HEALING OF THE FAMILY TREE
(a.k.a. "Generational Healing")
What is the origin of "Generational Healing?"
"Generational Healing" is traced to Protestant teachings that are presently being inter-mingled in the Charismatic Movement of the Catholic Church. It has no Catholic roots.
What does "Generational Healing" promote?
"Generational Healing" promotes the belief that there is a necessity to heal the family tree based on the alleged "too many cases" where recurring problems such as divorce, alcoholism, financial problems, accidents, run in families. When a person dies, it is believed that his/her spirits who caused such problems or natural spiritual tendencies or inclinations are passed on to the descendants. In other words, it is believed that children are adversely affected by the sins of their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, who were also affected by the sins of their ancestors.
In support of this belief, reference is frequently made to the Book of Exodus where it states:
"The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children, to the third and fourth generation." [Ex. 34:6-7]"
It is believed that certain prayers are necessary to "break the generational curses" or bad inheritances. It is further believed that a private Mass or Masses celebrated for one's intentions, or for the healing of any possible bondages afflicting the body, mind or spirit of any family members, living or dead (and also for the prevention of disorders in future family members who do not yet even exist), will heal the family tree.
In the process of healing the family tree, it is recommended that the person wishing to be healed of the family curse submit a genogram, a pedigree chart, a descendant chart or other listing of family members living or deceased. It is taught that it is okay if the list is incomplete because God knows everyone's particular needs and graces to be prayed for (far more than we humans are aware of). God knows the needs of those who are living, the dead and future members of the family tree.
Does "Generational Healing" conflict with Catholic teachings?
There is nothing in Catholic teachings to support "Generational Healing." In fact, there is plenty to support that this belief is nothing more than a "wishful magic formula" that inter-mingles Catholic Church Liturgy such as the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to give credibility to its movement. In its process, "Generational Healing" rejects the Catholic teachings regarding the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession. Allow me to explain!
During the Sacrament of Baptism of an infant, the priest says two prayers of Exorcism. During the first prayer, after the reading of the Gospel, the Priest commands any impure spirits who might be present to depart from the person to be baptized. This process is to purify the physical body of the believer. The second prayer of Exorcism is called "Ephpheta." (Ephpheta means 'Be opened') After the prayer, the Priest touches the ears and mouth of the infant with his thumb. He then says, "The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May He soon touch your ears to receive His Word, and your mouth to proclaim His faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father."
Catholic doctrine further teaches that until such time as the infant has reached the age of reason (8), he/she is a new creation and in an immaculate state. Should he/she die before reaching the age of reason, he/she would immediately go to Heaven because of the immaculate state.
If we are to accept that "Generational Healing" is necessary because the evil spirits of the ancestors are passed on to their descendants, then we must reject the Sacrament of Baptism as administered in the Catholic Church. We must reject the claimed power of the Exorcisms that take place during the Sacrament of Baptism. Either the baptized believer is freed from all evil spirits, be they "generational" or not, through the administered Exorcisms during the Sacrament of Baptism or he is not! Both beliefs cannot be true and upheld by the same person because they oppose one another, "Generational Healing" opposes the Sacrament of Baptism!
To accept "Generational Healing" as being truthful, it is a claim that man does not enjoy a free will. If a person is possessed by evil spirits because of the sins of his ancestors, logically, he cannot be held accountable for the actions of his sinful nature. In other words, "the devil made him do it."
Since he can no longer be responsible for his sins because of the alleged generational possessions, then he no longer needs the Sacrament of Confession. In order for one to be guilty of a sin, he must have the free will to do evil. In the case of possession, one does not have control of his actions, therefore, he does not have a free will.
As an example, let us suppose that evil spirits possessed five generations, these evil spirits having been passed on from generation to generation. If this was to be true, the question would be, "Where was Jesus during the last 4 generations? Did He not free every soul from sin and possession during the Sacrament of Baptism as the Catholic Church teaches?"
If Jesus failed to save those souls from sin and possession during the Sacrament of Baptism, then it must be claimed that those who fall under the curse of generational possession are eternally damned before they are born. They have no living hope of ever being saved. The Sacrament of Baptism would be useless for them. The Sacrament of Confession would also be useless since these souls would not be guilty of their sins, therefore not being required to confess them.
In other words, such a person would be born in sin, cursed for life, would not have a living hope of escaping the curse through the Sacrament of Baptism and could not make use of the Sacrament of Confession because it would be useless. Surely, this is not Catholic Teaching! Yet, this is what "Generational Healing" claims.
In reference to the application of Exodus 34:6-7 in support of "Generational Healing," this Bible passage has been taken out of context. Nowhere in the Holy Bible does this passage imply a curse upon all of humanity, from the beginning of time to the end of time.
Exodus 34:6-7, also found in Exodus 20:5-6, Numbers 14:18 and Deuteronomy 5:9-10 is a reference to God addressing the Jewish nation regarding the worshiping of idols. In the working out of salvation history, the people of Israel were to enjoy a special place and a unique intimacy with God. In turn, much would be required of them, to be holy as their very God is holy, and to fulfill their role of priesthood to the nations. This special vocation was not to be forced on the people, but left to their free choice.
Therefore, the Biblical reference to the steadfast love of God versus His generational punishment [Gen. 34:6-7] strictly applied to the Jewish nation in the days of the Old Testament.