Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Family Tree Masses / Generational Healing did not originate in Catholicism

I put together an article on this topic before as these 'Family Tree Masses' are still ongoing especially here in Ireland.  These practices are leading people astray and for some people encourage a 'quick fix' notion of healing which is unhealthy and very wrong.  To me it is a sign of very bad Catechesis or a complete lack of understanding of the Sacraments and our Faith in general.  We need to re- learn our faith and understand our faith through sound Catechesis and also through a stronger prayer life centred on the Holy Eucharist with the help of Our Lady and the Saints. 

It is good to pray for the dead, the Holy Souls and we must because they need our prayers so badly.  But it is not correct to say that the sins of our ancestors  'cause us the sins of today'.  We are all affected by original sin but we cannot blame our ancestors continually for our sins.  We are all individually responsible for our own sins.  Of course we are affected by others sins, but not in the way that this family tree / generational healing suggests. One could ask oneself what is the purpose of our Baptism ?  What is the purpose of purgatory and also what great graces has God given us in the Divine Mercy.  See articles below for detailed information. 

Below is a paragraph from

"Generational Healing" promotes the belief that there is a necessity to heal the family tree based on the alleged "too many cases" where recurring problems such as divorce, alcoholism, financial problems, accidents, run in families. When a person dies, it is believed that his/her spirits who caused such problems or natural spiritual tendencies or inclinations are passed on to the descendants. In other words, it is believed that children are adversely affected by the sins of their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, who were also affected by the sins of their ancestors.

And from an article from Robert Stackpole of the Divine Mercy Apostolate in Stockbridge, USA
Full article here: The Divine Mercy - The Sins of our Ancestors

Regarding the central issue that both Winifred and Gloria bring up, their inclinations are correct, I think. God does not hold children, or present generations, morally responsible for the sins of their parents and ancestors. This is clearly laid out in Holy Scripture when the Israelites were blaming their troubles on the sins of their forefathers (see Jer 23:5-6). In the book of the prophet Ezekiel, chapter 18, verses 1-4, we read:

The Word of the Lord came to me again: "What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, 'The Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?' As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: that soul that sins shall die."

So, despite the ancient temptation to blame our ancestors for our sins and misfortunes, we are each morally responsible for our own sins in the eyes of God. Indeed, we need to look into our own hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to help us repent so that we can find forgiveness and spiritual healing. God is surely not so unjust as to force children (including infants, who have not attained the age of reason and therefore have not committed any voluntary sins of their own) to "pay" in justice for the sins of others.

Article on what the Bishops in Korea said in 2007: - Korean Bishops condemn family tree healing practices

Healing the "family tree", or "generational healing" spread from the United states to Korea. The Korean bishops express deep concerns that some Catholics have deviated from Church teaching and issue a pastoral directive against it.

SEOUL, KOREA (UCAN) - Bishop Paul Choi Deog-ki of Suwon has issued a pastoral directive warning Catholics against "family-tree healing" practices, which he says runs counter to Church teaching.

Bishop Choi released his four-page directive on Nov. 2, All Souls' Day. The document was also published in the Nov. 11 issue of the diocesan weekly bulletin.
"Recently, the so-called 'family-tree healing' practice has been spreading among some faithful in Suwon diocese. It came from overseas and combines Church teachings with non-traditional teachings," he wrote in his letter. The bishop speaks of concerns that this wrong practice could spread "especially in November, the month dedicated to praying for the souls in Purgatory."

According to the directive, proponents of this practice believe that people inherit their ancestors' sins, which cause chronic family problems. The proponents of "family-tree healing," also called "generational healing, argue that if people do not pray for their ancestors' souls and offer Masses for the removal of their sins, these problems cannot be solved. Bishop Choi explains that "family-tree healing is a mixture of traditional Church teaching" on the souls of the dead and Oriental religious worldviews. "The belief that people inherit their ancestors' sins is not part of the Catholic faith," he stresses.

He points out that sins belong solely to the individual and cannot be inherited. Furthermore, baptism frees all Catholics from their past sins, even original sin, he points out. In his directive, the prelate prohibits meetings where erroneous "family-tree healing" beliefs are propagated. He urges Catholics not to participate in these gathering and to report such cases to parish priests. Father John Moon Hee-jong, evangelization director of Suwon diocese, told UCA News on Nov. 9: "For the past few years, the Church has been monitoring the family-tree healing practice among the faithful with concern. Bishop Choi issued the directive to warn the faithful not to subscribe to this belief."

The priest, who teaches liturgy at Suwon Catholic University, added that the diocese issued the directive after theological, doctrinal and pastoral investigations into the phenomenon over the past year.
According to Father Moon, "family-tree healing" came to Korea from the United States and has been practiced mostly at charismatic gatherings. Proponents play on people's fears by using "threatening words," he added, saying the Church "has to stop them to protect the faith life of Catholics." He pointed out that Catholicism "is a religion of hope, as believers wait for the resurrection of all people, following Jesus Christ."

The Korean bishops, during their plenary assembly in October, expressed concern that some Catholics have deviated from Church teaching through the misguided "family-tree healing" practice. They said it arises from an incorrect interpretation of the doctrine of original sin and an incorrect view of the world to come, adding that these errors are combined with shamanism. As of 2006, Suwon diocese had 672,803 Catholics served by two bishops and 386 priests in 173 parishes and 28 mission stations, according to the Korean bishops' conference. The diocese has the second-highest number of Catholics in South Korea after Seoul archdiocese.

*Please continue to pray for the Souls in Purgatory and for all those who have died and have the Holy Mass celebrated for them. 

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