Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reiki at a Catholic Hospital?

For the May issue of the New Oxford Review, I did a cartoon to go along with an article by Hurd Baruch detailing the curious goings on at a Catholic hospital. Apparently some of the nuns there practice Reiki on the patients. To read another example of how the adherents have traded in the Faith for some New Age, hop on over to the NOR site:

This was my first contribution to the NOR; more will be done on an occasional basis.


Unknown said...

This imagine is SO not what Reiki is about. For the Catholic population to deny the power that God has to heal does not amaze me, they have always been more focused on what THEY do, not what God is and does.
It is sad that so many people still feel that the Catholic church is the judge in their life and do not know the redeeming love of Christ and how to utilize the gifts of the Spirit.

Jill Meredith said...

Once again, the Catholic Church works to suppress the help and healing we can provide one dismissing our ability to channel grace and love from our Maker. How about drawing a cartoon depicting the actual sexual acts that Catholic priests have been forcing upon young people for decades, or the abuse in some of the schools around the world? "The Catholic Church...duping people for 5 centuries."

Lael Welch said...

Hi Paul,

Your post was pointed out to me and I'd like to comment. As a Reiki practitioner, I don't recognize myself or others who practice in the guise of your nurse. Reiki is a gentle healing technique that relaxes and calms. I've a hunch you've never had a treatment or talked to a Reiki practitioner. I would bet that if you had either of those experiences, you'd never promote a cartoon like this.

Please consider supporting what you know, instead of what your hierarchy are telling you, before you endorse such a mean-spirited and false image of Reiki on your blog.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I'm agree with Joan! The image shows a complete misunderstanding of Reiki. Anyone who practices Reiki, no matter what their religious affiliation, is merely a channel - the person isn't the healer - it is the God/Source/Universal energy which is everywhere. As for the candle alter in the image, it is a shame that anything that isn't understood is implied to be Satanic or Witchcraft. One more thing: any Reiki practitioner with an ounce of sense knows that Reiki treatments are a form of complimentary medicine - things like broken bones still need treatment in the ER; the Reiki is always a support, except in minor health issues.

I encourage you to learn more about Reiki, especially from those dedicated nuns who work in the hospitals. On the positive side, I will say your drawing skills are quite good; I hope your messages in the future will be better!

Marta (NYC) said...

I would Laugh Out Loud if it wasn't an important topic misrepresented so badly it makes me cringe... that image in NOT what Reiki is about at all... first of, any Reiki practitioner that had a proper training would not forgo a visit at doctor's office for serious injuries or sickens; second, no self respecting Reiki practitioner would force Reiki upon anyone; third, as Reiki practitioners we are taught to listen to the "patient", not to shut them up and give them orders... Reiki is LOVE and in my belief it comes from God. There is nothing wrong with giving Reiki to people at the hospital... and just because someone doesn't really understand what it is all about, doesn't give him the right to ridicule it... a little more tolerance in the name of your God would not hurt.

Unknown said...

You say this is your first contribution to this site - let's hope it's your last.

As a Reiki practitioner and a victim of a Catholic priest, I find it appalling that any Catholic publication sees fit to ridicule anything at all.

The cartoon represents your lack of knowledge of Reiki and simply serves to illustrate the arrogance and ignorance that have forced so many out of the Catholic Church.

Many thanks to the nuns practicing reiki without asking Rome's permission.

I agree with Jill - what would be the reaction if you printed a cartoon depicting a priest raping someone - man, woman, or child (all have been victims)? That would be accurate and despicable. Your Reiki cartoon is completely inaccurate and despicable because of it's inaccuracy.

Another example of why I no longer have any association with the Church. Thanks for reminding me why I left.

Unknown said...

Next time the cartoonist falls ill, I'll be sure to say a Novena for him...Actually, as a cartoonist myself, I'm saddened by a heavy handed approach at humor like this. I can only hope his usual work is better.

Paul Nichols said...

Sheesh - it would appear that this cartoon was shown on an overhead projector at the latest "Reiki Defenders Conference".

When those who purport to be Catholic jettison their Faith to embrace the New Age, then they should have the integrity to choose one or the other. The Faith and the New Age are like oil and water - they don't mix.

You don't have to be Catholic to see the incompatiblity.

But in any event, I appreciate the feedback. I'm not so intolerant that I'd only allow comments from those who agree with me. :oD

Heather DeAngelis said...

Actually, I believe that your depiction in the cartoon presents an opportunity for learning and discussion. There are many misconceptions about Reiki due to the vast interpretations and information that is available on the internet, which at times is inaccurate or confusing. To clarify, there is no dogma attached to Reiki. It is not a belief system, nor is it intended to "cure". Reiki is a practice that uses a gentle flow of energy to encourage our own body's energies to balance and therefore, promotes healing. It is relaxing, and comforting and therefore improves your sense of well being. To date, science does not yet know the mechanism of action of Reiki, but science also did not know the mechanism of action for aspirin until 70 years after it was already 'proven' effective at reducing pain. As a holistic RN with 20 years experience, and Reiki practitioner for almost a decade, I can say that it has been a wonderful addition to my practice as a nurse. Reiki continues to be incorporated into patient care as a complement to conventional medicine, because health care professionals are increasingly recognizing the importance of addressing patients in mind, body and spirit.
Paul, I just wanted to thank you for this opportunity for expression and dialogue. I hope that we all can work together to have a peaceful and respectful discussion of this topic, rather than become defensive. As Reiki practitioners, we need to continue to inform, educate and take every opportunity to increase credibility and understanding rather than taking offense. Thank you.

Eve said...

Congratulations on all the hits to your site.

I'm curious where you found out about Reiki, and who told you that it is as you depict—and if it isn't like that, are you aware that you have crossed the line into offense, not only of Reiki practitioners and receivers but also other Catholics?

As a Catholic and a Reiki-practicing comics lover, it bothers me that the nun is being depicted as some sort of woo-woo wacko who cavalierly disregards medical treatment. Add to the mix the nun's inverted pentagram pendant and altar (complete with burning candle in a presumably oxygen-rich environment) and it's no wonder Catholic bishops don't want to touch Reiki with a ten-foot pole (or, more accurately, don't want Reiki practitioners to touch anyone in their hospitals' care) thanks to your stereotyping.

Both Reiki practitioners and medical professionals seek to 'first, do no harm,' and this cartoon suggests that there is plenty of harm being done when Reiki is a complimentary therapy used in conjunction with medical treatment in such circumstances.

For what it's worth, the first time I heard of Reiki was from a monastery (not convent) of nuns offering Reiki I. My priest is fine with it, too, and says that the bishops are threatened by any 'heretical' (such as Buddhist) traditions. Of course, though, I live in the land of Thomas Merton, so perhaps we're a little more receptive to such things here.

Something to think about: If Reiki really were as 'out there' as you suggest, would it ever have been allowed in a Catholic hospital in the first place? To the charges that Reiki is 'superstition,' the same thing can be said about prayer. But we still do it.

Paul Nichols said...

"Something to think about: If Reiki really were as 'out there' as you suggest, would it ever have been allowed in a Catholic hospital in the first place? To the charges that Reiki is 'superstition,' the same thing can be said about prayer. But we still do it. "
Well, the fact that something is allowed in a Catholic hospital (or a parish, for that matter) these days certainly doesn't attest to it's compatibility with the Catholic faith.

I appreciate that you picked up all those little nuances in the cartoon, although I have to admit I didn't think about the candle in an oxygen-rich environment. Egads!

As to your comparison of Reiki vs. Prayer, all I can say is our Lord told us to pray, so that carries a little bit of weight for me.

Just from the sampling of comments on the ol' CCB, I find a goodly amount of anti-Catholicism. Now, how some might square that circle of Reiki & Catholic is beyond my grasp. But in these last 40 years, we've seen many things passed off as compatible with the Faith, and, for me, I'd then ask the question "what Catholic faith are you talking about?".

As to the charge of "giving offense", I can only counter by saying people "take" offense. It seems almost to be a hobby for some people to go getting offended. I figure everyone's entitled to their opinion.

Anonymous said...

Having experienced Reiki for myself. I can understand the upset caused by the "Reiki at a Catholic Hospital" cartoon.
I am a Christian & not a Catholic. Therefore wont make comment on the Catholic Church. However all I will say is: "If you haven't tried something (Reiki) don't knock it!"

Anonymous said...

I'm a "revert" coming back to the Faith only a few years ago. I see how New Age ideas creep into our lives and are accepted and used. However, even when "out" of the Faith I just could not swallow any of it.

For me to tell whether the critics of your cartoon are really up to date with medical practices, I think it would be interesting to see how many accept abortion, including the legalization of it, as a medical practice. This is not changing the subject, it is getting to understand the minds of those so involved in "healing".

As for the sex scandals, we are weeding the sub-humans out and becoming stronger for it. There is no end to evil reaching into our lives: sexual abuse of children, abortion of babies, assisting suicides, tearing down marriage, etc. but there is no end to the correction of all of the above and more. Keep up Good Church in your drive against evil.

Paul Nichols said...

"For me to tell whether the critics of your cartoon are really up to date with medical practices, I think it would be interesting to see how many accept abortion, including the legalization of it, as a medical practice."
Without painting with broad a brush, I would be interested in this as well. My guess is that those Catholics who partake in Reiki probably aren't very accepting of Church teaching on a number of subjects.

Colleen Hammond said...

Congrats on NOR, Paul. Nice to see you getting so much attention! Welcome to the fray. ;-)

Brian Kopp said...

Good work, Paul. Catholics must not back down on this issue. I wrote about it (indirectly) years ago in The Wanderer. See today's entry at

Kenneth said...

Wow Paul, your cartoons must be getting featured at one of those dissent-fests for people who hate the Catholic Faith.

Deacon Pat said...

I really enjoyed your comic. I too am a nurse, 25 + years and have seen some good intentioned nurses become drawn into such non-sense. They call upon forces to heal. It sure sounds and looks like they are calling upon something I wouldn't want to mess with.

I think you hit a nerve with this post! Please continue to shed God's light and truth upon such evil!

Deacon Pat

Josemaria Paulo Jeromino Martin Carvalho-Von Verster said...

Paul,It Is Partly-Comforting to Know That,When Richard Dawkins Hears This Report that You Base Your Cartoon Upon,He Will Fume with Unspeakable Outrage!

The World(Dawkins and Reiki Practitioners) will Always Hate The Church.

Kuroyanagi Ryou said...

Actually they should ask an exorcist, if they really wanna know....

For somebody in the ministry of deliverance, Reiki is not a healthy type of healing. I can say that we have energies, but to play with them is not our business.

I hope they do know..

Jim and Debbie said...

Interesting cartoon...
I would like to invite any catholics to a discussion about the "real truth" of their faith. Please see a article posted on my blog about the mass for starters.
Or we can discuss how is a person saved?

May God be praised!

God's Wisdom said...

Good Cartoon. My only change would have been to have the reiki practitioner keeping a priest from visiting. The New Age Movement is extremely dangerous. My father was one. I know first hand. The teachings of our Church are the Truth and protect us from things that feel good but are truly evil, like reiki. Christ established the hierarchy, anything that rejects it, rejects Him.


Congrats Paul. Hit a "raw nerve" on this one.

Keep up the good work. Enjoy your cartoons.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that those Catholics who partake in Reiki probably aren't very accepting of Church teaching on a number of subjects.

Well, I'll play. Reiki practitioners raise your hand if you assent to the following teachings:

1. The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Abortion, homosexual acts, and contraception are intrinsic grave evils.

3. The Church has no authority whatsoever to ordain women in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Say yes to all three and I'll consider giving Reiki a break.

Paul Nichols said...

You hit the big ones, Romish.

I'll agree. If a Catholic practitioner of Reiki raises his (or her) hand to all three of those), slack shall be forthcoming.

Jim and Debbie said...

Reiki is a minor issue compared to the many roman catholic un-biblical doctrines.
The fact that the gospel of Christ in its truth is not preached, make it a cult!
Just ask a roman catholic how to be saved and see ALL the man made hoops they will tell you must jump though. Then remind them of the thief on the cross and they dont have much to say! Repent, believe and come out of false religions.... Glory to God!

Anonymous said...

Ecce spamnus dei

Paul Nichols said...

Hey, who let the Protestant in?

Kenneth said...

What is with the Protestant dogs coming in here? They obviously still have nothing better to do then make up new teachings and condemning their old ones. It's truly a shame.

Patrick Button said...

Where the hell did all these new age crones come from?

Hannah said...

Your posts are incredibly hypocritical; you shoot down any other practices/religions other than your own, or lack of one (atheists) and then act all hurt when people are not tolerant of your own!

Why complain about Notre Dame's opt for a more 'neutral' remembrance than a full-on prayer? I am Jewish, and whilst I've grown up around christianity/catholicism all my life, it is nice not to feel like my religion is being encroached upon by other majorities. At least you were not forced to say a prayer for another specific religious idol.
A moment of silence allows people of all walks of life to pay respects to that poor student, each in their own way, with no pressure of conforming to a singular religion.

I also dislike that you scoop Reiki practicers in with satanic worshippers, and atheists in with communists. There is far too little logic to link these, and it just smears any truth or point you are trying to make :/

Paul Nichols said...


Me thinks you doth protest too much...