Excerpt from chapter three in: A Catholic Response to the New Age Phenomenon by the Irish Theological Commission in 1994.
One of the very disturbing aspects of trance channelling is the phenomenon of psychic healing. In her book The Beautiful Side of Evil Johanna Michaelsen testifies to have been involved as an aide to a person involved in psychic healing. She claims to have witnessed astounding events, that could only be called ‘miracles’ to the onlooker. This raises the question of false miracles, or miracles coming from an evil source. Operations were carried out that amazed medical doctors, both as to the methods used, and the results achieved. The channelled spirit communicated with all those present and controlled the operations. Because this type of activity is not new or uncommon today, one must question the source. Do we accept healing at any price? Where is this power coming from? If it is not from God, do you want to allow some alien force to invade your personality?
Elliot Miller claims that ‘Psychic healing has rapidly become accepted as a valid form of therapy in the medical world.’ He says that a survey done in 1981 showed that fifty-eight per cent of medical school faculty members wanted psychic phenomena included in psychiatric training. Pranic healing has also become very popular, even among Christians. This is based on the Hindu concept of ‘prana’ or ‘universal life energy’ which flows through the body. In a trance-like state the practitioner becomes a channel of universal life energy for the patient, who assimilates this energy.
Since the 1960s western civilisation has experienced great unrest. Combined with progress in the fields of science and technology, great material wealth on the personal front, and unparalleled exploration of space, there is deep personal and social unease. The modern person is often unhappy. None of our achievements have produced what we most need, peace of mind, and peace among nations, combined with justice for the individual and society. The modern utopia has produced family and social disintegration on a vast scale. Modern means of communication have had the effect of isolating the individual, who feels lost in a world that has become a global village.
Secular humanism, atheistic materialism, rationalism and religious scepticism, which were so popular in the early part of this century, left a great void in the human heart. Unfortunately, our secular society did not look to God to fill this void. Instead, it turned to eastern religions in search of a new mysticism. The result was a flood of gurus who came to teach the west how to meditate. They introduced yoga, transcendental meditation, mantras and related teachings, but without reference to Christ, the Church, or revealed truth. Many Christians have participated in these exercises, even thinking they could ‘Christianise’ them by using Christian language to explain what is essentially non-Christian, for example the use of so-called ‘Christian’ mantras, and putting Christian explanations on yoga or TM practices. But these gurus taught the only thing they knew, which is Hinduism, and the Hindu Pantheon.
This movement coincided with a new interest in psychology, not as a science, but as a tool to help solve personal problems. Thus, encounter groups and self-help groups became very popular. The tendency has been to turn away from the teaching of the Church to this new psychology to find answers to life’s problems, and to overcome the sense of powerlessness experienced by many in today’s world. To a considerable extent the Church’s moral teaching has been put to one side, while people seek secular answers to life.
The problems of the past thirty years have seen the Peace Movement, the Environmental Movement, the Holistic Health Movement, the Human Potential Movement, the Women’s Movement and many other movements arise in response to the problems that confront the ‘global village’. Included among them is the New Age Movement. [End of quote]
Miracles? What type of miracles would be most acceptable as coming from a benevolent source? Surely miracles of healing. But someone might ask, is Satan really able to heal? Does he possess the creative life force that only belongs to God Himself? The answer is No, he does not possess that ability to re-create soundness of body. But the situation is not that simple. Satan is cunning. We remember listening to a lecture given by Edgar Trout in 1968, in which he said, “Satan heal? Look at it this way. Here’s a woman with a terrible neck condition. She feels throttled all the time, and finds it difficult to eat. She goes to a healer who speaks a load of mumbo-jumbo over her, and hey presto! She’s released. Of course she’s released. What she didn’t realise was that it was simple for the Devil, or one of his minions to take their hands off her neck. If you don’t believe what I’m saying, read in Luke 13 about the woman who was bent double. What did the Lord say? ‘Woman, you are released from your infirmity’, and she was straightway able to stand up straight. In verse 16 the Lord said quite clearly that the woman had been bound by Satan for 18 years.”
In 1 Tim.4:1 Paul said, “The Spirit speaks expressly that in the last times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy.” Two comments here. First of all, seducing spirits are seductive, in other words they draw you away by enticement, by flattery, by promising something pleasant, in the same way that a woman of the world draws a man into her net by sensual spoken language and sexual body language. In the second place, if lies are being spoken in hypocrisy, one must remember that the Greek word upo-crisis means “play acting.” This is the other angle that Satan uses. He dresses up in the sort of clothing you would expect on a man of good reputation, and who might belong to a church, for example. Paul spoke about him appearing as “an angel of light.”
Finally in this chapter, in 1 Thess.5:3 Paul said, “When they say ‘Peace and safety’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains to a woman with child, and they shall not escape.” When do people “say” peace and safety? When does it become a “saying”? Surely by chanting the “Peace prayer.” Paul was not referring to Jews who have always greeted each other with “Shalom” (=peace). He was speaking about some special “saying”, some time when the prayer is more by nature of a mantra, an invocation to the Ascended Masters, the fallen angels.