Are Birthstones New Age?

                                                                      (Image by Bryce Edwards, cc-by-2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

MH writes: “I’m wondering if you would know if there is any new age connection to birthstones?  I’m from Ireland and wanted to get my niece a ring for her eighteenth birthday and she wants a birthstone ring. I’m not certain if there is any new age association. I would really appreciate it if you could answer this question.” 

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Human Composting: The Latest Eco-Friendly Burial Method

Bishops in California are raising objections to a new California law that will allow human remains to be composted and returned to the soil as a way of protecting the environment from the contaminants of embalming fluid and the carbon emissions from cremation. But this is just one of many new eco-friendly burial methods being offered today.

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Can Practicing Karate be Considered Good Christian Family Time?

AP writes: “A friend of mine from work, Chris, is a practicing Catholic with 5 children.  Before marriage, he was even in the seminary.  He is very orthodox.  He also happens to have a number of black belts in all sorts of martial arts. I have two teenage daughters and and a 11 year old son.  I want them to be able to protect themselves, especially when they go off to college.  Last night, Chris came over and gave us family Karate lessons. I thought it was wonderful.  The stretching and exercising were great.  He talked about the Eucharist.  The only thing that was a little bizarre is that in Okinawan Karate, and I think other Karate, they bow when they enter the dojo. . .

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Why Walking on Hot Coals is Not a Good Idea

Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

The ability to walk across burning hot coals is known as firewalking and many a New Age motivational speaker wants us to believe that our mind has the power to enable us to do this. Does this explain why so many people at these events end up with their feet on fire while others walk away unscathed?

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Why the Polyvagal Theory is so Controversial

SMJ: “My therapist recently suggested that he’d like to employ a theoretical therapy based on the polyvagal theory. However, when I looked it up online, a lot of the practitioners were very New Agey and Wikipedia called it ‘unproven’. Is this something I should get involved in?”

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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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Can I Wear My Loved One’s Ashes in Jewelry?

Anonymous writes: “Someone I know recently told me that loved ones of hers passed away. The family had their ashes split up and placed in jewelry. How can I explain the Catholic view on this for future reference? How can I explain it particularly when it comes to our Catholic faith and relics.”

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A Reality Check for the Metaverse

When the World Wide Web was made public in 1993, it was both celebrated for the technological progress it represented and maligned for its risks of abuse. Almost thirty years later, the advent of the metaverse, which has been called the “internet on steroids,” is inspiring the same mixed bag of reactions.

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