Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, writer, editor, marketing professional, and coffee drinker. You’re just as likely to find her hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait — are those her kids?) She is the author of many books, the most recent of which she co-edited with Lisa Hendey: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections. She blogs at SnoringScholar.com and writes online regularly at CatholicMom.com and Integrated Catholic Life. Reinhard holds a master’s degree in marketing and communications and has worked for many years in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and children.
This week on Register Radio, why is the secular media so fascinated with nuns who break away from the Vatican? Jeanette De Melo talks with Register correspondent Ann Carey. She’ll set the record straight—no non-sense. And also… centering prayer, it’s just prayer, right? Wrong! Dan Burke’s guest Sharon Lee Giganti debunks the myth. Get your facts right.
The Secular Media’s Fascination with Nuns
For many years, Ann Carey has written investigative news stories about Catholic women religious and she has recently published an update to her book Sisters in Crisis. She’ll talk to us about why nuns who break away from the Vatican make headlines, while nuns who are faithful never get on the news.
Carey posted a blog this week, “More Nunsense from ‘Time,’ HuffPost and ‘U.S. News’,” covering the secular media buzz on certain kinds of nuns. “The current media narrative is being spun right now that Catholic sisters have updated themselves according to Vatican II and are simply going about their business doing good work, and in the meantime the mean old men in the Vatican have not updated, so they say, and so those men are attacking the sisters,” Carey said.
She continued, “I think it all goes back to the gender wars, and the claim that the all-male hierarchy is oppressing women and oppressing sisters.”
One of the reasons she blogs on these topics, Carey says, is to correct these incorrect perceptions.
Why do these nuns get so much publicity from these types of media outlets? Carey posits that it’s because the media are looking for sensational stories. “Stories about sisters who get along with the Vatican are not considered very newsworthy,” she said, though she also points out that there could be more to it than just that.
“The mainstream media seem to have bought into the values of secular culture, and when you think about it, the Catholic Church is the most significant entity that has been defending traditional values,” Carey said. The media, then, is “acting like a cheerleader for those who would like to see those Catholic values and teachings watered down or discarded.”
Judy Roberts had a piece in the Register this week as well, asserting that many U.S. religious sisters disagree with the LCWR.
Carey said that she thinks “many [sisters] want people to know that they are very dedicated to the Church and they don’t have any argument with the Church whatsoever. The main reason they’re in religious life is that they’re consecrated to Jesus Christ and they want to follow him in a very profound way, and that’s why they take the three vows.”
Listen to the full interview here.
The Myth of Centering Prayer
You may have friends who are inviting you to try centering prayer. It seem like it’s just a new way of praying, so it’s no big deal. After you hear today’s Register Radio segment(LINK), you will be able to spot serious warning signs and help others, too.
Our next guest is Sharon Lee Giganti, a former Miss San Diego and runner-up to Miss California. She left Hollywood to pursue a “higher purpose” guided by a channeled spirit. Sharon realized the New Age movement was deceptive and her search for Truth finally lead her to Our Lord Jesus Christ. She researched the facts and she now warns others so they won’t commit the same mistakes she did. She will show us why we centering prayer is the conception of yet another deception.
Giganti said that centering prayer is claimed to be “a method of silent prayer that can help to prepare you, they say, for the gift of contemplation. The guidelines are so simple. They’ll say that how you do centering prayer is to sit quietly…close your eyes.” Then, Giganti continued, as thoughts rise and you rest in God’s presence, you’ll return to your anchor word. “They call it ‘letting go of thoughts’,” Giganti explained, and said that she thinks “that by bypassing the thinking process, you’re going to come into some kind of union with God through, it seems, an altered state of consciousness…but they won’t describe it that way.”
The problem lies in the difference between engaging with God and moving away from all thought. “As you’re sitting in the presence of God and wanting to come into union with him, if you should have some kind of an idea or a vision or you feel that God has impressed something upon your heart or mind, you are to turn from that. You’re to turn from all thoughts,” Giganti said.
The message, again and again, is that if God engages with you, you are to push him away or put him on hold.
There are many levels of centering prayer, and the real issue is with the spirituality that’s put forth by the groups—such as Contemplative Outreach, founded by Fr. Thomas Keating—that advocate centering prayer. They are very far from Catholic teaching and in no way in keeping with what the Catholic Church holds to be true. It has become, in fact, universalism.
You can find out more at NewAgeDeception.com, including a resource called “7 Reasons Why the Errors in the Centering Prayer Movement Should Not Be in Your Parish.”
Listen to this week’s show online or on your mp3 player.