Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 19, 2009
Ancestral sins said to haunt us today
Healing the Family Tree conference explores generational abuses and healing through prayer
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
LLOYDMINSTER - Raised a Catholic, Moira Noonan later began apprenticeship in New Age practices as a college student.
For more than 20 years she worked as a psychic counsellor and a therapist. She became certified in hypnotherapy, past-life regression, astrology, goddess spirituality, clairvoyance and other occult practices.
In 1993, after a series of powerful conversion experiences, she returned to the Church. She is now a popular speaker, evangelizing to the Christian community, explaining the dark influences of the New Age movement.
She is the featured speaker at a conference on Healing of the Family Tree in Lloydminster, Oct. 23-25. St. Anthony's Parish sponsors the conference, designed to help heal relationships and issues that have been handed down through the generations.
The underlying theme of the conference is that the consequences of sin are hereditary. The sins of the father victimize his descendants, damaging the body, mind and spirit of those further down the family tree.
The predisposition to commit certain sins, everything from alcoholism and adultery to suicidal tendencies and divorce, could be passed from one generation to the next, said Judy Reinhart, organizer of the conference.
"If there is something undesirable in our lives, it didn't necessarily come down the family tree," said Reinhart.
However, if one often asks of a certain negative behaviour, "Why can't I stop doing this?" she said there is a strong indication that it's the result of ancestral sin.
FREEDOM THROUGH PRAYER
The sins committed by those who have gone before us can often bind us to the same fate, she said. Many people are in bondage to sinful habits, and wonder if these might affect their offspring.
This conference is an opportunity, through prayer, to let go of patterns and struggles rooted in one's family tree.
"Healing can take a period of time. Just like anything else in our lives, we talk to God continuously, requesting certain situations to change in our lives, and this is no different.
"We need continual prayer," said Reinhart.
Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa is the founder of Ignatius Productions, a Catholic media production apostolate.
An expert on New Age phenomena, Pacwa is cautious of the notion of generational healing. He labels it a "fad movement" and notes the Church takes no official stance.
In an interview, Pacwa traced the movement to psychologist Kenneth McCall, a non-Catholic, who healed clients by offering a Mass for their deceased loved ones.
One documented case involved a madwoman with violent outbursts, who was kept in a straitjacket to protect herself and others. McCall discovered that the woman had a long-dead family member who ran a torture chamber in his castle.
Following a Mass for the deceased family members, she allegedly "went into her right mind."
"This intrigued Dr. McCall," said Pacwa. "This resonated with Catholics because we pray for the dead regularly. Even after a person dies, he could still be held captive in purgatory."
McCall lived in Chicago, a violent city in the early 1990s. There were three times the killings in the city in 1991 than there were in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that same year.
Rather than blaming the city's drug trade, McCall attributed the violence to unresolved sins from the Confederate-era POW camps.
"You definitely see the effects of previous generations' sins," Pacwa said. "Every culture fights in wars that were no fault of their own and were caused by the actions of earlier generations. In Afghanistan, this war that exists now between al-Qaeda and other groups has its roots in World War One."
But the concept does not necessarily apply spiritually and should not be taken as a dogma, he said.
"It's a spiritual theory, not a scientific theory that can be proven or unproven. That's why Catholics seem to shy away from it."
A problem he pointed out with the theory is that praying for the dead is intended as a selfless act, not as a means of healing one's own disorders.
"With generational healing, the shift has focused from the dead to myself, and it turns from an act of charity, if you're not careful, into an act of narcissism," said Pacwa.
He encouraged Catholics to stop analyzing familial sins and start analyzing their own.
"My grandparents are dead. I offer a Mass for my grandparents every Christmas Eve, not because I want my own healing but because I love them still," he said.
Another featured speaker at the Lloydminster conference is Father Denis Phaneuf, a forerunner in the Catholic charismatic renewal. He will discuss generational curses and blessings, forgiveness, and deliver a homily on generational healing through the Eucharist.
Noonan is a catechist and spiritual director in the San Diego Diocese.
"For me to have been involved in any kind of New Age or occult practice, it is very rare that a person getting involved with this would wake up one day at 25 years old and say I want to go out there and be an occultist. It doesn't happen that way. It would have been an influence that came down from someone," said Noonan.
She discovered that her family members dabbled in occult practices. Her grandfather, a collector for a museum, travelled through Asia and got involved with their "occult culture."
"I live in California where people say 'Let's go over to the powwows' and they come back with these dream catchers and all these weird objects.
"Then they wonder why their whole family has headaches, why their children are no longer interested in going to church, and why their husband sleeps on the couch and won't sleep in the bed where the dream catcher is. They don't understand that these things are cursed," she said.
Sacramental objects are a blessing in a home, whereas in the occult they have objects that are cursed, explained Noonan.
"If somebody opens the door through being hypnotized or going to a psychic or some kind of alternative healing practitioner, they can pick up the spirit and it can go on to their children," she said.
Noonan is quick to credit Father John Hampsch, who she calls "a walking tribute to this work." He wrote the book Healing Your Family Tree and also wrote the foreword to Noonan's book, Ransomed From Darkness: The New Age, Christian Faith and the Battle for Souls.
A FUNCTIONING FAMILY NOW
In her own family tree, there has been healing, reconciliation and complete conversion to the Church. Family members did not speak to one another and had abandoned the Church altogether. She credits generational healing for making them a functioning family again.
As a layperson, her goal is to share the message of hope that, "It worked in my family and, therefore, it can work in yours."
More information about Noonan is available at www.spiritbattleforsouls.org. For more information on the conference, call 780-875-6408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letter to the Editor - 11/30/09
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