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Susan H. wrote:

Hi, guys —

I want to start yoga soon. I was told, religious-wise, that it is bad for me. For every stretch you make, it means something towards Buddha. I am confused.

  • Is this true?
  • Also, can a unmarried, female Catholic living with someone, receive Holy Communion?

She has made all her sacraments.

Thanks for your time.

God Bless,

Susan

  { Is yoga bad for my faith and can an unmarried Catholic living with someone, receive Communion? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Susan —

Thanks for the question.

Yoga is not Buddhist, it is Hindu. Each position symbolically represents an aspect of worship of the gods intended to achieve union with the divine in a particular way. Basically, yoga is a way of Hindu worship.

Some have argued that you can do the stretching exercises if you do not buy into the spiritual aspect or do the meditation and so forth. While this may be convincing, there are some counter arguments.

  1. One is scandal. If someone knows you are doing yoga, they may assume it's totally compatible with your faith or that you endorse it without qualification, and may imitate you, even in the spiritual (pagan worship) form. You would be setting a bad example.

  2. Two, it can be a toxic atmosphere. Yoga places are magnets for New Age ideas and influence, and even if you try to excuse yourself from them, you may end up confused or unwittingly buying into bad stuff. There may even be dark spiritual influences involved in such places.

  3. Three, what you do with your body means something.
  • You wouldn't extend your middle finger to Heaven even if you didn't mean it, so why knowingly assume a position, you know is intended to worship pagan gods, claiming that you don't really mean it?

I recommend reading this document put out by the Holy See specifically on the topic of yoga and other practices:

  • Letter To The Bishops Of The Catholic Church On Some Aspects Of Christian Meditation from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
    (Vatican]|[EWTN)

Addressing your second question, someone who, knowing it is gravely sinful, deliberately has sexual relations with a person other than their spouse — for a Catholic, married in the Church or with the permission of the Church (or prior to entrance into the Church) — may not receive any sacraments until they have renounced their behavior and received absolution in the sacrament of Confession. Such a person is cut off from the grace of salvation until they receive absolution.
We call this being in the state of mortal sin. To receive the sacraments in such a state is a sacrilege, an additional sin, which should also be confessed. Anyone who does not realize that such activity is gravely sinful needs to know that it is and turn away from it, again going to Confession.

Sexual union is intended to be a total self-giving of one person to another. This imitates the inner life of the Trinity, where each person gives himself to the other person. This total self-giving must, of its very nature, be unreserved and life-long (otherwise it wouldn't be total). In this way, each spouse can totally trust the other, knowing that they will always be there for them.

The sacrament of Marriage seals that life-long self-giving with a public vow strengthening and encouraging the couple's mutual commitment. This self-giving is so powerful that it can bear fruit in another human being — God chose to associate this self-giving of each spouse to the other, with being co-creator's with Him.

Scientists now know that powerful bonding hormones are released by sexual union which unite the couple together in such a way that makes it easier, to stay together, and more emotionally destructive to part ways. It's like a piece of tape — it's only designed to be used on one piece of paper. Take it off, and you may be able to get it to hold on another sheet, or maybe not. It will never hold as well as it did on the first piece of paper. God has our best interests at heart. He created us! The commandments he gave us reflect the way we are made.

Eric

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