Can We “Heal Our Family Tree” and Wipe Out “Ancestral Sin”?

Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

I recently read an article by a Catholic publication called Aleteia that ran the same headline. In the article they discuss exorcists Fr.Alcantaras view on this subject. He made some great points about how some of the theology regarding this is inaccurate and unheard of, but he also makes a few blunders and decides against the idea altogether. I am not an exorcist, but this does not preclude the notion that when I see someone of that caliber make mistakes, I’m not able to respond to them and raise concerns where I seem them.

From my own experience, I’ve noticed that you cannot take word for word on good authority everything an exorcist has to say.

The reason I came to this article is because I’m currently engaged in doing in doing family research and doing a diary of souls to pray for. I write them down in the book and I pray novenas for their souls. In the process of doing this I’ve come across what is known as “intergenerational healing rosaries” on Youtube. It just happened to be a suggested video along side my novena one for the Holy Souls so I wasn’t looking for, or had prior knowledge of what it was. It had simply piqued my curiosity and so I dived right in.

I was unsure of what I was hearing so I decided to do some digging on the internet to discover its origins and that is when I stumbled across this article from exorcist. In my experience with these things, I find you always have both sides of the argument circulating. On the one hand you’ll have those in favour writing articles and on the other those who strongly disagree with the practice like Fr.Alcantara.

I don’t want this post to be longer than it needs to be so lets delve right in.

Fr.Alcantara calls the practice of praying for deliverance from the ancestors sinful behaviour upon the future descendants as something novel unheard of before the second half of the 20th century. There is this notion that if a practice is new it is novel and therefore theologically inaccurate. For example the idea of Adoration where we adore the Eucharist was at one time a novel idea, but it was theologically accurate so that’s important to point out.

Fr.Alcantara is right to suggest that the concept of actual sins being transferred to the next lineage is a grave error. For example, my grandfather may have been a murderer, this means that his murderous tendencies are transferable to me. The Church has always taught that original sin is the only thing passed on, but personal sins and mortal sins do not pass on as would the gene for alcoholism.

Where Fr.Alcantara is in error is that the concept of the wrath of God being visited upon a family lineage is unheard of. He also posits the idea that becoming sick or disabled is a result of ones parents sins as erroneous citing the scripture where Jesus heals the blind man. The disciples ask Jesus if he was born this way because of the sins of his parents. Jesus responds he was born so that the glory of God would be revealed.

This scriptural passage actually demonstrates the consequences of sin and here Jesus is not changing anything to do with that theology. The theology of ancestral sin and it’s consequences on future generations was clearly adhered to by the Judaic religion otherwise the disciples would not have asked. This is proof that it was heard of prior to the second half of the 20th century, just not the practice of praying to be delivered from the previous generations behaviour.

Jesus also does not deny the theology and rebuke them for it in this passage. He simply lets them know that while some may be born this way as a result of the sins of their parents, others are born for reasons known to God. In this case he was born and destined to always be there for Jesus to come and heal him. You have to read the scripture for what it is and not insert your idea that he had somehow changed the game on ancestral sin and developed a better understanding and interpretation of older texts dealing with the issue.

We see quite clearly that King David was not punished, but the Lord said it would be his first born son who was miscarried. Fr.Alcantara says God cannot bring about an evil or hear a curse from someone, and he’s right. God cannot do evil, but Gods punishments at the request of his faithful are not theologically seen as evil. When God hears a request from his laity for the punishment of another, he will do it for his glory and if it’s his will. But how he does it is not evil simply because Gods actions and the reason for them supersede human ones.

Another example would be Elijah, who cursed the boys with the wrath of God. They were taunting him and so he cursed them and bears came out of the woods and mauled them to death. There are other instances where the Lord tells people through his prophets that he will punish them and their descendants. For Fr.Alcantara to tell the Jewish and the rest of us that we are not reading this in “Context” is a bit ridiculous to be honest.

It makes for some uncomfortable reading but Gods behaviour in this area did not change with the coming of Jesus.

Here is the deal. If you’re praying for deliverence from the effects of the sins of your ancestors had on future generations and for any curses that are satanic in nature to be lifted. . . fine.

But the concept of personal sin being personally inherited from previous generations like some sort of alcoholic gene is wrong. But yes, the sinful actions of our ancestors can open up the gates of hell for the demons to pour upon that lineage and future generations. What is needed is for those desendents to get out of that bondage by repenting and turning to God and changing the course of history. To make sure your personal lineage turns back to God and the Catholic faith.

Be careful about what intergenerational rosaries you pray because some of them will have the bogus theology Fr.Alcantara mentions in them. In my opinion, you can pray a private prayer that is theologically sound and that is sufficient. It’s also important to pray for their souls. Do both but practice caution in the former.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.