Bishop tells schools to ban ‘yoga’ and ‘mindfulness’
By COLIN BARTLEY
A BISHOP in a neighbouring diocese has asked schools to refrain from practicing yoga and mindfulness and instead replace them with prayers and “quiet meditation”.
In a letter sent to schools across Waterford city and county last week, the Bishop of Waterford & Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan said: “Yoga is not of Christian origin and is not suitable for our parish school setting.”
The bishop begins his letter saying “prayer is key and is the central part of each school day,” before going on to ask the schools to give “the children a period of silence to speak to Jesus in their own words”.
Bishop Cullinan then claims he has been approached by members of his congregation concerned about the practice in local schools.
He adds: “I have been asked by several people to say a word on yoga and mindfulness. My question is –Will they bring us closer to Christ or replace him?
“Yoga is not of Christian origin and is not suitable for our parish school setting and not during religious education time.”
The Bishop then turns his attention towards mindfulness, saying “it has been practiced in the Christian tradition since the beginning”. But he adds: “Christian mindfulness is not mindfulness but is meditation based on Christ, emptying the mind of everything unnecessary so that we become aware of the presence and love of Christ.”
He then quotes a 2015 Pope Francis homily, in which the Pontiff said: “Practices like yoga are not capable of opening our hearts up to God…all of this will never be able to give you freedom.”
Bishop Cullinan pleads with the schools to replace yoga and mindfulness with prayer this October, the international month of the Rosary.
“I encourage you to pray the Rosary and help the children to spend time with Jesus in adoration and quiet meditation in the classroom,” he says.