Jung Replaces Jesus In Catholic Spirituality

Authored By: Paul Likoudis


by Paul Likoudis

It's certainly one of the most bizarre developments in 20th-century Catholicism that Carl Gustav Jung, dedicated to the destruction of the Catholic Church and the establishment of an anti-Church based on psychoanalysis, should have become the premier spiritual guide in the Church throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe over the last three decades.

But that's the case.

Walk into a typical Catholic bookstore and browse in the "spirituality" section, and you'll see the best-selling books of such popularizers of the Jung Cult as priests Basil Pennington, Richard Rohr, and Thomas Keating.

Read the listings for "spirituality" programs and retreats in many diocesan newspapers. You will see that programs on Jungian dream analysis, discovering the child within, contacting your "god/goddess," or similar such Jungian therapy programs predominate, even though they have nothing to do with Catholic spirituality and are inherently antithetical to it.

Forty years ago, the great Catholic psychiatrist Karl Stern in (Harcourt Brace & Co.. 1954), wrote that most Catholic scholars recognized that Jung and Catholicism are incompatible-irreconcilable-and he warned that the Jungian who begins viewing religion as existing on the same plane as psychology ends up viewing all religions as equally irrelevant.

"As a German philosopher friend of mine once remarked with a pun," wrote Stern, " (that which is equally relevant becomes irrelevant). The curtain of the temple is conjured away with an elegant flourish. The border between nature and grace exists no longer, and no longer are you mortally engaged. Matters of the spirit are part of a noncommittal therapeutic method; Jacob no longer wrestles with the angel in a horrible grip which leaves him forever limping -instead, he takes his daily hour of gymnastics."

In the years since, however, Catholic scholars, priests, religious, and laity have gone over to Jung with the fervor of Athenians flocking to the Oracle at Delphi.

One of the most important landmarks in the history of the establishment of the Jung Cult in the Catholic Church was the publication of , as a special feature of , published by Paulist Press (the same order that produced RENEW) in March/April 1984.

The special feature showed not only how far the Jung Cult had infiltrated Church structures, but now it was being mass-marketed for ordinary parishioners bored with the contemporary state of Catholic spirituality.

Among the contributors (Editor's note: the described credentials were for 1984, when the articles appeared):

Dr. Wallace Clift, an Episcopalian minister and president of the Jung Society of Colorado, and chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Denver, predicted that "Jung's notion of religion is . . . destined to become the most influential development in the psychology of religion in this century." Clift explained that Jung was a trailblazer in recognizing that the old form of externalized Christian ritual and belief had given way to a new form of religion: discovery of the Self, or God within, and the technique to discover it.

Robert T. Sears, S.J., instructor in pastoral studies at Loyola University in Chicago, who recognized that Jungian spirituality is at odds with traditional Catholic spirituality, as exemplified by St. Ignatius' , but Jung nevertheless offers valuable insights on how to "expand to greater inner awareness by accepting our shadow side."

Fr. Diarmuid McGann, an assistant pastor at a New York church, described as a "consultant on the USCC-commissioned 30-part TV program on marriage and divorce," offered Jung as a key to understanding oneself. Jung enables one to reach the "inner self ' where there is a world of images, messages, symbols, stories, and myths that tell one who one is.

John Welch, O. Carm., chairman of pastoral studies at the Washington Theological Union, wrote that Jung was for people who believed God was dead, and Jung could guide them on "their own inner spiritual journey in a search for meaning." By searching within, we find the divine. Jung taught that the old religious symbols had become meaningless and the only way to find meaning was to become involved in the ongoing discovery of new symbols, which are "on the horizon."

Elizabeth Dryer, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology at Catholic University, wrote on Jung and the feminine in spirituality. "Jung," she wrote, "has provided a service for us in calling our attention to aspects of human experience that have been overshadowed and even denigrated in our preoccupation with reason and logic.... His pioneering work has been seen by many as an invitation to see themselves as persons on the way to psychic wholeness, and to employ the geography of the psyche to assist them on their journey into self-transcendence and union with God."

George B. Wilson, S.J., former professor at Woodstock College, now an organizational consultant with Management Design, Inc., of Cincinnati, who, it will be recalled, was an active agent in attempting to discredit the late Bishop Joseph Sullivan of Baton Rouge, when his firm was hired (under pressure) to ease the tensions between Sullivan and his dissident priests.

Wilson shows how Jung's theories on the conscious and subconscious can be applied to organizations, which must constantly be refounded and updated lest their symbols become sterile and lose meaning.

John Sanford, a certified Jungian analyst in San Diego, compares and contrasts the Church's tradition of the origin of evil with Jung's theories. Sanford argues that traditional or common understanding of the Catholic position would seem to be irreconcilable with Jung's often contradictory theories of evil, but that the Church's position could change and come into line with Jung's, since its position has never been formally defined.

Morton Kelsey, an Episcopalian minister and certified counselor, observes that Jung offers 20th-century citizens the same message Jesus delivered 2,000 years ago, only updated to take into account the current psychological condition of modern people. Kelsey wrote that Jung only entered the arena of spiritual counseling because he could find no priests to whom he could refer his patients who needed counseling.

Thomas Clark, S.J., author of (Paulist, 1983), writes that "we are only at the beginning of the task of utilizing Jungian typology for furthering Gospel purposes"-self-understanding, building community, and so forth.

The Cult In Action

Moving beyond the theoretical or publicity level, Catholic spiritual programs in the United States show a definite Jungian inclination.

For example, for 25 years, the Consultation Center of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., sponsored, supported, and subsidized by the Diocese of Albany, has offered Jungian therapy groups, special focus groups, lectures, and workshops taught by certified Jungian psychotherapists.

The center was established in 1969 by Fr. John Malecki, Ph.D., C.A.C., the former spiritual director for Mater Christi Seminary, who, one Albany priest told , "destroyed many, many vocations."

Malecki, the priest said, "was a 'space cadet' of the first order, and in the days when 'spiritual direction' was mandatory, he subjected a lot of good blue-collar kids who simply wanted to be priests to all kinds of psychosexual psychoanalysis, and though those boys didn't have any problems when they went into the seminary, they sure did by the time they left."

Malecki is still a teacher at the center, though now it is under the direction of Fr. Anthony J. Chiaramonte, Ph.D.

Among the courses offered at the center in November and December, 1994 were:

"Dream Weekend: In this group therapy, we will use participants' personal dreams as a way of working on problems and issues. As we learn to consciously relate to the images and energies communicated from the Unconscious, we find ourselves dealing more effectively with personal relations and interactions, and also experience a richer and fuller life. This dream work will be done from a Jungian perspective. "

The course is taught by Fr. Malecki, and costs $60.00.

Another $60.00 course taught by Fr. Malecki is "Psychodrama - A Jungian Approach" which "allows us to recreate the conflicts of our many roles in a safe, supportive environment, redefine these roles, and grow toward health and wholeness."

A 12-session, $240 program taught by Fr. Chiaramonte is "Men's Group," which "is designed to explore a panorama of male issues in a warm, caring, supportive atmosphere. Special focus will be centered on male development, socialization, identity, sexuality, and communication skills.... The group process will provide a nonjudgmental atmosphere for personal empowerment, more authenticity, meaning, growth, and healing."

Certified Jungian analyst Pearl Mindell, for $150, will offer "From Innocence to Experience."

"In this seminar, we will journey together through the phases from innocence to experience. This will include exploring what our innocence is, differentiating what is vital and creative from what is static and sentimental. We will then move into naming, mourning, and enacting our losses and endings. We next move into exploring and claiming those creative and inspiring people, experiences, sacred places, and God/Goddess energies that strengthen and nourish our completeness and Self. We will use role plays, stories, dance, music, and ritual in this process of claiming and honoring our experience."

(Editor's note: In the listing for this program in the "Diocesan Calendar" for November, 1994, "God/Goddess" appears in the text, though it was scribbled out by someone before printing - the words remain clearly visible.)

Marni Schwartz, M.S., will offer "Finding Our Stories - Finding Ourselves," for $25.00. "When we journey back in time to the memorable moments of our lives and tell them as we gain valuable insight about life. Taking a similar journey into the folk/fairy tales, the sacred stories, rhymes, and songs which delighted us at some point in time, we find meaning and metaphor for our lives.... The presenter will tell some stories, talk about the potential of storytelling for teaching, healing, and building community, and involve participants in story activities. "

A local Catholic-a reader-attended one program at the Consultation Center to see what actually took place in the programs. The session was on "creation spirituality," and during the session, each participant was told to select a rock from a table in the room "which spoke to us," and take it back to his seat.

"We were told to talk to our rock, to pet it, to listen to it. I thought I was in a nuthouse.

"Then one woman got up-a mother of seven children, now a widow-and said how wonderful the program was, and 'just think that I wasted all those years saying the rosary and going to devotions.'

"She then told us how her rock spoke to her. The rock said, 'I am getting bigger and bigger. I am growing into a boulder.' Then the boulder got so big that it invited her to stand on it and look out over the whole earth, and see all the cities of the world.

"And then the rock told her that all these places were hers.

"And do you know what I thought?," she asked.

Not Unique

The Diocese of Albany is not unique. One of the most important centers for the promotion of the Jungian Cult in the Church is the Kordes Enrichment Center, in the Diocese of Evansville, Ind.

The center, which just completed a multi-million-dollar fund drive to expand the facility, run by the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Ind., offers a slate of programs similar-nearly identical-to the Diocese of Albany's Consultation Center, and is conveniently located to such major Catholic cities as Louisville, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis.

Among the teachers is Sr. Olga Wittenkind, who completed one year of training at the C.G. Jung Institute in Switzerland, and continues her Jungian training in Chicago. She teaches dream therapy.

In a program she offered in February, 1994, "Dreams: Psyche's Path to Spiritual and Psychological Wholeness," she promised to help her students:

"Establish the connections between your interior and exterior worlds through the analyses of dreams;

"Discover how to heal yourself psychologically through dream analysis;

"Find your deepest truth and experience that your dreams can guide you on the 'royal road to consciousness ';

"Learn to alleviate tension while rediscovering meaning in your life and dreams."

The topics to be covered included:

"A Jungian approach to dreams;

"Archetypal underpinnings of dream analysis;

"Persona and Shadow in dream images;

"Anima/animus figures in dreams;

"Dreams and the individuation process;

"Mythology and Fairy Tales: stories of ourselves;

"Dreams and spiritual growth."

Other programs currently running this fall and winter include: "The Inner Quest for Self-Discovery," "Nurturing Sexuality and Spirituality," "Enneagram Spirituality," "Discovering the Clown in You," "Introduction to Massage," and several programs on "centering prayer."

This past September, at the Maryhill Renewal Center, just a few buildings down from the chancery of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, one could hear Benedictine priest David Geraets, O.S.B., offer a retreat on the "connection between Jungian psychology and Christian theology," followed two weeks later by a $95.00 course called "Introduction to Enneagram."

Geraets is the former abbot of the Benedictine Charismatic Monastery in Pecos, N.M., and current superior at the Monastery of the Risen Christ in San Luis Obispo in California.

Other programs offered by Maryhill include "Men's Spiritual Quest: Finding the Good Man Within and Without," "Creativity and Spirituality" - a "day to spend with our creative side: to write, draw, and paint with others; pray with art, writing, and movement"-"Writing for Transformation," and "The Place You Stand is Holy Ground"-working with "journaling, dreams, and creative art expression."

It's Everywhere

The Jung Cult within the American Church is everywhere, from Boston to San Francisco, and entire cadres of priests, religious, and Church functionaries have been initiated into its secrets. It has become an enormous business, too, as the advertisements for books and cassettes for Jungian Catholics in and other Catholic publications testify.

This tragedy has enormous institutional and personal consequences. Not only is the Church- the Body of Christ-deformed and disoriented by this cult, but once an individual is initiated, it's almost impossible to break him of his cult addiction, his hunger for self-actualization, individuation, and "revelation." He thinks he is alive when he is spiritually dead.

Or, as Leanne Payne and Kevin Perotta wrote several years ago for magazine, Christian Jungianism is so confusing because "by giving natural psychological drives and images a divine authority and infallibility, it deflects the word of God which comes to 'discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart' (Heb. 4:12). The notion that fallen man is equipped with a natural drive and center already containing God's purpose and wisdom implies a duty to obey the self, creating a crisis of loyalties when, as inevitably happens. the self's inclinations run counter to the summons to take up the cross and follow Christ....

"Jungians treat supernatural and spiritual realities as psychological realities. Creeds and confessions are regarded as projections of the psyche. Christianity is then valued not for the truths it reveals about man and God, but for its usefulness in mapping and exploring the unconscious. Consequently, Scripture is interpreted subjectively. Christ loses His uniqueness as incarnate Word and mediator between God and man . . . .

"Jungianism, by pushing God beyond the range of human knowledge and beyond good and evil, establishes a god who is both good and evil, a mere projection of the human mind, under whose image spiritual forces come to domineer over human lives. The repudiation of Yahweh invites the return of Baal. The abandonment of the search for holiness and transformation in the Spirit leaves the way open for spirits of sexual bondage, phallic demons."

In invoking the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church's battle against the new Albigensianism under the title of "Restorer of the Christian Order," Pope Leo XIII noted the power of the rosary to counter the spread of heresy.

It's of more than passing interest, as several observers have remarked, that once Catholics enter the Jung Cult, they quickly learn to despise the rosary as an out-of-date, ineffective symbol of the old Church.

This article was taken from the January 5, 1995 issue of "The Wanderer," 201 Ohio Street, St. Paul, MN 55107, 612-224-5733. Subscription Price: $35.00 per year; six months $20.00.