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Want to Start an Argument (among Catholics)? Just Say “Yoga”
Catholic Stand ^ | January 19, 2014 | Patti Maguire Armstrong

Posted on 07/01/2014 4:20:15 PM PDT by NYer

Patti Maguire Armstrong - Yoga

Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater can get you into trouble. So can saying “yoga” in a group of Catholics.

I just do it for the stretches, I don’t do anything religious.

It’s evil…the work of the devil.

Oh please! The next thing you’ll be telling me is the number 13 brings bad luck.

Practicing yoga breaks the First Commandment; it’s pagan worship.

And so it goes. And goes. And goes.

Three years ago, I did an article titled “To Yoga or Not to Yoga.” Initially, I wrote it then put it aside for around a year. I was not sure I was up for putting my head into a hornet’s nest. When the time seemed right, I posted it. The hornets came. So did a number of radio interviews in which the listener lines lit up the whole time. “Can you stay on for another half hour,” I was asked by host Drew Mariani at Relevant Radio. “This happens every time we talk about yoga.”

Why the Controversy?

There are a lot of issues that come with controversy—contraception, supposed same-sex marriage, and abortion, being among them. The difference is that the Church has spoken definitely on those issues. People can agree or disagree with the Catholic Church but they cannot pretend the Church is in favor of any of those issues. With yoga, interpretations abound. Debates can get heated, with both sides convince that yoga for exercise is either harmless or evil.

In a definition from About.com, yoga is described as, “ . . . a disciplined path for purification of our attachments to the temporal world of form (bodies and objects) and the ever changing world of energy and mind, to experience the bliss and unity of consciousness as the unchanging, ever permanent, immortal and infinite Being.” Wow. Cool. Wait, what’s that about the immortal and infinite Being? Is that God? Or the devil? Or is it nothing if I just show up with a mat and stretch pants ready to limber up?

Just the Exercise

Yoga is considered a whole body experience originating in Hinduism as a means to reach enlightenment through exercises and meditations that unite the body, mind, and spirit. For Catholics, worshiping or becoming one with a yoga deity breaks the First Commandment. No one argues that point. The question is, can we claim to just be there in pursuit of physical fitness alone?

Hatha yoga, the one used in exercise classes, prepares the body for enlightenment through physical postures. Some people say they don’t participate in the meditations or postures that could be religious. After all, if an atheist folds his hands, he’s not praying. So if a yoga posture used for worship means nothing but a balance exercise to you, then is that all it is?

Putting your body into a particular posture does not automatically turn it into a form of worship. But what if that is the purpose of the pose as many of the yoga postures are? Can you remain neutral even if the instructor is not? Isn’t the intent of the person what matters most?

The Problem with Yoga

The controversy with yoga goes beyond a person’s intent. No one is accusing Catholics of going to yoga class specifically to worship a Hindu God. The problem is that yoga holds that all existence is one; there is no distinction between God and the universe. Through enlightenment a person becomes one with all of existence.

Having taken a yoga class myself many years ago, I know that the stretches, relaxation meditations and poses, all mesh together. It would be hard to discern the instructor’s meaning behind everything. For instance, a classic yoga mantra: “So’ham” means, ‘I am the universal Self,’” which is often used repetitively, timed with your breathing.

A friend who took a yoga class told me everyone was supposed to fold their hands and bow before they began. She said she did not do that but upon considering that yoga exercise is one part of a bigger pagan spiritual practice, she decided to quit. “Why take a chance?” she said. “If parts of it are wrong, then I’m not going to participate in any of it.”

In part 1 of the 3 part series, “What is Yoga? A Catholic Perspective,” Fr. Ezra Sullivan O.P., a Dominican Friar of the Province of St. Joseph pointed out that one indication of yoga’s spiritual nature even in exercise classes is the way it affects practitioners over time. “The International Journal of Yoga published the results of a national survey in Australia. Physical postures (asana) comprised about 60% of the yoga they practiced; 40% was relaxation (savasana), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation, and instruction. The survey showed very significant results: although most respondents commonly began yoga for reasons of physical health, they usually continued it for reasons of spirituality.

“In addition, the more people practiced yoga, the more likely they were to decrease their adherence to Christianity and the more likely they were to adhere to non-religious spirituality and Buddhism. In other words, whatever their intentions may have been, many people experience yoga as a gateway to a spirituality disconnected from Christ.”

Regardless of the warnings or information, there are always Catholics who say they will not give up their yoga because it makes them feel good and they personally don’t use it for religion. But there is a further consideration with yoga. By participating in yoga, or when a school or church sponsors classes, it gives the message of blanket approval. If yoga is okay with the Church or with Sally Stretchy, then it’s obviously okay, is the impression. So, if just part of it is wrong, is it still okay to practice some of it? What do you think?

(To read all three parts of the yoga article or for daily spiritual direction go to: http://spiritualdirection.com.)


TOPICS: Catholic; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: aclumia; dobelievenspooks; fearmongering; hysteria; itssatanic; itsthedevilswork; mysticism; run4yourlife; savethechildren; theboogieman; witchcraft; yhgtbfkm; yoga; yogandstate; yogis
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1 posted on 07/01/2014 4:20:15 PM PDT by NYer
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To: Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; Ronaldus Magnus; tiki; ...
Additional resource material.

Why is Yoga incompatible with Catholicism? - FATHER JOHN HARDON, S.J.

From Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican's Chief Exorcist: The devil does yoga

And, finally,

MB asks: “While it’s true that most yoga positions are designed to be positions of worship to Hindu gods, I find it hard to believe that there’s any danger in practicing them when it’s just being done as an exercise.” - See more at: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=17011#sthash.ggtxRmmq.89BjEVzj.dpuf

Read the Response

2 posted on 07/01/2014 4:20:50 PM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: NYer

Yoga, as well as Transcendental Meditation, are incompatible with being a Christian.


3 posted on 07/01/2014 4:21:49 PM PDT by kaehurowing (FIGHT BULLYING, UNINSTALL FIREFOX)
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To: NYer

That’s news to me. Now I know why I was always bored stiff trying to twist myself into a pretzel while exclaiming “om!”


4 posted on 07/01/2014 4:22:50 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: NYer

How many public schools teach and encourage yoga?


5 posted on 07/01/2014 4:23:17 PM PDT by fso301
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To: NYer
Yoga is a problem. It's a religious cult in India. What happened to the declaration in the 70's that it was necessary to have at least half a brain to see that the hippie yoga thing was stupid?

I got another one for you. Want to Start an Argument (among Feminazis?)? Just Say “Bossy.”

Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy,Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy,Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy, Bossy

Sorry, couldn't help it. Carry on.

6 posted on 07/01/2014 4:26:54 PM PDT by PapaNew
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To: NYer

Can one replace “Om Namah Shivaya” with “Our Father Who Art in Heaven?”


7 posted on 07/01/2014 4:28:22 PM PDT by posterchild (It takes a politician to declare a settled science.)
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To: PapaNew

I would say yoga is pretty bastardized in America. I mean, they teach you how to do it at Elaine Powell exercise centers. It’s not my cup of tea I’ll tell you that.


8 posted on 07/01/2014 4:29:44 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: posterchild

With respect to Deuteronomy 12:30-31, I would say leave that notion alone.


9 posted on 07/01/2014 4:31:33 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: NYer

There are plenty of “new age” spiritual movements which borrow a little this and a little that from eastern religions that say “I am God”, “The universe is God”, etc. Even if their message is well-camouflaged as something innocent, there is usually a deeper core that leads in the wrong direction, saying there is no absolute God and whatever feels good is right.


10 posted on 07/01/2014 4:33:37 PM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: kaehurowing

Right. It is not a Catholic thing but a Christian thing.


11 posted on 07/01/2014 4:39:10 PM PDT by plain talk
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To: NYer

Down dog...


12 posted on 07/01/2014 4:42:12 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: NYer

Yoga, the most pressing matter in Catholicism.


13 posted on 07/01/2014 4:42:58 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: NYer

You looking to add to the anxiety that people in this country are facing and dealing with?
When is it enough for people like you?


14 posted on 07/01/2014 4:43:20 PM PDT by reefdiver (Be the Best you can be Whatever you Dream to be)
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To: posterchild
Can one replace “Om Namah Shivaya” with “Our Father Who Art in Heaven?”

No! Please visit the linked web sites above for a detailed explanation.

15 posted on 07/01/2014 4:55:07 PM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: NYer
Toga party!!!

Oops, I meant to say

YOGA!

16 posted on 07/01/2014 4:57:56 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (By now, everyone should know that you shoot a zombie in the head. Don't try to reason with them...)
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To: Telepathic Intruder; posterchild; miss marmelstein
There are plenty of “new age” spiritual movements which borrow a little this and a little that from eastern religions

According to an expert on the topic, the 'positions' one assumes in yoga are intended to draw in certain spirits. I would encourage you to visit the links posted agove.

17 posted on 07/01/2014 4:58:38 PM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: reefdiver

“When is it enough for people like you?”

I’m guessing never.


18 posted on 07/01/2014 5:00:13 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: NYer

I haven’t attempted yoga in about 40 years. The only spirits I drew were awful pains in the back.


19 posted on 07/01/2014 5:01:09 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: NYer

People are joking, NYer. Everybody of a certain age tried to lose weight or relax using a bastardized version of yoga.


20 posted on 07/01/2014 5:03:07 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: NYer

Johnny Knoxville goes to yoga class:

http://rutube.ru/video/a801ceceaffadc4ef4342b23e107a26c/


21 posted on 07/01/2014 5:03:12 PM PDT by Carthego delenda est
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To: NYer

I’ve never been a big fan of yoga .

It’s basically just sour milk ... tastes nasty even with the fruit on the bottom.


22 posted on 07/01/2014 5:04:32 PM PDT by NorthMountain
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To: reefdiver

What’s more important? Anxiety or your immortal soul?


23 posted on 07/01/2014 5:04:52 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Carthego delenda est

I want to see “Bad Grandpa” go to Pilates now.


24 posted on 07/01/2014 5:05:43 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Hot Tabasco

When you throw in looking at woman wearing yoga pants now I’m going to hell for sure.


25 posted on 07/01/2014 5:09:18 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: posterchild

i’d use “thank you Jesus” and watch their ‘tolerant’ heads explode.


26 posted on 07/01/2014 5:09:42 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man ( Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: NYer

Yoga is one of many practices that Christians should avoid. Tarot, crystal balls, horoscopes, fortunetellers, all of that stuff. We’re not to look for answers and solutions except from God.


27 posted on 07/01/2014 5:11:11 PM PDT by firebrand
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To: NYer

In regard to the title, some arguments just start on their own. I get enough action just giving Bible quotes without trying to start any trouble.


28 posted on 07/01/2014 5:15:52 PM PDT by BipolarBob (Obama - The Scandal a Week President.)
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To: Blackirish

29 posted on 07/01/2014 5:16:20 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: NYer

A few years ago, a Catholic friend asked my opinion about yoga, and she thought I was nuts when I said I preferred to stay away because of its pagan origins.

Besides, I believe kickboxing or weight training or even fast walking are all better workouts that bending yourself around on a mat.


30 posted on 07/01/2014 5:18:02 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon ((Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization).)
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To: Boogieman

You let me worry about that,


31 posted on 07/01/2014 5:18:26 PM PDT by reefdiver (Be the Best you can be Whatever you Dream to be)
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To: Blackirish
When you throw in looking at woman wearing yoga pants now I’m going to hell for sure.

I think yoga pants do lead to more sins than yoga itself.
32 posted on 07/01/2014 5:20:07 PM PDT by mmichaels1970
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To: NYer
I have never practiced yoga, probably never will. But there is another arena in which I participate, which can skirt the edge of Christian orthopraxis. It is hidden in plain sight by my FReepname: chajin, a Japanese term for someone who practices chanoyu, the tea ceremony. I have been practicing tea ceremony since 1980, and a registered instructor in Omotesenke, which is the most traditional of the tea schools.

Japanese say 禅茶一味 zencha ichimi, "Zen and tea [have] one [and the same] flavor."

But does the tea ceremony have to be Buddhist? Of the seven disciples of Sen no Rikyu, the "originator" of the tea ceremomy, four were Buddhist and three--one of them the nephew of the Japanese ruler Oda Nobunaga--were Christian. Moreover, the Zen temple associated with Omotesenke is the Zuiho-in, the only Zen temple which commemorates a Christian samurai, Otomo Sorin. The temple has two rock gardens: one has a cross shape hidden in the rock placements, at the foot of which is buried a statue of Mary, and the other is an abstract representation of Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount. Finally, there are ways in which the tea ceremony embodies hidden Christian messages, too numerous to list here; I will simply point out one, that the ritual of the tea ceremony seems to emulate the Sacrament of the Altar.

So can a Christian practice tea ceremony without fear of entering into the realms of Zen Buddhist heterodoxy? Of course s/he can, but it takes some wariness, and some open proclamation of one's faith. My most recent experience of this was teaching the basics of chanoyu to Christian martial arts students. In Japan this would be tantamount to heresy: people study tea or they study karate, but almost never both, and never at the same venue. In the US, however, it makes perfect sense: Christian martial arts teachers emulate Kingley's idea of muscular Christianity, and Christian tea ceremony provides the complementary discipline of learning theosis through reverence and koinonia through harmony.

So my answer to the Christian yogis would be: if you can teach Christian doctrine and practice through yoga, and if you can find some Christian historical connection to yoga--NOT pseudo-Christan "Jesus was Mahavishnu" or similar heresy, but rather something connected to, say, the Thomas churches or the Yashu Bakhti movement--then have at it. But the advice a fellow Christian gave me 34 years ago, when I began my first lessons in tea ceremony, still rings true today: if you EVER feel yourself being pulled away from Christ, leave it IMMEDIATELY, because there are worse things than gaining the whole world, and one of them is losing your own soul.

33 posted on 07/01/2014 5:24:27 PM PDT by chajin ("There is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12)
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer

Many societal destructions are visited upon us through women breaking out of their roles for just the sake of breaking out

Women should be pilots, dictors, writers, CEOs and anything else they want to be, the PM of Great Britain, for instance. And they should have full respect when they do so. If they’re good at it and if they’re doing it because they’re good at it

But meanwhile, kids all over the western world are deserted without mothers. No one is home

Women do things because others are doing it. Like 15 year olds whose attentive parents would ask, ‘so, if someone told you to jump off of the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it?’

Oprah Winfrey is a great perpetrator, yet not even she understands the consequences and the power of her massive pied piper spirituality toward women looking to ‘feel better, and about everything, and now, immediately’

Yoga invites spirits. And not angels, guardian angels, saints, not the holy family nor the Holy Spirit It’s poses and positions create a channel for these spirits who are unfriendly to the holy spirits

Many things- activities, foods, drinks, people, etc, make us feel better. Yoga does. That doesn’t mean they’re good. It doesn’t mean they’re not evil

Women devote themselves to yoga. While men continue through this time unglazed by and disinterested in all of this, but continually interested in mesmerizing inconsequential sex, through the objectifying birth control, bowing to it and refusing to stand up to any principal, while women bow to this feel good activity completely oblivious

I’ve seen families scrounging for food on a Sunday morning while mom is at yoga, completely pissed on having to attend mass on Christmas Catholics going back to the 800s in Ireland

Not an image of the blessed mother not a crucifix not a cross in the house

Advising me to take up yoga. They look great, money in the billions ( no stretch) completely unable to not only not handle adversity, immorality, a wrong path, but unable to recognize it

No thanks. The rosary works just fine

Somewhere I read a Vatican release about yoga. Can never locate it

Johnette b or FR Mitch paces must have it somewhere

NYer this actually is very important. It takes the mother out of tge home effectively


35 posted on 07/01/2014 5:26:40 PM PDT by stanne
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To: NYer

All of the Seinfeld style, ‘oh how silly’ comments should tell you the nature of the power of yoga

Nothing wrong with Pilates. It was devised by a euro (French?) md to rehab war vets.


36 posted on 07/01/2014 5:29:45 PM PDT by stanne
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To: NYer
Yogi--The Ivy Three (1960)

I saw a Kook who was standing on his head.
He flipped his lid like he should have been in bed.
I said, "what gives, man?"
He looked at me and said,

"I'm a Yogi, I'm a Yogi, baby.
I'm a Yogi, I'm a Yogi, baby."

Hey, Booboo!

And then the cat started strutting on hot coals.
He was wearing sneaks, but they were so full of holes.
He sang right out from the bottom of his soles,

"I'm a Yogi, I'm a Yogi, baby. I'm a Yogi, I'm a Yogi, baby."

Hey, Booboo!

"Listen here, baby," the Yogi man said,
"It's all a matter of the mind.
Just commune with your innermost being,
Baby, you'll be just fine."

He was hip, all right, wasn't he?

So I tried my best to dig my inner me.
I walked on coals, my head below my knee.
Until at last I heard me say perfectly,

"I'm a Yogi, I'm a Yogi, baby.
I'm a Yogi, I'm a Yogi, baby."

Hey, Booboo!

37 posted on 07/01/2014 5:32:24 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: posterchild

Same as the GRegorian Chants? It is a method to allow introspection, IMHO.


38 posted on 07/01/2014 5:35:12 PM PDT by Ditto
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To: untwist

Catholics do not fear. In fact they, regardless of misconceptions, regard tge bible and Jesus’ words, ‘fear not’

But they are not stupid They know they must follow the will of God who will present them with necessary info, if they pray for it

Staying away from practices which alter spirituality is required, just like not reading bad literature, viewing bad movies. It’s like drinking too much or imbibing in drugs which do nothing good


39 posted on 07/01/2014 5:37:37 PM PDT by stanne
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To: NYer

Well, he was a pretty good baseball player.


40 posted on 07/01/2014 5:41:49 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: stanne

And who is to decide what alters spirituality? Who is to make perfect judgment on what is ‘bad’? I go to church every Sunday, and I see families come to Mass in clothing we would’ve considered ‘bad’ when I was a child. St. Joan of Arc, the patron saint of my parish was considered bad for wearing men’s clothing while she was fighting and proclaiming the word of God.

My friend, you are no more Catholic than I. One thing I recognize from studying history and experiencing life is that we humans make an awful lot of mistakes when we presume to know the will of God. Jesus Christ made it very simple - we are first called to love. With love, fear always loses. To say that practicing yoga may separate us from the Holy Trinity and God’s love, is utter nonsense.


41 posted on 07/01/2014 5:48:07 PM PDT by untwist (One Bad-Assed Mistake, America!)
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To: stanne

And who is to decide what alters spirituality? Who is to make perfect judgment on what is ‘bad’? I go to church every Sunday, and I see families come to Mass in clothing we would’ve considered ‘bad’ when I was a child. St. Joan of Arc, the patron saint of my parish was considered bad for wearing men’s clothing while she was fighting and proclaiming the word of God.

My friend, you are no more Catholic than I. One thing I recognize from studying history and experiencing life is that we humans make an awful lot of mistakes when we presume to know the will of God. Jesus Christ made it very simple - we are first called to love. With love, fear always loses. To say that practicing yoga may separate us from the Holy Trinity and God’s love, is utter nonsense.


42 posted on 07/01/2014 5:48:08 PM PDT by untwist (One Bad-Assed Mistake, America!)
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To: Ditto

Gregorian chants were devised by pope st Gregory

A saint

Inspired by the Holy Spirit

Some holy people, FR b groeschel, for one, have stated that the enemy hates latin

When you go to a church, during mass, with the Eucharist present and men are chanting gregorian, words of praise to God, and all who and that are holy, thousands of angels from heaven are present, including the guardian angel of everyone present, you can be certain that if evil or pagan gods are around, they are far from the incense,

You can think its about introspection and nothing necessarily to do with God, but that does not make it true

Yoga in a shopping center gym invites spirits which have nothing to do with those which Gregorian chant invites

Go to a local parish service which has them, and you will see


43 posted on 07/01/2014 5:49:17 PM PDT by stanne
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To: untwist

This post itself might just inform a lot of people who are asking in their prayers.

Some guy might be asking, ‘why is my marriage off?’

This is how it works

Joan of arc is recognized as a very holy woman, a saint. Don’t doubt it. To bring up how she was treated is silly

Go to Rouen if you doubt it


44 posted on 07/01/2014 5:52:53 PM PDT by stanne
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To: NYer
MB asks: “While it’s true that most yoga positions are designed to be positions of worship to Hindu gods, I find it hard to believe that there’s any danger in practicing them when it’s just being done as an exercise.” - See more at: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=17011#sthash.ggtxRmmq.89BjEVzj.dpuf

My understanding of the yoga postures is that they are indeed prayer positions and that those positions indicate to the demon (Hindu god) that one is receptive to it.

IOW it invites the demonic being by indicating an openness to its presence.

45 posted on 07/01/2014 5:57:20 PM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith...)
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To: NYer
And how many times have we said that he Catholic Church is able to take previously "pagan" practices and give them a twist to make them fully Christian?There is nothing wrong with doing yoga as a stretching exercise, or as a meditation on the Rosary , Creed etc...

Putting on the asbestos clothing, for the flaming I am about to get.

46 posted on 07/01/2014 5:58:24 PM PDT by verga (Conservative, leaning libertarian)
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To: stanne

You are missing my point. In Joan of Arc’s time, the informed view among the powers of the church was that she was a heretic, a nut. They were fearful of her and did not object to her being burned. We perhaps have been enlightened over 500 years and now don’t see things that way. It wasn’t that long ago that Catholics directly laid the blame for the crucifixion at the feet of the Jews and shunned and persecuted them. Who was our Pope just visiting and embracing a few weeks ago? Did God will us to have the hatred and rift, or the rapprochement and embrace?

Pope Francis is getting awfully close to blessing gay unions? What is God’s will on this? Our faith and growth in holy spirit is far, far more rich than some ideologue claiming that practicing yoga may separate us from the Holy Trinity. That’s so small and silly that in the big scheme of the challenges we face as a faith, it’s simply a laughable claim.


47 posted on 07/01/2014 6:07:56 PM PDT by untwist (One Bad-Assed Mistake, America!)
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Comment #48 Removed by Moderator

To: kaehurowing
From Father Amorth's article:

The devil speaks New Age. "Yoga is the work of the devil,” says Pauline priest Father Gabriele Amorth, founder and honorary president of the World Association of Exorcists. And Harry Potter, the literary and cinematic idol of so many children, is a testimony of magic; science is "not able to ’invent’ anything." At the seventh edition of "Peoples and Religions Umbria Film Fest," Father Amorth declared that "even seemingly innocuous Eastern practices like yoga are devious and dangerous."

49 posted on 07/01/2014 6:14:41 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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