TERESA OF AVILA CALLED AN ANTIDOTE TO NEW AGE DECEITS
Spanish Bishop Notes Advance of “Pseudo-mysticism”
AVILA, Spain, SEPT. 9, 2011 (Zenit.org).- St. Teresa of Avila’s understanding of the link between the trinity and all other human mysteries is enough to discredit the pseudo-mysticism of the New Age, according to a Spanish prelate.
Bishop Cecilio Raúl Berzosa Martínez of Ciudad Rodrigo said this Sept. 4 at the conclusion of the weeklong 2nd International Teresian Congress.
Bishop Berzosa is the author of “Nueva era y cristianismo. Entre el diálogo y la ruptura” (New Age and Christianity: Between Dialogue and Rupture).
He explained that St. Teresa’s “The Way of Perfection” provides “keys or antidotes to confront the mystical deceits of the New Age.” For example, he drew from her teachings to refute pantheism, and the pretension of being able to save oneself.
The prelate detailed spiritual features and theological elements of New Age and highlighted some of the points in which it contrasts with Christianity. He contrasted it with the mysticism of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.
Bishop Berzosa warned that New Age “does not go against religions but tries to transcend them from within.”
In this connection, he summarized the process: “the 60s, Christ yes, the Church no. The 70s: God yes, Christ no. The 80s: Religion yes, God no. The 90s: spirituality yes, religion no.”
In other words, he referred to those who call for the “passage from a confessional religiosity to one of experience, from an institutionalized religiosity to a personalized one, from a formal religiosity to a more interiorized one.”
Bishop Berzosa went on to point out four spiritual “lies or temptations” of the New Age, which already appear in Genesis and whose author is the Tempter: You will be like gods (pantheism); you will never die (reincarnation), you will know good and evil (moral relativism and subjectivism), and your eyes will be opened (Enlightenment esoterics).
“The Christian faith is not an esoteric initiation,” he said. “Nor does salvation consist of an experience of cosmic plenitude through a process of reincarnation.”
The bishop also reflected on the scope of this spirituality and style of life, to the point of affirming that the New Age is the “soul or spirit” of neo-liberal economic globalization.
“If a few decades ago (1960-1970) there was talk of social transformation, social commitment, change of structures (Marxism), today there is talk of a superior conscience, good vibrations, quality of life, profound harmony, transcendental meditation, energy (…) acting on a planetary dimension, new world order and globalization,” he observed.
The prelate said those most drawn to New Age spirituality are “people of the first world, of the middle class, between 25 and 50 years of age — whose stomachs are full, but whose heads and hearts are empty, and who are the great absent ones from our Christian communities.”
Still, Bishop Berzosa proposed that “New Age fashion will vanish but the questions posed by it will remain (…) questions that Christianity has been able to respond to, and will respond to from the profound and integral mystery of Jesus Christ.”
The 2nd Teresian International Congress in preparation for the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa was held in Avila from Aug. 29 to Sept. 4.
More than 100 people of 20 nationalities took part and the organizers estimate that more than 6,000 people followed the days at some point on the Internet.
The original manuscript of “The Way of Perfection,” usually kept in the convent of the Discalced Carmelites of Valladolid, was exhibited at the congress.