Bishop cautions against yoga, saying it conflicts with Catholic doctrine – Michael O’Connor

Michael O'Connor“The blog also quotes from the bishop’s letter that ‘Certainly, if one wants to engage in physical exercises to strengthen one’s body, such a practice would be morally neutral, and would not, in itself, involve anything detrimental to our Catholic faith. However, the practice of yoga most often, if it does not begin that way, eventually morphs into an acceptance of points of view, and even doctrinal and moral matters, that are distant from Catholic truth, and from genuine and authentic Christian revelation.'” – Michael O’Connor

Fabian BruskewitzCatholics are used to debates over issues like birth control and divorce.

But what about yoga?

Retired Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz stirred up debate this month with a letter he wrote to Women of Grace, a Florida-based Catholic organization.

The organization wrote a blog post that says the letter advised “Catholics to steer clear of yoga because of its basis in Hinduism and to take up other methods of exercise that don’t place the faith in unnecessary danger.”

Women of Grace describes itself as Catholic apostolate “whose mission is to transform the world one woman at a time.” The organization lists Bruskewitz as a member of its board of directors.

J.D. Flynn, spokesman for the Diocese of Lincoln, said Friday that Bruskewitz was not available for comment. The diocese declined to provide a copy of the bishop’s letter.

Flynn said that the diocese has not disputed the blog or how it quoted the bishop’s letter.

Flynn said the bishop’s comments are “drawn from the Church’s teaching on Eastern religion and Eastern meditation practices.”

“Those practices are different from Christianity and come from a different philosophical perspective,” Flynn said.

Bruskewitz retired from the Diocese of Lincoln in 2012. During his 20 years leading the diocese, he developed a national reputation as a traditionalist in the church.

Prof Eileen Burke-SullivanEileen Burke-Sullivan, a theologian and vice provost for mission and ministry at Creighton University, said Bruskewitz’s comments on Catholics doing yoga reflect a “very traditionalist position not part of mainstream Catholic teaching today.”

“I know of very few Catholic bishops who would take this kind of posture,” she said.

She said yoga as practiced in the United States generally has been stripped of its religious aspects.

The blog also quotes from the letter that “Certainly, if one wants to engage in physical exercises to strengthen one’s body, such a practice would be morally neutral, and would not, in itself, involve anything detrimental to our Catholic faith. However, the practice of yoga most often, if it does not begin that way, eventually morphs into an acceptance of points of view, and even doctrinal and moral matters, that are distant from Catholic truth, and from genuine and authentic Christian revelation.”

Jagdish Nijhawan, a founding member of Omaha’s Hindu Temple, said that while yoga historically has ties to Hinduism, it has become, for most Americans who practice it, a form of exercise and a way to become peaceful and relaxed.

Elaine Ayers, a Omaha Catholic, said she started doing yoga five years ago to build muscle and relieve chronic shoulder and neck pain.

“My commitment to yoga is a physical one, not a spiritual practice,” said Ayers, who teaches at Creighton Prep. “I don’t feel at all conflicted between my life as a Catholic and somebody who practices yoga.” – Omaha.com, 29 May 2015

» Michael O’Connor writes human interest reports for the Omaha World-Herald, Omaha, Nebraska.

Omaha Hindu Temple

See also

3 Responses

  1. Modi is making bad medicine palliative because he knows it is good for the body.

  2. 1. what would these paedophile popes say if God was a hindu.
    2. Does the christian flock not have a brain to decide for itself what to believe in that the pope and these pseudo representatives of God have to tell them what to believe in. And why are they draped in gold robes?
    3. why is it that whereever these good christians go they kill the native population for their good they explain.
    4. Is the killing of millions of innocent men women and children world wide with drones and bombs a part of being a good christian and to promote christianity.
    5. Has Jesus given christianity the licence to kill because he has already died for their sins and they need not worry about going to heaven.
    6. Time will come .All the writings of the hindus will be proved correct one by one.

  3. The former Bishop of Lincoln is right. Yoga philosophy is in conflict with Catholic doctrine. Now it is for Catholics to decide if they want to follow the Bishop’s admonition or their own conscience.

    Mr Modi’s attempt to water down and secularise yoga is in vain. Nobody is fooled by his attempt to present yoga to the world without its mantras and philosophical teeth.

    Hindus are their own worst enemy. Mr Modi is proving to be one such Hindu. Hindus must face the fact that they still do not have a leader of integrety and consquence who will further their cultural interests and protect their Dharma.

    Yoga’s Hindu Roots – CNN

    See also

    •   Is Yoga Hindu? The court verdict – Koenraad Elst
       Hindus reclaim yoga – Koenraad Elst
       Bringing to Light Yoga’s Hindu Roots – HAF 
    •   An Aum sign for Yoga Day – Koenraad Elst

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