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A New Age Catholic for the New Millennium

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Cherie Blair, the wife of English Prime Minister Tony Blair, is a Catholic. This fact is offered by some as an example of the great health of the new "open" Church since Vatican II, a Church no longer seen as threatening to non-Catholics and which has come to be accepted even in Anglican England.

But a closer look at England’s First Lady reveals that she is a New Age Catholic for the New Millennium. The London Times online reports that the Blairs recently stayed at the Maroma Hotel on the Mexican Riviera, where they enjoyed a weekend of New Age "therapies" and festivities. As the Times reports: "During their stay at the hotel, the Blairs were particularly impressed by the Temazcal, a Mayan steam bath, where they took part in a ‘rebirthing ritual’ wearing nothing but their swimming costumes." The Times notes that "Mrs Blair, whose enthusiasm for New Age and alternative therapies is well known, initially went to the Temazcal on her own. But she so enjoyed the experience that she persuaded a slightly shy Prime Minister to join her the next evening." So, the Catholic wife leads the naturally reluctant non-Catholic husband to partake of a Mayan ritual.

According to the Times "The ceremony took place at dusk: Mr Blair and his wife, wearing bathing costumes, were led to the Temazcal, a brick-coloured pyramid on the south end of the beach." There they were instructed in the ritual by one Nancy Aguilar, who "told the Blairs to bow and pray to the four winds as Mayan prayers were read out. Each side of the building is decorated with Mayan religious symbols: the sun and baby lizards representing spring and childhood; a bird to signify adolescence, summer and freedom; a crab to represent maturity and autumn; and a serpent - the most sacred in the Mayan Indian culture - to symbolise winter and transformation."

A serpent. The very serpent whose head is seen being crushed by Our Lady of Guadalupe in the miraculous image which appears on the cloak of Blessed Juan Diego. That image converted millions of Mexicans to the Catholic faith back in the 16th century, after Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego on a hill in Tepeyac. The indelible image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is still venerated by millions of faithful Catholics each year in the Basilica at Guadalupe - a stop that evidently was not on Mrs. Blair’s New Age tour.

No, Mrs. Blair had another religion in mind on her little junket. After bowing to the four winds in the presence of the serpent image, Mrs. Blair went inside the Temazcal to partake more deeply of the Mayan religion: "Within the Temazcal, a type of Ancient Mayan steam bath, herb-infused water was thrown over heated lava rocks, to create a cleansing sweat and balance the Blairs’ ‘energy flow.’ Ms. Aguilar chanted Mayan songs, told the Blairs to imagine that they could see animals in the steam and explained what such visions meant….Before leaving, the Blairs were told to scream out loud to signify the pain of rebirth. They then walked hand-in-hand down the beach to swim in the sea."

The Times observes that "Despite being a Roman Catholic, Mrs Blair has had a long interest in alternative therapies. She has been photographed wearing an acupuncture needle in the top of her ear as well as a ‘bio-electric shield’ pendant filled with ‘magic crystals’ to ward off harmful rays from computers and mobile phones. She has also been a client of Bharti Vyas, the New Age guru, whose holistic therapy centre in London she officially opened last month."

And so it goes in the "Church of the New Advent" ushered in by the "reforms" of Vatican II. The traditional Latin liturgy is virtually banned in England (as elsewhere), while England’s most prominent Catholic laywoman publicly partakes of pagan Mayan rituals and various New Age superstitions. It seems that only divine intervention can reverse the current ecclesial disaster, for the Church’s human element seems determined to maintain that the disaster is really a great renewal. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

Thanks to Jim Bendell of Port Townsend, Washington for the "heads up" on this item.