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Beware of Emails from St. Benedict’s Prayer Wall

CF writes: “I started getting these emails and they seemed ok until I got this email from them. Since I was unfamiliar with the "Archangel Asrael, I looked it up and this archangel is the angel of death in Islam. I also found a disclaimer that was odd, claiming they were sending these daily messages for "entertainment only." I have since unsubscribed. Just wanted your take on this as I think they want to send these to people who are true prayer warriors.”

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The Dark History of the Ouija Board

Most people are familiar with the story behind the movie, The Exorcist, about a little boy who became possessed by a devil after trying to reach his deceased aunt through an Ouija board. But what they don't know is that this is only one of many horror stories associated with dabblers in what was once-called the "talking board."

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Exorcism Goes Mainstream

Exorcism was once a secretive rite that priests rarely mentioned and the faithful only learned about from scary movies. But an uptick in the need for exorcisms, along with increasing scientific recognition of spirit possession, appears to be bringing this ancient rite into the mainstream.

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A Closer Look at the Big Pharma Conspiracy Theory

Between the price gouging and scandalous profit margins, Big Pharma has become the most loathed industry in America. Their sins have not only driven millions into the alternative market where consumers are being exposed to a whole new slate of misdeeds, but they have also spawned a phenomenon known as the Big Pharma Conspiracy Theory. Just how much of this theory is fact, how much is fiction, and how should Catholics regard it?

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Psychic Disturbances and "Mental Schizophrenia"

DV writes: "What did the Pope mean when he said in the Letter to the Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation that body positions coupled with breathing and meditation could lead to a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbances and, at times, to moral deviations.  I would like a deeper understanding of what he was warning about."  

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Masonry and Ancestral Sins

EO writes: "My grandfather was a member of the masons, and my mother was a member of Eastern Star. Are there ramifications to the soul for belonging to those organizations? Also, is there any truth to the idea that their descendants would suffer because of their affiliation with organizations not in line with God?"

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Is There a Problem with The Shawl Ministry?

RG writes: “At my (Roman Catholic) church today, some women in the narthex were promoting a "prayer shawl ministry" and handed me a brochure promoting this website: http://www.shawlministry.com/. Overall, it sounded like a good idea - providing comforting prayer shawls for the homebound and hospitalized. I thought it odd that there was a reference to "applied Feminist Spirituality." So when I went home, I checked out the website. There are a few troubling non-Christian things discussed there such as where they talk about "chakras" under Symbolism --> Aroma therapy. They also talk about a "mothering God" which sounds a bit New Age-like to me. By the way, they are willing to teach people how to knit and crochet, and I would like to learn (learned as child, but forgot). I just don't want some New Age agenda pushed on me or to do anything contrary to my Christian faith. Would like your comments.”

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The Hijacking of St. Hildegard by New Age Enthusiasts

SM writes: "I read your article about mandalas and how they are prayer 'gimmicks.'  I was just wondering what you think about the artwork (mandalas) of St. Hildegard of Bingen, especially since she is now a Doctor of the Church.  It seems to me that you are saying some of her practices were new age."

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