7 Reasons Why the Errors In the Centering Prayer Movement Should Not Be In Your Parish
A list compiled by Sharon Lee Giganti, 2009©
These pages list just a few examples, of the grave theological errors being taught to unsuspecting Catholics, through the "Contemplative Outreach" literature and media of Fr. Keating's Centering Prayer Movement. Please know that Fr. Keating has stated, "The heart and soul of 'Contemplative Outreach' is the network of "Centering Prayer Groups'". To allow one to set up camp in your parish is to allow the other
All of your parish members who sign up for centering prayer meetings, will be lead through Fr. Keating's spiritual teaching and mentoring (which becomes more and more dissenting, the further you go along) - book by book, video by video, and also through their many "special events". (All emphasis is mine)
#1 Fr. Keating claims that IT IS OUR DUTY TO BECOME GOD
The paragraph describing Segment 17 of 21 in "Integral Contemplative Christianity" reads as follows:"The Purpose of Being Human":
Father Thomas says, "If you don't want to become God, you've missed the boat. If you're too humble to think you can become God, if you think you are not worthy, that is a false humility, because it's not yours to decide." It's God's choice. According to Father Thomas, it is your duty to become God. Centering Prayer and contemplation are the only modern methods that we have to listen to God, to perceive God, and to see the world as God sees it. Listen in as Father Thomas offers you the invitation to become God.
The paragraph above, is the description for clip #17 in Fr. Keating's 21 part series on what he calls "Integral Contemplative Christianity"-it's part of a video series offered on Ken Wilber's "Integral Life" website.
In this same section, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler, the president of Fr. Keating's "Contemplative Outreach", described the clip where Fr. Keating and Ken Wilber discuss "The Future of Christianity" in this way: "Fr. Keating and Ken Wilber give us a glimpse of what it means to be fully human and fully divine."
#2 Fr. Keating contradicts the Truth that Jesus Christ is the only person who is both fully human and fully Divine, claiming that each one of us can achieve this too:
"For human beings, the most daunting challenge is to become fully human. For to become fully human is to become fully Divine." ----Fr. Keating From his book, Manifesting God
"The four Gospels contain Jesus' program for revolutionizing our understanding of the Ultimate Reality and hence of ourselves and other people, and indeed of all created reality. This is the God that is manifesting who he is at every moment, in and through us and through all creation. Jesus' teaching initiates us into how to take part in this cosmic adventure. For human beings, it is the most daunting challenge there is -- the challenge of becoming fully divine. For to become human is to become fully divine."
----Fr. Thomas Keating, on www.incarnationalcontemplation.com
#3 Fr. Keating is teaching monism when he says:
"The beginning of the spiritual journey is the realization that there is a Higher Power or God, or to make it as easy as possible for everybody, that there is an Other; Capital O. Second step: to try to become the Other; still a Capital O. And finally, the realization that there IS no Other; you and the Other are One. Always have been, always will be. You just think that you aren't."
It appears that Fr. Keating is expressing here, the (pantheistic and false) core tenet of many Eastern Religions which says; "We are all One, and this One is God".
The above expression of monism contradicts the Catholic Truth that we are each unique individuals, distinct from creation, each other, and from God-we are creatures of God, and we remain eternally creatures.
Also, our Catholic Catechism states that, for love to be authentic, it presupposes / requires the reality of an "other".
To hear Fr. Keating say this on film, click on this link to You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd2LPjpd9As
#4 Fr. Keating is teaching the Hindu (and non-Christian) concept of "Atman is Brahman and Brahman is Atman" - or, in Western terms-"My soul is God, and God is my soul" when he says:
"At our deepest level, we are more God than ourselves."
- Fr. Thomas Keating
- In "The Theological Foundations of Contemplative Outreach; part I" (See Contemplative Outreach News Volume 15, Number 2, Spring / Summer 2001)
"Our basic core of goodness is our true Self"...
"...God and our true Self are the same thing"
-- Fr. Thomas Keating (Both quotes are from his book: Open Mind, Open Heart)
Again, this contradicts the teaching of the Catholic Church, that we are creatures of God-distinct from God-- and we remain eternally creatures. (A total absorption or dissolving into God does not ever occur) In the Catholic faith, we are not taught that God created us out of His own substance-but out of nothing. It hardly matters that he begins the above quote by saying, "Though we are not God..." the implication is still clear; like a drop of ocean water that is not the whole ocean... yet, the drop and the ocean are the "same thing"... Fr. Keating appears to believe the same can be said of our soul and God- indeed, he goes on to say just that: "God and our true Self are the same thing". The assertion is further evidenced by the fact that he deliberately capitalizes the word Self!
#5 Fr. Keating contradicts the Catholic Church's teaching on the reality of hell-the condition of eternal separation from God-- when he says:
"If God is present everywhere, it follows that under no circumstances can we ever be separated from him. We may feel that we are; we may think that we are. But in actual fact, there is no way that we can ever be apart from God even if we try."
--- Fr. Thomas Keating (From his book, Manifesting God)
In stark contrast to Fr. Keating's words, our Catholic Catechism states the truth of the matter, according to God's own Revelation to us- in paragraph #1033 we read, "Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. (See Mt 25: 31-46) To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'hell'".
Paragraph #1035 continues: "The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity... The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs."
Fr. Keating's quote, above, is an excellent example of the type of theological error, or, at the very least, confusing or misleading "teaching" found in the Centering Prayer Movement's literature. (The paragraph was taken from The Contemplative Outreach of San Diego's Quarterly Newsletter, Fall 2009, Volume 1, Issue 1)
#6 Fr. Keating is a founding member of Ken Wilber's "Integral Institute"-specifically, the "Integral Spirituality" branch. The theological and philosophical concepts of Wilber's "Integral Spirituality" are most contrary to our Catholic Faith.
See for yourself and read below... and then ask yourself if Fr. Keating should really be teaching a video/DVD series with Ken Wilber, entitled, "Integral Contemplative Christianity" and "The Future of Christianity", and if he should really be recommending two of Ken Wilber's books in his own book, "Invitation to Love"-namely, Wilber's "Up from Eden" and "No Boundary".
In the closing pages of Ken Wilber's book entitled, "Integral Spirituality", we get a glimpse of what this "Integral Spirituality" is all about- namely it's belief system that posits:
"...your own Original Face is God in the 1st person..."
"...the entire manifest universe - the Great Holarchy of beings-is God in the 3rd person..."
As you continue reading below, keep in mind that Fr. Keating, the founder of Centering Prayer, is also a founding member of the "Integral Spirituality" branch of Wilber's "Integral Institute"...
Page 209 of Ken Wilber's, "Integral Spirituality" asks you,
"How much of this book... did you think you had to read in order to find spirit... when the very reader of this sentence is God fully revealed?"
He continues: "Feel the Feeler in you right now, and you are feeling the fully revealed God in his and her radiant glory; a One Taste of the divine Suchness of the entire Kosmos, a not - two - ness of self and Self that leaves you breathlessly enlightened and fully realized in this and every moment.
Note: The "not - two - ness" of "self and Self" describes the "transcendence of the illusion of the duality of subject and object" which is the essence of the (Non-Catholic) Hindu, Buddhist, and Zen concept of: "fully realizing" that, "Atman is Brahman, and Brahman is Atman"... or as we'd say in the West (if we were Hindu) "My soul is God, and God is my soul".
This is the counter-Christian Non-duality "Enlightenment" teaching of the Eastern Religions that Fr. Keating appears to have chosen, over authentic Christianity. (See "Non-duality" and "self-realization" on Wikipedia for a good description of these concepts)
On Ken Wilber's "Integral Institute" website, Fr. Thomas Keating is described as being "one of the few genuinely realized Christian saints in the world today." This is very troubling because the Catholic faith is not a religion of "non-duality" as found in Eastern Mysticism, and to be "fully realized" in the Eastern traditions, means that you have "stabilized" yourself in your "non-dual" awareness that you are God... in the sense that "Atman is Brahman, and Brahman is Atman"-My soul is God, and God is my Soul.
#7 The "Integral Spirituality" that Fr. Keating is allied with, teaches Religious pluralism and syncretismâ€”two positions that are not aligned with the teaching of the Catholic Church. On Ken Wilber's "Integral Institute" website, we read that "Centering Prayer has contributed to Integral Spirituality". Very troubling when you read page 209 of Ken Wilber's book, "Integral Spirituality"-see below:
About the world's many religions and their sometimes widely differing conceptions of God, morality, and the nature of reality, Wilber says on page 209:
"Allow it all. Swallow the Kosmos whole. You know that everybody is right. So stop lying about it and thus move from self to Self. There is room for everything in the Kosmos. Open up and let it all in."
BUT IT GETS MUCH WORSE! About each one of us, he says, on page 300:
"We know this: your very Self is the Self of all that is and all that ever shall be, and the history of the entire Kosmos is the history of Your very own Being and Becoming, you can feel it in your bones because You know that is what You are, in the deepest parts of you when you stop lying to yourself about who and what You really are. And what You are, is the great Unborn, timeless and eternal, in its 1st person perspective as the great I - I, the great Self, the Witness of this page, and this room... All with a passionate equanimity that leaves you alone as the Unmoved Mover.
Note: The essence of Classic Hinduism says: "I exist NOT in relation to any 'other', but only to my Self". Wilber continues:
"You are likewise the Great Unborn... in its 2nd person perspective as the Great Thou, the Great Other... you are likewise the Great Unborn, timeless and eternal in its 3rd person perspective as the Great Perfection, the Holy Spirit, the Great Web of Life in all its infinite perfection and dynamic chaos..." etc., etc...
Did he just say that you are the Holy Spirit? (Yes. And the Great Web of Life too) The implication seems clear to me-each one of us is God, each one of us is the entire Cosmos, each one of us is "The Great Perfection"... according to Fr. Keating's partner, Ken Wilber... and, perhaps also Fr. Keating's growing alliance with Wilber's Eastern and Non-Catholic worldview, which he calls "Integral Spirituality"?
When reading Ken Wilber's bio during a recent interview on Oprah Winfrey's XM radio show, Dr. Oz stated that "Ken Wilber believes we should be liberated from creed, dogma, and devisive-ness... " Is this the "liberation" you are seeking for your parishioners? Would you like to see them "liberated" from their Catholic creed and the dogma of our Catholic Church? As those who sign up for "Centering Prayer" meetings are exposed to, and influenced by, the books and teachings of Ken Wilber, they may very well begin to seek this false liberation for themselves, right on your own parish grounds.
Parish members who sign up for Centering Prayer will also be exposed, through the Contemplative Outreach literature and events, to the counter-Christian teaching of
Eckhart Tolle; who says in his book, "A New Earth", "Mental labels of 'good' and 'bad' are ultimately illusory... Nobody is wrong"...and, "You are the Truth... If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time..." "The world of form is an illusion"... Check out the video clip entitled, "New Age Oprah - World's Most Dangerous Woman" on YouTube to see Oprah Winfrey learning from Eckhart Tolle, the idea that "I am God, the Creator..." (Note: Eckhart Tolle suggests "A Course in Miracles" on his Recommended Reading List-please see www.NewAgeDeception.com to read and print my free Warning on A Course in Miracles)
Cynthia Bourgeault, an Episcopal priest and long-time student of Fr. Keating, who uses the non-canonical "Gospel of Thomas" in her teaching, and was quoted in EnlightenNext Magazine as giving, "a powerful description of liberation beyond all relative distinctions, including those of gender itself. The last step in women's liberation, she states, is liberation from the fundamental identification with being a woman. She speaks about the need to be surrendered to the nondual truth of our being, beyond all relative polarities, distinctions, and identities..."(Note: As I stated above, authentic Christianity does not accept or support the false concept of "non-duality"- a notion which claims there is no real separation or distinction between subject and object, between our individual selves and others, between our souls and God etc... On the contrary, our Catholic Catechism teaches that we are each unique individuals separate and distinct from God and from creation-- and there truly exists, one objective reality that we are to come to know, with God's help)
Brother David Steindl-Rast, who was recently asked by a conference attendee this question: "Can we look to the College of Cardinals to lead us?... (into a level of green or orange on Ken Wilber's color coded chart of consciousness- green or orange being their conception of a "higher", more mature "consciousness") Brother David Steindl-Rast, in responding, replied, in part, "No... we cannot look to them for leadership... you look to the Charismatic people for that... but to lead us, certainly not-- not the way we look now to the Dalai Lama as a Spiritual Leader." (Especially troubling since the Dalai Lama does NOT believe in a personal God, and even more troubling when you consider that his Tibetan Buddhist followers revere him as a god; specifically, the incarnation of the deity known as "Chenrezig".) To hear the entire exchange, check out the video clip on YouTube, entitled, "What Good Is the Church"
Fr. Richard Rohr: Who recently had Marianne Williamson, the world-renowned teacher of A Course in Miracles, give a conference at his retreat center-and who made the Course available for purchase on his website-very troubling when you consider what A Course in Miracles teaches: "The Song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified..." text pg. 428, "There is no sin; it has no consequence..." Lesson 101
Is Oprah Leading People Away From Christ?
Oprah has totally transformed herself and her media empire. She is no longer a microphone-toting interviewer of tearful guests and cheering audiences. Believe it or not, she has become. . .a spiritual icon.
Because of her, New Age teachings are being pitched to millions of our fellow Catholics - many of whom are being taken in by the mega-popular Oprah Winfrey and her promotion of three key books in the New Age Movement: The Secret. . .A New Earth. . .and A Course In Miracles.