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FORMER OCCULTIST IS CONVERTED BY MARY AND WARNS OF NEW AGE IN THE U.S. CHURCH

Infiltration of the New Age into the Church is usually subtle. There is the attempt to introduce a feminine aspect of God (paving the way for a goddess), an inclination to acknowledge ecological spirits (which makes way for worship of sun, moon, stars), or a tendency to view the Lord not as a Person but as a neutral cosmic force. There is also the noticeable and curious attempt to avoid mention of the devil.

Don't worry about anything, is the credo of the New Age; there is no sin; there is only Heaven; there is no hell.

Sometimes, the attempts are not so subtle. A while ago we posted a prayer to nature spirits that appeared inside a diocesan website in California. Fortunately, it was immediately removed (and probably got there in the first place without the bishop's knowledge).

But problems persist, and they are strikingly, fascinatingly pointed out in a highly readable book by Moira Noonan a California woman who spent twenty years with the New Age in many different roles, including direct involvement with psychics, hypnotherapy, reincarnation, Reiki, channeling, crystals, clairvoyance, and other occult practices. In fact, she herself was once an occult instructor, a psychic, and a hypnotist before becoming a Catholic evangelist -- her mission exposing precisely what she once practiced!

The book is Ransomed from Darkness, and in it we first learn that while raised a Catholic, Moira, like so many others, was never properly instructed in the dangers of the occult. "In Deuteronomy and elsewhere, God makes it very clear: Stay away from mediumship, sorcery, and fortune-telling of all kinds," she writes. "The Bible makes it clear, over and over: Don't go to these kinds of places. That was a message I never received."

It is something that has afflicted countless Catholics: a lack of instruction about the occult.

As a result, Noonan traversed deeply into this dark territory, and when she came back to the Church when she reverted to the faith of her childhood -- she couldn't believe what she saw:

"In the process of rediscovering my Catholic faith after a 25-year absence, I was often shocked to see how the Church had fallen prey to New Age influences I thought I was leaving behind," says Noonan. "That's one of the reasons for this book: I want to help Christians, especially clergy, recognize how New Age thinking has infiltrated the Church. It's an ultimately destructive presence that needs to be addressed whenever it appears."

Usually it starts with a church group that embraces Eastern-style meditation, or something like hypnosis or the enneagram -- which seem harmless, even beneficial, on the surface. But in reality, such techniques can be Trojan horses for the wrong kind of spirits. "For example, much of the miracle merchandise sold in Catholic stores now angel stones, affirmation books and so forth are designed to change our way of thinking," the author warns.

Noonan relates the time she attended a conference at Xavier University in Ohio and found that the student bookstore featured vampire books, astrology titles, goddess manuals, and even The Dictionary of Satan."

"In my own parish, I learned that the Friday night program for divorced, single, and separated Catholics was using A Course in Miracles as one of their textbooks," she reports, alluding to an occult bestseller that has ensnared countless Christians. "I've had priests from all over the country contact me to inquire about the Course. Make no mistake. This book is the dictated pronouncements of a demon, transcribed by a Columbia University psychologist in the 1960s and 1970s."

Noonan points out that New Age infiltration is particularly prevalent at Christian retreat centers. One in northern California hosted a workshop with a former nun who had made a pilgrimage to India and was now presenting the ideas of the "Nine Gates Mystery School," a teaching on "Earth-based" spirituality. "The course focused on 'medicine cards,'" says Noonan. "These are tarot cards, divination tools. They are a form of shamanism."

In San Diego itself where Noonan ministers a Catholic center for spiritual direction offers courses in telepathy.

In Arizona a convent retreat center offers "contemplative prayer" taught by a monk who is not Christian.

"I'm aware of a convent in Minnesota, and there are others in California and Massachusetts also, where nuns offer Reiki healing workshops," says Moria whose own daughter went to a New Age pre-school. "I was trained as a Master Teacher in Reiki, which means I was authorized to perform initiations as well as teach methods. Reiki is definitely an occult practice."

In this time of disorientation, we are called, yes, to respect other religions, and to love everyone, to dialogue with others and realize that God is bigger than any single religion. At the same time, there are instances when love has to take the form of correcting those who may be endangering themselves by wandering back to the paganism that Christ came to defeat. Especially, our bishops need to be aware. In California, near San Francisco, a prominent witch has instructed dozens of priests at the behest of a cleric who has now been defrocked.

Fortunately for Noonan, the Blessed Mother intervened ,... where Moira was "delivered" Magdalene-style from a series of evil spirits. Her conversion was also connected to an instance where she was involved in a table-tilting seance.

Suddenly Moira felt drawn back from participating. And as this occurred, she heard a voice. It was an exquisitely gentle but powerful voice, and it pulled Noonan from the dark. The words were simple. "I am the Queen of Peace," the voice said, and Noonan never turned back.

She had asked the Lord, "Could you please show me the truth?"

"My prayer was to be answered," she writes, "as Mary patiently guided me back to the garden of faith."

Going to Communion every day for so many years! Anybody else would be a saint by now, you told me, and I ... I'm always the same! Son, I replied, keep up your daily Communion, and think: what would I be if I had not gone? St. Josemaria Escriva: The Way

Come Holy Spirit ...Come by the means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved Spouse

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Version: 25th March 2009


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