Dear Catholic Exchange,
How is Reiki contrary to the practice of Catholicism?
Dear Mr. Kyd,
Thank you for your contacting Catholics United for the Faith regarding Reiki. Please see our FAITH FACT on the New Age movement, which provides a concise overview of its forms and manifestations. It can be found online at Let the Son Shine: the Truth About the New Age Movement. The following information shows that Reiki is not consistent with Christian spirituality.
At the outset, it should be emphasized that the information we obtained is primarily from pro-Reiki Internet sites. We recommend an online search to view the sites, e.g., The Reiki Threshold.
Objectively, Reiki is at odds with the Catholic Faith, and we recommend that Catholics avoid it. Reiki is a manifestation of the ancient Gnostic heresy. Gnostics believed that salvation comes through attainment of hidden or secretive knowledge. Reiki is a particularly dangerous form of Gnosticism because nowhere does it mention the personal salvation of the soul within the context of the Body of Christ, the Church. In addition, it nowhere mentions grace. It substitutes something called a “Universal Life Force” for grace and God, i.e., a form of pantheism, a ubiquitous “Star Wars Force” that is available to be tapped into by all people (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), no. 285).
The history of Reiki clearly shows that it is non-Christian. Its founder, Dr. Mikau Usui, “discovered” Reiki in a Buddhist temple. Dr. Usui went to the Buddhist temple because he did not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. He thought Buddha and Christ had an “inner energy” that helped them to heal. It was this “energy” that he sought. He discovered the energy (Reiki) while on a Buddhist retreat. Following his discovery, Dr. Usui reportedly began to perform healings, the source of which he did not ascribe to the Trinity. The purpose of the healings was to restore the energy of the person. After a healing, a person would discover his own natural healing power.
The following is a list of Reiki errors:
• Does not recognize the personal salvation of the soul within the context of the Body of Christ, the Church;
• Does not include the doctrine of grace;
• Does not recognize the divinity of Jesus Christ;
• Does not recognize a personal, trinitarian God;
• Assumes the equality of all religions;
• Makes no mention of a fall or sin;
• Makes no mention of redemption.
There is wealth of information about Reiki on the Internet. In attempting to access healing powers beyond one’s nature, one must be very cautious about spirits that are hostile to God and His Kingdom. Because of Reiki’s pantheistic disposition, its practice is not recommended (cf. CCC, no. 2117).
Some people will argue that Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions) allows for Catholics to “promote” the genuine truth in non-Christian religions. Article no. 2 of Nostra Aetate does say that we are exhorted to “acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians, also their social life and culture.” However, there is a crucial paragraph that immediately precedes those remarks:
The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of truth which enlightens all men. Yet she proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth and life (Jn 1:6). In Him, in Whom God reconciled all things to Himself (2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life.Clearly, then, the Church’s affirmation of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other non-Christian faiths is conditioned on the extent to which they proclaim and live authentic truth, the fullness of which is in the Catholic Church, to whom all men and women are called (cf. Vatican II, Unitatits Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism), no. 3).
The Church, therefore, urges her sons to enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions (no. 2, emphasis added).
There is also the citation from Vatican II’s Ad Gentes Divinitus, the Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity, in which Catholics are told to reflect “attentively on how Christian religious life may be able to assimilate the ascetic and contemplative traditions whose seeds were sometimes already planted by God in ancient cultures prior to the preaching of the Gospel” (no. 18).
Note well that the document says “assimilate” and not “accommodate.” The purpose of any catechetical program or retreat center is to form people in the one, true Catholic Faith, not to engage in activities that deliberately or may indirectly foster religious indifferentism (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 848; cf. Jn 14:6). That is the important point to make to any catechist or retreat center that professes to be Catholic and is attempting to integrate any Eastern prayer methods. As Ad Gentes itself notes, “As the salt of the earth and light of the world (cf. Mt 5:13-14), the Church is summoned with special urgency to save and renew every creature. In this way, all things can be restored in Christ, and in Him mankind can compose one family and one people” (no. 1).
I hope that this information is helpful. If you have further questions or comments please do not hesitate to call Information Services at 1-800-MY-FAITH. We offer this service to everyone entirely free of charge, and would appreciate your support, through your prayers and donations, so we may help others.
United In the Faith,
Catholics United for the Faith
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