New Age-dr Jose Maria Baamonde

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Says Dr. José María Baamonde, Adviser to the Argentine Bishops New Age Seen Penetrating Catholic Circles says Adviser to Argentine Bishops José Baamonde MADRID, Spain, July 18, 2005 ( New Age thinking has been penetrating Catholic realms, says an adviser to the Argentine bishops' conference. José Baamonde established the Service for the Elucidation of Sects and New Religious Movements (SPES) Found
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    New Age seen penetratingCatholic circles SaysDr. José María Baamonde, Adviser to the ArgentineBishops  New Age Seen Penetrating Catholic Circles   says   Adviser to Argentine Bishops    JoséBaamonde MADRID, Spain, July 18, 2005 ( Age thinking has been penetrating Catholic realms, says an adviser to the Argentine bishops'conference. José Baamonde established the Service for the Elucidation of Sects and New Religious Movements(SPES) Foundation , in 1989. He currently heads the foundation's documentation-and-research section.In the context of a congress on Psychological Manipulation, Sectarian Groups and Other AlternativeMovements, which closed Saturday at Madrid's Autonomous University, Baamonde gave a lecture on ThePermeability of New Age in Religions . According to the expert, a fundamental element of New Age is man's self-divinization,explained as follows: God is within me; God and I are one same conscience; I am God.  Baamonde applied this process to the Silva Method of mind control , a typical practice of this newspirituality, which is practiced even by some priests and nuns. New Age is the great challenge of the present century for society, he added, because it raises flags suchas pacifism, universal brotherhood and ecology ,which can hardly be challenged by the public of a societythat increasingly lacks a true formation. Impressionable students Baamonde, who is a professor of psychology at Madrid's San Pablo-CEU University, also warned against the capacity of New Age concepts to subtly impregnate even those who practice classic and traditionalreligions, including the Catholic faith.In this connection, he recalled Pope John Paul II's words to a group of U.S. bishops in 1993: Attimes New Age ideas make headway in preaching, catechesis, congresses and retreats, andthus succeed in influencing even   practicing Catholics, who perhaps are not aware of theincompatibility of those ideas with the faith of the Church.  Baamonde demonstrated the point with a survey of the SPES Foundation, which canvassed 1,098 youngpeople, in the fourth year of Argentine Catholic secondary schools in Buenos Aires and other cities. Six of the main topics of New Age were selected: UFOs and extraterrestrials; magic and witchcraft; reincarnation;astrology; communication with the dead; and divination. The young people were asked about their degreeof belief and adherence, and about the means of access to these issues. The result: more than 50% of those surveyed showed belief in one or more of the New Age tenets, Baamonde said. UFOs got a higherpercentage, while belief in reincarnation received a lower percentage. Asked how they learned about thetopics, most of the young people said television, books and magazines.   Alpha and omega It is manifest that the disorientation in regard to the topics included in the present study not only affectsyoung people but also families, reinforcing the conviction of the importance of implementing familycatechesis, Baamonde said.He concluded: New Age gains followers day by day with the final objective, they say, of erasing universalborders to achieve the creation of a supra-religion where man is the alpha and omega, the beginning and  end of all things, thus achieving a caricature of religion: It is no longer man who is created in theimage and likeness of God but God who is created in the image and likeness of man.  José María Baamonde  José María Baamonde was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1959. He died of cancer on August 23, 2006in Spain. He received a Ph.D. in psychology from the John F. Kennedy University of Buenos Aires. In 1989,he founded Fundación S.P.E.S (Servicio Para el Esclarecimiento en Sectas), a cult awareness and researchinstitution and was its president until 2001 when he assumed the position of Director of Documentationand Investigations. He taught courses in Catholic Culture at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina andpsychology at the Universidad San Pablo-CEU in Madrid, Spain. He also worked as an adviser to theSecretariado para la Familia de la Conferencia Episcopal Argentina.In 1992, he helped a former second generation member of the cult named Abigail return to the UnitedStates to live with her relatives. In October 1993, he published a book, The Family: The True Story of the Children of God , which was dedicated to her and included a chapter in which she recounted some of her experiences growing up in the organization and the abuse and medical neglect she suffered in a FamilyHome run by Susan Claire Borowik and Manuel José Sabatasso. Other chapters in the book, which wasexhaustively documented and based primarily on the organization's own publications, explored TheFamily's beliefs and practices, its history in Argentina and legal action involving its members in Argentinaand around the world. In March 1994, The Family sued Baamonde and his publisher, alleging that the bookwas libelous and seeking $2 million USD in damages. While the suit was dismissed in October 2001 when a judge ruled that the organization had not proved any of its claims and no longer wished to proceed with thecase, the potential legal risk and liability resulted in the publisher deciding to temporarily halt distributionof the book. Advisor worried about penetration of New Age July 20, 2005 CathNews AustraliaAdvisor to the Argentinean Bishops' Conference José Baamonde has warned that the New Age movementposes the great challenge of the present century, because it raises [unchallengeable] flags such aspacifism, universal brotherhood and ecology to mask its process of self-divinisation.Zenit reports that Dr Baamonde heads the Service for the Elucidation of Sects and New ReligiousMovements (SPES) Foundation's documentation and research section. He told a Madrid conference at theweekend that one of the most worrying elements of the New Age is the tendency towards self-divinisation,which he explains as the belief that God is within me; God and I are one same conscience; I am God. Baamonde, who is a professor of psychology at Madrid's San Pablo-CEU University, also warned against the capacity of New Age concepts to subtly impregnate even those who practice classic and traditionalreligions, including the Catholic faith.He recalled Pope John Paul II's words to a group of US bishops in 1993: At times New Age ideas makeheadway in preaching, catechesis, congresses and retreats, and thus succeed in influencing evenpracticing Catholics, who perhaps are not aware of the incompatibility of those ideas with the faith of theChurch. He concluded by expressing concern that the movement seeks to erase essential lines between existingreligious faiths by appealing to universal truths and ideals. New Age gains followers day by day with the final objective, they say, of erasing universal borders toachieve the creation of a supra-religion where man is the alpha and omega, the beginning and end of allthings, thus achieving a caricature of religion: It is no longer man who is created in the image and likenessof God but God who is created in the image and likeness of man. LINKS  Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the New Age (PontificalCouncil for Culture) Sects Expert: “For years, sects have been trying to penetrate Catholic circles to altertheir bad image and gain followers” Madrid, Veritas News Agency December 12, 2005 AV05120203 -translated for this site by Maria Laura Pio,Switzerland   Several Catholic retreat houses in Spain were recently warned just in time to prevent them fromallowing their facilities to be used by sectarian groups. But this cannot always be avoided. In otheroccasions, the problem is not represented by sects, but by retreat houses welcoming groups practicing eastern spirituality techniques , against which the Church has warned.Elements of a broad spirituality which is alien to Christianity have also infiltrated many Catholicbookstores , where books from sects or written by authors belonging to sects can be easily obtained. The  problem is particularly serious because many Catholics act in good faith ignoring everything about thisphenomenon.In order to obtain some clarifications regarding this situation, VERITAS Agency interviewed  José MaríaBaamonde , a psychologist and founder of the S.P.E.S. Foundation, the first Argentinean institutiondedicated to the inter-disciplinary study of sects and new religious movements. Baamonde is presentlyprofessor at the University of San Pablo CEU in Madrid. Baamonde recently participated as representative of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina inthe international consultation on New Age organized by the Holy See. His most recently publishedbook is La Manipulación Psicológica de las Sectas (Psychological Manipulation inside Sects), Editorial SanPablo, Madrid. VERITAS Agency : Is it true that   new religious trends , such as the New Age, and even somesects are infiltrating Catholic retreat houses? Jose Maria Baamonde : One of the many characteristics of sects is deceptive proselytism: to try to obtainfollowers by deceit and without revealing their real objectives, practices or beliefs, which will only be slowlyrevealed as the proselyte strengthens his bonds with the group to the detriment of his social and familybonds.Regular attempts to infiltrate Catholic circles with different excuses have been registered for years. Thesegroups generally rent rooms or buildings in Catholic schools, parishes or retreat houses, to organize allsorts of activities, such as conferences, lessons, seminars, workshops, etc. In this way, since they arehaving activities in Catholic surroundings, the common parishioner will consider them as valid. Also, in thatway, it is easier for them to avoid suspicion: any doubt or fear of a parishioner towards any of these groupswith sectarian characteristics would be automatically dismissed by the simple fact that, they reason, such agroup would never have been granted the use of catholic facilities for their activities. There are the many examples, the most recent one being that of the Sivaíta Tantric School of Madrid,specialized in a form of sexual yoga, which was planning to teach a Course of Tantra Initiation in severalCatholic retreat houses of Avila, Burgos and Lleida. Luckily, the people in charge were warned and theycancelled the bookings that had been made. Another concrete example regards the sect Children of God ,who participated some years ago in one of the Domund encounters in Spain, as well as in the Course forDirectors organized by the Superior Council of Catholic Education of Argentina. VA: According to you, to what is the reason for the boom of eastern spirituality techniques and of otherreligions among Catholics, including their practice in spiritual retreat houses? Do you believe that some of those elements can be adopted by Christians?  J.M. Baamonde: Man is a religious being by nature, and will therefore always tend towards what istranscendent. Sometimes and for many reasons, he thinks that this hunger for transcendence will besatisfied in oriental circles, reducing the effectiveness of the encounter with God to the simple use of atechnique.Regarding the possibility of Christians adopting some of those elements, it would be necessary to carry outa very prudent and deep study of each one of these techniques. Many persons, with good intentions, willtry to separate the practices from the beliefs. They will try to use only the technique, thinking that it istotally independent from the belief, without realizing that one derives from the other. A concrete example of this can be observed in the practice of Yoga.   It is important to clarifythat, although some physical training techniques of yoga could be recommended for thecorrection of certain postural problems, as well as for exercising and relieving some muscularand articulate affections, we cannot consider these practices in their whole as somethingbeneficial.   The practice of yoga comes from a philosophy, and the bottom line of thisphilosophy is the proposal of an absolute negation of the being and, of course, of the self .And for this alone, it is incompatible with Christianity.  This philosophy considers the body and personal conscience to be illusory and therefore denies them,considering them as obstacles for achieving perfection. This idea is in conflict with the Christian message,which proposes quite the opposite: to reassume the body as something objectively good, otherwise therewouldn’t be a resurrection of the flesh. Christianity also affirms that a limited being can develop acompletely free and extremely personal relationship with that other eternal Being, who is Creator andFather. VA: Certain Christian literature of the sixties incorporated elements from other religions . This was thecase for instance of  Thomas Merton or the Jesuit from India Tony De Mello . In the case of De Mello, theCongregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned against contents that were incompatible with Christianfaith . Nevertheless, why have these authors been best-sellers of Christian literature?  J.M. Baamonde : First of all it is necessary to make a correction in the question. Those books may havebeen best-sellers for some Christian readers, but in no way can they be considered as best-sellers of Christian literature. One of the many reasons that explain this is the poor religious education that impedespeople from discerning some of the previously mentioned aspects. Another reason is, as mentioned  before, the temptation to diminish the difficulties of a true encounter with God by reducing itto the correct implementation of a technique.Eastern meditation techniques are very different from Christian meditation techniques.Eastern techniques state that prayer is more effective when one reaches the alpha level of brain activity (state of relaxation). In a deceptive way, it makes the effectiveness of prayerdepend on man instead of God. In this connection, let us consider the time when Jesus prays inGethsemane. He was in such a state that He began to sweat blood, as written in the Sacred Scriptures. Hecould not have been in alpha state and nevertheless, His prayer was effective.It is comprehensible in the world we live, that many people, out of voluntarism, are tempted to rely on theirsole strength for an endless number of yearnings. But although understandable, it still is and remains asimple temptation that not only distances us from reality, but also from the true knowledge of God. VA:In some Catholic bookstores, it is possible to find books that could be considered as infiltrated , in a similar way as certain groups are infiltrated in Catholic retreat houses. Whatdo you think of this? J. M. Baamonde: It is very worrisome. There are not a few, but many Catholic bookstores that sellnumerous books which promote New Age practices and beliefs, as well as books more or less associatedwith different movements with sectarian characteristics, generally included under the vague name of self-help books . It is even more worrying when these bookstores are under the responsibility of religiouscongregations and are managed by them. One would expect as a minimum that they would have a goodknowledge of Christian faith.It is true that the number of publications is very high and that therefore, some of the people in charge of these bookstores would ingenuously allege lack of time to review the books. But this cannot be an excuseto avoid the great responsibility that implies the management of this type of stores. What would we sayof a pharmacist, who would adduce similar reasons to excuse his selling a toxic drug instead of a medicine?   Is the health of the soul less important than that of the body? No, if the bookstoremanager cannot review all the books he is going to sell, then he must have a responsible teamthat does it, or, in the doubt, he should consult people who know. Otherwise, it would bebetter that he dedicated his time to selling sweets or to any other activity, for the sake of hissoul and that of his clients. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of books pertaining to sects, authors linked with sects, or of disciplinessrcinated and promoted by sects, that are sold in catholic bookstores and promoted in catholic circles, aswas the case of the book Ami, the boy of the stars , distributed by a Catholic publisher and recommendedin Catholic schools by catechists, nuns and Spanish professors. VA: Do you believe that the contemporary man is spiritually thirsty and sometimes he does not findanswers in the Catholic Church? What responsibility do Catholics have from this point of view?  J. M. Baamonde: As I previously said, man is a religious being by nature, and is permanently spirituallyhungry and thirsty. He will have this longing in his heart, as described by Saint Augustine. Without doubthe will always be able to find answers in the Catholic Church, but since the Church is both saint and sinner,sometimes the human factor can make the search for answers as well as the response difficult. Both areresponsible: the ones who seek and the ones who respond. The one who seeks, often does it only in an emotional way, and therefore can be easily disappointed bysmall difficulties, making him abandon his efforts to search seriously for answers. He can be distracted bythe songs of the sirens of sects and new religious movements. In the same way, in other occasions, onepretends to seek without effort having in mind a sensual and part-time mysticism, intended only for sparetime, without any dark nights such as the ones described so well and in detail by true mystics, in particularSaint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila.In regard to the response that Catholics must give, there are all sorts of difficulties, but I believe that thelack of testimony, the lack of formation and the lack of charity are the most important. Pope John Paul IIinsisted on these three aspects. He never ceased to point out the importance of a thorough, complete andprofound formation of our faith, to enable us to give reason of our hope without falling for the seduction of the world’s mirages and be able to respond to the challenge represented by this phenomenon. NOTE: ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS DATED A LITTLE OVER TWO YEARS FROMTHE RELEASE OF THE FEBRUARY 2003 VATICAN DOCUMENT ON THE NEW AGE-MICHAEL  JULY 2011
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