.

This primer will address some of the most frequent questions about New Age.  This is a complex theme that has filled the pages of many books. Here the aim is to clear up doubts that first arise among Catholic Christians when the subject of New Age is brought up, and to extend an invitation to all the Catholic Christian faithful and their pastors to learn more about the New Age phenomenon, The authors and publishers of this primer strive to help God’s people understand how to address this phenomenon that arises from some valid and even urgent concerns of human beings, and yet, because of its erroneous teachings and the practices that flow from these, threatens the integrity of the faith and morals of our people.

(01) What are some of the basic features of New Age?

New Age is a form of millenarism (the anticipation of an imminent new era of rapid and radical change that will put an end to the present state of the world) that emerged in the 19th century but became prominent in the 20th century, and tends to combine apparently Christian terms and scientific vocabulary with a worldview derived from Hinduism, Buddhism, gnosticism, and other ancient non-Christian religions or philosophies.

Though New Age has some of its roots in beliefs and groups that emerged in the 19th century, it was toward the end of the 20th century-the end of the second millennium and the beginning of a new one – that it became widespread and gained many adherents.

New Age is a humanly attractive expression of millenarism. Contrary to what some Adventist groups envision for the end of the millennium or age – a catastrophe in which only the members of their group will survive or be saved-New Age predicts a golden era for all humankind. New Age believes in the imminent beginning of a qualitatively different and better world than this one, an era of peace, love, and prosperity following the present situation of social dysfunction, conflict, and chaos.  Nevertheless, New Age, though attractive, also has ambiguous, questionable, and even objectionable aspects,

Persons who are into New Age (whom we shall also call “New Agers”) often believe in the prediction that an “Age of Aquarius” dominated by true science and worldwide humanism would succeed the “Age of Pisces,” the violent era considered to have been engendered by Christianity.  This belief is based on several suppositions. One supposition is that the spring equinox (March 21) regresses by one sign of the zodiac once in about every 2,100 years, passing toward the end of the 20th century s that since Christianity is symbolized by a fish (icthys) (acronym for the Greek words for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior), the sign of Pisces is identified with Christianity.

New Age groups tend to be gnostic. Gnostics emphasize knowledge or enlightenment that is esoteric (in the sense of being available only to the initiated), for attaining salvation, well-being, or integrity.  The belief and practice of New Age groups incorporate in varying degrees and combinations archaic beliefs and occult practices coming from Asian, African, Native American, and other mythical, religious, philosophical and magical on-gins. These beliefs and practices include karmic retribution, reincarnation, psychic powers, nature lore, and at times, even witchcraft. In particular New Age groups, elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, kabbalah, pantheism, spiritism, and numerology may be prominent.

Characteristic concerns of New Age include ecology, planetary healing, holistic health, self-improvement, and the rights of women, minorities, and animals.  New Age groups tend to favor non-conventional or “alternative” health care modalities, such as acupuncture, biofeedback, herbal medicine, hypnosis, massage, pranic healing, organic gardening, vegetarianism, therapy with crystals, colors and aromas, and so forth. New Age groups are often fond of psychological typing of persons through such tools as astrology and the enneagram. This is not to say that anyone who has these concerns or favors these ideas or practices is a New Ager.  It is nevertheless true that New Agers tend to be interested in or to promote various combinations of these concerns, these ideas or practices.

There is taking place an increasingly widespread commercialization of New Age teachings and practices, aided by the rapid advances in communication and marketing techniques.  Very noticeable is the multiplication of bookstores, specialty shops, courses and workshops, films, television programs, and even “spiritual retreats” that promote the ideas, values, and practices of New Age.

(02) Why is it important for Filipino Catholic Christians to know about New Age?

It is important for Filipino Catholic Christians to know about New Age because in the Philippines, New Age groups are emerging as a serious challenge to Christianity, especially but not only among the middle class and the wealthy. Some New Age groups are especially dangerous because they are deceiving, undermining Christianity from within by using apparently Christian symbols and vocabulary (such as “God” and “Christ”), but with non-Christian and even anti-Christian content and meaning. This is in contrast to belief systems such as Hinduism and Buddhism that from their vocabulary are immediately clearly seen as contrary to and distinct from Christianity.

The problem posed to Catholic Christian faith by New Age is not trivial. In some traditionally Catholic Christian countries very large proportions of the population hold some New Age beliefs incompatible with Christian faith. For example, with regard to belief in reincarnation “among the population, statistics show 24% in Spain as of 1995, and 19% in Italy as of 1998.  In the Philippines, anecdotal evidence shows an increased prevalence of belief in reincarnation at least among the wealthy and the middle class.

Just as serious a problem in a country like the Philippines, which needs radical societal transformation according to the standards of social justice, is the fact that New Age groups tend to offer their adepts and neophytes a “soft transcendence.” By the latter is meant a state of psychological calmness or sense of fulfillment or exaltation, without the need for profound moral conversion and serious effort to transform interpersonal, social, and environmental reality for the better.  In this way some New Age groups are becoming the new “opium of the people.” (In contrast, in its most authentic and best developed forms, Christianity proposes a “hard transcendence,” a challenging way of life, requiring radical moral conversion to God and sustained effort to transform intrapersonal, interpersonal, social and environmental reality according to God’s life-giving and liberating purposes.)

(03) What sociological and historical factors have led to the emergence and spread of New Age?

From the viewpoint of sociology and history, the emergence and rapid spread of New Age is largely due to four factors: the rapid process of globalization in all fields of human activity, the aggressive commercialization of all aspects of human life, the banishment of faith from the horizon of human knowledge, and the human person’s thirst for a transcendence that would give meaning to life.

The rapid process of globalization in all fields of human activity. Thanks to remarkable computer and communications systems, more and more human beings have immediate contact with ideas and lifestyles previously unknown to them, including the ideas of New Age and the lifestyles of New Agers.  The contacts and choices of more and more human beings are almost infinitely multiplied. The certitudes and values of one’s own culture run the risk of being unduly relativized unless this new openness is accompanied by a discernment solidly based on faith and rigorous logic.

The aggressive commercialization of all aspects of human life. The mass media’s power to create fashions and impose lifestyles makes the Filipino home and society, both traditionally based on human and spiritual principles rooted in Christianity, very vulnerable to the loss of Christian belief and practice. Everything is quantified. There is a strong tendency to value things or ideas according to their immediate material usefulness: the more immediate the result, the more profitable the system, the more valuable they are considered to be. This attitude has penetrated many human beings’ view of spiritual life, producing a supermarket of religions and spiritual alternatives, with little concern for their veracity or their inner consistency.

The banishment of faith from the horizon of human knowledge. The influence of almost three centuries dominated by different strains of philosophical rationalism, the exaltation of the empirical sciences, and the spread of a positivist mentality that demands proof through sense experience, have managed to relegate religious faith and theology, in the minds and lives of many, to the level of feeling, or at best, to that of personal opinion. What is considered by many to be real, objective, and scientific is only what is verified or produced in the laboratory, or what can be measured by statistics. Many end up considering religion as being a matter of subjective preferences with no essential link to the truth. This being the case, people tend to see all religions and all spiritual paths as equal, and often, as equally irrational and irrelevant.

The human person’s thirst for a transcendence that would give meaning to life. As a reaction to what has been described above, the last thirty years have witnessed an unprecedented worldwide search for some kind of spiritual experience.  Both the nations that endured long years of materialistic and militantly atheist Marxist socialism, and the democratic nations who were prisoners of a selfish pursuit of individual well-being, have witnessed yet another renewal of the human person’s thirst for transcendence.  But because of the doctrinal and moral confusion of our time, as well as the increasing disenchantment with traditional forms of religion, an immediate result of this religious awakening has been the proliferation of sects, the defection to nature worship and magic, the popularity of Eastern spirituality’ and the tendency to take refuge in personalistic, individual religion.

(04) Is New Age a specific religious organization, such as a church or a sect, or is it more of a movements?

New Age is not a specific religious organization, such as a church or a sect. It is a way of seeing, thinking, and acting that many people and organizations have adopted to change the world according to certain beliefs they hold in common within their group. But it has no single head, no single set of established doctrines, no single set of practices, and no single code of common rules of discipline.  Nevertheless there is a great deal of commonality and overlapping in terms of doctrines, practices, and rules of discipline among the individuals and the various groups considered to be New Age, so that it is correct to consider New Age to be a movement.

(5) Then why may New Age be considered to be one of the “new religious movements”?

New Age may be considered to be one of the “new religious movements” because. it is a relatively new movement that addresses themes and concerns common to Christianity and other religions. These themes and concerns include: God, creation, life, spiritual experience, the meaning of our existence, and so forth New Age takes different aspects from many religions, and also from the sciences and literature, and mixes them with a certain originality to propose often-fantastic answers to the most important questions of human life, questions that are basically religious ones. Sometimes it even uses Christian language to express ideas which are very contrary to Christianity.

(06) What kinds of people have been attracted to New Age?

Practically all types of people have been attracted to New Age.  Their leaders and thinkers tend to be people from the “counterculture revolution” of the 60s and 70s who rejected traditional religious values and customs for the sake of libertinism, the drug culture, “free love,” and experiments with utopian communes.  Today these ideas are so widespread that a great many people share them without formally and visibly rejecting their own culture, lifestyle, and their formal religious affiliation. For example, these people could still think of themselves as being Catholic Christians, while holding New Age doctrines and carrying out New Age practices actually incompatible with Christianity.

(07) What are some of the principal beliefs held by most New Age groups?

The spirit of individualism and relativism is typical of New Age. This enables each New Ager to formulate their own religious, philosophical, land moral truth. But there are certain common beliefs shared by a majority of New Agers.

a. The earth is about to enter a period of world peace and harmony, designated by astrology as the “Age of Aquarius.

b. The “Age of Aquarius” will be the result of a new consciousness in all men and women.  New Age therapies and techniques try to create this awareness and accelerate the coming of the “Age of Aquarius.”

c. Through this new consciousness men and women will become aware of their supernatural powers and realize that there is no God outside their own selves.

d. Each person, then, is to create his or her own truth.  There is no good or evil as such. Every experience is another step towards a fuller awareness of one’s own divinity.

e. The universe is one living being evolving towards complete self-awareness. Humankind is a manifestation of its self-awareness.

f. Nature also forms part of the one cosmic being, therefore it shares in its divinity. Everything is “god,” or at least, “god” is in everything.

g. All religions are equal and basically say the same thing.

There are invisible “teachers,” sometimes called “ascended masters,” that communicate with people who have already achieved the new consciousness and teach them the secrets of the cosmos.

Every human has many lives and continues to reincarnate again and again until he or she achieves the new consciousness and dissolves into the cosmic divine force.

(08) What kind of arguments do New Agers put forward in the effort to prove that their beliefs are correct?

To prove that their more controversial beliefs are correct, New Agers usually rely on the anecdotal testimonies of personal subjective experiences, which are as difficult to verify as they are to disprove. Sometimes they base their opinions on myths or legends from ancient people’s traditions, such as the legends of Atlantis and Lemuria.

New Agers sometimes take information from science and apply it, often erroneously, to humankind’s spiritual life.  One such error is the scientifically unacceptable misuse of analogies from physics to support New Age philosophical claims.  For example, some New Agers attach much  importance to the fact that the mathematical “wave function” that governs the behavior of particles of matter collapses when physicists use their devices to measure this behavior. These New Agers claim that the latter proves the nondistinction between the observer and the phenomenon being observed, as well as between subject and object, between matter and energy, between the divine and the nondivine (in line with the doctrine of advaita or nonduality, borrowed by many New Agers from Hinduism). This supposed condition of nonduality allows them to say that “all is one, all is energy, all is God,” and even “I am God.”

(09) What place is there in New Age for the God who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ?

There is no place in most New Age groups for the God who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ.

The God of the Catholic Christian faith is a Divine Trinity of One God in three Persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–while the “god” of most New Age groups is a nameless, impersonal force.

The God of the Catholic Christian faith is the Creator of all things, but God is distinct from any created thing. The “god” of most New Age groups is the universe that, through human beings and possibly other intelligent creatures, is gradually becoming aware of the oneness of all things.

The God of the Catholic Christian faith is infinitely superior to human beings, but lovingly communicates with them to enter into friendship with them. The God of the Catholic Christian faith fulfills each man or woman according to their response to that love. The “god” of most New Age groups is man or woman himself or herself who is beyond good and evil, since they sets standards of good and evil for themselves without reference to a superior being. In most New Age groups, the highest love, in effect, is love of self.

(10) What does New Age say about Jesus Christ?

Most New Agers do not believe that Jesus Christ is God in the way that Catholic Christian faith does.  On the contrary, New Agers hold that the “christic consciousness” that animates Jesus Christ is essentially a type of vibration of the energy of the cosmos or universe.  This profound consciousness penetrates all things and can incarnate itself in various avatar or spirit guides or masters, who guide humanity toward the New Age.

At one time, New Agers claim, this cosmic consciousness manifested itself in Jesus of Nazareth, from the time of his baptism.  They further claim that during our times, the Christ returns in different Messiahs, such as Maitreya or Ishvara, who inaugurate the Age of Aquarius.  This Aquarian Christ has  in his hands the future of the universe, and will put an end to the Christianity of the Age of Pisces.  He shall be one of the many faces of the christic Spirit, in the same way as the great adepts of the various forms of gnosis or esoteric knowledge.  His knowledge and his powers have come to him from the teachings of the great adepts who preceded him. There is not only one Christ as the Church teaches.  Rather, in the course of the ages, there are several persons who shall become Christ’s by virtue of initiation into this profound cbristic consciousness.

In other words, most New Age groups say that Jesus Christ was just another enlightened teacher among many others. They say that the only difference between Jesus Christ and other human beings   was that he became aware of his divinity, while most men and women are yet to discover theirs.  In this way, New Age denies Jesus Christ’s unique, unrepeatable character as Son of God and rejects the fact of God becoming human to save us from sin and all other evils that oppress us and to guide us to the fullness of life and happiness.

(11) Can you describe the claim of some New Agers that during his earthly life Jesus traveled to other lands, learned the ancient wisdom of these lands, and taught this to his disciples?

Some New Agers, in order to justify their teachings that depart from correct Christian teaching, especially about Jesus Christ, claim knowledge of the “hidden years” or “unknown years” of his earthly life, knowledge not available in the Bible as we know it now, nor in the teachings of Christianity.  In this connection, New Agers claim that during his youth Jesus traveled to other lands and there learned the ancient wisdom of these lands. They further claim that upon attaining the stature of a teacher Jesus taught his disciples this ancient wisdom, quite akin to present-day New Age beliefs, but that those who later wielded power in the Christian Church suppressed these teachings within the first centuries of its existence.

Two of the more widely known of the many versions of such claims about the “hidden years” of Jesus are found in The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ, by Nicholas Notovitch, and in The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, by Levi H. Dowling.  Notovitch bases his claims on personal travels and alleged ancient literary sources, while Dowling claims to have discovered the information by tapping the Akashic Records, chronicles that are believed by New Agers to have been preserved in the “astral plane,” an alternative dimension of reality, which carries the imprint of everything that ever happened.

Notovitch, a Russian, claims to have discovered documents that prove that Jesus traveled to the East and studied under several Hindu and Buddhist teachers. He describes his journeys to India, Kashmir, and then to Tibet, where, in the library of an ancient lamasery, he discovered an old manuscript that contained reports of the travels and teachings of Jesus. At the age of 13, Jesus is said to have secretly left his family and embarked on a trip to the East in order to perfect himself and to study the works of the great Buddha. He traveled in various Eastern countries where he became acquainted with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions prevalent in the East. Back in Palestine, he propagated the ancient wisdom he had learned, and came into conflict with those who opposed his teaching.  It is Pilate who finally condemned Jesus, while the Jewish priests and elders found no fault in him and implored Pilate to release him.  Jesus was crucified between two thieves, but his body was removed by Pilate’s order and buried elsewhere.  The resurrection is omitted, if not completely denied. , In general, Notovitch gives a picture of Jesus as a glorious prophet chosen by God to fight idolatry and magic wherever they occur.

Dowling, from the United States, and more commonly known as Levi, claims that when Jesus returned home after being lost and found in the Temple, he returned home and took up carpentry with Joseph, Ravanna, an Indian prince visiting Palestine, became a guest of Joseph, who made him welcome. ln return Ravanna observing the wisdom of the child Jesus, offered to be his protector and to take Jesus with him to the East so that he might acquire the wisdom of the Brahmins.  With his parents consent, Jesus went with Ravanna to the East.  The experiences of Jesus outside his homeland include studying under Hindu, Buddhist, and Persian masters, preaching in Athens, and joining an Egyptian              mystic brotherhood.  Levi recounts the resurrection of Jesus, and even the way Jesus actually rose from the dead. For Levi, Jesus is a profound mystic, a great teacher who finally attains the great illumination and becomes the Christ.

(12)What are the main kinds of sources that New Agers use to found or legitimize their teachings about the earthly life of Jesus Christ?

New Agers claim the following sources to found or legitimize their teachings about Jesus Christ.

(a) ancient esoteric knowledge found in Rosicrucian and Masonic source literature

(b) discoveries of ancient manuscripts that are accepted as authentic by various New Age authors or groups

(c) reliance on “Akashic records” accessed and interpreted by prominent New Agers;

(d) information received through messages of spirits, often communicated by cbannellers since the nineteenth century

In effect, these sources either claim to be based on some kind of historical record, no matter how unusual, or on spirit communication and channeling.

(13) How reliable are the sources that New Agers use to found or legitimize their teachings about the earthly life of Jesus Christ?

The sources that New Agers use to found or legitimize their teachings about the earthly life of Jesus Christ are quite unreliable.  The material that they claim to be historical is questionable and insufficient, are often contradictory to each other, and do not pass the test of reliable historical criticism.  Some of these “sources” are outright inventions or forgeries. The “information” that comes from spirit communication and from channeling fails to convince, because the material is quite personal, is incoherently mixed-up, or contradicts known well-established historical data.  Materials from channeling or spirit communication cannot be checked or subjected to independent scrutiny.  There seems to be no limit or parameters to what one can claim or say, based on supposed data from channeling or from spirit communication, about the life and role of Jesus.

New Age teaching about Jesus Christ is grossly unreliable, insofar as it deviates from the Christian teaching about Jesus Christ.

From the viewpoint of historical scholarship, Christian teaching about Jesus Christ is very much more reliable, to say the least, than New Age teaching. Christian teaching obviously wins out from the historically relevant criteria of the antiquity and abundance of sources and the coherence of the teaching contained in these sources.  A good source for more information on how Christian teaching fares according to these criteria is the article entitled “Gospel,” by René Latourelle, in Dictionary ql Fundamental Theology, edited by René Latourelle and Rino Fisichella, and published in Makati City, Metro Manila, by Saint Pauls, in 1994.

(14) For Catholic Christians, who is Jesus Christ?

For Catholic Christians, Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God the Father (John 1: 14).   He is the divine Word (self-knowledge and self-expression) of God, through whom all things were made (John 1: 10). In him, the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1: 14), entering human history once and for all, conceived in Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, ministered in Galilee and Judea, died and rose from the dead in Jerusalem.  As self-expression and perfect image of the Father, Jesus Christ is truly God.  As son of Mary, he is truly man,

Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1: 15), and at the same time the Savior of the world (John 3:17), and Lord of the Church and of the universe (Philippians 2:9 -1 1). Jesus Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful ones through his Spirit (Galatians 4:6).  In him we perceive the self-giving loving kindness of God. Through him and in him we will one day see the divinization of human beings, as adopted children of God, sons and daughters in the Son (Galatians 4:4-7,). For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that those who believe in him may not die, but may have eternal life (John 3: 16).

(15) What is the place of reincarnation in the belief system of New Age groups?

The doctrine of reincarnation is found in many non-Christian religions.  In its classical forms in Hinduism and Buddhism it involves the taking on by the soul or the psychic element in human beings, of a body in successive lives. The good or evil one thinks, says, or does in previous incarnations results in the accumulation of positive karma or negative karma. (The term karma is Sanskrit; and literally means “action” or “activity,” but in the context of Hindu or Buddhist belief in reincarnation, it can be better translated as “cause and effect.”  Positive karma can be called “merit,” while negative karma can be called “demerit.”) Depending on the balance between one’s merits or demerits, after one’s death to  one’s present incarnation, one could be reincarnated at a higher, an equal, or a lower level of being. A human being could therefore be reincarnated at a subhuman level of being.  The aim of one’s striving should be to liberated from this cycle of deaths and rebirths, called samsāra, and be reunited with or absorbed into oneness with all being.

In the modern period, the concept or reincarnation has entered in an altered form into Western culture, mainly through the New Age groups.  The altered Western understanding of reincarnation that is dominant among New Agers does not admit of reincarnation at a lower level of being.  Instead, at each reincarnation one passes to a form of life better and more beautiful than the previous, and ever more consonant with the energy of the universe, the energy that is the all and the divine. There is no point trying to free oneself from this cycle of deaths and rebirths, because it is never-ending, since it is the natural situation in which human beings find themselves, in the same way that fish are naturally at home in water. The law of existence and life underlying this altered Western concept of reincarnation can be rendered as “To be born, to die, and then to be born again, always attaining progress with each rebirth.”

Belief in reincarnation has spread to the Philippines in this altered form especially among our Westernized economically and socially dominant classes.  There are many reasons for this spread, here and abroad, include the mistaken belief that reincarnation can provide a solid foundation or support for the following notions and aspirations: purification from the faults of one’s previous life; just compensation for innocent suffering and renunciations in this life; and being able to bring to reality the potential for good that could not be fulfilled in the short span of a single life.

(16) What kind of experiential evidence do New Agers put forward to support belief in reincarnation, and how credible are they?

The experiential evidence that New Agers put forward to support belief in reincarnation consist of “past life” experiences or memories.  These may be spontaneous or may be elicited by hypnotherapy.  Most items of this evidence are questionable because with good reason they can be attributed to the following: forgetfulness of similar experiences that took place earlier in life; suggestion by the therapist; inventions and delusions of the one who claims to have been reincarnated.

Even those few items of evidence that appear impressive are not free from the reasonable suspicion that they are due to manipulation of the mind by malign deceiving spirits, because they contradict Christian teachings that the spirit and the body of each human being are intimately related (human beings are “embodied spirits”), and that human beings live only one life, after which comes judgment, which immediately or eventually brings eternal fulfillment or frustration, as the person deserves.

(17) May a Catholic Christian accept belief in reincarnation?

Definitely not.  A Catholic Christian may not accept belief in reincarnation, because the latter contradicts some tenets of Christian faith. The idea of a re-embodiment or reincarnation of the soul after death in a new life in this world completely contradicts Holy Scripture and the Church’s tradition of faith.

According to the Christian faith, no number of earthly lives could suffice for the purification and fulfillment of human beings. God alone and life with God are the holiness, justice, and fulfillment of human beings. Furthermore, according to Christian teaching that human beings are embodied spirits, body and spiritual soul are so intimately related that they cannot be separated in such an extreme way that the soul could assume different bodies without thereby losing its own identity. Finally, this life and the moral effort that it includes, is taken with true and sufficient seriousness only if it is understood as a unique chance for deciding with God or without God, for God or against God – a chance that ends once and for all in death.  This once-for-all quality of our earthly life corresponds to the once-for-all salvific deed of God through Jesus Christ, in which we permanently and definitively receive a share at our death to this mortal present form of life (Hebrews 9:27-28).  This salvific deed of God culminates in our resurrection, like that of Jesus Christ, to a glorious and unending new form of life in which we shall experience the fulfillment of all our really worthwhile aspirations (John 11:25-26; John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Revelation 21:1-5).

(18) What can be said of the New Age claim that early Christians commonly believed in reincarnation, and that it was originally accepted as part of correct belief until it became suspect in the controversies over the influence of Gnostic ideas?

There is no basis to claim that early Christians commonly believed in reincarnation, much less that it was originally accepted as part of correct belief until it became suspect because it was a doctrine perceived to linked with gnosticism. On the contrary, for the early Christians, reincarnation held little if any in being considered an exotic and alien idea. Origen (about A.D. 185 – A.D. 254), a famous Church Father (who entertained the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls before, on, but not reincarnation, contrary to the claim of New Agers) already pointed out that reincarnation did not appear in the Bible or in Christian tradition. If it was mentioned at all among Christians, usually educated ones, it was with the awareness that it was Greek philosophy, and not the Bible nor Christian tradition, that was concerned with reincarnation.

So unknown in the early Church was belief in reincarnation that it was never discussed nor debated, much less was there felt a need to condemn it formally.  The Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (A.D. 553) did not directly condemn reincarnation, but rather the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls.  The indirect effect, of course, was also to condemn reincarnation, since the preexistence of souls is a precondition for reincarnation.

(19) What about the passages in the Bible that some New Agers claim to support belief in reincarnation?

New Agers cite some Bible passages in their attempt to support belief in reincarnation.

For example in Matthew 11: 14 Jesus speaks of John as the Elijah whose coming was predicted. He also associated John the Baptist with Elijah in Matthew 17:1-13 (the Transfiguration account).  But these cannot refer to reincarnation.  According to 2 Kings 2:9-18 Elijah did not die but was taken bodily into heaven. Not having died, he cannot have reincarnated.  Moreover, by the time the Transfiguration took place, late in Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist had already lived and died. If John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah, the latter would no longer be able to appear at the Transfiguration scene, since he would no longer exist, his identity being subsumed, as it were, in John the Baptist and in the latter’s new reincarnation.

The real connection between John the Baptist and Elijah is indicated in Luke 1: 1 7. John was to go before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.  Thus John the Baptist would virtually fulfill in his person what people were anticipating to be accomplished in the person of Elijah in the light of Malachi 4:5-6.

In John 3:1-7 Jesus speaks to Nicodemus of new birth in the water and the Spirit.  Some New Agers claim that Jesus was referring to reincarnation. Not so.  What is referred to here as new birth is the new spiritual life given by God to the Christian who has responded to God’s call by faith and conversion of life. This giving of new life from God is symbolized and effected in the Sacrament of Baptism.

In John 9:2, Jesus’ disciples ask him about the man blind from birth: “Master, was he born blind because of a sin of his, or of his parents?” New Agers take this as an evidence that Jesus and his disciples believed in reincarnation. Their reasoning is that the only way a man could have sinned before his birth so as to deserve the punishment of blindness is to have sinned in a life previous to his present reincarnation. However, their reasoning fails because of the fact that during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry some rabbis believed and taught that human fetuses in the womb could commit sin before their birth. This is one very plausible explanation for the above-cited verse, which renders unnecessary a resort to the postulation of reincarnation.

In sum, there is no verse or passage in the Bible that supports belief in reincarnation.

(20)What is meant by karma?

Karma is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “action” or “activity,” but better translated as “cause and effect” in the New Age context. It is a belief basic to Hinduism and to Buddhism, according to which every action is the effect of a cause, and is in its turn the cause of an effect.

In the life of human beings, the doctrine of karma or karmic retribution holds that the good or evil one thinks, says, or does in previous incarnations results in the accumulation of positive karma (merit) or negative karma (demerit).

The doctrine of reincarnation is found in many non-Christian religions.  In its classical forms in Hinduism and Buddhism it involves the taking on, by the soul or the psychic element in human beings of a body in successive lives. The good or evil one thinks, says, or does in previous incarnations results in the accumulation of positive karma or negative karma. (The term karma is Sanskrit; and literally means “action” or “activity,” but in the context of Hindu or Buddhist belief in reincarnation, it can also be better translated as “energy.” Positive karma or energy can be called “merit,” while negative karma or energy can be called “demerit.”)  Depending on the balance between one’s merits or demerits, after one’s death to one’s present incarnation, one could be reincarnated at a higher, an equal, or a lower level of being.  A human being could therefore be reincarnated at a subhuman level of being. The aim of one’s striving should be to liberated the cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation, called samsāra, and be reunited with or absorbed into oneness with all being.

In New Age, karma and reincarnation are closely interrelated, although New Agers have a concept of these two that is different from that of Hindus and Buddhists.  New Agers opine that when a human being dies, his or her soul transmigrates to another body, there to resume its task of spiritual education under the guidance of spirit guides or angels of light, who are charged with showing him or her the way to a perfect life and how to get rid of the evil residues that had accumulated during his or her previous lives by virtue of the law of karma.  In this way the human person becomes a perfect being  who lives, in harmony with the universal and cosmic energy, according to the maxim “All is energy, all is one, all is divine.”

(21)How are Christians to regard the New Age teaching about karma?

A well-instructed and committed Christian knows that human beings are creatures endowed by God with freedom, and who are therefore responsible for their actions, and who by their deliberate decisions, work out their salvation and shape their eternity. A Christian believes that reward and punishment form part of the revealed message of the Bible, and operate in the lives of humans. Our human acts have great significance- we are responsible for their consequences, and they fix us in a situation that we have chosen and which may become definitive.

Nevertheless, humans are not moved and determined from outside by karma, this fatal law in relation to which one has no choice but to submit, in order to make up for evil committed in past lives. Biblical revelation teaches us that humans dispose of only one life, and that at their death, they have to render an account to the One who wishes not that humans be condemned, but rather wishes that they may live forever. Yet God cannot constrain the human beings who misuse their freedom of choice by sinning against love and who during their earthly existence have preferred sin and not friendship with God.

At the same time, Christians believe that Jesus Christ, by his ministry, death, and glorious resurrection, has freed them from the possibility of being caught in the oppressive cycle of samsāra, the eternal return or beginning of all things.  Consequently, it is not purificatory and ascetical rites and practices, not human beings own efforts and merits, that confer salvation on them and admit them to eternal blessedness. It is only a life of faith, inspired by great love for God, for other humans, and for creation, that permits Christian believers to hope that one day they will participate in Christ’s glory, passing with him from death to life, from time to eternity, once and for all. This is very different from karma and reincarnation, as this is understood and taught by many New Agers.

(22) Why does New Age give such importance to astrology, the horoscope, tarot cards, spiritism, and other occult practices, and what does Christian faith have to say about these?

Astrology, the horoscope, tarot cards, spiritism (the seeking of communications with the spirits of the dead), are examples of occult practices.  Occult practices aim to enable humans to know, activate, and control the hidden forces and influences outside them, and the potentialities or energies that lie dormant in their own selves.

New Agers tend to be fond of these occult practices and give them much importance, because  they fit in well with the New Age emphasis on the development of the physical and mental potentialities of humans, through appropriate connections or contacts with the spirit world or the higher spheres of being.

Christians thinking in the light of their faith do not deny the existence of certain forces and energies still little known and insufficiently studied.  It is the function of science to study these better in order to put them at the service of the true progress of human beings. Nevertheless, Christians grounded in Biblical revelation reject practices and experiences that attempt to control or domesticate God, humans, and the universe, in the process impairing the freedom of human consciousness and thus becoming means of manipulation of humans and of things.

(23) How are we to regard the New Age inclination to spiritism?

Spiritism is unacceptable to Christians because it seeks undeserved control over other spiritual beings, and this control demeans those who are subjected to it.  Moreover, spiritism exposes its practitioners to deceit and other harm from the malign spirits that they may establish contact with in the course of their spiritistic activities. These are among the reasons why the Bible says that God bans spiritism, and why the Church strongly prohibits its members from engaging in spiritism.

(24) How is New Age related to environmentalism?

New Age and environmentalism are not the same. By environmentalism is meant an attitude and practice of caring for the health of the natural environment and its capacity to sustain life.  It is true that New Agers tend to see all reality as a whole, and therefore see human beings as related to the natural environment, and in a sense, forming part of it.  Environmentalism is an important concern of most New Agers.  Nevertheless there are many persons committed to environmentalism who are not New Agers.  One does not have to be a New Ager in order to support environmentalism.

Moreover, some New Agers propagate an exaggerated kind of environmentalism that considers all living creatures to have equal moral value, and therefore in principle equally entitled to survive and to thrive. For example, a tree, an ant, or a dog would have moral worth equal to that of a human being.  This kind of environmentalism suffers from the error called biocentrism.

Catholic Christianity cannot accept biocentrism, because it recognizes the special dignity of human beings, who are created in the image and likeness of God to a degree more than that of other creatures on Earth.

But Catholic Christianity also rejects anthropocentrism, another error that considers human beings to be the center of earthly creation and so exalts human beings over other creatures to the extent that other creatures are seen only or mainly as resources to be used for the purposes of human beings.

Within Catholic Christianity the emerging consensus in theology and spirituality in relation to the natural environment has taken on a direction of commitment to the preservation or the recovery of the integrity of creation-the God-given complexity of creation and its capacity to sustain life.  In such a framework of theology and spirituality, human beings have a dignity superior to that of other earthly creatures, but such dignity carries with it the duty to give proportionate respect to each creature and to work- for the preservation or the recovery of the integrity of creation- This framework- of attitudes and ideas is in harmony with the philosophical position called ecocentrism, which can admit the special moral worth of human beings within an emphasis on the moral duty to promote the welfare of all creatures by defending, preserving, or bringing about the recovery of ecosystems and of the entire biosphere and their capacity to sustain life.

(25) What is “New Age music”?

“New Age music” is given such a name because it is inspired by certain themes of great importance to New Agers. Among these are: nature, ancient people’s religions, and Eastern culture. It is usually instrumental music mixed with natural sounds.  Some New Age music is repetitive, while others have no melody whatever.

(26) What are we to think of listening to ‘New Age music”?

“New Age music,” like any other music, is a combination of sounds that are more or less pleasant to the ear. Catholic Christians may listen this kind of music, as long as it does not tend to cause psychological and spiritual damage to the listeners. This damage could come from the lyrics (harmful content), or from using this music irresponsibly (as for example, to induce an altered state of consciousness predisposing to dangerous behavior, or to provoke negative moods).

(27) Why is energy mentioned so frequently in New Age talks and writings?

The term “energy” is mentioned so frequently in New Age talks and writings because one of New Age’s basic ideas is that all visible reality, including human beings, can be reduced to “cosmic ” According to this idea, the energy universe or cosmos is revealed in all creatures, as for example, a rock, the wind, a tree, an animal, the human mind, and so forth. New Agers usually wish to harness this energy for their self-development or for their projects.  To do this, they use certain things (such as wearing a quartz crystal), visit certain places (such as visiting a pyramid or other “sacred place” on the vernal equinox), and perform certain exercises (such as assuming certain yoga positions) that they consider to have a special power for increasing human beings capacity for and control of this energy.

(28) How are we to regard mental control, healing, and self-mastery programs, so often a part of the offerings of New Age groups?

Some of these programs teach simple techniques of relaxation, of concentration, or of strengthening the memory or the will, which produce immediate results in their clients.  These techniques, which have nothing extraordinary about them, are often wrapped in pseudoscientific language and are held up as great discoveries or secrets of ancient wisdom, Without warning the client, they frequently move from psychological or emotional therapy, to non-Christian doctrines regarding the spiritual world, incorporating elements of pantheism, gnosticism, and Eastern non-Christian religions and spiritualities, especially Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.  They tend to attribute a supernatural character to even the most modest results of their techniques. From there they go on to convince, the clients of their “special powers,” their “enlightened consciousness,” or whatever they choose to assert.  Some of these programs are presented as excellent complements to Christianity, when in fact they, are based on concepts that are incompatible with Catholic Christian faith.

(29) Do the new meditation techniques promoted by New Age groups really workto improve the quality of Christian life and prayer?

New Agers typically have no misgivings about mixing religious forms and practices from very different traditions, even when there are fundamental contradictions among them.  We have to remember that Christian life and prayer are based on the word of God, centered on the Holy Trinity made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ.  True Christian life and prayer lead us to a loving union (often in the form of a conversation) with God, and to love for the Church, fellow humans, and fellow creatures, a love proven authentic by effective and humble service.  Deep concentration and Eastern meditation methods, when separated from, a Christian context, tend to close the, subjects in on themselves, and direct them towards an impersonal absolute and to ignore Christ’s gospel.

(30) What is centering prayer, and how are Christians to regard it?

Centering prayer, correctly understood, is a method designed to prepare sincere followers of Christ for contemplative prayer in the traditional sense in which spiritual writers understood the term in the first sixteen centuries of the Christian era.  It is rooted in the word of God, both in the person of  Jesus Christ and in Scripture- it comes out of traditional Christian spirituality, principally from two sources: The Cloud of Unknowing (by an anonymous, 14″‘-century author), and the works of St. John of the Cross.  Throughout the history of Christianity, this kind of prayer has been known by different names, such as: the prayer of faith, the prayer of simple regard, the prayer of simplicity, and the prayer of the heart. Centering prayer is an effort to present these elements of traditional Christianity in an updated or contemporary form, and-to put a certain order and regularity among and into them.

On the whole, Centering Prayer, correctly understood, and carried out with the guidance of qualified spiritual guides faithful to the teaching of the Church, merits the approval because it has brought renewal and deepening of Christian prayer and life among increasing numbers of individuals and communities, and has brought many seekers for God and for spiritual life and experience back to the Church. It is a movement of renewal, which was born and remains in the bosom of the Church, from which God, works much good to all kinds of people everywhere.

(31) How are Christians to regard yoga, Zen, tai chi, qi gong, and similar practices?

Some techniques of yoga, Zen, tai chi, qi gong, and similar practices have become widely used in Christian circles. These techniques include certain postures, certain body movements, the use of mantras, and breath control. They have been found useful to bring about relaxation, quieting, inner silence, awareness, and focusing.

These techniques and practices emerged from various Eastern religious contexts, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, or Taoism. Nevertheless some of their techniques can be separated from their original religious presuppositions, though admittedly often with some difficulty, To the extent that this separation from a non-Christian religious setting is possible and is in fact carried out, and to the extent that they are situated in the setting of the Christian worldview, these techniques can be used as preparations or as aids for Christian prayer.

(32) What is the enneagram, and how are Christians to regard it?

The enneagrarn is a system of personality typology-the classification of personality into various types – with applications for the diagnosis of psychological and psychospiritual problems related with these personality types, as well as for the theraphy of these problems.  The system is called “enneagram” form two Greek words: énnea, meaning “nine, ” and gramma, here having the sense of “picture” or “figure.”  The enneagram holds that basically there are nine types of personalities, each corresponding to a picture representing a facet of the divine or a demonic disortion thereof. Each individual is essentially one of these types, although he or she may have characteristics of all the other types.  This typology of nine personality types is symbolized by the enneagram circle with nine points on its circumference, and straight lines connecting each of the nine points with some of the other points.

The history of the ori in and transmission of the enneagram is complex, but it can become clearer if we distinguish between the symbol and the description of the nine personality types. The enneagram symbol dates back to ancient Greece or even earlier. The concept of the mine personality types:has elements rooted in several traditional teachings such as the seven deadly sins (beginning in the 4th century) and the kabbalah (beginning in the 12′h century), but the psychological descriptions of the personality types, on the other hand, are the work of modem authors. The enneagram seems to have emerged in its present form only some four decades ago, after its retrieval from use for fortune telling and other forms of occultism.

The scientific basis claimed for the enneagram is vulnerable to criticism by professionally qualified psychologists and other scientists and scholars from cognate disciplines.  Many psychologists and experts in Christian spirituality who have ample background in psychology consider such standard tools as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as superior to the enneagram for purposes of personality typing or profiling as a help to psychological counseling and therapy and to spiritual direction.

Nevertheless the enneagram has considerable value as a tool for personality typing.  It is also helpful for the unfolding of hidden inordinate attachments, compulsions, and other sinful tendencies that could be the driving force for the thinking and behavior of certain personality types.

(33) How compatible is current scientific knowledge with the evidence presented in support of teachings characteristic of New Age?

Current scientific knowledge is not as compatible as New Agers would like, with the evidence presented in support of teachings characteristic of New Age.  For example, many scientists are uneasy with the tendency of New Agers to jump to unwarranted conclusions regarding the nature of reality, by unwarrantedly applying weak or only apparent analogies from physics, to the spiritual life or to the ultimate nature of reality.  Another example is the way some New Agers romanticize, nonhuman life forms as harmonious and benign and castigate humankind as predatory and exploitative, not realizing that the biological sciences constantly observe predation and exploitation among nonhuman life forms.

(34) What do New Agers usually say when their beliefs are considered to be contradictory to Christian teaching and current scientific knowledge?

When New Agers encounter persons who do not accept their beliefs and who consider these to be contradictory to Christian teaching and current scientific knowledge, New Agers usually say that the consciousness of these persons is not yet enlightened, and that their understanding is conditioned by an obsolete cultural framework that will be surpassed in the New Age.

(35) What are we to think of the allegation that the Holy See has fallen under the control of promoters of New Age?

Such an allegation is absurd.  The Holy See has been quite vigilant about the dangers from the errors of New Age. For example, Pope John Paul II cautioned against these errors on28 May 1993, when he spoke to the Bishops from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, whom he received in audience when they made their ad limina apostolorum visit to him.  This exhortation, entitled “Be Courageous Shepherds Who Preach the Whole Mystery of Christ,” was published in the June 2, 1993 issue of L ‘Osservatore Romano.  Pope John Paul II also warned against the errors of New Age in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).

The Holy See, for more than a decade now, has been promoting, in public pronouncements, respect for the integrity of creation. See, for example, Pope John Paul II’s Message for the World Day of Peace, January 1, 1990, entitled Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation. This should not be understood as promoting New Age.  In fact, it would be tragic for its credibility and efficacy as a bearer of God’s life-giving message, if the Holy See were to be negligent in promoting respect for the integrity of creation, which could even appear to be a monopoly of New Agers.

(36) What have the pastors of the Church taught us regarding how we should deal with New Age?

Pope John Paul II and the other pastors of the Church ask us to appreciate and promote the valid insights and concerns of New Age, since these are also shared by the Catholic Christian faith community. At the same time they also ask us to become knowledgeable about the errors in New Age teachings, to educate our fellow Christian about these errors and to form them in the correct understanding and practice of Christian faith and morals.

(37) In the context of the sociopastoral problem posed by New Age, how should we regard interreligious dialogue?

As Catholic Christians we hold that God loves all humankind and wishes all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Therefore we can expect that the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son acts in some way in other religions to bring about the salvation of their believers, through the grace of Christ from which they benefit albeit unknowingly. Interreligious dialogue is necessary so that we Christians can discover, learn, and grow spiritually from the way that the Holy Sprit acts to bring about salvation in and through other religions, in spite of the doctrinal errors to which the latter are subject, and in spite of the moral frailty of all human communities.  Therefore we must dialogue with New Agers, as with adherents of other religions.

This dialogue with New Agers, however, can be fruitful only insofar as, we Catholic Christians come to profoundly know the teachings of our own faith, and bear eloquent and clear witness to this faith both in our deeds and in our words.

(38) Is there anything worthwhile that Catholic Christians can learn from New Age?

There are some spiritually good attitudes and practices that flow naturally from the core of Catholic Christian faith, and are emphasized by some groups and individuals that promote New Age, but have often been neglected in the belief and practice of some Catholic Christians.  Among these are:

– appreciation for personal religious experience

– a sense of the helpfulness of the use of material objects in prayer and other aspects of spirituality

– commitment to the effective recognition of the dignity and rights of women

– effective concern for the environment and for the integrity of creation

– respect for all life

Catholic Christians can learn from New Age by recovering these spiritually good attitudes and practices for their personal belief and practice and for the belief and practice, of ecclesial communities.

(39) Who promote New Age in the Philippines?

New Age is present and increasingly active in the Philippines. The following are a few of the many active propagators of New Age beliefs.

Jaime T. Licauco, probably the most widely known New Age personality in the country today, has authored many widely distributed books and writes widely read articles in leading periodicals. He also maintains an Internet website. A couple of years ago, Rev. Alex L. Orbito, founder and leader of the Philippine Spiritual Help Foundation, opened the Pyramid of Asia in Manaoag, Pangasinan.  Groups in the Philippines which can be considered New Age include the following: Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (Rosicrucian Order); Theosophical Society in the Philippines; Anthroposophical Society; Church Universal and Triumphant; Brahma Kwnaris; Eckancar, Silva Nfind Control; the various Spiritist Churches and movements; groups advocating Transcendental Meditation and Scientology; and local groups promoting such foreign New Age teachers as Deepak Chopra.

(40) How should we relate to the concerns and teachings of New Age?

By the light of our Catholic Christian faith, we should discern which concerns and teachings of New Age are, valid and even urgent, and we should support these, both within our own faith community and in Philippine society and the world at large.  We should also identify which concerns and teachings of New Age are contradictory or contrary to Christian faith, systematically expose these errors, and present the correct attitude and teaching in relation to these concerns and errors.

(41) How should we relate to persons who are into New Age?

We should always be respectful, courteous, and kind with persons who are into New Age. At the same time we may be called upon by duty to our Catholic Christian faith and to persons for whom we, are responsible, to point out and refute the errors of New Age. It is very important that we show persons who are into New Age that we presume their good faith, that we sympathize with their valid concerns, and that we are willing to respect-fully present to them the teachings of our faith on matters that interest them.

(42) What doctrinal principles and pastoral approaches should we Catholic Christians emphasize in order to respond effectively to the specific challenge of New Age?

In order to respond effectively to the specific challenge of New Age, we Catholic Christians should emphasize the following doctrinal principles and pastoral approaches, among others:

Affirm the universal presence and activity of God in creation, but insist on God’s essential distinction from creatures.

Affirm our Trinitarian faith in the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as God the Son become man and as the personal self-revelation of God the Father who gives us life and illumines and strengthens us through God the Holy Spirit.

Stress a proper balance in asserting both God’s deep and abiding concern for our needs and God’s sovereign freedom in response to prayer.

Promote a correct understanding of contemporary science and its implications for Christian faith.

Work for the recovery of knowledge and practice among the Christian faithful of the rich and varied tradition of Christian spirituality and mysticism.

Emphasize a correct balance in affirming, on one hand, that God directly inspires and communicates with each individual human person, and on the other hand, that one’s claim to understanding God’s message needs the validation of compatibility with the core teachings that the Church has received from God.

Promote ecological consciousness and advocacy on the part of the Church.

Recognize the rights and charisms of women and empower them in the Church and the civil community.

Build communities of personal sharing of faith, prayer, ministry and virtue in the Church for advancing God’s reign in the world.

(43) What concrete steps can we Catholic Christians take in order to respond effectively to the specific challenge of New Age?

To respond effectively to the specific challenge of New Age, we Catholic Christians can take the following concrete steps, among others:

Catholic Christian parents and educators must painstakingly watch over the contact their sons and daughters and students may have with the ideas and fashions that New Age propagates, to help them avoid confusion, doubt, and dissatisfaction with Catholic Christian doctrine and morals. In particular they should work toward more judicious use of the media (television, radio, cinema, music, electronic information systems such as the Internet), and against indiscriminate use of these, especially insofar as these spread New Age beliefs and practices.

Those among the faithful who have the ability to influence the press and other mass media should spread information and offer programs that will help guide our people and give them Christian standards by which to correctly evaluate New Age beliefs and practices.

All Catholic Christians should strive to become well informed about our faith and to vigorously defend its doctrines and values in Philippine society.  There are peaceful and legitimate means of advocacy that help to promote the beliefs and values of our faith and that work for the common good. There are also peaceful and legitimate means of protest that can help pressure the promoters of those harmful aspects of New Age to desist from doing so.  Among these are:

boycotting the activities of institutions and businesses that promote New Age, television programs that spread those ideas, and the products of their sponsors challenging those public figures, such as educators and politicians who publicly support New Age practices, through letters, articles in the press, participation in discussions on radio or television

Our parishes and schools can offer conferences and courses on the most dangerous and controversial themes of New Age, and spread literature and bibliographical information that clarify the terms of the problem and give guidelines for making well-founded judgments based on our Catholic Christian world view, which welcomes the findings of genuine science.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

+ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Cotabato
CBCP President
January 08, 2003

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