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Can You Mix the New Age, Psychology and Modern Medicine?

GA asks: "I was hoping you could give me some more details on this following link on a Priest who claims to be able to cure cancer but the technique he uses sounds very new agey to me.  Some of my Catholic relatives have been sending this link and I want to be able to warn them appropriately on the same."

I have some serious misgivings about Father John Valdaris and his Cancer Care Centers and also found many New Age red flags on his website.

To begin with, Fr. Valdaris describes himself as a priest and psychologist from India who calls himself a "pioneer" of the charismatic movement in Tamil Nadu of South India. An author of many books and over 1,000 hymns, his ministry appears to be a mix between liberating people from both external and internal evil and using a psychological approach to the cure of major illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, strokes, etc.

What concerns me about his work is his belief in the thoroughly New Age concept of Christ consciousness, claiming that "Every man can reach the Christ consciousness when his body performs as a community of purified thoughts liberalized from the evil bonds of hatred, fear, guilt, anxiety, inferiority complex and so on with the help of spiritual faith, his Spirit rises to its origin, Our Father."

For those of you who don't know what Christ consciousness is, it is a concept based on a New Thought belief that sin comes from believing that that we are cut off from God. If we but change our thinking and realize we are a part of God and will one day return to Him,  we'll achieve "Christ consciousness" which is what some New Agers believe Jesus came to do.

Fr.Valdaris' psychological approach takes a different angle. He believes that because so many of us are not given the love, care and acceptance we need, the resulting disappointment turns into negative emotions such as fear, hatred, anxiety, guilt and inferiority complexes. "And these negative emotions may create a very deep hurt in our ego or self-consciousness leading to major auto-immune diseases such as Cancer, AIDS, stroke and heart troubles," he writes.

He takes a "mind, body, spirit" approach to healing these maladies with a team of "volunteers" (some doctors and nurses are included among the volunteers) who work primarily through two "biannual awareness camps."

"Since the patients are embedded with extreme levels of negative emotions, a special and unique meditation named as 'Christ Prayer Yoga' is taught to them just to neutralise the negative thoughts and balance them psychologically," he explains.

In order to "activate the sub-conscious mind of the patient" they are put into the "Jonah Incubation Hall" which is used to initiate dreams in the patients.

"As our sub-conscious mind is linked with the divine consciousness, whatever be their faith, the ultimate change takes place in the universal mind and reflects as symbolic interpretations through their dreams," he explains. "These symbols or images appear through meditation or sleep explains the actual problem, its severity and the stages of healing."

This is a big problem on several levels. First of all, there are numerous prohibitions in Scripture against the practice of "observing dreams" such as in Leviticus (19:26) and Deuteronomy (18:10).

Prophets such as Jeremiah repeatedly warned people against giving heed to dreams.  “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream! How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. . . .” (Jeremiah 23:25-29)

Second, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that images received in dreams can or should be used to self-diagnose. It seems hardly necessary to point out how dangerous this can be.

He also professes another New Age mind-control technique which involves the use of constant self-suggestion as a way to alter our worldview, thus bringing about healing.

"For this purpose, slogans and  positive image formations are adopted. This practice along with meditation slowly transforms the inner soul to a positive tendency and thereby initiating healing physically," he says.

Once again, there is no scientific support for any of this.

However, to his credit, Fr. Valdaris does not claim that his work has any scientific backing and provides only anecdotal testimonies to support his theories. He also encourages anyone who becomes involved in his "new healing therapy" to continue with their regular medical treatment in order to keep the disease under control - a recommendation for which he should be applauded.

It is my opinion, after reviewing the site, that Fr. Valdaris does blend New Age concepts into his healing methods which could prove costly to the poorly-churched individual. While he does encourage patients to continue with their medical treatment, the hyper-language and sweeping claims he makes about the effectiveness of his techniques could easily encourage someone who is ill and desperate enough to be swept away on these false hopes and believe they can give up their conventional therapy altogether.

For these reasons, I don't recommend becoming involved with Fr. Valdaris' treatment.

Send your New Age questions to newage@womenofgrace.com

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