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(Chris and) Elizabeth (Elle) Wood wrote:

Hi, guys —

My husband and I have moved a lot with his job so we are constantly hearing new things in each others church. I try to go to daily Mass and in the process have met several other Catholic women. One told me about her experience of going to Brazil to see John of God, who is a healer. Last I knew necromancy, or calling on ancient spirits, was considered an abomination to our Lord.

  • Do you know of this man-healer?
  • What is the Catholic Church's teaching about these healers?

Also, another woman invited me to go to a healing prayer home in Leander, Texas which was initiated by a visionary, Christina Gallagher.

I looked up this visionary and from what I researched, the bishop did not, and would not, approve her house of prayer but she proceeded to open it anyway. She claims the Blessed Mother wanted her to open these house of prayers around the United States. I would not go because of her disobedience to the bishop.

  • Do you know the Church's position on either of these people so that I might be able to assist these parishioners from being misled?

Because of Him,

Elizabeth

  { Do you know the Church's position on either John of God in Brazil or Christina Gallagher? }

Mike replied:

Hi Elizabeth,

I share your same concerns and think you have acted appropriately. Although I am not aware of either John of God, the healer in Brazil, or Christian Gallagher, I do have some pretty strong opinions in this area.

I welcome my colleague's opinions as well.

Let me say up front, I don't know if there are any approved healers within the Church but don't doubt the possibility that there have been some approved by a local bishop in union with the Holy See. I have been to Charismatic healing services and, although my spirituality differs from what you will find there, it is still an approved ministry within the Church focused on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Any approved Charismatic healer at any healing service would have to be approved by the local bishop. Whether intended or not, I do think there can a misplaced emphasis on the true meaning of healing within the Church and I, personally, don't get much out of these healing services.

  • Why?

Because if I wish to get healed, I go to the downstairs to the lower church portion of my parish every Saturday at St. Patrick at 3:00pm and go to Confession. This is where I get truly spiritually healed by Jesus Himself! John 20:19-23

  • You may say, What about physically?

Here I think it is important to develop a prayerful attitude of accepting God's Will in our lives.

  • No matter what the physical limitation is
  • no matter what the chronic illness is
  • no matter what mental illness is

we have to first pray that we be given the grace to carry the Cross that Our Blessed Lord Jesus has given to us to bear. If we focus on that as the primary solution, combined with a daily prayer life, things will work out according to His Will.

  • You may say, What would be wrong with going to a Charismatic healing service to see
    if I can get physically healed?

Nothing — for the same reason it wouldn't be wrong to go to the local convenience store to play the mega bucks to see if you can become a millionaire.

... as long as it is not done obsessively.

On the issues of visiting various apparitions of Our Blessed Lord, Mary, any of the Saints, or any related apparition.

If the local bishop is loyal to the Holy See and has not approved of a specific visionary or apparition, I would not go to that visionary or apparition. Going to unapproved visionaries or apparitions of Our Lord, Our Blessed Mother, Saints, or any related apparition will only cause pastoral, and sometimes doctrinal, confusion in the Church.

You were wise to choose to stay away!

You said:

  • Do you know the Church's position on either of these people, so that I might be able to assist these parishioners from being misled?

No, I don't but one of my colleague may.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Terry replied:

Hi, Elizabeth —

Look Christina Gallagher up on a search engine.

I have visited her House of Prayer on Achill Island on the West Coast of Ireland as part of my research for an Masters Degree in Mariology.

All I can tell you is her local bishop does not support her. I did not feel any sense of the sacred, the way one feels a place of holiness such as at Lourdes, but sensations are very subjective.

I would simply suggest caution, without suggesting the lady is in any way a fraud.

Terry Quinn
England

Elizabeth replied:

Hi guys,

Also look on-line for, John of God Brazil, because it appears to us he's a trafficker of spirits or a necromancer.

There is supposed to be an aura of spirituality there, as told to us by a woman from our parish who attended one of his events. She is convinced this person is a legitimate healer sent from God. Read carefully about it, and you may discover, as we have, that there is something not quite right about him.

Regarding Christina Gallagher, she has a prayer house established in Austin, Texas as well as in other places in the USA. The bishop here has not approved of it. That's enough for us. There is another web site that debunks many of her visions as well.

We would be interested in your feedback.

Because of Him,

Chris and Elle Wood

Richard replied:

Hi Chris,

I see what you mean. Joao Teixeira de Faria sounds like any number of other charlatan psychic surgeons.

From the description on his promotional web site he's plainly engaged in practices of spiritism:

"he can call on more than 34 doctor entities who use him as a vessel to perform the amazing surgery and healing. Joao is an unconscious medium, she explains, who does not remember anything once he is incorporated by entity. The principal entity is Dom Inácio, after whom the centre is named — Casa De Dom Inácio."

As you know, spiritism is a religion contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic Church; in Brazil, the Church makes considerable efforts to warn Catholics against it.

Regarding Christina Gallagher, I wrote an item on the "Catholic Light" blog last year with an overview of her problems:

— RC

Mike replied:

Chris and Elle,

Stay away from this guy. The Church doesn't believe in channeling or trafficking in spirits.

You said:
There is supposed to be an aura of spirituality there, as told to us by a woman from our parish who attended one of his events.

I have no doubt that the demonic can make anyone look like a saintly person. Listen to the local bishop if he is loyal to the Holy See.

You recommended reading something in a separate e-mail from the CatholicPlanet web site but I would recommend staying away from that web site as their rating on Catholic Culture is dangerous.

Catholic Culture rating of CatholicPlanet.com

That site also had something about the Secrets of Medjugorje and Garabandal Revealed

Neither of these apparitions have been approved by the Vatican so neither should be promoted or attended by any Catholics.

Richard offered me the following information on Medjugorje:


To clarify about pilgrimages to Medjugorje: individual Catholic faithful cannot be forbidden to go to St. James Church in Medjugorje. It is, after all, a Catholic parish, and people can go there to attend Mass or for any other legitimate reason.

What is forbidden is making pilgrimages: that is, going there on the basis of claimed supernatural events. Many well-meaning people have never heard that the bishops of Yugoslavia have prohibited pilgrimages, and intended the ban to be so sweeping. Anyone needing clarification, especially priests, can and should write to the bishop of Mostar-Duvno (even by e-mail to biskupija@cbismo.hr !) for information.

Here are some resources:

This document cites statements and directives by the Yugoslav bishops and CDF officials. Note: the English version is a bit awkward in places.

A news item, as it appeared on my blog:

Former advisor to seers is laicized for suspect mysticism, heresy, disobedience, and sexual misconduct within the context of the Medjugorje phenomenon:

Books on the case:

The Medjugorje case is a complicated matter, with its own dramatic aspects, and the critical books about it are relatively few and unpublicized.

The best recent book on Medjugorje is by Donal Foley, and published by his small company Theotokos Books, which is in Britain. The book is pretty thorough about the history of the alleged apparition, including its problematic aspects.

I know it can't be easy to read a lot of skeptical material about something you might have been favorably disposed to, but I hope this helps!

— Richard

[Related posting] [Related posting] [Related posting]

Elizabeth replied:

Mike,

Thanks for the information.

Don't worry! We are fully aware of the spiritual warfare and the tricks of the Liar. We are fighting a battle here with seemingly devout Catholics who are allowing their ears to be tickled by visionaries and spiritual healers. And let us tell you, although this is anecdotal, we are seeing more Catholics being lured by these false prophets.

We double check everything and your comment on CatholicPlanet.com will be taken to heart.
Thanks for being candid.

Your team's information will be studied by us and ultimately used in educating these people not be misled.

Pray for us, as we will for all of you. The spiritual battle for souls rages.

Because of Him,

Chris and Elle

Melinda, a visitor to our site said:

Hi, Mike —

I wanted to add a comment to the posts about John of God.

I went to Brazil some years ago as a journalist. We had heard stories about this man. I spent literally weeks doing research about him, but could only find positive information, including the rare newspaper articles I could find from around the world. I spoke to a medical doctor who said he had been there and was completely amazed at the results of these healings and surgeries. Later I found out that doctor was one of the travel group leaders. Most of the information on the web comes from people who are travel group leaders — in other words, this is how they make their living.

I could write a book on this topic, let me just say this:

I am not a Catholic, but have always been somewhat religious though I hadn't been to church for many years. I had a secret hope that this was all true and that I might receive a healing myself for a chronic condition. Nevertheless, before I left on my trip I prayed that the Lord would open my eyes to the truth, whatever it might be.

This is what I found. There is much going on behind the scenes at this little healing center. I was chastised several times for not closing my eyes as they don't want you to see what's really going on there, hand signals, people bleeding, etc.

We found out that this man is not only a charlatan but he has a criminal record and there have been several mysterious or violent deaths around him. Most of the locals are very reticent on the subject of the Casa, The really sad part is that many good, kind, and suffering people go there. They gush about the energy, etc.

  • There may have been healings there but what is the source of that healing power?

They speak of entities that do the healing work, but don't dare not call them angels. One of their most outrageous claims is that he has channeled our Lord Jesus Christ in this endeavor. While he does not charge for a consultation which lasts on average ten to fifteen seconds, yes seconds, they do charge for herbs, and at Euro prices in Brazil it adds up to a lot of money.

Miraculously, everyone is healed with the same herb — passionflower. Apparently it can heal everything from cancer to multiple sclerosis to AIDS. I could go on and on about the things I saw there and the people I met.

When I went there I would say that my beliefs were ill-defined, very liberal, and non-judgmental with respect to religious and spiritual beliefs, however, this experience clarified much for me. The first thing I did when I got home was go to Church and start reading my Bible again.

Consider the number of people — more professional, educated, and intelligent than me, who had gone there before me and been sucked in — in some cases because of their desperation. Others, I'm convinced, shrewdly recognize a business opportunity and feign belief. I'm grateful that the Lord did answer my prayer, He lifted the veil for me to see and to find the right people at the right time to tell their stories.

Please, if anyone is considering a trip to Brazil for healing, at the very least, look for documented proof, not anecdotal testimonies. You would do better to stay at home and go to Church. Talk to a healer who doesn't need to use knives or forceps up the nose.

Jesus healed with simple words. Also, know who you are praying to. I found so many people who pray to the Universe or to the Entities without knowing what or who it is they are praying to.

Naturally, he never mentioned this to me and the channeler makes a cut from every person who goes there via these travel leaders.

I hope this will help someone out there. I'm sure some of your Catholic readers are not as devout or informed as others. This is for them.

I actually met a woman there with terminal liver cancer whose children were urging her to go to Brazil, but she said she would only go if her priest said it was OK.

Sadly, her priest actually told her there was no harm in her going!

God Bless,

Melinda

Melinda followed up later:

Hi, Mike —

Thanks for posting that information I sent you a few days ago.

I hope it will convince at least one person to stay home.

God Bless,

Melinda
[Related posting]

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