JUNG REPLACES JESUS IN CATHOLIC SPIRITUALITY
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
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
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
"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
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
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.
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
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."
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
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.