Pope in Brazil, Honor Quack john of god
With the Pope now visiting Brazil, stories are again surfacing about the bizarre associations between the Catholic Church and Brazil’s own controversial quack faith healer ‘john of god’. Joao Teixeira de Faria(born June 24, 1942), known also as Joao de Deus( “John of God”), is a self-described ‘medium’ and ‘psychic surgeon’ based in Abadiania, a small town in the state of Goias southwest of Brasilia. John of God was rather obscure on the world stage until recently promoted by American TV shows, particularly Oprah’s show ‘Do you Believe in Miracles’ in 2010. These ‘investigative shows’ were heavily criticized by the medical and scientific community. But in spite of this, John of God’s increased public visibility began to attract larger numbers of the gullible, sick and desperate.
Recently various web sites have been posting information regarding ‘John of God recognized and honored by the Catholic Church’. Excerpts below taken from Kiran Schmidt’s web page:
This week I had the privilege to hand over a degree signed by Cardinal Bertone, the secretary of Vatican-State that honours John of God as a knight-commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great…. A wonderful signal of the Catholic Church to honour a man who certainly has facilitated more miracle healing than all Saints together…..
Joao de Deus is the greatest living representative of Spiritism tradition, in the country that has the greatest number of practitioners – Brazil. In a public survey to find the most popular brazilian person Chico Xavier …john of God considers Chico Xavier his mentor and guide that brought him to establish his clinic in Abadania……In Brazil where I see more people going to church and where churches of all sizes are full even during the week. Spiritism, by most, is not considered a replacement for Religion but an addition…. Therefore he has no knowledge of medicine or anatomy. It is the entities, spirits of dead personalities, who in their earthly lifetime were doctors, surgeons, healers, philosophers or theologians…..The spiritual operations and the physical surgery, which for legal reasons is only performed in Brazil, are clear evidence that higher powers are at work…..
Gail Thackray, a self stylized ‘medium’ and follower and promoting of John of God states in The Toronto News that:
Absolutely. A lot of Catholics will say, “I don’t agree with that.” But just two weeks ago, John of God got …. acclamation from the Pope. I should send it to you. [From Pope Benedecit?-statement from reporter john semley] Yeah! [ And right under the wire there before he retires. -statement from reporter john semley] Yeah! Well he proclaimed that this was the healing work of God. This really helps. Now he’s been deemed to be working through Catholicism. Posted on the site is the same signed document by Cardinal Bertone as shown above.
It’s one thing for American TV shows to crassly advertise and promote oldball quack faith healers. Their sole interest is making money. To them controversy and quack new age practices equate to more money. The more controversial, the more money. But not so with the Catholic Church. The Order of St Gregory stipulates: ‘gentlemen of proven loyalty to the Holy See who, by reason of their nobility of birth and the renown of their deeds or the degree of their munificence, are deemed worthy to be honored by a public expression of esteem on the part of the Holy See”. The end of the brief states that they must progressively maintain, by continued meritorious deed, the reputation and trust they had already inspired, and prove themselves worthy of the honor that had been conferred on them, by unswerving fidelity to God and to the sovereign Pontiff’
John of God and his supporters have been severely criticized by the medical and scientific communities. The American Cancer Society roundly denounces him saying: ‘practitioners of psychic surgery use sleight of hand and animal body parts during procedures to convince patients that what ails them has been snatched away’. He has been exposed as a fraud and charlatan by those experts acquainted with ‘magic’ and foolery . His ‘psychic surgeries’ are revealed as elaborate carny tricks and sleight of hand to fool the desperately gullible.
More importantly many Catholics and Christians clearly repudiate ‘john of god’ as being a self proclaimed spiritist, charlatan and necromancer. Catholic Answers speaker Sharon Lee Giganti , certified Catholic catechist with the Holy Family Institute is one of the most recently vocal Catholic exposers of new age healer ‘John of God’. On her numerous YouTube videos and radio broadcasts through EWTN, Sharon warns that John of God may be more appropriately referred to as a witch doctor. His self claimed spiritist practices of ‘incorporating’ spirits, the dead, and beings called ‘entites’ are directly in violation to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2117:
…All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons.
Jacob Allee, of the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry also agrees that John of God is ” an individual who claims to have religious or spiritual truth and claims to have powers to heal. Maybe the best way to describe this movement is occultic in nature”. Mr Allee cuts directly to the heart of the matter by stating the..” real question concerning John of God is whether or not he is legitimately practicing necromancy or if he is just a con-artist who has found a way to make money?” . Bishop Manchester, on his web page asserts, “I do not see in João de Deus a man of God, but rather someone who claims to communicate with spirits of the dead and also someone claiming to be a so-called “psychic surgeon.” Such practices are obviously prohibited to Christians and clearly invite charlatanry by those who adopt them” And Roman Catholic theologian, Ronald L. Conte Jr. exposes this charlatan in lengthy detail , concluding… “Whoever believes in the claims of ‘John of God’ about mediums, entities, healing crystals, ‘invisible operations’, and the like, has entirely departed from the true Catholic Faith by committing the mortal sin of apostasy in order to join a new false religion invented by this man and his followers”.
The recent reports about John of God described above: of claims of knighthood to Papal Orders, of being recognized and honored by the Catholic Church, of posted documents of Papal authority signed by Cardinal Bertone, all beg further questions. What is the Vatican/Catholic Church’s official position on this spiritist faith healer? Considering the evident dangers of such practices and beliefs described in detail by the medical, scientific, as well as various Catholic communities, little is found of the Vatican’s position. Why? Taking in account the Catholic Church’s scope and influence in the world, it seems implausible to claim ignorance of the situation. But, regardless of how it happened, these questionable Papal claims, which are at present being used, and unfortunately will continued to be used, to crassly advertise and promote this charlatan and his new age supporters to the world’s sick, gullible, and desperate, unless promptly and properly addressed.