Reiki and the Catholic Church


KIM LAWTON, correspondent: At the CORE/El Centro natural healing center in Milwaukee, Sister Madeline Gianforte is using Reiki on one of her clients. In this Eastern healing technique, practitioners place their hands on or above someone in an effort to enhance the body’s flow of energy. They say that can lead to physical and spiritual healing.

SISTER MADELINE GIANFORTE (CORE/El Centro): As a practitioner, I’m just facilitating that energy. But you are doing your own healing in the sense of connecting to the divine and the healing that happens within.

LAWTON: Gianforte is a nun with the Sisters of Saint Agnes. She’s also a trained Reiki master. She says Reiki fits well with her faith.

Sister Madeline Gianforte

GIANFORTE: It’s an incredibly spiritual, prayerful experience for me. It calms the inner part of my being so much that I can tap that deepest place, the core place of who I am.

LAWTON: But the US Catholic bishops say Reiki is superstition, and they’ve urged Catholics not to provide or support it. Reverend Tom Weinandy is executive director of the bishops’ doctrine committee.

REV. TOM WEINANDY (US Conference of Catholic Bishops): The problem that we had with Reiki, in the end, was that we felt it sort of fell between the crack, that it was neither really a medical or scientific technique nor was it a religious technique that was compatible with Christianity.

LAWTON: Reiki, with its strong emphasis on the spiritual, was developed in Japan in the early 20th century. Using various hand positions, practitioners help their clients access what they call a universal life force, a spiritual or divine energy force. They claim that energy force can reduce stress and accelerate the body’s natural healing process. A favorite of New Age centers, Reiki is also increasingly used in hospitals and medical clinics.

GIANFORTE: I did a lot of Reiki with my mom when she had cancer, and she was very, very sick with chemo and radiation, and one of the greatest things for her was that it alleviated a lot of the side-effects and the symptoms of radiation and chemo, and then ultimately in her final stages it kind of allowed her to peacefully go.

LAWTON: Gianforte helped found the nonsectarian CORE/El Centro as a place where everyone, but especially low-income people, could have access to alternative medicine and natural healing techniques. Reiki is one of many practices here based on an Eastern holistic philosophy focusing on the body, the mind and the spirit.

GIANFORTE: If the spirit isn’t addressed, and only the body is, a complete healing won’t be possible.

LAWTON: Lauri Lumby Schmidt uses Reiki in her ministry as a spiritual director.

LAURI LUMBY SCHMIDT (Authentic Freedom Ministries): There is a wide range of things that people can experience, but it does tend to be much more profound than just straight relaxation.

LAWTON: Schmidt did her Reiki training or “attunements” with Catholic nuns, who she says, taught it from a Christian perspective.

post02-schmidtSCHMIDT: When I really look at Jesus’ ministry and what he was all about, it was about healing, and he empowered his disciples to do the same thing. He commissioned them to go out and heal.

LAWTON: But the Catholic bishops say they received more and more questions about Reiki, so they commissioned a study, and last year released guidelines which said “a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition.” And the guidelines concluded “it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the Church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or to provide support for Reiki therapy.”

WEINANDY: God is God, and human beings are human beings, and we can petition God, but we can’t manipulate him, and we felt that this was what was happening in the context of Reiki, that the person learned how to be in touch with the divine cosmic forces such that they could now manipulate it through a laying on of hands or a massage or something that the person could be healed.

LAWTON: Many Reiki supporters were taken aback by the statement’s tone.

GIANFORTE: It’s not a religion. It’s just a practice that assists people in connecting more deeply to the more spiritual soul places within themselves, so I was pretty surprised by that.

LAWTON: The document said the Church recognizes two kinds of healing: natural means through the practice of medicine and healing by God’s divine grace. In the Christian tradition, there is the sacramental anointing with oil and the laying on of hands.

WEINANDY: Christians can pray for one another, lay hands on a sick person, and ask Jesus to heal them, but you’re not channeling divine energies through your hands.

LAWTON: Weinandy says sometimes individuals or even places such as the pilgrimage site in Lourdes, France appear to have a special gift of healing. But he says physical healing is never guaranteed, and it’s always up to the will of God.

WEINANDY: It’s not that he loves one person more than the other, but we don’t know why the Lord would heal one and not another person, but it is a mystery.

LAWTON: Reiki practitioners deny that they are trying to manipulate God.

Rev. Tom Weinandy

SCHMIDT: You can tell when you are facilitating and sharing Reiki with someone that you are not guiding it, you know. You can tell that there’s a higher power that is doing the work.

LAWTON: Schmidt says she chooses to give the credit to God.

SCHMIDT: For me, Reiki is another form of prayer. It’s allowing myself to be a vessel through which then God’s healing can then be experienced by the person that is receiving the Reiki.

WEINANDY: If you try to plug Reiki into Christianity, what you’re saying is Jesus is not good enough on his own. He’s got to be supplemented by something else, in this case, the divine forces, so you’re either downgrading Jesus and Christianity or you’re taking the heart out of Reiki.

LAWTON: The bishops’ document is not a mandate, and local dioceses may implement it as they choose. But Reiki supporters say it’s already had a chilling effect. Many Catholic institutions, including hospitals and retreat centers, are no longer offering Reiki, and most nuns are reluctant to speak publicly about their use of Reiki.

SCHMIDT: Some people, I think, find comfort in the perceived security of a black and white theology, and Reiki doesn’t fit within that black and white theology, and so in those kinds of situations there tends to be judgment, there tends to be fear, there tends to be reaction.

LAWTON: Schmidt says she’s sad the bishops would oppose something that has meant so much to her spiritually.

SCHMIDT: I see Reiki as being life-giving. It definitely flows out of my relationship with God. It’s drawing me closer in my relationship with God. I certainly have grown in my awe and wonder over how God can work in the world.

LAWTON: But Church leaders say they believe Reiki is spiritually dangerous.

WEINANDY: I want to stick with Jesus. I don’t want to open myself up to other forces that may be, you know, supernatural in some sense but not of God. I think it’s a risky business to be playing around with this sort of thing.

LAWTON: While the theological debates continue, the National Institutes of Health has funded a study on the possible health effects of Reiki.

I’m Kim Lawton in Milwaukee.

  • Pamela Miles

    In fact the NIH has funded 5 studies of the possible health benefits of Reiki.

    I have practiced Reiki since 1986 and been a teaching master since 1990. I have trained people who practiced a wide range of religions, including Catholic clergy, and their feedback has always been some version of how their Reiki practice deepened their relationship with their religion by opening profound inner experience in areas where before they had to rely on faith alone. This increased spiritual depth of course in turn deepened their faith.

    Practicing Reiki empowers people to explore their own unique spirituality, and one can’t help but wonder if that is why the bishops have such an aversion to it. The fact that the bishops did such a poor job of researching Reiki (looks as if they never made it past Wikipedia) hints that they were set on containing the practice from the beginning. If they had found any of the research that has been done (some of these papers are available at http://www.ReikiInMedicine) or come upon the long list of prestigious conventional care centers where Reiki is offered to patients and staff, they would have save themselves the embarrassment of issuing such an obviously biased, uninformed proclamation. Reiki practice itself involves no belief. It is a neutral practice, akin to meditation.

  • Mel

    Given this description of Reiki:a universal life force, a spiritual or divine energy force, aren’t we all pretty sure Jesus was a Reiki Master? Come on!

  • Frank Trades

    There are few men left in Catholic clergy leadership. And apparently none with the courage or foresight to see something like Reiki for what it truly is. As a result, the Church might not recognize good science or its related results if it brought them miracles like heaven on earth.

  • Shelly

    There is a problem with this statement: “we can’t manipulate him (God), and we felt that this was what was happening in the context of Reiki, that the person learned how to be in touch with the divine cosmic forces such that they could now manipulate it through a laying on of hands”. Does this statement express that the church believes practitioners are now manipulating divine forces? Should not the church have a fundamental belief that God can not be manipulated and that it is only in the deceptive thoughts of sinful man to
    believe such? This statement also suggests superstition and lack of faith.

    Reiki practitioners would unanimously say “no, manipulation is not possible“. Receiving and sharing the “gift” of healing is. These gifts are given by God for the good of all humanity. This is what Jesus taught.

    Through The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians we learn:
    Chapter 12: 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
    5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
    6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
    7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
    8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
    9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
    10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
    11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
    12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

    I hope that nuns or whomever receives these gifts from the Lord do not bury them but continue to share them with a world that is in dire need of healing.

  • June Kozak Kane

    I agree with Reiki Master Pamela Miles in every point she makes. For any religion to condemn doing Reiki (which in Japanese MEANS “SPIRIT ENERGY”) for another person is like saying one cannot love another human being, or send love to another human being. I’m sure that focusing that love on another person — literally focusing Spirit, or God’s energy, which IS love, on another human being — is probably exactly what Jesus and all healers have done. I hope that those practitioners of Reiki within the Catholic church will find a way to show those who are against Reiki that that’s like saying the Church is against Love itself. By the way, the first Reiki healing I ever witnessed was from Helen Borth of Milwaukee. When a colleague of mine at the City of Milwaukee Health Department was suffering from terrible headaches that none of the best docs could find any cause for, Helen used the first position of Reiki diagnostics and told the patient that there was a mass behind her left eye and that the patient should immediately ask her docs for an MRI. The mass that Helen sensed was a Hodgkin’s tumor, and the patient was then properly diagnosed and eventually brought back to health. After that, all the docs and members of the board of the hospital were pro-Reiki. (The young woman’s father was on the board of the hospital, so everyone knew how well Reiki had helped.) I’ve been doing Reiki since 1980 and have studied with many masters (and am a Reiki master myself). I’d be more than happy to ask the respected Rabbi Twerski of Milwaukee to perhaps speak to the Archbishop there about his own experience with a Reiki healing. Rabbi Twerski has me on “speed-dial.” No one could question the deep faith in God of Rabbi Twerski!

  • Sheree

    As a non religious, but deeply spiritual person who has taken command of my own journey, I must say that it strikes me odd that a church leadership with so many of their own *issues* on what is of God and what isn’t, should come out against something so beautiful and healing. My husband, who was raised a Catholic has greatly benefited from Reiki and the stance taken by the church has only served to further empower him. He has turned within for his guidance more and more.
    Reiki has been used medicinally by doctors and nurses for at least a decade now. All over the world. I do hope that there will be some footage to indicate this at some point. Thank you.

    Sheree Kren

  • Ragani

    Wonderful interviews. It’s a shame when such healing practices are labeled as “superstitious” by any particular religion (catholic or otherwise). I remember when Mother Theresa was asked what she thought about the Devil, she replied, “I don’t have time.” What a powerful insight into the mind of devotion! May we all continue to practice that which is healing, that which is a service to others, regardless of what any human “authority” may have commented about it.

  • Lauri Lumby Schmidt

    I want to thank PBS for providing this journalistic look at the Catholic Bishops’ statement on Reiki. I am grateful to have been part of this piece and am even more grateful for the men and women who allow themselves to be open vessels through which God’s healing love continues to be revealed in our world and for the people that benefit from their humble generosity. I am humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to witness the healing Grace of the divine with every Reiki session I facilitate.

  • Carol Nelson

    If I recall my scripture readings correctly, Jesus came, in part, to remind us of our divinity and commissioned his disciples to go out and carry on what he had modelled, including healing, i.e., laying on of hands.
    Fr. Weinandy says, “I want to stick with Jesus”. All well and good, but Jesus is not physically here with us and since he told his disciples to carry on his work, that mandate can be viewed as extending to people of faith and compassion who feel the call to help their fellow human beings in today’s world. Perhaps the Catholic Church’s real objection is that they feel lay people are usurping their role in ‘laying on hands’. And Fr. Weinandy also wants us to believe that Reiki ‘downgrades Chistianity’?. Really? How fragile and on shaky ground that religion must be if compassionate practitioners helping others cause a ‘downgrading’ of the religion!
    I am a practicing Reiki master, and based on the reactions of the healers — the individuals on whom I lay my hands — they have been helped by the practice, and more importantly, we have not downgraded Christianity one single wit; its integrity is fully intact from our point of view.

  • Cheri Christy

    As a Reiki master and healer, I’ve experienced tremendous physical/emotional/spiritual healing using this technique for many people. During his missing years, according to many historians, Jesus studied Buddhism and quite possibly Reiki healing. He also taught “greater things shall ye do” and “the kingdom of Heaven is within.” The New-Age philosophy stating we are all part of God, as Jesus certainly was, and possess the ability for healing ourselves and others is opposed to the Catholic Church’s long-standing belief that petitioners must be blessed by a priest (or by Jesus) in a passive way. It’s quite possible the CC feels threatened by the concept of self-actualization. Would their congregation still need the church if they were self-aware? I had one experience at a Catholic church bizarre where one of the sisters had terrible arthritis. I placed my hands on hers; she said she felt tremendous warmth and a (perhaps temporary?) relief from her pain. Reiki doesn’t claim miracles, although miracles are possible, but rather a way to raise one’s awareness and consciousness as to what needs to take place for self-healing, such as dietary improvements, more exercise, meditation, prayer, etc., thus bringing us closer to God. Until you’ve experienced the benefits of Reiki healing, it’s difficult to explain its gentle effectiveness.


    The catholic has gone to far saying that reiki is superticous I have Reiki preformed on me. It was a up lifting and relaxing.
    I left the church over 15 years for comments like this.

  • MiChelle Jeneen

    As a Christian who went to Catholic school and basically grew up Catholic, I was pleased to learn that many of the nuns who raised me are now Reiki Masters like me. It’s sad that some people now feel a crisis of faith (and of religion) if they use their God-given gift and calling to lay hands and provide Reiki for the sick. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out over time, but in my experience, the healing miracles will continue to show themselves. In fact, it’s all a manifestiation of faith, the miracle of the human body and Divine Intervention working together as one.

  • MG CT

    Pamela mentioned -

    “… their feedback has always been some version of how their Reiki practice deepened their relationship with their religion by opening profound inner experience in areas where before they had to rely on faith alone.”

    That’s Rev. Weinandy’s point, relying on faith, not “faith” + “just in case”.
    The story did not include, regarding the Catholic Church, the experiences people have during healing services as facilitators or as those attending, -the laying on of hands, healing Masses, Charismatic prayer experiences, healing within the monastic contemplative experience, …

    If, as was stated, “Reiki practice itself involves no belief”, then why would someone valuing belief want to bother with it ? If it is a genuine self-evident healing system, perhaps some day it will be a requirement prior to medical residency. If it remains, perhaps as it should be, somewhere between medicine and faith, then why look for approval from faith or medicine in the first place ?

  • jendreamer

    Would like to know how the priest would explain the fact that God uses priests as vessels to relay his message?! No surprise there’s hypocrisy in the Catholic religion.

  • John

    In the Willow Foundation, (Fundación Sauce) a charity based in Madrid, Spain, we actively work training Catholic missionaries in Spain, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Brasil to use Reiki in their healing practices.

    The priests and nuns we train apply Reiki in impoverished areas that have no economic means to access conventional medicine.

    We have never had any negative comments from religious people that actually use it. In fact quite the contrary, many Reiki users comment on the fact that it actually strengthens their faith, that they feel “closer to God” in many ways.

    Our Foundation has also taught over 3,000 doctors and nurses in those countries and Reiki is now used in many hospitals by the staff we have trained. We are also concluding succesful double blind with placebo clinical trials to prove how effective Reiki is in treating chronic pain.

    To sum up, the old paradigm that spirit is separate from body is dissapearing. We are one, both body and spirit and any healing approach must embody (pardon de pun) both aspects to be trully succesful on a large scale.

  • Jill Hileman

    I too am disappointed to hear that there is such a dismissal of Reiki practice as an adjunct to spiritual deepening and development. Perhaps this response is reactionary due to a fear that Reiki will supercede or overshadow the Church’s place in a penitent’s life, but the church leaders did not do their homework in this case.
    Everyone I have received Reiki from and everyone I have performed Reiki on has only commented on how Reiki supports their personal dedication to God in their faith, whether it be Catholic, Protestant, Unitarian, or any other. The point is this Eastern based practice does not convert anyone, nor does it subvert a person’s established faith. Instead it supports it.
    As Pamela’s comment– it is neutral, and yet it has the gift to draw people into a closer relationship with the Creator of all things.
    How can that be in conflict with Christ’s message?

  • Carolyn Maloney

    Reiki is Japanese and is more associated with the Martial Arts rather than with Religion. Most of the Majority of Martial arts from China, Korea, Japan include a form of balancing and restoring energy (Yin) which is taught to the students after they understand the opposite fighting energy (Yang).
    Remember the old “Karate Kid” Movie? There was a time when the young boy got hurt and the Karate Instructor/Master Miyagi stopped and basically did the hands healing on the child who got up and continued his sparing. True, this is a movie, but much of the info was based on the concept and understanding of Martial Arts training. My daughter had 9 years of Martial arts training and assisting in teaching. Her instructor explained much of this information to me after he found I was doing Reiki. They were very pleased it was in the US.

    Yes, it brings us to a quieter more peaceful state of being where we can actually think better and reduce stress and touch into our spirituality. Stress is the biggest problem in our country and relaxation is necessary to figure out how to get back to who we are as an individual.

    I have been teaching Reiki since 1995 and have seen some great results. I and my students volunteer doing Reiki on Cancer Patients and Caregivers in Clinics and Hospitals. I also teach Asian Therapeutic modalities to RNs (at a recognized Nursing School) for extending awareness of Human Energy Field Modailities.

    And Yes there are Nuns in our area that practice Reiki but don’t tell anyone, due to the fear of others misunderstanding.

    Reiki helps restore the energy (like meditation or Bio energy points in the meridian) however it also helps the individual take some responsibility for themselves.

  • Ene

    The bishops have an aversion to it because what they are saying is that people don’t need to seek out other “spiritual means to God” but go to God through Jesus Christ. He not saying it’s wrong but is saying that you if you believe in God, then you don’t need to seek out this practice to find God. He’s saying tht you can practice Reiki but don’t say that God is in it. He was referring to the nuns who practice it and say that God is in it. One can ask God to heal them on their own or even take medication.It’s as bad as saying that you believe God is in Palm reading or something that doesn’t practice christianity.

  • Carolyn Maloney

    Oh and also I loved your show about The Science of Healing with Dr. Esther Sternberg which is about the energy aka Mind Body connection that validates Reiki.

  • Cindy Simpson-Scharff

    What exactly is your fear, Bishops? Reiki can do no harm, certainly not separate a true believer from God. In my experience, Reiki enables the person to balance in body, mind and spirit. It is from that de-cluttered, balanced perspective that we remember our own divinity, and hopefully in remembering, do and be all we are called to. One doesn’t have to believe in miracles (which some people would classify in the realm of superstition), only be willing to accept the change they bring to one’s life. All that separates any of us from God is fear. Fear not, Bishops.

  • MJR

    I am well educated Catholic and practice Reiki. It is a hands on gift to another in support of their healing. MJR

  • Mike Callahan

    This is a perfect illustration of the mindset of the US Catholic bishops – fearful, narrow and controlling. Weinandy tries to sound good-natured, but he is doing their dirty work – putting down the hammer. Do we need to enumerate how many “superstitious” practices the Church allows or encourages? There are way too many to list here. But the Bishops pick this practice to label as not “compatible with Christianity”. Really? Let’s see. Who does the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick? Male priests. And who are many of the Reiki practitioners in the Catholic Church? Female nuns. The bishops are true to form – fearful, controlling and narrow-minded. Weinandy is left with the spin job of making up the reasons why they are coming out against this practice.

  • Art Rittenhouse

    What ever Reiki is by its own admission is NOT Christian Healing. Jesus apostles always healed “in the name of Jesus Christ”. Jesus often touched his patients but also healed at a distance without his physical touch or presence. For that matter medical treatment is not Christian Healing either.

  • Dian Miner

    Let the bishops continue! Little do they realize that they’re only placing another nail in what is a religion that’s moribund and essentially useless. In so doing they will hasten the death of an organization (church)that has brought control and fear into the souls of men and women.
    As persons are individually empowered to heal others and themselves through Reiki and other alternative means of healing, they will no longer need the interlocutors (priests, bishops etc.) who take it on themselves to speak for god. God needs no one to speak on it’s behalf. Thanks you bishops for doing us a favor and placing another nail in the anachronism that is the church.

  • Jay Janell

    According to the Catholic Bishops, Reiki is superstition and anointing with oil and the laying on of hands is not. The latter is done mostly by ordained men, while reiki is done mostly by lay women. Cooincidence?

  • Frans Stiene

    Hi All,

    First of all thank you for creating this great interview, much appreciated.

    Shibumi International Reiki Association wrote an interesting article called: Reiki and the Catholic Bishops.
    Please click on the link to their website:

    Kindest regards,

    Frans Stiene

  • Anne

    The Bishops would really benefit from a Reiki treatment!

  • Jon F

    As an observation I should note this much. I do agree with the bishops. Let us for a moment examine this matter from their perspective. The argument of this post is based on the document issued by the bishops themselves. It can obtained at their website . As the video noted there are 2 forms of healing recognized within the Catholic Church, natural healing as performed by the faculties of human reason, and divine healing as performed by the grace of God. These 2 methods are recognized as the only 2 true categories. If what happens does not fall into either of these two categories must logically be categorized as none of the above and thus not true healing. Given these constants let us suppose a reiki practitioner makes a proposal to a catholic hospital to set up shop inside. A responsible Bishop conducting his duty to maintain the catholicity of any institution under his care would ask some questions regarding this person. First: In what category of healing would the practitioner say reiki belongs? Second: If it is healing of the kind according to human reason can it be proven? Third: If it claimed it is healing of the kind according to God’s grace, is its nature in accord with and consistent with the nature of God?
    Let us suppose the reiki practitioner claims that it is merely natural healing. The bishop will want to see studies conducted that prove empirically the value of reiki, and can vouch for its efficacy. As far as I have checked (as of 2009) No studies have concluded supporting evidence to this claim.
    So now this matter comes to the question of theological consistency. The reiki practitioner then claims it is healing of the second kind. Let us look at the theological implications of this proposal. First as a start let us assume that God, theologically defined as truth is incapable of internal inconsistency. What this means is that truth is an objective reality. Any claim therefore of truth as a subjective reality is incorrect (not only is it incorrect it is by definition unable to hold a logical consistency and therefore would fail the test by default). Assuming a logical consistency and objective reality let us ask what a reiki practitioner believes about the nature of God. Is it consistent with what the Church believes? To answer this question would make this post much longer than it already is but the short answer is no it does not and therefore because it is inconsistent with the natural arts of healing and inconsistent theologically.
    Reasonably, a bishop must ask “What makes it any different than Voodoo or Santeria or any other number of superstition based healing practices?” Having failed both these tests why should a bishop permit this practice in a hospital or any other location under his jurisdiction? I have found the arguments from the side of reiki practitioners sadly underwhelming, they are based in emotion and have no rational ground to stand upon. Contrary to popular opinion the Catholic Church places a high value in bringing together faith and reason, just ask Thomas Aquinas.

  • Kelly Hall

    I have to say that as a newly born Reiki Master under the Usui lineage, I was able to recieved incredible loving energy coming through me, as a vessle with no denonimation. I had my first vision during my initiation into Reiki and it was of Buddha, I also recieved the clear words of ‘ Walk with Christ’. In my dream state I saw Ganesh and Allah. I have to say that it is my own personal experience that this is a loving , healing, universal life energy and I feel that we all need to embrace it. I believe there is too much fear in the Catholic faith of things that can bring such joy.

  • Elfriede Manning

    It’s very obvious to me that the catholic bishops don’t have a clue about what reiki really is. I agree with Anne. I think if they would receive a reiki treatment they would have a better understanding and would stop this ridiculous opposition to an incredible, gentle, loving, God-centered practice that heals both spiritually and physically.

    About Jon’s post,how does anyone that is not a Reiki practitioner know what a Reiki practitioner believes about the nature of God? Reiki is practiced by individuals of all faiths. I’m sure we have different opinions about the nature of God. My question is, don’t the catholic bishops believe that God could be bigger than their limited knowledge? He’s bigger than any of us can conceive.
    I do not have to embrace your belief system for your prayers to work. In our humanness, we are at best only connected to the divine a small part of the time. Reiki is merely a means to tap into the divine power of healing energy (the incredible power of God’s love). If we could all stay in tune with the energy of God, we would have no need for ordination or attunement or even the church. We have, however, become separated from God and we need these rituals to help us connect and/or stay connected to Him. I strongly believe that God wants us to love each other, to touch each other, to heal each other and wherever anyone is doing what they can to help another individual, God is there also. Also, Reiki IS both divine and natural. Couldn’t be anything else. I don’t know any reiki practitioners that recommend recieving reiki instead of medical care. Reiki is complimentary in nature. It will enhance whatever medical treatment a person receives.

  • Anne Logue

    I think it is all about the male patriarchy trying to keep some very spiritual women in their place, many practitioners are nuns in the church.

  • Jack Swank

    Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14. 12 NRSV). Jesus said “WILL DO GREATER THINGS.” Would this not include healing by the laying on of hands (numerous Scriptural examples) as well as distance healing (Syrophoeniecian woman’s daugher, Mt.15.21-28)? I am a United Methodist pastor an receive Reiki treatments monthly. My best advice is to simply send Love and peace to fearful church heirarchy who would rather compel a foolish agenda based on fear than see people simply be healed and feel better. Why must we ascribe to some sort of “evil demon” the power Jesus clearly claims for us in Scripture? Wake up church leaders of every denomination and accept that jesus’ life and teaching puts forth love, not fear.

  • Kristen Anne Wack

    Thank you, Sister Gianforte for your loving and balanced explanation of the gift that Reiki is. I, myself am a Reiki Master/Teacher and a Healing Touch Practitioner and can attest that this work is a practice of loving kindness from one human being to another and opens up the heart and spirit in a prayerful and compassionate way. Our Lord asked us to lay hands on the sick as he asked us to feed the poor and clothe the naked. He also tells us that where two or more gather in His Name, that He is Present. What on earth is suspect in that?

    Saint Francis of Assisi practiced laying of hands and he acknowledged that the healing does not come from himself, but that he is only a witness and a conduit. Any credible Reiki practitioner acknowledges the same.

    Yours in Christ,


  • CherylR

    My heart goes out to Rev. Tom Weinandy. In my view the energy of Reiki is all about loving compassion. I think Jesus had a few things to teach us about that. Rev Weinandy limiting his perspective and missing the point entirely.

  • Kris

    I was raised a Catholic and now I have been a Reiki Master since 1998. I am so sad to hear the leaders of the church are uninformed of this wonderful beautiful universal energy gifted to me and to others. Think about it, when a mother or father finds out their child is hurt and the child comes up to them say mommy, daddy, kiss my boo boo. When this parent does, what does the child say, they say thank you and give you a huge hug saying it doesn’t hurt any more. What do you think this is. Yes you could say it just comforts you, but please think on this. I was on a prayer chain through the Catholic church. When they found out I did Reiki, they basically kicked me off their prayer chain. How sad this made me feel. I hope and pray some day some of these people will not judge the practice. What kind of Christians are they? That’s up to God to tell, not me. Where I practice is a store called Touch of Enchantment, in Boone Iowa. We have people that are referred to us by doctors. This is wonderful for the patients and for us because we get to see how it helps people to be able to live a life without hurting or be drugged up. We even help animals there. So if you want to know more, please check out Reiki instead of bashing it. By bashing it and casting people out because of this is not Christian like. A person said to me one time and was shocked to hear it, “I have never met a Christian like you before”. I went out of the way to help someone and thought this is what I was suppose to do. I never knew what she meant. Now I know. I am not saying all Christians are not thoughtful, which I thought they were, for they were with God and went to church. So for us who want to help assist in God’s healing, don’t put us down. We are only want the best for everyone. Blessed be to all of God’s children.

  • Jay B.

    Carolyn Maloney writes “Most of the Majority of Martial arts from China, Korea, Japan include a form of balancing and restoring energy (Yin) which is taught to the students after they understand the opposite fighting energy (Yang).” I am not sure where you get this idea that energy is Yin… with an opposite fighting energy Yang. Energy is both Yin and Yang, and Yin and Yang are complementary, they do not fight each other, but balance each other and harmonize each other. Yin (feminine, moon, cold, etc.) and Yang (masculine, sun, hot, etc.) are both always present in all things. As far as the bishops’ position… the CC is afraid of losing their grip and their power. It is because of statements like these that more and more people are walking away from the CC. By the same reasoning, why would anyone look for any one’s help, in anything (not only in sickness)? Pray to God directly, and faith will make you whole! Problem is basically one of power… If we (the bishops) say it is OK, than it is OK… if we say it is not, then it is not. There are too many false prophets out there these days, and they are everywhere, doctors, politicians, priests, etc. I wonder how many Christ would cast out of the “Temples” if he was to visit them these days.
    Weinandy says that “Christians can pray for one another, lay hands on a sick person, and ask Jesus to heal them, but you’re not channeling divine energies through your hands.” How arrogant and pretentious to know what God or Christ will do or not through anyone else, be it a priest, a R master, or anyone else!… It all boils down to dogma and power. The tree will be known by its fruit…

  • Anielogue

    Many Reiki Practitioners in the Springfield IL area are women and nuns. These women have a strong following and deep respect in the community. I believe that this is threatening to the priests and the major motivation for deciding Reiki was not appropriate for the catholic church.

  • Elizabeth Bartolf

    I agree that the Catholic Church’s dismillal of Reiki is based on fear and ego!!! They have to be right – and they only look at facts. They read scripture looking for answers when they should be trusting themselves and how their spirit feels about something. Supersticious?? How sad these Bihops have the “power” to prevent their nums from practicing such a beautiful healing modality!! It’s sad in this free country that the sisters have to hide what they do for fear of reprisal. One of the Catholic churches here in my town transferred a num for practicing Rieki!! Does the Catholic Church care about helping people or just about appearances??? Where’s the love?? I was raised Catholic and I do not believe in organized religion anymore. It has it’s place – but, you don’t need to go to Church to be close to God!! The Bishops do not have a clue where it’s at!!!

  • Peg

    Remember the Church and Galileo??? The Church is always negative about new ideas until years, decades, centuries later when, come to find out, it all fits together and is part of God’s plan!

  • Jon F

    In response to Post #30 (Elfriede Manning), The nature of God is central to the question being investigated, and if post #29 is any indication (and I sincerely hope that post was written in jest) “spiritual healers” of that variety are certainly not Catholic; Universalist perhaps, but definitely not Catholic. I should note just because something feels good does not mean it is to be done, illegal drugs for example. I should note I am not a catholic Bishop, nor am I clergy, I am a layman; that being said however The Church has put out a definitive omnibus of their beliefs called the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (Hereafter referred to as the CCC) The CCC can be obtained at any bookstore for a modest sum or can be viewed freely online at the Vatican’s website ( In particular, paragraph 2117 of the CCC includes the following…
    All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion… Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.
    According to descriptions of reiki practice, the practitioner is manipulating rei (universal) ki (life energy). The concept of God’s presence as being universal life energy shares more in common from panentheism (not to be confused with pantheism) than Christianity. The ideas are incompatible with one another and thus have no place within catholic practice. More telling is the nature of how ne gains attunements. These are prepared by secret ritual and thus share more in common with Gnosticism than Christianity.
    Pope John Paul II remarks on new age practices such as reiki in his book “Crossing the threshold of hope”:
    “We cannot delude ourselves that this will lead toward a renewal of religion. It is only a new way of practicing gnosticism – that attitude of the spirit that, in the name of a profound knowledge of God, results in distorting His Word and replacing it with purely human words. Gnosticism never completely abandoned the realm of Christianity. Instead, it has always existed side by side with Christianity, sometimes taking the shape of a philosophical movement, but more often assuming the characteristics of a religion or a para-religion in distinct, if not declared, conflict with all that is essentially Christian.”
    If you are not Catholic I am not asking to infringe on your right to believe what you believe but I implore those that are Catholic to realize reiki is not compatible with Catholicism.

    P.S. to those insinuating that this is a mater of hierarchy and identity politics. your argument is a red herring. there is enough evidence out there to disprove the catholic compatibility of reiki without having to resort to such gender baiting.

  • Liz Taylor

    There was never an easy path for Jesus, nor will there be one for Reiki practitioners in being accepted. I do foresee many stumbling blocks, but also many conquests, but we have our Reiki to sustain and comfort us as we know that we are honoured to be permitted into the love, light and healing of Reiki.

    Love light and healing to all who continue to practice and share Reiki

    A lapsed Catholic who has found peace at last as a Reiki Practioner!

  • Jon F

    Ash Wednesday started yesterday and Lent is underway in the liturgical calendar for Catholics and many other Christians. Perhaps now is a perfect moment to discuss one of the problems surrounding the new age movement and associated practices such as reiki. I am referring to the philosophical underpinnings which make it incompatible with Christianity. In this case I am speaking about pain and the problem of evil, the value of suffering and the nature of original sin. New age treatments often try to ignore or minimize the problems which extend from our fallen human nature and thus adopt an outlook quite similar to utilitarianism. the greatest happiness and good to a utilitarian is that which provides the most personal pleasure while minimizing the most personal pain. Consider however in this time of Lent, Christ’s suffering upon the crucifixion or even to a lesser extent, his fasting within the desert. Consider his exhortation that we take up our own crosses daily. If this is to be held for Christianity as our theological standard and goal we see quite plainly the incompatibilities of utilitarianism. We also observe through these moments in Christ’s life the value of sacrifice and suffering. The new age mindset concerning suffering though perhaps not made explicit in “Christianlized” Reiki is implicit in the application of it’s techniques. The concept is that suffering is inherently valueless and if we are able to manipulate “Spiritual energy” for the alleviation of said suffering than it is universally acceptable no matter the cost, material or spiritual, this is incompatible with Christianity. Also present is the notion of the source of suffering. often associated with Karma, new age movements will often associate evil as an opposing force equal and opposite to good. in this cosmology, evil is thus created by negtive actions and consequences. This stands in direct opposition to the Christian concepts on evil with posit that evil is not an equal and opposite force but rather a privation of moral good. evil itself is thus not created in the same sense that darkness is not created by turning off a light so much as darkness is a product of the absence of light. As one can see these two concepts of evil, karma and the christian understanding are incompatible with one another and pose problems when they are paired together in an arbitrary way such as common in many “Christianized” new age practices, including reiki. Keeping this in mind, again I beleive the bishops have a firm theological ground to stand on concerning this and is not motivated by any sort of machinations, political or ecclesiastical. Nor is it founded upon a whimpering fear of powers and principalities, the Christian foundation upon which battles are fought is always with the confidence in Christ who has already obtained for us the means to our victory. seeking “Spiritual cures” of a kind not associated with Christ is a sign of one’s lack of understanding or confidence in Christ’s own victory. again I implore. Reiki and Catholicism, are simply incompatible.

  • Jean Diversey

    I have tried to say no to God many times. He has called me to serve in ways I never dreamed of as a child. I have been called to serve God as a Director of Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Catholic School Education, and as a Retreat Facilitator. Oh, and let’s not forget – as a Reike Master Technician in a Catholic Hospital. Every time I heard God’s voice, I would say not me, God. I don’t know how – I don’t think I can – this is not what I prayed for! I have learned that God has a divine plan for me. The only thing I can say no to is our dear Council of Catholic Bishops. If we believe the 225 words of the Creed, the prayer that states what we believe as Catholics, then we believe that God created everything, seen and unseen. Dear Bishops, how can you argue with what God has created? How can you argue with His plan? I have seen the results of Reike work through cancer patients to facilitate their healing. I will not say that Reike healed them – but that it helped them heal themselves. Reike Masters do not pretend to “be” Jesus nor do we pretend to heal people. We are merely answering a call to ministry. We are called to bring peace to the suffering. I have learned that I cannot say no to God.

  • MaryM

    I think the Catholic Church has a duty to question this practice. As I understand it, Reiki practitioners are somehow “attuned” to symbols which enable them to practice. I see this as a clear problem for consistency with Christianity. As a Christian I have not felt comfortable with any symbols becoming that important in anything I do. We are mandated to eschew all idolotry. I understand that many people love to do this and receive it. I do not understand why it has to be this practice through which Christian practioners work with clients since there are other modalities which are clearly not questionable in this regard. I really do not understand people bashing the Catholic Church about this even though, in my view, there are substantive things for which to vehemently disagree with them. Aren’t they entitled to come to their conclusions after study? No one makes you be a Catholic.

  • Irfan

    Religions are full superstitions; one person’s experience is another’s superstition. Buddha noted that over 2500 years ago. Reiki is not a new religion, as Sr. Madeline noted; for anyone to claim that it is or that it interferes with religious beliefs would be incorrect. Such arguments can only be consistent with other arguments within the same ideological framework. They are not consistent with the broader reality of experience (there it is, experience) out there.

    Reiki originated in a particular cultural and spiritual milieu but it has transcended that locale and has found expressions in other settings. I believe this is so because it invokes the universal language of compassion; a genuine concern for and commitment to the healing of others and through them, to one’s own healing; no language is necessary in the sharing of that energy; rituals (such as laying of hands, etc) are minimal and are basic to any human interaction (such as shaking hands to greet others in certain western cultures). So, there it is, it is not religious, and yet it speaks to the human condition in the most fundamental way.

    Reiki is just a modality; what is taking place is a human interaction based in compassion for and service to others. Reiki practitioners are doing the work of religions and religious leaders. For sure, their practice is not turning them into billionaires like the weapons manufacturers, traders, and war mongers. In my humble opinion, religious leaders should focus their attention elsewhere where it is badly needed.

  • Jon F

    in response to post #45 (Irfan)
    the flaw in your argument is that reality is experiential or in other words subjective. However, if you posit all truth is experiential and therefore relative then you find yourself in a situation where it is impossible to determine whether or not truth actually exists, incidentally that includes the argument that truth is relative. it is a self defeating statement and is illogical. now if this were a mere matter of as a practice encouraging one another to spread good will and compassion in an effort to help one another medically, an argument can be made physiologically for the effect of mind over matter as having an effect on treatment. if this were merely the matter there would not be such an uproar. but there is an uproar precisely in that although reiki is not in of itself a religion, it makes claims about the soul which cannot be supported by science and not compatible with Christianity and thus a nun (or any self respecting Christian for that matter) hasn’t any reason to go dabbling in it. the nature of religion has always been a matter of discerning and promoting truth, thus while it is your opinion that religious leaders should focus their attention elsewhere it is a fact that this matter is under their jurisdiction and therefore they have the right to make these judgments based on an objective reality. That’s life and if you don’t like it you can’t close your eyes and wish away the truth, it remains whether you think it is there or not. As to the matter of whether reiki is or is not true healing is another matter, If it can be proven satisfactorily in a double blind study that reiki is an effective treatment then I will change my mind. I will do so because it will have been understood as a tested medical procedure, however no such trials have produced the needed results.

  • Helen

    I am not a catholic but have studied the Christian faith in depth and also am a beliver in the blessed Trinity…The problem I see with Reiki is that it’s roots come from those who have not had the Holy Spirit come into their lives and the holy spirit brings us into the truth of God. There is the whole New Age spirit growing and gaining ground for the ultimate deception…read the bible for it talks about spirits that can decieve, and do not forget there is a real satan who goes about to decieve.We are told to discern the spirits as many false prophets and christs will be rampant in the last days…I used to be going toward the new age ideas but thanks be to the God who created the universe and all of its mysteries…opened my eyes to the truth of his word….there is going to be a religious, political, one world goverment where the false leader will do many healings ect. to show he is from God so unless healing is done by the prayer of Jesus Christ it is false. Satan has 1/3 of the fallen angels with him to decieve if possible even the elect…Look around…all the signs Christ foretold would happen in the last days is upon us…don’t stop loving, and serving Jesus in these days of mass illusion. When Jesus was bing tempted by satan in the wilderness…Jesus used the scripture to denounce satan…Jesus said Thy word is Truth..Jesus also said I am the Truth, Way, Light. I hope this helps true believers to stand strong for the Lord in these times the last days…Blessings to all who love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit….One.

  • Peter Fraterdeus

    You want to talk about destructive superstition?
    How about monotheism?
    Quite possibly the worst thing ever to come out of the human race.
    Jesus was a fine fellow, no doubt… but save us from his delusional followers with their eyes glazed over with absolute certainty about their superhero deity.

    One need not be religious to do good. But to do real harm, the religious have always been at the forefront. Take this misogynist, patriarchal outmoded superstition and bury it.

    Adios padres. Your “god”, your “satan” is a delusion of the super-ego, culturally reinforced in the quivering mortal brain through fear of death and mortality. Lucretius hit it on the head 2500 years ago. De Rerum Natura. Of course the “Church” tried to ban Lucretius too.

    Let 1,000,000 Reikis bloom.

  • Katherine

    I am not a catholic but baptized in the Episcopal church, was an acolyte, and went to Sunday school. And I never got it spiritually, I was confused and did not feel comfortable sitting through a Sunday service. When I left home to go to college some 21 years ago I left the Sunday ritual but kept the thought that God was a higher power greater than myself – end of story – that is what I felt spiritually comfortable with.

    My mother died two years ago and I have been on a quest to find myself and my religion again. I chose to research all religions and come up with my own decision. I took bits and pieces from all religions and learned they all have the same message of love, peace and harmony for mankind no matter the deity.

    On the one year anniversary of my mothers death, I came across the word Reiki. I Googled it with the name of my home town and found a Reiki master teacher. All I can say is the good Lord moved me into the right place. I have never had such a truly loving and soulful understanding of what his message and the feeling of Agape meant until now through Reiki – I get it now with my heart, soul and every cell of my being. Even with all the religions I have studied, I still go back to the awe of Jesus’s sacrifice for mankind. With my heart and soul feel I have been born again and called to do his work through Reiki of loving my neighbor as myself through the laying on of hands and allowing the healing to happen however He chooses. Agape and Namaste

    “…a new destiny requires a new origin, and the new origin must be from God.” Frank Stagg, Ph.D., (1911-2001)

  • Wayne B

    The Catholic Church is nervous that the tithes and offerings will decrease. Why don’t they just give it up. If they really want to be nervous about something they should make a public apology to the Jewish faith for taking their religion, gutting it and calling it by a new name. Reiki is used by people of many different faiths and beliefs because it taps into the one power, the Creator, that we all owe our lives to.

  • Marcia

    Reiki is a form of energy heailng. All energy healing, which involves the channeling or manipulation of an unquantifiable energy, is basically a form of sorcery. It is shamanistic and is rooted in animistic and occultic practices. Reiki proponents do not seem to realize that such healing methods have always been a part of the occult, although this type of energy is actually dangerous, not healing. There is always a price to pay for opening one’s self – and another person – to such energies. Witness the fact that many Reiki healers now have “guides.”

    Jesus could heal because he is God and has power over illness, and he gave this power to his apostles. They were not practicing energy healing.

  • Mary Rettig

    Reiki is a loving gentle energy an is harmless.. You can not judge it unless you experience it,

  • Lee-Anne Bennett

    I have been working with and teaching reiki for 24 years. For me, reiki is about unconditional love for myself and for my fellow humans/animals and living things on this earth.
    It says somewhere in the bible that “Jesus taught his disciples to heal so they in turn could teach others, I think it is
    Luke 9:1-9
    Key Verse: 9:2
    “…and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
    None the less. Reiki is about the gift of love, unconditional love. You do not have to belong to a group to practise it, there is no ownership or ability for someone to take it away from you, it is unconditional.
    People working with Reiki work for the highest good of the person they are working on, no expectations, no fear, no judgement, just LOVE.
    The people I work with are often marginalised people who have been judged and learned hard life lessons, but I treat them the same as my clients who are wealthy and highly educated. I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty, I am not afraid to give this gift of love to someone who has collapsed due to substance use, who is dirty and near unconsciousness, while I monitor their breathing and heart rate, I also ensure to the best of my ability that they are told they are safe and that hlp is on its way. I do not hide behind a book and tell others what to do in the name of a faith. I just give the love.
    Jesus was a man apparently capable of great unconditional love and I not able to also work from this ethos?
    A course in Miracles quote is “Teach only love for that is what you are” and I try to uphold that.
    I believe we need to “work from a place of love, not fear – Lee-Anne Bennett”
    I have taught people of all faiths and it strengthens their faith not detracts from it. This is a great thing.
    Humility and Gratitude, the attitude of gratitude for ourselves, other fellow humans and all living things.
    the precepts a Reiki person follows teaches us to honor our parents teachers and elders and be kind to all living things. I will continue to follow this and treat people unconditionally and let the followers of faith and jesus sit in judgement because I do things outside their faith. They are the ones who lose out. they are wasting their time on judgement instead of doing the work of their Lord jesus who said let he who is without sin cast the first stone…..
    And when miracles occur in healing through Reiki we dont look for sainthood. We just smile and are happy for the person who has healed their body/mind or spirit and keep on walking.
    With love, gratitude and non judgment

  • Rachel

    People, please! This is from the New Age. This is not science and it is not faith.

    Benevolent healing comes either miraculously from God, through the body’s natural capacity to heal, or through the intervention of science. Any “universe life force” that you’re trying to capture is neither God, nor nature, nor science. Only malevolent “forces” are left. That is dangerous dabbling of forces which you cannot trust.

    There is no “energy healing” or “life force” that is from God that you can tap into “on demand.” That is what Reiki does – healing on demand. God is not subject to our whims and our preference for when we might like to summon His power.

    You can’t summon God’s power on demand. We can pray for people’s healing, but whether or not God condescends to grant that request is not something we have control over, nor should we seek control over it, it depends on His mercy and His will.

    We do not control God, or His healing power. Reiki -and its healing life force- are not from God if it allows its masters to command a spiritual energy, because we do not command God.

    Further, whatever “feelings” you think you get from Reiki healing are likely false. “Feelings” cannot be trusted as accurate indicators of our relationship with God. How we feel about our relationship with God and how God feels about the relationship are never the same thing. “Feelings” are created emotions. They often betray us. “Feeling more spiritual” or more connected to God after Reiki has little connection with our true relationship with God.

    The deepest relationships with God may involve little sensible feeling. That is where faith begins. We shouldn’t seek “happy feelings” in our relationship with God. That is looking for consolations and looking for spiritual pleasure. Suddenly, we are smack back into the materialistic world of seeking things that are pleasurable, rather than seeking to do right, regardless of how it makes us feel.

    Oh, I pray that your hearts would be freed from this trap!

    I’ll end with a related excerpt from Archbishop Luis M. Martinez’s “Secrets of the Interior Life”:

    “Although we know speculatively that God is not felt, practically we hold the contrary. We believe that the true story of our spiritual life is made up of all those things we have sensibly experienced. Nothing is more erroneous. The spiritual life is not perceived by the senses. Do we feel a sacrament producing its proper effect? Do we feel the increase of grace in our soul? Do we feel the death of the soul by sin and its resurrection by sacramental absolution? Do we feel the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist in such a way that if we did not perceive Him sensibly, we would not believe in it?”

  • Anne

    I am not surprised that the Council of Bishops dismissed Reiki. As I listened I realized that they know nothing about Reiki nor did they experience this wonderful healing experience. In other words, they do not know what they are talking about. How does one speak of the benefits of Reiki? Reiki (Universal Life Energy) is unconditional love that comes from God, through the practitioner and into the person who receives this healing love. I first heard of Reiki when a fellow student in my Medical Anthropology class at the University in 1996. I was interested because my daughter suffered from a back injury and was in excruciating pain. I attended my first class for Reiki Practitioners by Reiki Master Howard MacFarland, a peaceful, loving man. It was there that I learned the history of the Usui System and was conferred with First Degree Reiki. Several years after I was conferred with Second Degree by Reiki Master Rev. Fran Browne. I never found Reiki to be a contradiction to my faith. In fact it was an enhancement and extension of my faith. My daughter testifies that Reiki is the only treatment that helped her to heal. This is not “new age.” Read the history of Usui and learn. After studying the gospels at seminary and continuing my studies, I concluded that Jesus practiced Reiki with his healing touch and from a distance.

  • Cathy

    This is very sad. I work in a center that sees patients for pain medicine and have been told I can no longer perform Reiki. I am still in shock and feel badly for the patients I will have to cancel. I get strength to perform Reiki through prayer, most of my patients tell me that they pray during treatments. Reiki has enhanced my faith, not darkened my spirit. Oh well, like I said. This is very sad.

  • John

    “Benevolent healing comes either miraculously from God, through the body’s natural capacity to heal, or through the intervention of science. ”

    Ever since Descartes came to an agreement with the Catholic church to separate body from spirit, the text I have quote above is the enduring basal paradigm that has caused so much harm to humanity.

    Anybody who approaches healing from an objective, independent view sees some deep and disturbing incongruencies in this dualistic paradigm.

    1. When healing is by intervention of science, does this mean that the body plays no part in this healing? That there is no “natural” process?

    2. When healing is by intervention of science, does this mean that God is not present? So there are areas of life where God is absent? Does this mean that God is not present in hospitals? Does this mean that doctors must be atheist to their jobs? By definition, if healing is EITHER OR then this must be the case, surely.

    3. If healing comes naturally, through the body´s natural capacity to heal, then God is also absent from nature? Is the body´s natural capacity to heal not driven by God?

    4. Again, when healing is miraculous, from God, does the body not play a part, then? God´s “miraculous” healing is separate from the body?

    I could go on, but I don´t want to bore…

    Basically to sum up, from an objective point of view, a dualist paradigm defies common sense. Even from a Catholic viewpoint, God is present in everything. God is in everything. You cannot separate “God´s healing” from “Non God´s healing”. It just doesn´t make sense.

    The scriptures say that spirit flows through everything and is present in everything. You can´t have healing without it. A doctor´s hands are guided by spirit, as are a healers.

    Anyone who does good to others, who helps others, is being guided by spirit (or God, or Jehova, or whatever name you choose to use).

    Descartes wanted to dissect human bodies at a time when the Catholic church forbade it, and came to a useful agreement to separate the soul from the body, saying that the body is a machine and nothing more. This was convenient about 300 years ago, but I think it´s time to move on and recognise that you cannot “take God out” of anything that helps and heals others, whatever the name you choose to give the technique.

  • John

    I feel I would like to add a real example to my last post.

    An embodiment of the “holistic” approach I mean in terms of abandoning this harmful dualistic paradigm is my wife.

    She is a pediatric surgeon who firmly believes that “if you can´t carve it up, it ain´t real”. But as a Reiki practitioner, she ALSO sees how the tissues in a newborn infant literally relax under her hands when she applies Reiki during an operation, facilitating her very often life saving work as a surgeon.

    She doesn´t understand how it works and doesn´t really care (in fact, she still thinks it´s a bit weird). All she knows is that the babies she operates on have a better post ops recovery when they receive Reiki compared to before she started doing Reiki.

    As an added comment, when I met her she was firmly atheist, after years of seeing children die in pain and suffering and refusing to believe that a God could exist that would allow it. She started to practice Reiki and found her faith again, as she has seen real evidence that there IS some sort of higer being that flows through everything.

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  • Reiki Roanoak

    I’ve heard really excellent things about Reiki and how helpful it can be. I’ve never tried it personally but it seems like a great concept and healing technique. It’s too bad for all the Catholics who receive Reiki healing. It looks like it’s officialy Satanic for them now.

  • jacqueline

    I recently had a healing experience. I feel that this was a miracle from God, and there just simply is no other name attached to my healing. I know people who do reiki, however, I have never formed any opinion about reiki. I prayed for healing and heard Jesus telling me to place my hands on my leg. I can tell you that I had nothing to do with the healing .God healed me. I was told that I could help other people in the name of Jesus.. This was just a few week ago, so at this time I can’t tell you any other experiences. I no longer have any pain and take no pain pills. I had been on Percacet for 4 years. I stopped taking the pills on the day I was healed and have not experienced any withdrawal symptoms. I was told by the doctor that I could not stop abruptly without extreme pain, but I feel better than I have ever felt.

  • Essential Feeling

    It is such a shame that the church seems to be so scared of people’s minds and its healing properties. I wonder if it would feel the same about reflexology or massage perhaps? What do you think?

  • Massage Romford

    I think that people have the capacity to heal themselves if they want it enough and this could well be linked to people’s old perception of miracles…interesting???

  • Catholic Reiki Master

    I am a Catholic Reiki Master and have been struggling with the decisions of my church. When using Reiki, we do not ask for a specific outcome, we ask for the highest healing purpose. We do not direct Reiki, it has an intelligence of its own and goes where it is needed most for the person requesting healing and works on the highest priority problem. I have witnessed miracles not only with people and situations but also with animals. Animals respond faster to the healing energy than people because they have no fear of it… it is really quite remarkable. Because I do not want to make the decision myself if something is good or evil (who am I to judge?), I have asked God to remove this ability from me if it is evil. He has not removed it, in fact it is even stronger than before, so what does that say?

    If we go by the Bible, it says you can tell a tree by its fruit. Good trees produce good fruit, bad trees produce bad fruit (what does that say about the church?). It also says all good things come from Jesus. I think healing fits into this category. I think we all need to pray to God for guidance in these cases. He will answer.

  • arlene goetze

    Drugs heal barely 1/3 of the people who take them in this country.
    Placebos heal about 1/3 of the people who receive them in this country.
    The U.S. takes more drugs than any country on earth and falls very low in the ‘healthy’ category although we spend more than any other country.
    Where are the bishops yelling about the number of people who die each year on drugs (over 800,000 one year or more than cancer or heart attacks combined.)
    My brother-in-law was given 20 drugs at one time and died paralyzed….no bishop complained.
    My nephew died in a seizure when his five seizure drugs didn’t stop them.
    The bishops are just plain misguided and fearful working against the simple art of placing loving hands on a person.
    If God, the Divine, the Creator, isn’t Universal Energy….that what is!! Our souls are the energy in our bodies and we are indeed the hand of Jesus/God in healing others today.

  • Relflexology romford

    People should want to get better and heal themselves. it all start with making that choice

  • Sean

    Mathew 10: 5-8

    Is it just me, or does that not sound like Jesus might have thought that faith healing was not a pagan practice?

    …as he asked the apostles to go out and heal and to not engage in pagan practices all pretty much in the same breath…

  • geri

    What about praying through the saints as the church teaches couldn’t that be seen the same way as Reiki?
    If you use it as a complimentary medical source- science proves we our self conduct energy through each other
    . Try the energy ball as a test. Also what about when you touch a person and get a shock
    Prehaps the mer fact that it has an origin in Japan from the Buddist is enough for the Church to disporve it it.
    But didn’t Jesus heal non jews, and go to the outcast to heal.
    What about “ Healing touch” method. I heard nurses are using this and lymphatic massage?
    Perhaps the name is just misunderstood?

  • dana

    As a RN pursuing education in healing touch, and as an individual who practices reiki I can tell you that the two practices are very similar. What I find to be different between the two are as follows: Healing Touch is supported by the American Holistic Nurses Association as it was a method founded by a nurse as well as a method that has already been researched fairly well; in addition Healing Touch is much more regimented -meaning that there are specific techniques in specific orders that are to be followed for specific patient complaints and concerns; and in order to become certified in Healing Touch it requires many many documented practice hours and there are assignments and a curriculum involved in the process and then the final body of work is sent to a governing body to determine if the student is ready to become a certified practitioner – the Reiki classes are generally 1-2 days per level and there is no homework or practice hours required before one can be certified. The main benefit of becoming certified in Healing Touch is that it can be legally practiced within the traditional western medical system whereas Reiki is more likely to be considered an illegitimate practice.

  • Bob McGrath

    As evidence by the link below, the US Bishops seem to be a bit behind the rest of the world in their acceptance of this wonderful modality gifted to humanity by the Creator of all that is visible and all that is invisible. The anti-Reiki statement was a US one, not a Vatican one. I am a lifelong Roman Catholic and a very active Reiki practitioner and Master teacher who uses Reiki on a daily basis to bring comfort to Hospice patients and their caregivers. I regularly teach Levels I and II to classes of Hospice staff and volunteers. I have no personal conflict with asking my God, with whom I have a wonderful loving relationship, to channel the spiritually guided life force energy of his Holy Spirit through me to provide comfort to the suffering people I work with. I am positive in my own knowledge that He would never be disappointed in my efforts to “be kind to all living things” and would not be so petty to be hung up on semantics over what words are used to describe His gifts.

  • peter womersley

    Find this strange So when a priest lays his hands on you , what is he doing ( and I am not thinkingt about the wrong type of priest here.) He is giving you a blessing so bother to touch you ?

  • Skier

    How can we be sure this is not the sly works of the devil? I’m a Catholic and a level 1 Reiki practitioner searching
    for answers. I know Reiki feels good and seems to work for the individuals highest needs BUT does this practice Lead people towards Jesus?? Many Christians believe there is a war going on between good and Evil forces right now for each persons soul. As we get closer to the end of times the evil side will grow stronger and more creative in their measures to “win” more souls. This is a constant battle us Christians are faced with daily be it porn, alcohol, drugs, gluttony, green, temptation towards child molestation, murder .. or whatever your “challenge” is. Could Reiki be the clever works of Satan masked as the good works of universal life energy? The bible says “Be cautious of false teachings/teachers” Could this be a false teaching NOT of God? I DON”t KNOW! But I have really been questioning this which is what lead me here.
    I hope that I find out that Reiki is OK to practice and is the works of the one that created everything Because I have enjoyed using Reiki on my family, pets and plants and I have seen clear results. But something has me questioning this causing me to put this on hold, the symbols, the unknown, ect..
    The one thing I know for certain is that there is good and there is what I call evil and there are temptations. I have been tempted, I have had direct answers to my prayers made to Jesus Christ answered one MANY occasions. Jesus is real God Is Love. I hope find out if Reiki is safe for a Christian.

  • AuthenticBioethics

    @peter womersley: A priest need not make physical contact for the laying on of hands associated with blessings and the administration of some sacraments. At any rate, although some of the physical aspects are similar, the intent and purpose of the act is different from Reiki.
    @Skier, you may never get clear proof one way or the other. You know, the first sin was man trying to improve his lot by his own power. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a good thing, as the Bible says in describing Eve’s perception of it. It was intended for man, eventually. But instead of waiting until God gave it, man seized it. It would seem that Reiki might be like that.

    So let me ask you, what is the something that has you questioning? It might be God, or it could be the devil. It could be neither, perhaps, but let’s keep it simple for now. If God didn’t want you to do it, then it would be “My love of Jesus has me questioning it.” You know, like a kid who has been sneaking cookies begins to question whether or not he should because he knows his parents don’t want him to eat them. As you debate inside yourself, what is reason you have for persisting with Reiki despite your questions? Is it something like this: “So what if the Church says it’s a superstition, it achieves good things, so I will do it anyway.” If so, then it’s the ancient temptation and you have your answer, I think.

    Now, let’s turn it around. If Reiki were from God and it was the evil one making you question it, what would he accomplish by making you question it, but to drive you to a greater spiritual adherence to your faith to fill in the gap left by not doing Reiki? Is Reiki dangerous to the evil one’s designs? If so in what way? It doesn’t make sense that it be of God and you are being tempted not to do it.

    Of course, it is theoretically possible that Reiki is neutral…

    So, I don’t know the answer. But looking it this way I am inclined to say you should leave Reiki alone. The Catholic faith does not need it, and it is possible that it’s not good.

  • Dominic

    “It is the Risen Christ who through the Holy Spirit heals people. We who minister healing are like the ‘postmen’ who deliver the message and it is only through prayer, and discernment that we will deliver it to the right address… It disturbs me when I hear anyone claiming to have the power of healing because they arrogate the power to themselves, whereas Jesus wanted every miracle of healing to result in praise and thanksgiving to God the Father… Jesus alone is the good shepherd but the self-professed healer is only “a hired man who has no concern for the sheep” (John 10: 13).” – Fr Michael, ‘The Universe’, 27 May 2012.

  • Simon Peter

    Amongst all of this edification what is most odd, is the absence from the Bishops advocating the message of Christ our Saviour. We see this now, all too often from catholic leaders. It stems from political correctness, a wish not to offend or hurt the sensibilities of another.

    These guidelines attempt, a quasi evidenced based argument for not using Reiki.

    ‘I am the Way the Truth and the Life’ John 14:6
    ‘He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters’ Matthew 12:30

    All, which is not of Christ’s teaching and continued life (resurrection) is of something else!
    God is Love and the source of love, this is the healing power of God through his beloved son Jesus

    Simple, profound and you can believe one thing, there will be forces to countermand this and lead you astray, through your intelligence, pride and self-belief.

    I am a Catholic, in continual need of Jesus in my life, his healing, love and guidance – God bless You and Yours.

  • Angel Hands of Healing

    With all of the pain and suffering in this world, are we not here to help one another? If you believe in Jesus, did he not say to follow him, to be like him? There is no dis-ease with Reiki, no harm. You open yourself to be a channel of healing for another, something they can do but of which dis-ease has gotten in the way. Relion aside for a moment, if you saw someone suffering, would you or would you not do all you could to help them? The next step is not to just take care of it for them but to empower them to connect more fully with themselves and their own ability to provide for themselves. We need to be there for one another, to truly care for and Love one another. It really is that simple.

  • Helen Borth

    I just came upon your website and ran across the name June Kane. I was the first Reiki Master in Wisconsin in 1980 and some time later June Kane took the first degree. I’m almost 80, still teach Reiki and have created a number of classes, especially ffor Reiki practitioners . I encourage them to continue changing their own field and way of thinking in order to be the greatest vessel at all times.
    Helen Borth Director of the Institute of Self Awareness

  • paul-timothy

    After reading most of the posts here, I feel the practice of reiki may be good for Christianity, if and only if, the practitioner acknowledges God, the one true God, as the source. The gentleman who started the movement could be credited as stumbling upon this, but if it were from God, then wouldn’t God have let him know it? This perplexes me right now. I’ll discuss with a reiki practitioner I know. For those readers here who are Catholic reiki practitioners, what do you think?

    Perhaps if all the texts of the reiki teachings were reviewed and aligned to fit within all the texts of Christianity, it would make sense. In other words, can we use what we know about reiki to reconcile its practice with the practice of healing we are called to do in Scripture as followers and imitators of Jesus, the Diving Healer?

    Scripture tells us it is our Faith that lets us be healed. Faith in Jesus is required. This may be the self healing power lacking in so many who find God is not healing them.

  • Bob Jackowski

    Let me borrow North Greenville University’s Motto: “Christ Is The Answer.” I would like to see my Catholic Church present a positive alternative to REIKI. Meditation is consistent with Catholicism, as is the laying of hands. While there is no clear evidence that REIKI works, one must also consider the PLACEBO effect. The Church encourages attendance at healing Masses, and the anointing of the sick. Cancer patients and survivors often feel isolated, and Catholic programs to support community with those afflicted with this malady, which is both physical and mental, need to be presented and publicized.

  • Alphatechguru

    I don’t know about what you think behind your words, posters, but I was Born with a Natural Ability to heal. My Mom called attention to it when I was 5, after placing my hands on her phlebitis ridden legs. She got worse when I stopped, better when I resumed. As I grew older, I did not know this was NOT commonplace, and finding so has put me in a solo-ish space. I don’t know anyone personally, and I am well traveled, that has the ability like what I do.

    I Pray the good ol Catholic Stock Prayers, from Mass, and other Liturgical Prayers. I ask God, with confidence, to alleviate his son/daughter, as one of his, so that they may know His will in their lives more. I have followed this convention, successfully in 99% of cases, until I HAD to professionally legitimize the Gift; make a living due to the overwhelming demands I have faced. I turned to Reiki, am a Master 3, but I haven’t changed a thing otherwise.

    I succinctly remember Father Biasio in High School Religion telling us in his Aged Italian Growl: “This is very serious business”-He pronounced it like “this is ver series beeness” He went on to say that things are not inherently evil. It is in our motive; our intent that defines the sin…..

    I’d like to say more, but I have an appointment with the Parish Priest to go to!

  • Jmcd

    Gosh, A “nun” that lives against church teachings and against the USCCB. I didn’t know there were such people. (sarc)

  • xiala1980

    I had known Howard MacFarland since I was a baby. I even lived with him in Bangor, ME for a while. I called him my grandfather but he was really a good friend of my mother’s. He was indeed a peaceful, loving man.. with many, many talents and credentials.

  • HealingOverReligion

    God and Jesus are two different entities. Some forget this.