Hindu outrage at European priest linking yoga and Satan

Hindus are urging Pope Francis to take action against a Northern Ireland priest who said people who enjoy yoga could be opening themselves to Satan.

The controversy came after Fr Roland Colhoun preached a sermon in Drumsurn in Northern Ireland earlier this month.

The priest said he warned about several aspects of the new-age movement, including yoga and Indian head massages.

Fr Colhoun told the Derry Journal that, while people may decide to take up yoga with good intentions, they could set themselves on a path towards “the bad spiritual domain” and even “Satan and the fallen angels”.

He told the Journal:  “Pope Francis said ‘do not seek spiritual answers in yoga classes’. Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk.

“When you take up those practices from other cultures, which are outside our Christian domain, you don’t know what you are opening yourself up to.

“I’m not saying everyone gets it, or that it happens every time, and people may well be doing yoga harmlessly.

“But there‘s always a risk.”

The president of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, urged Pope Francis to take disciplinary action against Fr Colhoun for linking yoga to Satan.

Mr Zed noted that the Vatican Library itself carries books on yoga.

He said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was “a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilised by all”.

In a homily on January 9, Pope Francis said that only the Holy Spirit can teach true love.

“You can take a million catechetical courses, a million courses in spirituality, a million courses in yoga, Zen and all these things,” Francis said.

“But all of this will never be able to give you the freedom” of being a child of God, he said.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, before he was Pope Benedict XVI, warned Christians that yoga, Zen, and other forms of transcendental meditation could “degenerate into a cult of the body” that devalues prayer.

In 2011, the Vatican’s chief exorcist said practising yoga is satanic.


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