In a document issued on 25 March 2009, “Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy“, the USCCB has said that Reiki is both unscientific and non-Christian.
The Fifth World Health Organisation (5WHO), on the other hand, recognises all drugless, surgery-free, and noninvasive naturopathic modalities without prejudice.
Reiki is a method of stress reduction that also promotes healing. Lay practitioners have used it for more than 90 years, and its popularity is growing. In 2002, over one million adults in the US received one or more Reiki sessions. Physicians and nurses are beginning to recognise the value Reiki, and have begun adding it to services provided by hospitals, medical clinics, and hospice programs. Practitioners indicate that Reiki reduces stress, decreases the need for pain medication, improves sleep and appetite, and accelerates the healing process. They also indicate that Reiki reduces many of the unwanted side effects of radiation and drugs, including chemotherapy (source).
The 5WHO made it known in the email that citing Reiki as unscientific is a poor justification overall in view of the many observed benefits.
This is an especially poor justification from a Catholic point of view as well.
The path to sainthood passes through a team of physicians, who pore over medical texts, patient charts, and test results to make sure a healing is medically inexplicable (in other words, scientifically impossible). The criteria for judging miraculous healings are still those laid out 275 years ago by Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, the future Pope Benedict XIV, who insisted that
- the illness or defect must be serious, incurable, or extremely difficult to treat
- spontaneous cures should be unknown to occur in similar illnesses
- no medical intervention used in the case could explain the cure
- the cure was unexpected and instantaneous
- the cure was complete and lasting
It is interesting to note that normally the Catholic Church makes Saints out of scientifically impossible healings, while the healings promoted by other unscientific means are called devils or considered demonic.
One must also add that the 15-19 May 2009 study week on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, ended with a strong endorsement of GMOs as “praiseworthy for improving the lives of the poor”, and promising “improved food safety and health benefits, better food security, and enhanced environmental performance in a sustainable manner” (source). While the Pontifical Academy for Sciences does not set official church teaching, it is nonetheless a prestigious Vatican body.
The 5WHO has pointed out that not only have GMOs not really been proven safe or effective by scientists not directly financed by biotechnology companies, but one should also note that genetic engineering is non-Christian also.
It is only the superstition called scientism — the view that natural science has authority over all other interpretations of life, such as philosophical, religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations, and over other fields of inquiry, such as the social sciences, a view that is also very non-Christian — that prevents one from reaching to the conclusion that both Reiki and genetic engineering are non-Christian ways of dealing with problems.
It is for these reasons that the Fifth World Health Organisation (5WHO) has rejected the conclusions of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and cited them as being
- eccessively prejudicial towards Buddhist or Eastern religious thinking
- eccessively scientistic (scientistic beliefs being extremely biased, and also non-Christian-centric views)
- naive as a healing philosophy, since the cause of all healing is the human body itself, and faith in its natural ability to heal (Yeshua, in fact, never said “I cured you” but “your faith has cured you”)
- a violation of the Cesidian law concept of jus humanae salutis (Latin for “right of human health [or salvation]“)