RELIGION : Catholics Warned About Yoga

<i> From Times wire services</i>

The Vatican today cautioned Roman Catholics that such Eastern meditation practices as Zen and yoga can “degenerate into a cult of the body” that debases Christian prayer.

“The love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality which cannot be ‘mastered’ by any method or technique,” said a document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The document, approved by Pope John Paul II and addressed to bishops, said attempts to combine Christian meditation with Eastern techniques were fraught with danger although they can have positive uses.

The 23-page document was believed to be the first effort by the Vatican to respond to the pull of Eastern religious practices.