Special to The B.C. Catholic

“If I had known that my soul was in a spiritual battle, I never would have left the Church at the age of 15,” says Moira Noonan.

The American author and lecturer, who came back to her Catholic faith after 30 years of involvement with the New Age, delivered the 2018 Seminary of Christ the King Lecture Series Sept. 22.

Her lecture aimed at unveiling the prevalence of New Age occult practices at work in society.

The New Age – or “neo-paganism” as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI described it – is not a single religion, she said, but a societal movement comprised of an eclectic blend of practices from Eastern mysticism and Western occultism.

The New Age is very much at home in our present culture, Noonan said, with certain types of yoga, self-help methods, energy or “chi” channelling, alternative healing and more representing some of the varied faces of occultism.

Ultimately, New Age focuses exclusively on glorifying the self, making God seem ever less personal or real, Noonan noting that “at the centre of occultism is the promise of a power to become divine” – the same false promise the serpent made to Adam and Eve.

Addressing why anyone, least of all a practising Catholic, would pursue New Age practices, she said entry into the occult often begins when individuals in a desperate situation or thinking God is ignoring their prayers seek answers beyond the boundaries of the Church.

The New Age deliberately “preys on our legitimate thirst for God,” she said, adding when “fascination outweighs faith” the legitimate search for God is diverted away from Christianity.

Others are attracted by the New Age movement’s alternative path declaring all one seeks can be found within one’s “inner potential.”

The journey deep into the occult is subtle and brief, warned Noonan, and New Age followers soon reject the need for any Saviour, regarding sin as a matter of opinion rather than a fact of humanity.

“All those seemingly harmless practices lead us quickly into the heart of spiritualism,” said Noonan, “but despite their varied innocent appearances, all these practices have the same author: Satan.”

Despite the prevalence of New Age in our culture, Noonan called the audience to be courageous, saying prayers do work, baptismal grace is real, and the Blessed Virgin Mary as and St. Joseph are proven enemies of Satan and his fallen angels.

“Do not give up; there is always hope,” she said, recounting how despite her years of involvement in the New Age it was the Blessed Virgin’s assistance and the prayers of her own daughter that would eventually deliver her from the grips of the demonic world and into the embrace of the Living God.

Raffaele Salvino is a seminarian at the Seminary of Christ the King.