Many “Catholic” colleges embrace yoga despite Hindu spirituality

Many “Catholic” colleges embrace yoga despite Hindu spirituality

From Cardinal Newman Society Report Card / April 19, 2017
By Matt Archbold

In a piece criticizing Benedictine College of Kansas for its plans to rename a yoga class and change the content to ensure the class focuses only on physical exercise and not spiritual or cultural elements—a perfectly appropriate action for a faithful Catholic college—The World Hindu News exposes several other Catholic colleges and universities that have yoga classes apparently without due caution.

“Prominent US Roman Catholic universities/colleges—University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, College of the Holy Cross, Boston College, Villanova University, Santa Clara University, Providence College, College of Saint Benedict, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Marquette University, University of Dayton, Creighton University, John Carroll University, Loyola University Maryland, Xavier University, Fordham University, etc., offer various classes and programs of yoga regularly,” the piece states. “Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) in Belgium, one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Europe founded in 1425, offers various yoga classes. It is launching ‘Mindful Yoga’ at University Parish ‘specifically for PhD students and staff.’”

With that lineup of colleges—many of which have severely compromised their Catholic identity—one might almost think that the paper was supporting Benedictine’s argument.

Fr. John Riley, chancellor for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, said yoga “is a mind and body practice developed under Hinduism, the goal of which is spiritual purification that will lead to a higher level of understanding and eventually union with the divine.”

He continued: “It is for these reasons that Catholics are alerted to the dangers of the practice of yoga and are encouraged to look for other exercise alternatives that do not incorporate a spiritual dimension.”

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