Friday, September 17, 2010

Sorcery at Your Local Boston Parish

People unfamiliar with Boston will sometimes ask for an example of something egregious going on in Boston while the actual people in control of the Archdiocese have the Cardinal off learning how to quack.

Here's an example.

At St. Joseph's in Belmont, parishioners grieving over the death of a loved one are being treated to some dame named Maureen Hancock who is spiritual exploiting them by 'channeling' their dead relatives and performing pagan rituals like "reiki" to "heal" them:

Apparently this woman put on her show at St. Brendan's in Dorchester recently and is making the rounds in local parishes.

Here's her website:

Longtime readers know that I am a believer in the mystical and in fact have had mystical experiences myself.  I didn't have people talking to me, but in a period when I was deeply immersed in daily prayer four or five hours a day, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, daily Mass and practicing mystical prayer - I in fact had several mystical experiences.

I won't bore you with tough road in finding a priest who knew how to handle it but handle it we did.

For amateurs, there is no way to tell whether what you are seeing is angelic or demonic.  (Even people like Padre Pio had no way of knowing at times.)

If you come across a mystic, there is are clues about whether the person's  gifts are fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We do have legitimate mystics in the Boston Catholic community - several priests and at least one lay person, Frank Kelly (whom I will post about on another day).

In terms of claiming one is a mystic,  anyone claiming to be channeling your dead relatives and/or you look at their other 'services' and they are performing 'reiki', it is a no brainer.    There is spiritual danger.

What's wrong with reiki?

Reiki is actually the laying on of hands to deliver to you the spiritual forces that come from the 'reiki god'.  It is the antithesis of the spiritual forces delivered to Catholics by the Sacraments, the spiritual forces that come from the 'other' God, our Triune God.  Somebody who delivers the forces of the reiki god is called a Reiki Master.

It has actually been formally condemned by even by the USCCB.

About 2 million Americans have used Reiki, according to a 2002 survey by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Practitioners believe that a salutary life energy flows through the body and fosters well-being, the center said. The energy is often transmitted through experienced Reiki practitioners who lightly touch or place their hands above the patient's body.
But the bishops said "Reiki lacks scientific credibility" and "has not been accepted by the scientific and medical communities as an effective therapy."
The Japanese practice differs from Christian faith healing because "the healing power is at human disposal," the bishops said. In contrast, "for Christians the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord and Savior."
Moreover, practicing Reiki puts Catholics' spiritual health in danger, the bishops said, by corrupting worship of God and turning religious devotion "in a false direction."

   I can't begin to tell how how outraged Catholics are that see our brothers and sisters who are grieving their dead being exploited instead of being pastorally cared for, healed through prayer and the Sacraments.

Letting go, surrendering back to God somebody whom we love is a very, very hard thing to do.   Probably the hardest thing any of us have to do.   It is the biggest challenge to our faith.  It needs the support of a good priest and a caring spiritual community and friends, relatives.

Aside from being hijacked away from authentic healing, what is wrong with someone claiming to be channeling the dead?

It is divination and condemned by the Catholic Church.

Here's the citation from the Catechism.

"All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm readings, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone" (No.2116),
Here is another story in the Boston Globe, loaded with clues about the spiritual dangers of this gig.

There are mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, aunts and uncles, grandparents, best friends, even beloved dogs. Everyone's here. You might call it a family reunion, only many of the members aren't actually in the room. They're dead.

There is a little bit of truth to this but it is being used to exploit people.

We are indeed in communion with the dead.  Dead dogs? No.  Dead dogs are not part of our spiritual communion.  All in Heaven, purgatory and the angelic are all present.  

If this woman is hearing voices, they are not being channeled through or by the spiritual institution   that belongs to Christ.  nothing angelic would defy what the deposit of faith has condemned.  It is impossible.

By the way, before this gig, Hancock was a stand up comic.  

That's where Hancock comes in. A former stand-up comic and paralegal, she now devotes her time to what is literally her calling: She hears voices from beyond who want to connect with their loved ones through her. She's an "overseas operator," a "comedian medium," as she puts it, injecting humor into her sessions to keep them from becoming wakes.
She'll do a decent Whoopi Goldberg-as-medium imitation from "Ghost." She'll call your dearly departed "Gimpy" if that's what she hears. She'll dance with members of the audience when she's channeling a "hot ticket" or take on the personality of the dead one. If a funny husband pops up, she'll tell the widow that he "just pinched my rear." She once asked a startled man how his "plumbing" was and then told him that his (dead) mother was asking about his colonoscopy. The room erupted....Those in the audience have paid $60 apiece for the chance to hear something, anything, from their loved ones.

Crude and vulgar arenot the signs a mystic is operating in the spirit of God.

Keeping people who are practicing the occult as the road to healing far away from your flock is a pretty basic duty of a priest. And, when the priest is a lost soul, the duty falls to the Bishop.

The Bishops here under the Cardinal are being held back by the Cardinal.

There is a man at the top and that man is the Cardinal.  Some of the auxiliary Bishops are being prevented and forbidden from acting on the errors and scandals and, in this case - the occult.

  In other cases, they couldn't care less what happens to the people, they are reserving what is holy unto themselves.

This is precisely what is broken in the system and what the Boston Catholic Blogger Community is working on "fixing".


Anonymous said...

Johnnette Benkovic and Susan Brinkmann at Living His Life Abundantly / Women of Grace have some great resources explaining the dangers of these new age practices:

Anonymous said...

Isn't St. Brendan parish in Dorchester 'pastored' by Fr. John J. Connolly Jr., Cardinal Sean's Expert 'Czar' on sexual issues?
Hmmm ????
Seems Fr. Connolly has some pastoral tasks at home. It could distract him from his Dublin duties with Cardinal Sean. For that matter both of them would do well to 'stay in their own back yard'.

Jack O'Malley said...


Thanks for posting on this topic which is close to my heart. I hope you will follow up on this and if it not an intrusion on the privacy of your spiritual encounters, perhaps you would recount your own mystical experiences in more detail.

The Holy Ghost is active in our world and it is given to some to perceive His presence. I am a great believer in the apparitions at Lourdes though I am skeptical of Medjugorje. I would appreciate hearing your opinion on either or both. In any event, how has the Living God manifested Himself to you?

Benedicat te Deus et servat te. (May lGod bless you and keep you.)

Carol McKinley said...

Thanks to both Anons.

I'll add Johnette's great resource into the post.

Yes, Fr. Connolly is the pastor at St. Brendan's. It was shocking for me to learn that some priests are not tuned into the spiritual world but it is indeed the case. When you step forward with your gifts, they don't much like your giving them a heads up because it is embarrassing for them to have a lay person more tapped into the spiritual word than they are. The pride makes it's way up the chain of command. It is a sad situation they can't put their pride out of the way to admit errors but pride is called one of the deadly sins because it slays the souls of many.

Carol McKinley said...


Thank you.

It is not, of course, an intrusion to ask. I will think about writing a post about it but a lot of people get spooked by it. And, I mean people you would expect to know better.

Mystical experiences are scary things to deal with. Mine took a variety of forms, mostly visions that I did not understand. What is scary about it is, you figure the Lord is showing you a vision so that you will do something about it, right? Well, if you don't know what it's about, you can't be a conduit to prevent something or do something about the situation can you.

I expected the formation of every priest would be sufficient enough to know that these things are real, though we don't know whether they are of angelic origin and they know what to do to help you or at least refer you to somebody who knows how to help you. This is not the case.

I quickly learned on my own that I would see a vision I didnt understand and sometime later, something would happen that would quickly put the vision into perspective. Sometimes I didn't even get the connection until somebody else came along immediately afterwards and said something to me that was very similar to my vision and I was able to connect the dots. It blows you away. Not only becauss you know what is happening to you is real, you know that you are not on your toes and the Lord has to send a narrator afterwards to get you to connect the dots.

I am on my way to Fr. Mullen's parish but I will quickly tell you one.

At one of my first parishes where I could see people were being spiritually misled, I had spent several months engaged in conflicts with the priest and the misled people who were backing him up. It was very upsetting to everyone in the parish as these tend to be.

I was in the small chapel in Adoration on my knees, really in anguish about the situation and I saw a leopard pacing back and forth in the Sanctuary a few feet from me. The leopard was agitated and looking at me pacing back and forth when it suddenly leaped towards me. It was so real I flinched and ducked. The leopard went over my head and out the doors of the chapel and the vision was over.

After benediction, I was told by my fellow parishioners that the priest had been transferred that day. Later, when I was telling the priest who was spiritually counseling me, I told him I didn't get the significance of it being a leopard. He told me the leopard is a well known manifestation of the devil. I went home and searched the internet and found it is true.

I don't mean to imply here that the priest was the devil. I mean to imply that the devil is present everywhere and the backs of our priests is one of his favorite places to hang out. Whatever this demon was not happy to have the situation taken out of his control.

I was practicing mystical prayer at the time. This is meant to be a testimony that there can be and is real fruit of mystical prayer. This is the source and summit of our faith.

It is not easy to deal with people it happens to and I cannot imagine anyone running around town saying dead relatives are talking to them and handing out advice. It takes a lot of work in discernment if the mystical is within your reach.

Got to run..more later. Thanks for asking Jack and God's blessings up on you and yours!

Carol McKinley said...


When people and our priests tell us to pray for them, they are not kidding about the need for that prayer.

One can only imagine how much the devil plays with a Bishop and a Cardinal.

When you have given up, and you hand your people over to be slaughtered, it is time to be moseying on down the road and let somebody else take a stab at it and get yourself some spiritual help to fortify you. The people cannot be handed over to be ravaged by the princes of the Church. This is not an acceptable situation.

Pray for the Cardinal and Fr. Mullen today. It is a very serious situation.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

"At one of my first parishes where I could see people were being spiritually misled, I had spent several months engaged in conflicts with the priest and the misled people who were backing him up. It was very upsetting to everyone in the parish as these tend to be."

Hi Carol,

I love your blog. Can you tell what this priest was doind to mislead people.

Thanks and God Bless


Carol McKinley said...


Thank you for the kind words.

I don't want to get into specifics of past history because we have so much on our current plates.

It was the same old song and dance. The priest was teaching the formula for disobedience and when people brought it to his attention, he skewered them. Maybe terrorized is a better word.

It was clear in how he handled things that sumpthin' wasn't right in the head, shall we say, and he was taken out of circulation. Of course, this was when Cardinal Law was at the helm and dissent was not tolerated. With Cardinal O'Malley's regime, these priests have been/are promoted. This is why the situation is no longer being tolerated by the faithful.

Priests sometimes think that if they preach and teach disobedience, they'll be seen as cool and bring more people "in". What happens is, there is inevitably a clash with the parents who teach obedience to doctrine and bring their children to the parish so the priest will affirm the path is obedience.

When faithful parents see their children's formula may be scandalized for the rest of their lives, they work hard to get somebody up in the Chancery to correct the situation so their children will learn the right path to salvation. When the people in the Chancery are unfaithful themselves, the damage done to childrens' consciences may never be undone and they will live their lives unfaithful to God. Their salvation is in peril.

The anguish of parents who see their children's souls being led into this nightmare is deep. You might say this is what is fueling our zeal to drive the snakes out of town.

Anonymous said...

I emailed Fr. Faretra in Belmont and sent him the link to this post. Here's his pathetic reply:

"Sorry but I am not aware of that which you bring to my attention in your email. What I do know is that Maureen is a woman of strong (Catholic) faith who does wonderful ministry for children with serious illnesses and, for parents who have lost children. She recognizes her gifts as from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12), through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. Thank you for your concern."

God help us.

Carol McKinley said...

Isn't this typical?

They're always not aware.

They don't want to be aware and so they avoid meeting with you to show them the evidence.

When they have the evidence before them and are indeed informed, they still want to say they are unaware and claim whatever spiritual abuse they are committing against the people is a wonderful ministry being done by people of faith.

Regardless of what the deposit of faith tells the priest about the state of the person's soul who is spiritually exploiting grieving people, when you're trying to figure out if something is Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother, look for talk about flatulence, poops, conoloscopies and pinches people's rear-ends by people charges 60 dollars a head.

Let's take this one up the ladder and document it here?

Can you send me the email?

Anyone know who the auxiliary bishop is?

Carol McKinley said...

I have received several emails which Boston Catholics have sent to Fr. Faretra kindly and kindly forwarded to me. Thank you for expressing your concerns. I have written to Fr. Faretra myself:

Father, many people have written to me and are very upset about the scandal of Maureen Hancock's exploitation of Catholics grieving their dead. Some have forwarded me your reply which I would characterize as dismissive of their attempts to inform you that Hancock is using sorcery to conjure up the dead and perform reiki to deliver "spirits" of a false god and anti-Christ 'reiki'. Ms. Hancock is not doing this knowingly, she was hoodwinked herself and is now spreading her error.

There is no relief of the suffering of losing our relatives with conjuring them up from the dead. The relief comes with surrendering what belongs to God, back to God and finding solace and refuge in that surrender. The source of the strength comes from the Sacraments and if necessary, individual spiritual counseling. Sending grieving people to a sorcerer does not help them in that surrender and it will never bring them peace.

As far as Hancock is concerned, we have lost her to the delusions of the devil and his minions and she should be spiritually and pastorally guided back to the power of the Sacraments. An exorcist may be necessary.

I do not want to paint you as an enemy of Christ's deposit of faith and the Church and I am asking you to reconsider the exploitation of our grieving Catholics by this poor unfortunate woman. I am cc'ing the Vicar General and the Cardinal and I will be making a phone call to your auxiliary Bishop to ask him to use his authority to stop the situation.

You have my prayers.

Carol McKinley

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Reiki is the practice of the devil. As you can see that the Bishop is saying it's not scientifically proven. There are many who have received and given Reiki and it is very healing and has helped many go through very troubling times. And as for Maureen Hancock, I would have to say she is legitimate, even though I do not particularly care for her as she over-exploits this in order to put food on the families table instead of getting a real job. This is where the danger sets in, when you do this work on a real regular basis, you are inviting other things in, not just deceased family/friend members. Because when it's about the money you are selling your soul. I think Maureen has lost sight in all of this.

Carol McKinley said...

Thanks for your comment.

I can tell you two things with 100% certainty.

1. Maureen is not getting her messages from the Holy Spirit nor is whatever she is delivering through her hands using "reiki" of the Holy Spirit.

Since there are only two spiritual sources of power, and Maureen's is not coming from Holy Spirit, her source of power is the other one. Call it the hoky spirit if you must, it is not of Christ and "buyer beware"

2. When you want to talk about the mystical and spiritual world, the bishops are either clueless or too weak to give you the truth.

"Reiki" has nothing at all to do with science. Science is when you use "stuff" like drugs and equipment to bring about a result. Reiki is a spiritual 'force". It may 'heal' one thing going on in your body but the 'force" is a spiritual cancer that is entering your animus and body that will eat away at your soul. The damage it brings far out weigh the benefits.

It is magic. Sorcery. Like all magic, there is an illusion to hook you.

Remember that both Moses and the sorcere threw down their staffs in front of the Pharoah and they both turned into snakes.

Stay away from the woman. She is under the spell of a power that is not of God and there isn't a priest in town who can recognize it or knows what to do.

Anonymous said...

Maureen is dabbling in the occult and this is where her power indeed comes from.

What is going on is similar to what takes place when people gather around a Ouija Board. You gather around a Ouija Board with the intention of summonning a power. The powers out there waiting to be summoned actually move the Ouija Board to generate answers.

This is why any priest worth his salt will tell you to stay away from the Ouija Board.

The power to summon the dead to give people answers can never be from God. Never. It is always the occult. Always.

The only difference with Maureen Hancock and the Ouija Board, is that she is not shutting off the lights and using candles and darkness to create her atmosphere.

What is going on here is horrendous to anyone who is offended by the practice of occult in a Roman Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

In defense of all Mediums and Reiki Practitioners, there are legitimate people who do this work from their hearts. Some people are born and have had it since childhood, Catholic or not.. so why did God allow this communication to come through with small children who never used a Oujia Board, who go to Church, and were baptized. It's a gift/curse but if Mediumship or Reiki is used in the proper way to help heal people from a loss, I believe it is good. The Church sees it as "bad" because they simply do not understand it, so they say "don't dabble in it".

Anonymous said...

This is very difficult to hear, I know, but it is never the case where the Catechism of the Church misunderstands and labels something bad that is good.

It is alway the case that it we misunderstand or rebel.

Almost always it is good people doing things from their heart. The problem is when they processed it through their brain, they rejected truth.

The occult will never heal you. It may temporarily suspend or trick your mind but the power comes from the occult. Not GOD. It is never good.

Jack O'Malley said...


Thanks very much for your response. It is enlightening. I am currently swamped with a project and though I have read your response several times, I haven't the time at the moment to make an intelligent reply. The leopard vision is extremely disconcerting. Your further replies have been very illuminating. I have to think about these things further.

You are, I think, right about the typical reaction of the clergy to such phenomena. Not every curate is a Padre Pio. You definitely have your head screwed on right, though, since you differentiate true mystical experience from the charlatans who are out for a buck.

I am looking forward to your any follow-up on this topic you would wish to make. I wouldn't worry about spooking people. Most will accept the reality of visions or reject them out of hand. All this is on a plane that is foreign to my experience but which, for a number of reasons, I truly believe in.

You are right to pray for the Cardinal and I will and I do. God bless Fr. Mullen and his toil in the vineyard. I am glad that my kids are grown and past the age when they have to endure the heretical teaching in the Catholic schools. A nearly half century of "ecumenism", which is really the dictatorship of relativism dressed up in a Roman collar has wrought havoc in the Church.

You wrote: The relief comes with surrendering what belongs to God, back to God and finding solace and refuge in that surrender. The source of the strength comes from the Sacraments and if necessary, individual spiritual counseling. This is the evidence of the genuineness of your own Faith and the visions you have had. That genuineness is totally in accord with the Magisterium. This sorceress is in dire peril; she is oblivious and may indeed need an exorcist. The occult is the province of the Infernal One. Either the Holy Ghost or the Malevolent One. There is no third possibility. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle. Against the wickedness and the snares of the Devil, be our protection.

Rursus gratias tibi atque Deus et Maria servent te. (Thanks again and God and Mary keep you) (in the still living language of the Univeral Church).

Carol McKinley said...


Thanks for your kind reply. You have convinced me ta talk about this subject in more detail. The subject has to be given much thought because it is so easy to scandalize. There really is nothing "special" or "saintly" about the conduit, it is a gift of the Church and the Holy Spirit. My prayer life tends to be me "talking". By that I mean saying the prayers of the Church and conversational. Sitting, being with God is a discipline for me.

At the time, I wanted to make a conscoius effort and so I was using St. Teresa's Castle exercises. I also did and taught the St Lious DeMonteford consecration and was immerrsing myself in frequent reception of the Blessed Sacrament.

St Teresa tells us that if you are open to the gifts of the Church, you may just receive them. You can't wish them upon yourself or concentate like you are waiting for them. It is the practices that take you to a certain spiritual place, being with Jesus and just being open.

It is not for the faint of heart. And if your life is in a place where you are not able to process intellectually, emotionall or spirtually, approaching mystical prayer should be delayed for another time.

The Holy Spirit would never reject or defy a teeaching of the Church. When you process and discern a spirit, something angelic is never going to conflict with the Catechism. In this case, channeling the dead is expressly rejected by the Church. It is a no brainer where her voices are coing from.

Carol McKinley said...


She is either making it up or the power is the source of a principality foreign to God so good luck with that, but it is not to be given legitimacy or credibility by any Catholic, especially a priest.

I did not mean to imply the woman may be possessed. There is what we refer to in the spiritual world as an infestation. That is essentially a gathering place where numerous demonic spirits are concentrating on deluding, tricking, baiting people. Exprcists are needed to clear the area. But if the people do not fill the vacuum with Sacramental, they come back to infest with more.

The woman may be surrounded.

Until the folks in the Chancer take what is going on seriously and deply a full time exorcist who sees what is going on and gets busy clearing out the diocese, we are pretty much operating at 50%.

Less pot luck dinners and quacking, more serious attention to the spiritual.

Thanks for this robust discussion. I will post on the subject more when I can.

God's blessings upon you and your family.

Kelly said...

Dear Carol,

I so appreciate this thread and your sharing of your experience. I don't in any way qualify as a mystic, but also have had certain experiences and feel that I am called to a contemplative prayer style. As you so rightly mentioned, it is not something one can undertake if life is demanding lots of activity. My kids are spread over elementary to college age and if this were all that was going on I would consider myself practically idle! Anyway, I hope to be able to explore and follow that calling in the future. God Bless and protect you.

Carol McKinley said...


I continue to post from my droid - which I can barely see and the keyboard is tricky so I thank you in advance for forgiving the errors when posting.


Anonymous said...

For more on Reiki, Fr. Mitch Pacwa has some great information on it in his book "Catholics and the New Age." You can also check out the document "Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life" that was published a few years ago; it's available from the Vatican's website, or

Reiki practitioners, mediums, etc. may have the best of intentions and acting out of ignorance, but those practices are condemned by the Church.