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Kind of weird and new agey, but I was looking on etsy.com for handmade rosaries and there are all kinds of ones that are apparently used for new age spiritual purposes. They look just like regular rosaries (except for the steampunk one), but what is the connection to Catholicism to the sellers of these products. Are they attempting to subvert devotion to Mary by injecting the powers of darkness or are they a splinter organization from the Catholic Church selling products to their own group members?

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P.S. I think I'll be searching for "Catholic Rosary" from now on instead of just "Rosary"!

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guess (hence comment): They are looking to capitalize on "generally spiritual" people rather than devout catholics. Or Catholics who are heavily into mystical elements (particularly those of the east as reiki appears to be a Japanese thing) –  wax eagle Jun 7 '12 at 18:07
    
I dunno, I think it's all sorts of eastern stuff mixed in to one pseudo-Catholic package, I saw one ad touting the chakra-enhancing material used in the beads. –  Peter Turner Jun 7 '12 at 18:13
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Some people can't seem to get enough of this sort of hippy syncretism. I'd guess it's rarely overtly malicious, but dangerous nonetheless -- certainly for the brain, and probably for the soul as well. Apparently the Jesuit Fr. Mitch Pacwa literally wrote the book on it, after having emerged from some dabbling of his own: amazon.com/dp/089283756X –  Ben Dunlap Jun 8 '12 at 16:05
    
The only connection, as your selected answer seems to indicate, is that the sellers think they're Catholic! –  svidgen Nov 27 '12 at 20:54
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is frequent belief in New Age that everything "good" is from just one source. Many New Age gurus (including reiki masters) encourage their disciples to very strange forms of syncretism (even in "never stay long enough to learn the language" manner). From this perspective, it seems completely valid to use a reiki-infused Catholic rosary to count Buddhist mantras. The fact that similar items are sometimes called "rosary" even if used by other religions for different practices even deepens this confusion.

Of course, this have nothing in common with teaching of Catholic Church. Unfortunately, there are people who say they are Christians (or, particularly, Catholic) and still believe this, and others who just can't see what's bad about it. Sort of a challenge for priest and catechetists. I myself used to believe it for quite a long time. This error was deeply burrowed in my head until my conversion and it took me few more months to realize how far from truth it is.

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What exactly is bad, about reiki? I have never experienced it but it seems more like a meditation type thing... –  Greg McNulty Nov 27 '12 at 20:52
    
@GregMcNulty: it's a method of healing and other magic through some mysterious energy. Unlike similar practices, the reikist gets energy from "somewhere" and the effect is only partially dependent on their will, that's why it's believed to be a gift of God by many New-agers. I have experience both with using reiki and with demonic oppression connected with it, or seeing others experiencing spiritual attacks while I felt energy flowing through me (and couldn't do anything about that except for pray to God). For details, ask a question like "Why is New Age considered evil by many Christians?" –  Pavel Nov 27 '12 at 23:11
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The concept of a string of prayer beads is hardly unique to Catholicism. They date back several centuries into BC times in various pagan religions. The term "rosary" adds a uniquely Catholic significance to it, but the term is probably being used here as shorthand: the only example most viewers are familiar with is the Catholic rosary, so that's what the sellers call it.

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It had a crucifix on it. I could have shown you but I didn't want to post a link because I don't want to give 'em any business. –  Peter Turner Jun 7 '12 at 18:11
    
@PeterTurner upload a pic? –  wax eagle Jun 7 '12 at 18:14
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Bizarre. The user's profile page names the business as FoxRaven Designs. A quick search led me to FoxRaven's website, which claims:

FoxRaven prayer beads, malas and rosaries are individually hand-crafted and reiki-charged in Connecticut by Maya, a Karuna and Usui Reiki Master. Maya creates Christian rosaries and prayer beads spanning many faiths, including pagan, islamic, buddhist, yogic and new age spiritualities.

The artist claims to have been "raised in a Roman Catholic/Buddhist environment," (whatever that means) but now professes to be a "Reiki Master and Shamanic Practitioner."

Any connections the artist may have had to the Catholic Church appear to be solely historical.

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