Is Centering Prayer Catholic meditation?

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A friend of mine took a class on Centering Prayer and was told that this method of prayer is used by Pope John Paul II. Is that true and is Centering prayer worth learning?


If you’re referring to the “Centering Prayer” technique authored by Trappist Abbot Thomas Keating and Father Basil Pennington, I would urge extreme caution. This method of prayer is a dangerous fusion of non-Christian Eastern (Zen) mysticism and Christian meditation. It is not compatible with Catholic tradition. I suspect the Holy Father would not approve of this method of prayer.

The Church warns against blending Eastern (Zen) mysticism and Christian spirituality in the document Some Aspects of Christian Meditation:
  1. With the present diffusion of eastern methods of meditation in the Christian world and in ecclesial communities, we find ourselves faced with a pointed renewal of an attempt, which is not free from dangers and errors, “to fuse Christian meditation with that which is non-Christian.” Some use eastern methods solely as a psycho-physical preparation for a truly Christian contemplation; others go further and, using different techniques, try to generate spiritual experiences similar to those described in the writings of certain Catholic mystics.
Another disturbing aspect to Centering Prayer is it‘s New Age influence. We read in the document *Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life * that the “New Age imports Eastern religious practices piecemeal and re- interprets them to suit Westerners; this involves a rejection of the language of sin and salvation… Additionally, “some of the traditions which flow into New Age are: ancient Egyptian occult practices, Cabbalism, early Christian gnosticism, Sufism, the lore of the Druids, Celtic Christianity, mediaeval alchemy, Renaissance hermeticism, Zen Buddhism, Yoga and so on. (2.1)

In addition to the above-mentioned docments, I recommend the following articles:

“Danger of Centering Prayer” by Father Dreher

“Centering Prayer” from the Cross and the Veil:

More good articles:
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