I guess one shouldn’t be surprised by this doublethink, but Catholic bishops in the US have rejected the bonkers alternative “therapy” reiki – because it’s superstition. As The Guardian (Catholic bishops in US ban Japanese reiki) reports (and I’m always cautious when reading news on April 1st, but the article is dated 31st March!), the bishops say:
“A Catholic who puts his or her trust in reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no man’s land that is neither faith nor science. Superstition corrupts one’s worship of God by turning one’s religious feeling and practice in a false direction.”
Apparently the group of US bishops say that reiki is incompatible with Christian teaching and scientific evidence. Since when has scientific evidence been important to religion? And isn’t belief in an Invisible Magic Friend rather superstitious in itself? A christian Reiki master (actually mistress, I suppose) is quoted as saying:
“There is so much bad information about reiki, anti-Christian information, on the internet,” she said. “It says we channel spirits and that’s not true. Reiki balances energy in the same way as acupuncture or reflexology. I know of two nuns in the Philadelphia area, one who runs a retreat centre, who have done wonderful work. The bishops weren’t talking to women like that.”
Of course, reiki is in the same frame as other quack therapies such as acupuncture and reflexology. And it’s not that different to religion in at least one sense – it requires a complete suspension of rational thinking to take it seriously.
Update: A few bloggers beat me to it on this story – The New Humanist blog has some additional information worth looking at.