by Richard Bennett
First we must define just what the term “mysticism” means. Mysticism is an attempt to gain ultimate knowledge of God by a direct experience that bypasses the mind. As practiced by those who claim to be Christian, mysticism not only bypasses the mind, but it circumvents Christ Jesus as mediator. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has assimilated into herself the mystery elements of pagan religions; however, in 1965, at the time of Vatican Council II, Papal Rome officially joined itself with pagan religions and their practice of seeking to know God by direct experience. Some of the exact words of approval for these practices are still in the Vatican Council II documents. For example, Papal Rome states,
“…In Hinduism men explore the divine mystery and express it both in the limitless riches of myth and the accurately defined insights of philosophy. They seek release from the trials of the present life by ascetical practices, profound meditation and recourse to God in confidence and love. Buddhism in its various forms testifies to the essential inadequacy of this changing world. It proposes a way of life by which man can, with confidence and trust, attain a state of perfect liberation and reach supreme illumination either through their own efforts or by the aid of divine help… The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.”
Thus, Papal Rome officially accepts in Hinduism, that with confidence and love, one may seek release from the trials of the present life by ascetical practices and profound meditation. Similarly, in Buddhism, one may “attain a state of perfect liberation and reach supreme illumination, either through their own efforts or by the aid of divine help.” Such an authorized approval of pagan practices has now become quite apparent in modern day Catholicism. Two months after the Vatican’s monumental acceptance of pagan mysticism, another well-known papal document revealed the heart of Roman Catholic policy. The basis for the recognition of pagan practices was proclaimed to be a “divine element” in mankind. This divine element in mankind makes it possible for the Catholic to have some sense of brotherhood with other religions. The exact words of another Vatican Council II document are,
“It [Vatican Council II] longs to set forth the way it understands the presence and function of the [Roman Catholic] Church in the world of today. Therefore, the world which the Council has in mind is the whole human family seen in the context of everything which envelops it… This is the reason why this sacred Synod, in proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming an element of the divine in him, offers to co-operate unreservedly with mankind in fostering a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs.”
The Jesuit mystical priest, William Johnston, explains what had happened as the Papal Church recognized pagan religions as valid ways to reach God.
“Then came the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Overnight the Catholic Church which had been a Western institution exporting its wares to the East became a world community. Asian and African bishops and theologians assembled in Rome and, with their European and American confreres, acknowledged that the Spirit of God is at work in all peoples and in all religions. Since then, most theologians recognize non-Christian religions as ‘valid ways’.”
Out of this mingling of Papal traditions with Paganism the same William Johnston teaches disastrously deceitful ways to directly experience God. He writes, “Self-realization lies at the very heart of Buddhism… In self-realization I become one with God just as the object is one with the mirror and just as Jesus is one with his Father.” Thus, it is that present day Catholicism stands hand-in-hand with Buddhism and Hinduism.