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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Catholics and Reiki in the wake of US bishops' ruling

Greetings to our many Catholic readers. We know you're there even though we've only received a few comments. We know because our web traffic has quadrupled in the past week, ever since the US Conference of Catholic Bishops officially denounced Reiki. We know because while we can't see all the details for each visitor, we have noticed quite a few who've surfed in from a particular convent or church or Catholic hospital. And we know because we've had the biggest one-week jump in subscribers since this publication began nearly three years ago. 

Here are the comments we've received so far on this issue, and a couple of interesting items we've found on the web this week.

Kaddu wrote: "Ha ha ha! Religious leaders are simply hilarious... all across the world! :-D"

Lori Wilson wrote: 

"Because I write grants for a Franciscan group and am a Reiki volunteer at a local Catholic medical center, I felt compelled to respond to this article. While I am not Catholic and may not have an entirely unbiased perspective, it does seem as if there is a disturbing trending away from Reiki and other forms of alternative healing since Pope Benedict XVI replaced Pope John Paul II.

But here's the interesting thing: the leaders of my Reiki volunteer group at the medical center are also lay Catholic ministers and perform pastoral functions for the patients. They are passionate about Reiki and their ministry in equal parts.

And, if the Catholic-based corporation that runs the medical center did not approve of our band of Reiki volunteers (which includes at least two nurses and one nun), it would have never let us offer Reiki in the cancer center, in med-surg, in pain management, or the ICU. We are expanding into other different departments of the medical center because Reiki works: it does no harm and can only help at physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. A few of our patients and their caretakers are leery of the offering of Reiki, but so many more are glad to receive it because they realize that it just might be another avenue to recovery or comfort might support their healing in other ways.

I might add that the other major hospital in our city, which is secular, does not have a Reiki volunteer program. Thus, we offer a unique and helpful service, regardless of whether it's Catholic or not.

After reading over the Bishops' guidelines, I suspect that they may be purposely clouding the concepts of both Reiki and healing that can be otherwise translated across any belief system (or no belief system, for that matter). That tells me that, at the very least, Reiki is starting to make inroads in places that we might not have seen it in as few as five years ago.

So, while I'm definitely concerned about witnessing a kind of fear and suspicion that faintly echoes back to the Inquisition and earlier, I am heartened to know that Reiki is becoming more and more visible and accepted as a healing system by the public and that there are many, many liberal Catholics who will take their own counsel about Reiki and not the Bishops', as they have with other controversial issues in the Church."

JoAnne Robinson wrote: 

"I realize that this document is considered "The Word" according to the US Catholic church, but note which particular bishops signed the actual document, not one is from a major metro area like New York, Los Angles, Chicago. I just have to wonder why such a controversial topic did not get enough backing from the major areas of the country to warrant their signatures?

In my opinion, all publicity is good publicity. Reiki certainly is getting people to take a look and think about many things. It saddens me that many will suffer as a result of this document."

Dennis Dupuis wrote:

"Hello. I just want to share an email that I sent this morning to the “webcoordinator @”, the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It probably isn’t the appropriate address, but it IS the only one that I could find listed on their website.

Dear sir,

I must take a moment to share with you my disappointment in the recent guidelines from your organization regarding Reiki. The point I most wish to share with you is that Jesus did this. He did not call it “Reiki”, but it was the same thing. I am a Catholic who has a deep belief and desire that I should live my life as Jesus lived his. “What would Jesus do?” is a wonderful approach to every life situation. The laying on of hands and wishing to be an instrument of God’s love in the healing and comforting of another living being, especially our fellow humans, especially when this fellow human is suffering, is how Jesus lived and how I believe he would have us live now. How can this not be in accord with our Catholic faith and practice? I think our Bishops got this one wrong and pray that God will guide them to further consideration, information, and understanding.

In Peace,

Perhaps The Reiki Digest could provide its readers with an address, email or otherwise, where we could share our thoughts with the bishops? Especially those of us who are Catholic. Thanks for the heads-up."

Peace, Balance & Joy, (PB&J!)

Barrington, NH"

The bishops didn't seem all that open to input on the issue, but in any case, here's their snail mail address and phone:

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20017
(202) 541-3000

Sue Routner wrote: 

"Dear Janet,

It is very sad that the bishops feel the need to denounce Reiki and feel justified to do so publicly. I also find it very odd that they argue on the basis of scientific proof, as they have up until now not provided any such proof that God exists.

I found out not so long ago, via a programme on EMTV (now called Controversial TV (!)), that the Inquisition still exists, and its name is something along the lines of Symposium of the Doctrine of the Faith, and it's headed by the current Pope, Ratzinger!

The bishops' attack on Reiki finds a parallel in the Codex Alimentarius which is currently being hotly debated and aims at curbing people's right to access vitamins and minerals, as well as to abolish univerity degrees in complementary medicine. The culprit in this case is the pharmaceutical industry aiming to eliminate the competition, but seen from an overall perspective, in both cases it's the establishment working hard on eliminating freedom of choice and freedom of belief.

Although it sounds odd to say so in the 21st century, the witch hunt is far from over and we need to remain alert and stand united to prevent the attacks on complementary therapies from getting worse.

Sue Routner
Reiki Practitioner"

At, we found this thoughtful post, and we hope the author doesn't mind our quoting it here: 

". . . The Bishops offer these as guidelines only. I don’t see any thing that requires a change in belief.

While it is a carefully thought out work, it’s done from an outside view, not one that’s experienced the connection with God through Reiki. With the very many views on what Reiki is, I can’t really blame the bishops. We don’t really have one voice as to what Reiki is. In some ways this is good as we must internalize the message of what Reiki is rather than following a message from a Reiki central authority. . . ."

Click anywhere on the quote to read the whole post.

Meanwhile, we thought The Guardian in the UK had fairly high standards, but unfortunately it repeats some of the most common misinformation about Reiki. Can you point out the mistakes about Reiki in this article?

Thanks to all who have contributed to this discussion. To share your thoughts on this issue or let us know about a news item or commentary on it elsewhere, just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, or email


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heres a thought, how come catholicreiki blog doesnt exist anymore?

12:57 PM  

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