Question for WDTPRSers: hypnosis and Catholic teaching

I had a call from a priest friend who told me that for some High School seniors, who are having an end of the year school-sponsored "lock in" all night party  – why, I can’t fathom – have scheduled, for entertainment, a hypnotist.

Now I of of the mind that perhaps… perhaps… in a clinical setting some use of some kind of hypnotism might be useful, say to stop smoking, etc. 

But this is entertainment.

I have serious reservations about hypnotism.  

It strikes me that it does not respect the dignity of the human person because it compromises in the will, in a sense.

Also, I believe that it could weaken a person’s resistance to demonic oppression.  And if you don’t believe in the attacks of hell, you are a fool.

In any event, this is not the sort of thing I would want to have high school age kids involved with.   As in occult activities, such as ouija boards, etc., there is no telling if some of the young people might then try to do these hypnotic things on their own and therefore open pathways for all sorts of dire influences.  Just as ouija boards are not toys for entertainment, but rather tools of demonic influence, so too I fear that hypnotism, misused as a toy, could be the same.

I am especially concerned because of the age of the young people.

So, I did a brief search on line for solid documents on the Church’s understanding of hypnotism and didn’t come up with anything terribly useful. 

I will enlist your help.   Could you readers dig around a bit?
   Maybe we can have a discussion here about this issue.  I would like to provide a resource online for others who may be faced with this problem.

Also, there is still time to get this party hypnotism thing cancelled for this event.

Please stay on topic with this.   Let’s make this useful.

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39 Responses to Question for WDTPRSers: hypnosis and Catholic teaching

  1. Deo volente says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,

    Two hits on Google for your information:
    An article archived on EWTN that is quite dated
    A thread on the Catholic Answers Forum that is recent

    It would seem that for a medical reason, hypnotism done by a trained and ethical therapist is reasonable. For “parlor tricks,” however, it would seem to be dabbling in New Age practices that could be dangerous.

    [Links are not as helpful as link with your summary of what they say.]

  2. Chris says:

    New Advent has an interesting article in their Encyclopedia about hypnosis. Mind you, it is nearly a century old now.

    I recall a similar question arising while I was in High School Seminary. Referring to a current copy of the Catholic Encyclopedia. I seem to recall that great moral responsibility is placed on the person offering the suggestions. I also recall that there is some question as to how hypnotism affects the subject; i.e. while it lowers one’s inhibitions, it is not known whether it can cause one to do something they believe to be immoral.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources that I once had. I think it is prudent to spend some time researching the topic.

    ~cv

  3. Robert says:

    This article in the online Catholic encyclopedia is useful, giving history, science and the Church’s tentative judgment:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07604b.htm

    The Church has not waited for the verdict of science to put the faithful on their guard against the dangers of magnetism and hypnotism, and to defend the rights of human conscience; but, ever prudent, she has condemned only abuses, leaving the way free for scientific research. “The use of magnetism, that is to say, the mere act of employing physical means otherwise permissible, is not morally forbidden, provided that it does not tend to an illicit end or one which may be in any manner evil” (Response of the Holy Office, 2 June, 1840). The encyclical letter of the Sacred Penitentiary, Tribunal of August, 1856, only confirms this, and Père Coconnier has referred to it in his famous work “L’Hypnotisme franc”, in which he studies the subject apart from all extraneous considerations. Taking up the latest teachings of Rome, Canon Moureau, of Lille, writes: “Hypnotism is tolerated, in theory and in practice, to the exclusion of phenomena which would certainly be preternatural.” This is the opinion of most theologians, and it is the utterance of reason.

  4. Robert: That is pretty dated stuff, though useful.

    We could use some more current information.

  5. Robert says:

    Here’s an article from Catholic Standard and Times, especially relating to past life regression:

    http://www.catholic.org/printer_friendly.php?id=25480&section=Cathcom

  6. Deo volente says:

    http://www.catholicinsight.com/online/theology/article_653.shtml

    This link is to an article by Dr. John B. Shea who writes on the New Age Movement and often comments on medical/bioethical issues. The final addendum is of interest:

    MORE INFORMATION ON NEW AGE

    Lorraine Vincent of Zehner, Saskatchewan alerted us to a publication of interest, Ransomed from Darkness: The New Age, Christian Faith and the Battle for Souls by Moira Noonan. Born into a Catholic family, Noonan lost her faith at a secular boarding school, and spent twenty years searching and ministering in the New Age movement. After mastering several successive “reprogrammings” and imparting the teachings to others, she was graced with conversion back to Catholicism through the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Deuteronomy 18:9-11 reads:
    “‘When you come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abominations of the peoples there. Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortune-teller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead.’”

    Noonan warns that: “If we were to write this same list in modern terms, it would include the following: Alchemical Hypnotherapy; Alchemy; Angel Guides; Angelic Channeling; Astral Cartography; Astral Projection; Astrology; Aura Work; Automatic Handwriting; Chakra Balancing; Chaneling; Clairaudience; Clairvoyance; Crystal Healing; Crystal Divination; Dousing; Echankar; Energy Work; EST; Etheric Light Body Work; Firewalking; The Forum; Geomancy; Hands of Light; Hypnotism; The “I Am” Movement; I Ching; Laying of Stones; Medicine Wheel; Necromancy; New Thought; Numerology; Out-of-Body Work; Past-Life Regression Therapy; Psychic Development; Psychic Healing; Rebirthing; Reiki; Shamanism; Silva Mind Control; Soul Travel; Spirit Guides; Spiritual Psychotherapy; Spiritualism; Table-Tipping; Tantra; Tarot Cards; Trance Mediums; Trance Work; Visualization; Wicca.”

  7. Robert says:

    I’m sorry, Father. It appears we commenters are duplicating our efforts almost simultaenously while in process of posting! You are welcome to delete my duplications.

  8. Fr. D says:

    Long before my conversion, I attended a similar event (organized by my school), and initially volunteered to be one of the subjects hypnotized. During the process of being hypnotized, I realized that I was to some extent handing control of my will over to the hypnotist. (I didn’t formulate it that clearly at the time, but reflecting back on the experience, I think that is what it was.) I felt some kind of instinctual repugnance to this, so I got up and left the stage. Many others remained, and I have no doubt they were really hypnotized!

    It seems to me that voluntarily being hypnotized for the purposes of entertainment is akin to voluntarily becoming very drunk, or choosing to take drugs in order to get high. One is intentionally impairing the normal functioning and control of one’s reason (even if perhaps not completely losing the faculty to reason), and/or the rational self-direction of one’s will. In other words, one is deliberately becoming temporarily less rational, which is an act contrary to our nature as rational beings, and hence a sinful act. Obviously, there are times when drug-induced loss of one’s capacity to reason and control one’s actions is not sinful (e.g., anesthesia before medical surgery), and there may be analogous occasions when hypnotism might be licit, but to do this “for fun” seems to me to be essentially the same as getting drunk or high.

    For that reason, I would say that it is morally wrong and sinful, and that no Catholic school should sponsor such an activity.

    By saying this, I do not mean to minimize the danger of some kind of demonic or occult influence, but that, it seems to me, is a second issue. In other words, assuming you have a totally above-board hypnotist who is only using a natural process to induce a state of extreme receptivity to his suggestions, I still think this is morally problematic if done for entertainment.

    It also might be easier to convince people of the moral problem here if we start with arguments about our nature, rather than arguments about the demonic (which, while true, may be less convincing to some).

  9. Jamie says:

    Under hypnosis a person does not lose their will – and you can not convince a hypnotised person to do anything contrary to their will – so that would make it very different from excessive drunkenness or drug abuse. Having said that – I would stay away from it regardless.

  10. hoya2009 says:

    Although I don’t have any official information about the Church’s teachings on hypotism, I do remember having one come and “perform” at my public high school. I think the great majority of the students thought it was the lamest thing imaginable, but our school seemed to think it “entertaining” for us teenagers. The act basically consisted of the hypnotist asking for volunteers. The volunteers were then “hypnotized.” Pretty much all the kids were faking it to get a laugh from the audience. The hypnotist would say silly things like “bark like a dog” and the “hypnotized” student would do so. Although I think the “hypnotists” we had were perfect charlatans I never thought what they were doing was dangerous, but simply stupid. Why any high school adminstrators or event planners or even a student council would pay a ridiculous sum to have one come is beyond me. However, if the kids were indeed forced to do things in front of the whole school not of their own will because they were hypnotized, then I think it is indeed dangerous. Entertainment should not consist of the humiliation of a high school kid. I can also see how it can possibly be dangerous. Perhaps not as dangerous as something like a Tarot card reading (which was also brought to my school–there’s public education for you!), but still I think should generally be avoided. Why not find something much more safe (and fun!) for a senior event?!

  11. Hypnosis is only dangerous insofar as it is a voluntary surrender of one’s will to the hypnotist, with all that it brings. It is not evil per se, but can be used in evil ways, even with good intent. It is a potentially dangerous way of meddling with people’s minds, with their full consent.
    Even hypnotic addiction treatments can be very dangerous, as they will not cure the addiction itself. A typical treatment will block the impulse of using a drug or smoking, but the mental processes that lead to the urge will still be there, looking for a way out. The way out can end up being even worse than the original addiction.
    Hypnosis for entertainment is not exactly dangerous in this sense, although it could hardly be called respectful or morally acceptable. It is akin to other imitations processes, such as when a crowd gets into a drums-induced dancing frenzy and people who normally would be relatively modest will perform lewd acts in public; it is at the very least a remote occasion of sin.
    On the other hand, a good and sane hypnotist can use it to show people they have capacities they do not use normally (withstanding pain, remembering things, etc.), and this could occasionally help a spoiled teeenager realize he is capable of being and acting better; teenagers, though, will probably find it less interesting than having a friend pretending he is a dog or a chicken. :(
    It must be noticed that the very same mental processes involved in hypnosis are what makes watching television seem “interesting”, even when the show itself is actually something one would never endure watching in the form of, say, a theater play performed in a public square. Television-watching is a “lite” form of hypnosis.

  12. Trey says:

    “During the process of being hypnotized, I realized that I was to some extent handing control of my will over to the hypnotist.”

    Yikes! Reminds me of Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin.

  13. Mitch says:

    At my Senior All-Nighter we had a hypnotist. If you went to the all nighter you were required to attend the hypnotyst. Needless to say I was frustrating, I tried to opt out because I believe hypnotism in this form is the “gateway drug,” so to speak, of the occult. But I was not allowed to opt out because the organizers were cleaning up the rest of the facilities so we had to remain in the theater or leave the event entirely. I will definetly avoid things like that in the future.

  14. Tim Ferguson says:

    The Vatican document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life” raises some concerns about hypnotism in section 4. Granted, these concerns are mostly raised about the use of hypnotism in a New Age spirituality paradigm, rather than simply entertainment. Still, the concerns remain – what does hypnotism say about our individuality as persons, our free will, and our dignity? Hypnotism – even in the realm of entertainment – seems based on the premise that if only one could tap that well of inner power and break down the barrier – the persona society, culture and faith have built up around oneself, my near-limitless potential could be reached. It also seems to foster a notion of morality as mere cultural construct – we can “get away with” doing what we really want to do when we’re hypnotized – when that persona, is cracked open.

    This seems contrary to a real Christian anthropology wherein the “well” we can tap into is not some inner reserve of our own, but the grace offered to us by the Holy Spirit, and our moral choices are not just conditioned by our culture, but are rooted in our dignity as persons and formed from free acts of our will. Hypnotism, by inhibiting the will, might be useful in some limited circumstances (as Fr. Z pointed out, as a means to stop smoking, etc.) when our will needs retraining. Even in those cases, I think it should be only done carefully, under professional supervision, and with sufficient safeguards in place (the presence of a solid, objective observer, the videotaping of the sessions, prayerful preparation in advance…)

    Hypnosis as a parlor trick might seem innocuous – and most likely, it usually is. Still, nolite irritare leones – it seems safer to keep a distance.

  15. Fr. Z,

    There was an article on hypnosis in Scientific American, July 2001 by Michael R. Nash titled “The Truth and Hype of Hypnosis.” I believe you can download the entire article from their website.

    Mr. Nash writes that “using hypnosis, scientists have temporarily created hallucinations, compulsions, certain types of memory loss, false memories, and delusions in the laboratory so that these phenomena can be studied in a controlled environment.” Perhaps in a situation as described, under closely supervised laboratory circumstances, this might be acceptable. But, the fact that it is being done outside a controlled situation by someone of dubious credentials should be a warning sign. Clearly there is great danger here if what Mr. Nash writes is true, and not only from a “new age” perspective.

    If Mr. Nash is correct, then it is clear that a person’s will can be weakened, his memory affected, even his mental health put into danger. Given this possibility it seems that such an event as you describe is clearly immoral and may not be participated in by anyone, especially a young person. If the moral issue of hypnosis is of question, it is certainly wrong for an adult to put any young person in a dangerous situation.

    [Reminded to all: What we are talking about here is not clinical.... but ENTERTAINMENT.]

  16. ALL: Remember – this entry has a PURPOSE, which I kindly request you to review before commenting.

  17. SC says:

    Fr. Z,
    I wholeheartedly agree with Fr. Bailey. I have a simple question. WHY??? There are so many more worthy ways for teens to spend an evening! What is the message teens are supposed to get when the adults in charge of them bring in another adult, and then encourage these vulnerable teens to volunteer to subject themselves to the control of a stranger for entertainment? Does that strike anyone else as odd? I am sure all were well-intentioned, but in my opinion, as a teacher, and a parent of a teenager, the idea to invite a hypnotist is evidence of a lack of creativity on the part of the planners. I am not sounding alarm bells here, just making an observation. What passes for ‘harmless’ entertainment for teens can actually pose many dangers. An evening spent with a hypnotist might spark curiosity which can lead to other types of ‘magic.’ Anyone would benefit by reading the wonderful interviews of renowned exorcists Fr. Gabriele Amorth and Fr. Jose Fortea. The experiences recounted in those books address more teen behavior that one would think. They will surely open the eyes of parents. The books are ‘An Exorcist Tells His Story’ and ‘Interview with an Exorcist.’

  18. I remember a long time ago reading some document that said that the Church condemned the practice of hypnosis. I don’t recall a distinction between clinical and entertainment. Regretfully, I do not know the name of the document as this was years upon years ago.

    However, my general sensus fidei tells me to stay away–even for entertainment purposes. I don’t like how it can seriously open one up, as Fr. Z. rightly pointed out, to demonic obsession. There were cases of this, I think, in the Victorian era with its sense for spiritual titillation through occult mediums and seances and such.

    -KJS

  19. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Has old Father Amorth written on the issue?

  20. Father Z, do you honestly think that because your post is about “entertainment” rather than clinical study then hypnosis is any less dangerous or has different effects on the human mind? Especially given that it is being done by someone who more than likely doesn’t know what he or she is doing? If so, that’s rather foolish on your part. Hypnosis is hypnosis whether it’s done for “entertainment” or in a clinical setting. Either way a person’s will can be weakened, their memory effected, and their mental health endangered. Being made to cluck like a chicken at a given cue is a violation of will whether it’s for entertainment or study. I strongly suggest you yourself learn a bit more about the subject if you feel there is no difference between hypnosis for clinical or entertainment purposes.

    If you feel the responses give so far haven’t been helpful then perhaps you could be more specific about what it is you are asking for. I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t have the time to waste trying to help a brother priest who isn’t clear about what he wants.

  21. LCB says:

    Fr. Z,

    I would only point out:

    1) Mesmer (the pioneer of hypnosis) had a strong belief that dark occult powers were involved with the practice.

    2) This generically Christian article makes several useful and thought provoking scripture references: http://www.gotquestions.org/hypnosis-Christian.html

    3) You wrote, “And if you don’t believe in the attacks of hell, you are a fool.” Those are some of the truest words you’ve written on this blog. Isn’t an ouaji board also only “just for fun?” Should we really be playing games with free will? Clinical situations may be one thing, but entertainment is very different.

  22. LCB says:

    I was able to dig this up on Catholicculture.org

    http://www.catholicculture.org/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=34034

    It reads, “The phenomenon of artificially induced sleep, which renders the victim abnormally open to suggestion. The subject of hypnosis tends to be dominated by the ideas and suggestions of the hypnotist while under the induced spell and later on. According to Catholic principles, hypnotism is not wrong in itself, so that its use under certain circumstances is permissible. But since it deprives the subject of the full use of reason and free will, a justifying cause is necessary for allowing it to be practiced. Moreover, because hypnotism puts the subject’s will in the power of the hypnotist, certain precautions are necessary to safeguard the subject’s virtue, and to protect him or her and others against the danger of being guilty of any injurious actions. For grave reasons, e.g., to cure a drunkard or one with a suicide complex, it is licit to exercise hypnotism, given the precaution that it is done in the presence of a trustworthy witness by a competent and upright hypnotist. The consent, at least presumed, of the subject must also be had. Several documents of the Holy See set down the norms to be followed in the use of hypnotism (The Holy Office, August 4, 1956; July 26, 1899).”

    This was found via the Catholic Answers thread linked above. Neither the original author nor I could track down the documents referenced. Nor could I confirm the authenticity of the quote itself.

    I suspect that the Church does permit hypnosis, for the right reasons under the right conditions. Entertainment seems to be outside what is recommended by Mother Church.

  23. Luke says:

    With respect, Fr. Bailey, I think that you have misunderstood Fr. Z’s point. I understood his comment to be reminding us that there IS indeed a difference to be considered between an untrained charlatan doing, or pretending to do, hypnosis for entertainment and hypnosis done by a trained individual in a serious, clinical setting. It was my impression that the two of you are agreeing on that point.

    On the topic in general: I have a bachelors in Mental Health and, while I have not been trained in hypnosis, nor seen hypnosis performed, it is my understanding that it is merely a method for achieving a state of relaxation and lowering one’s mental barriers. So I think that being hypnotized in leisure for the sake of relaxation might be an acceptable use since, by my understanding, the will is not being reduced. It is not my understanding that the free will is significantly compromised during hypnosis, though the relaxed state may lead to awareness of one’s surroundings being lessened.

    In any case, I doubt that whoever they got for this highschool lock-in is even trained in hypnosis. As a previous commenter said, it’s likely to be the kids playing along to get a laugh from the crowd. So, I’m not sure that there is any spiritual danger, seeing as the kids are likely to be fully aware, and perhaps even more self-conscious than ever, in front of a crowd. At the same time, it is still not something that I would participate in, partly to avoid scandal scandal, but also because it’s just ridiculous. Of course, if this entertainer goes into the whole “let’s hear who you were in the past life” nonsense, that’s an even more severe case. But honestly, who is going to fall into a deep enough relaxation to merit actual hypnosis while an auditorium of their peers is staring at them?

  24. LCB says:

    Generally speaking, it is far more than people playing along for laughs from the crowd. I’ve known people who, afterwards, felt deeply shamed by the things they did under hypnosis.

  25. RC says:

    Is there any chance someone could get an expert opinion from somebody like Dr. Paul Vitz or Dr. Philip Mango of the St Michael Institute in NY?

  26. Fr. Bailey: 

    Father Z, do you honestly think that because your post is about “entertainment” rather than clinical study then hypnosis is any less dangerous or has different effects on the human mind? Especially given that it is being done by someone who more than likely doesn’t know what he or she is doing? If so, that’s rather foolish on your part.

    Fr. Bailey, it is perhaps rather more foolish on your part to make that assumption based on what I wrote.   The fact it, this entry is about the use of hypnosis as entertainment for children at a school party.

    What I want in this entry is what the Church has said about hypnosis.  I am also interested in what bishops and priests have said in this regard.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t have the time to waste trying to help a brother priest who isn’t clear about what he wants.

    I apologize for wasting your valuable time.   

  27. So father, following your logic, because it’s about “the use of hypnosis as entertainment for children at a school party” that makes it safe and moral. Well, if that’s what you want to believe, it’s your choice, and your responsibility.

    And, be honest if you can, what’s the deal with the sarcasm? I attempted to assist you and the only response you can make is an ungrateful sarcastic one? What’s with that? Do you have the integrity to respond honestly?

  28. Fr. Bailey: I believe you have entirely misunderstood everything.

    Let me make this plain.

    I am AGAINST HYPNOTISM.

    I think it is WRONG.

    I believe it can lead to demonic oppression, as well as a great waste of time and money.

    I want to have information on this site so that some specific people reading it will have ammunition to cause the CANCELLATION of an “entertainment hypnotist” at a Catholic high school.

    Read what I wrote.

  29. RC says:

    So far it seems the best lead for Fr. Z’s purpose (seeking a magisterial statement) is the mention of a Holy Office document (August 4, 1956).

    Anybody got the 1956 Acta Apostolicae Sedis at hand, or microfilms of the Osservatore Romano?

    The document’s probably about the ethical use of hypnosis in medicine and psychotherapy, but it may set out the moral norms in such a way as to rule out the sort of entertainment Fr. Z’s friend described.

  30. Disclosure before I start: I’m a hypnotherapist (not an entertainer).

    There’s what seems to me a good summary over at http://hypnosisandfaith.com/faith.php of the official Catholic position (the owner of the website is an Eastern Orthodox priest and hypnotherapist).

  31. Sri says:

    I know what you mean! It’s really true. I work in a busy office, and the stress levels are high. At the end of a very busy day, I go home and listen to a relaxation MP3. I often fall asleep afterwards – it’s brilliant. I got mine from Andrew Johnson’s site, and I see he now does a free Relaxation download.” Once we make young people used to hypnotism it will help them to lead a smooth life.

  32. Immaculatae says:

    Father, I completely agree with you. ” have serious reservations about hypnotism.

    It strikes me that it does not respect the dignity of the human person because it compromises in the will, in a sense.

    Also, I believe that it could weaken a person’s resistance to demonic oppression. And if you don’t believe in the attacks of hell, you are a fool.”

    I have done some digging on this topic and new age stuff but don’t have time this moment to read all the above posts and post more but will later. I had at one time used a cd like sri mentioned ( mine was for healthy eating habits – it worked )and I believe it opened a door to demonic oppression and weakened my will against evil. Hypnosis – self or otherwise is very dangerous.

    I believe that one reason so many Catholics that attend Mass gave in to the
    suggestions of mass-media (re: election of recent memory) is because so many even inside the Church have compromised themselves in Centering prayer (self- hyponosis – can document this) and other such things.

  33. Immaculatae says:

    Quick google search on spiritual danger of ASC (altered states of conciousness)
    found http://www.goodnewspost.com/hypnosis.htm

    Why is Hypnotism Dangerous ?
    Hypnotism is dangerous for a number of reasons not the least being that it opens the mind to believe almost anything. As one researcher put it,

    “hypnotic induction…consists of a system of verbal and nonverbal manipulation to lead a person into a heightened state of suggestibility — more simply, a condition in which one will believe almost anything.”

    That statement should alarm you because in essence it is saying that a person who is hypnotized can be told a lie and believe it. But does this really happen? The answer is yes. Bernard Diamond, a professor of law and clinical professor of psychiatry wrote in an article for the California Law Review that people who underwent hypnotism would

    “graft onto their memories fantasies or suggestions deliberately or unwittingly communicated by the hypnotist and that after hypnosis the subject cannot differentiate between a true recollection and a fantasy or a suggested detail.”

    The second reason that hypnosis is dangerous because the mind loses its ability to distinguish between fact and fantasy (truth and error). That can be dangerous because if you can be easily deceived, Satan can and does take advantage of the opportunity. Let me give you one example. Over a five year period, in the late 70′s and early 80′s, a massive study was done of more than 6,000 people who had undergone hypnosis. It was discovered that one-fifth of those people who had been hypnotized said that they had lived previous lives on other planets! That is bizarre to say the least! But let me tell you about some other experiments. According to one of Peter Francuch experiments “The person [who was hypnotized] was able very precisely to describe in minute detail what was happening in another friend’s house 300 miles away. At the same time, the person was able to describe exactly what was happening a month ago, a year ago, and ten years ago in the same place…”

    One might ask, “How is that possible?” My answer is by demonic contact! One New Age author puts it this way — “Hypnosis can be an open door to psychic experiences of many kinds, and in an emotionally unstable, insecure, or neurotic person the possibility of obsession or psychic invasion of one kind or another is always present…” It only takes a brief look at Acts 16:16-18 to discover the source of psychic powers.

    Hypnosis is dangerous. At the least, it hinders one’s ability to discern the difference between real memories and suggested/engrafted memories. Even more dangerous is the fact that hypnosis opens the “heart’s door” (mind) to demonic invasion. If you have not been hypnotized, don’t be.”

  34. Immaculatae says:

    Add this maybe?

    Catholic Insight
    http://www.catholicinsight.com/online/theology/article_653.shtml
    The Church and the New Age Movement
    By Dr. John B. Shea, M.D., FRCP(C)

    Deuteronomy 18:9-11 reads:
    “‘When you come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abominations of the peoples there. Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortune-teller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead.’”

    Noonan warns that: “If we were to write this same list in modern terms, it would include the following: Alchemical Hypnotherapy; Alchemy; Angel Guides; Angelic Channeling; Astral Cartography; Astral Projection; Astrology; Aura Work; Automatic Handwriting; Chakra Balancing; Chaneling; Clairaudience; Clairvoyance; Crystal Healing; Crystal Divination; Dousing; Echankar; Energy Work; EST; Etheric Light Body Work; Firewalking; The Forum; Geomancy; Hands of Light;

    Hypnotism;

    The “I Am” Movement; I Ching; Laying of Stones; Medicine Wheel; Necromancy; New Thought; Numerology; Out-of-Body Work; Past-Life Regression Therapy; Psychic Development; Psychic Healing; Rebirthing; Reiki; Shamanism; Silva Mind Control; Soul Travel; Spirit Guides; Spiritual Psychotherapy; Spiritualism; Table-Tipping; Tantra; Tarot Cards; Trance Mediums; Trance Work; Visualization; Wicca.”

  35. Immaculatae says:

    I’m sorry Fr. I repeated another’s post. please delete my last post.

  36. Immaculatae says:

    It is a mistake to think a person has to fall asleep to be affected by hypnosis and such techniques of manipulation.

  37. Merriweather says:

    They did the same thing when I graduated from high school (public school)! Hypnotized some of the kids—made them cluck like chickens, etc.

    FWIW, the Angelus Magazine (published by the SSPX) had a Q&A about hypnotism. The answer given refers to a Moral Theology manual by Jone. *The answer was, no, it can’t be used for entertainment*.

    Here is the full answer for those interested. I copied and pasted because you have to be a registered user to view the whole text.

    I hope this helps!

    Answers given by Father Carl Pulvermacher

    Q. We hear so much about hypnotism being used in criminology and for medical and mental purposes. What is the Catholic Church’s stand on hypnotism? J .A., Detroit, Michigan

    A. It is not intrinsically evil, but it is dangerous when abused. Jone-Adelman MORAL THEOLOGY says: “Hypnotism is not a sin against the worship due to God as long as it is not associated with superstitious intention or a pantheistic philosophy of life. It is often forbidden by reason of its being dangerous to health and morals. Hence, for the lawfulness of hypnotic practices these conditions must be verified: a serious reason must be had (e.g., to cure certain ills), other unobjectionable means must not be available; furthermore, a thoroughly skilled and morally reliable hypnotist must conduct the hypnotizing; if possible it ought to be done in the presence of witnesses, and finally, none of the participants may have superstitious intentions , . . patients with the use of reason must consent to such treatments.” *Therefore, we must conclude that hypnotism used indiscriminately or for entertainment can be sinful and dangerous*. Easy subjects can be hypnotized without knowing it. A normal person cannot be hypnotized without wanting to be. Under hypnosis one cannot be induced to commit a sin or crime unless he is accustomed to doing these things outside of the hypnotic state.

  38. Merriweather says:

    For those of you who never heard of the Jone Moral Theology Manual (I’m sure Fr. Z has)—it’s considered a classic. The answer I posted is taken directly from it.

    TAN Books sells it, and it is pretty cheap: $21.00