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Rod and Cindy wrote:

Hi, guys —

Recently, my two oldest sons (ages 18 and 17) have been dating two sisters whose family has been critical of the concept of "guilt" in the Catholic faith. Yesterday, the two girls brought in a book on the Enneagram.

I'm troubled by this book and would like your thoughts about the risks or, if any, the rewards of using this method of "self discovery". If your thoughts are like mine, then the use of enneagrams is not consistent with Catholic teachings.

  • Do you have any suggestions on how to explain its problems to my sons?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Rod and Cindy

  { What are your thoughts on the Enneagram and this book using a method of self discovery? }

Richard replied:

Hi, Rod/Cindy —

The "Enneagram" scheme of personality types comes with claims that it is based on ancient wisdom from Sufi Muslim mystics, but there isn't any evidence that it is any older than the Chilean occultist Oscar Ichazo who developed it.

Besides having a dishonest historical basis, it doesn't have a scientific basis either; in fact, only a handful of psychology researchers have found it worth studying. In contrast, the more accepted (MBTI) Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality type classification has been used and evaluated in hundreds of research studies.

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. (a frequent presenter on EWTN, who is knowledgeable about new-age movements) has written an article about the Enneagram; you can find a copy on Catholic Culture.

The document library on EWTN also has a few articles on the subject. You can run a search there for the word "enneagram" to find them. In one:

Rick Kephart explains how Enneagram proponents hide their unorthodox doctrines behind a facade of Catholic-sounding terminology.

Ralph Rath also offers an article on the enneagram on the EWTN web site.

I hope this helps! God bless —


John replied:

Hi, Rod —
Hi, Cindy —

Beyond the point Richard has made, I'd like to address one other point you mentioned. Your sons are dating girls who question Catholic truth.

  • Why are they dating them?

After all dating, even at an early age, is for the purposes eventually finding a mate for life. While dating non-Catholics, or non-Christians is not forbidden, it is not wise. Your sons can become emotionally attached and later have to make choices that may cause them pain. Even though the Church gives dispensations for interfaith marriages, and yes, I realize this may be a long way off. it is not always the best idea, in particular, if the spouse to be is not at least a God-fearing Christian. I'd go much further and suggest that you'd advise your boys to seek out solid Catholic women, as opposed to your run of the mill "Church, two or three weeks out of a four-Sunday month variety" . Scripture gives us the following advice.

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15

Hope this helps.

Under His Mercy,

John DiMascio

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