Saturday, 29 September 2012

Yoga - the decision should be formal

Recently, a priest from the Portsmouth Diocese was vilified in the press for cancelling a contract with a Yoga instructor, for her to use the church hall for Yoga classes.

Fr John Chandler of St Edmund's Church stated that such activities were incompatible with Church teaching and, as such, could not be permitted on church premises.

It would appear as if there are two aspects to Yoga and that both aspects may be taught separately; that of exercise and that of spiritual meditation combined with exercise. It was the latter that was at stake in Fr Chandler's parish and he, quite rightly, called a halt.

But it appears as if the overall Church view on such issues is to leave it to the discretion of the parish priest. A spokesman for Portsmouth Diocese is reported to have said as much.

That is not good enough; it leaves priests vulnerable to charges of inconsistency, if nothing else.

It would seem to be a very black and white issue.

Any activity that might be construed as against the teaching of HMC should be proscribed.

That includes Yoga, Complementary Therapies (not all are bad but some such as Reiki are and it would be hard to be specific), Counselling and, of course, pro abort meetings. There may be others; it is necessary to be as specific as possible but it does need to come from the Archbishop of Westminster (for England and Wales Dioceses).

Leaving it to the individual PP is just a cop out and gives the media the chance of a field day.

Already they are claiming that there are many 'Catholic Yoga' classes taking place in church halls around the country.

The Church needs to take a position on this topic, but not a meditative one. 


  1. Good Morning Richard.
    An excellent post, as always. Keep them coming!

  2. A local priest in Grimsby actually played Buddhist music during adoration. This actually did happen and was not one of those 'Chinese whispers' occurrences.

    The Church not to mention St. Paul is absolutely crystal clear on this issue; horoscopes, tarot cards, any thing pertaining to the new age movement, and the occult are expressly forbidden.

    I wonder how many Catholics have one of those Buddha statues in their house?

    "The Church needs to take a position on this topic, but not a meditative one". A classic line.

  3. Oh my goodness. I have just read the BBC article on this story. It says that: "There is no national policy on this and the decision is for each priest."

    Is this true?

    This is absolutely ridiculous. If this is true then St. Paul would literally go berserk (you know what he was like).

    I will go one step further which in many respects is even more damning; you would never get a yoga class taking place in a solid evangelical or pentecostal Church. Members of these churches would laugh in Archbishop's Nichols face if they heard that it was just "up to the discretion of the individual priest".

    I have some time this afternoon I will be sending a message of support for this priest to the diocese. The CBCEW really needs to start getting its act together.

  4. My daughter went to a trial Yoga session at the local swimming baths but found it very difficult to take seriously as the class were encouraged to "feel your chakras"!

  5. Well said, everyone.

    I am reminded of the pseudo-paganism of the contemporary Olympic (they're not really) Games, complete with Fisher-Price Play-Temple opening and closing liturgies, sacred fires, and other such nonsense.

    As Chesterton and Lewis said, real paganism was far more honest than the modern made-up kind.

  6. Another matter avoided by the Episcopacy. One cannot after all interfere with the fundamentally-dissenting Bishops and priests; they must at all costs be allowed to continue leading the Baptised away from God and the Faith.