Question from Thach Pham on 3/27/2008:
Dear Fr. Robert: Could you help me with this question: Last month, I attended a "meditation group" that called themselves so called "Empower of the Holy Spirit" (translated my best in English here) outside of our state. In this 2-day of meditation, a retired priest was in charged of preaching the Gospels and preached of the power of the Holy Spirit. It was good for me to learn about the Holy Spirit. However, a few things that he and his group (about 15 people) did was really concerned me and I'm confused. First, the priest asked us to bring to church the "cooking oil" (or any oil) and "table salt" (cooking table salt) so he can "blessed" these things so we can use these at home to keep the "evils" out of our houses!?? Second, the priest asked us (members that attended the services) come forward to the altar so that he and his people placed their hands on our heads for the "healing prayers". In this "healing prayer, they (the people that came with the priest) spoke a very strange language (sounds bla bla bla shew shew bshe bshe....etc) to the persons that "to be receiving the healing power from the Holy Sprit 'through' their hands and prayers with a strange language". At first I thought they spoke Latin, but it wasn't?!!. They spoke it out loud thru the microphone as well as whispering to people ears. Amazingly that 70% of the people that attended the services fell on their backs and passed out for few minutes. I tried it myself but I didn't fall on my back even they have tried to "push me tenderly" for 2 times!!! Actually I almost fell on my back when they asked me to close my eyes and spread my hands and open my mind/heart/soul to the Holy Spirit. However, I didn't fall because all the sudden they spoke that strange language my ear that they claimed it was given by the Holy Spirit so they passed it on to us, (just like Holy Spirit did with the Twelve Disciples)!!?? Not only me concerned this, but many other people were not comfortable with these services (speak strange language and bless the cooking oil and table salts). So could you help understand these? Did what they have done (speak strange language and bless the cooking oil and table salts) are in-line with out Catholic teachings and believing? Does our church accept this? Many people attended this mediation/healing services have the same questions with curiosity and concerned. Could you have the answer back to me the sooner the better! Thank you for your help on this. Best Regards, Thach Pham.
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 3/28/2008:
Dear Thach Pham, I sincerely urge you not to attend this session, this prayer session with oil and salt, with its experience of "talking in tongues", and falling down with the Holy Spirit. Actually all this is dangerous to Faith. I am unaware of any part of it being accepted by the Roman Catholic Faith. God bless your Faith. Fr. bob Levis