In an article in G, the Boston Globe’s daily supplement, not to be confused with vitamins and amino acids, Bella English (lovely name) writes about the controversy bouncing around in Catholic hospitals about the use of reiki, a hands-on so-called healing technique from Japan.
Irrespective of whether reiki actually works, it’s instructive to read the following two paragraphs from the article:
But last spring the US Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that reiki – hailed by many as therapy, derided by others as quackery – would no longer be practiced in the church’s hospitals and retreat centers. Reiki, according to the bishops, is not grounded in science or Christianity and is therefore inappropriate for Catholic institutions.
Practitioners and clients claim that reiki (pronounced RAY-kee) reduces pain, stress, and anxiety; accelerates recovery from surgery and illness; and boosts the immune system. The church hierarchy begs to differ. “Without justification either from Christian faith or natural science, a Catholic who puts his or her trust in reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man’s-land that is neither faith nor science,’’ according to the six-page guidelines. “Superstition corrupts one’s worship of God by turning one’s religious feeling and practice in a false direction.’’
Read the last two sentences and tell me that the Church hasn’t banned irony. (Catholics and Christian believers… oh hell, believers of all stripes need not apply - you wouldn’t understand.)
Is Pope Johnny Rats on board with this? Given the vast hypocrisies and willful ignorances of the Church past and present, one might be forgiven for holding in mind an image of the old man getting secret reiki sessions from young practitioners of dubious reputation. But that would be cynical… and nauseating.
One thing is sure. Once those senescent Vaticanians get their dander up, suffering is sure to follow, minor in this case since they are merely denying a form of comfort to ailing people.
Will it be long before the world is treated to the screams of imprisoned reikians echoing from the Vatican’s labyrinth of basement dungeons?
Stay tuned. Tape at eleven.