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Is Pope Francis Really “Not Against” the Enneagram?

Austen Ivereigh, a journalist for the Catholic news website Crux, has written a post celebrating Pope Francis’s 80th birthday in which he claims that the Holy Father is “not against” the Enneagram, though he does have reservations about its misuse:

“Pope Francis, incidentally, knows the Enneagram well and is not against it. But he is wary of the way it can be misused and lead to excessive introspection if not deployed within a solid spiritual framework.”

In his post Ivereigh also wrote approvingly of the Enneagram, tracing its origin back to the Desert Fathers, the founders of early Christian monasticism:

“On the Enneagram, that personality-type identifier first created by the desert fathers which received its modern form from the Jesuits, Francis is an Eight – as Father Richard Rohr OFM, the leading Catholic authority on the Enneagram, has confirmed to me in an email. (Pope Francis, incidentally, knows the Enneagram well and is not against it. But he is wary of the way it can be misused and lead to excessive introspection if not deployed within a solid spiritual framework.)

The Enneagram has long been used in retreat houses to help people identify their core compulsion, usually a driving need or desire inherited from childhood which in adulthood needs to be ‘redeemed’ if it is not to hamper our ability to function and relate to others. Eights are paradoxically both leaders and rebels, life’s “challengers.” Fearless and intuitive, often breathtakingly blunt, they instinctively go against elites, and have an uncommon ability to identify injustice and oppression. They grasp power, and know how to build it and use it. They have an extraordinary capacity to improvise, to live on the fly, and to deal with pressure.

What they do with this gift depends on their spiritual capacity.  History, from King David onwards, is full of Eight leaders, some of them selfless and inspiring, while others were tyrannical demagogues. Mostly, they are a mixture. Martin Luther King was an Eight; so was Fidel Castro. So was St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, who took a very Eight idea – agere contra, acting against – and turned it into a means of spiritual growth: to act against our compulsion helps to redeems it. Eights are typically sensitive types who as children develop a tough carapace in response to trauma”.

The Catholic Church’s official assessment of the Enneagram

The only authoritative assessment of the Enneagram issued by the Catholic Church is to be found in the 2003 examination of the New Age movement, Jesus Christ: The Bearer of the Water of Life. It was promulgated by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The Holy See presents the Enneagram as the principle example of “New Age” gnosticism that is, in the words of Pope St John Paul II, in “conflict with all that is essentially Christian”. Having quoted Pope St John Paul II’s warning about this new manifestation of gnosticism, the document specifically identifies the Enneagram as a cause of “ambiguity in the doctrine and life of the Christian faith”:

Gnosticism never completely abandoned the realm of Christianity. Instead, it has always existed side by side with Christianity, sometimes taking the shape of a philosophical movement, but more often assuming the characteristics of a religion or a para-religion in distinct, if not declared, conflict with all that is essentially Christian”. An example of this can be seen in the enneagram, the nine-type tool for character analysis, which when used as a means of spiritual growth introduces an ambiguity in the doctrine and the life of the Christian faith. (1.4)

The Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue also differ from Ivereigh in their account of the origins of the Enneagram, which they trace back to the Occultist George Gurdjieff and Sufism, an esoteric form of Islam. They make no reference to its origins with the Desert Fathers:

Enneagram: (from the Greek ennéa = nine + gramma = sign) the name refers to a diagram composed of a circle with nine points on its circumference, connected within the circle by a triangle and a hexangle. It was originally used for divination, but has become known as the symbol for a system of personality typology consisting of nine standard character types. It became popular after the publication of Helen Palmer’s book The Enneagram,(97) but she recognises her indebtedness to the Russian esoteric thinker and practitioner G.I. Gurdjieff, the Chilean psychologist Claudio Naranjo and author Oscar Ichazo, founder of Arica. The origin of the enneagram remains shrouded in mystery, but some maintain that it comes from Sufi mysticism.

EWTN’s Fr Mitch Pacwa SJ is an expert on the origins of the Enneagram and its detrimental influence on Christian life and spirituality. Fr Pacwa SJ’s warnings about the Enneagram are based on his many years of practical experience of using it in spriritual direction. He published a book in 1992 that warned of the dangers of the Enneagram called, “Catholics and the New Age: How Good People are Being Drawn into Jungian Psychology, the Enneagram, and the Age of Aquarius”. His 2015 article provides a summary of the reasons why he considers the Enneagram “a dangerous fraud’:

“First, the claim of the enneagram’s antiquity is false, but it has been a device for not subjecting it to serious scientific scrutiny. It has been tested neither by time nor by psychologists. How do we know that it is true except for the claims of its inventors and teachers?

Second, because the enneagram is untested, there are no criteria to determine who is an authentic teacher or who is a hack. What are the credentials of the enneagram teachers offering workshops and retreats? Who approved of their abilities, except for themselves? How many courses did they take? From whom? I took one of the first courses ever offered, back in 1972. Quite a few “experts” were in the same course and learned no more about it than I did. Their continued research has often been conducted with unacceptable scientific methods. Neither the state nor we would accept such credentials from a psychologist; why do we accept it from someone who claims to teach about spirituality?

Third, many of the ideas and teachings of Gurdjieff and Ichazo are still taught by the Catholic enneagram “experts.” I heard from priests that original sin began at age three or four when kids choose a personality to cover their “essence.” I have heard them teach that we must do the work to return to this “essence.” Remember, this essence refers to the divine nature of the universe and person. Such a pantheistic notion contradicts Christianity. If the Catholic enneagram experts do not intend to teach pantheism, then what do they mean by essence?

Another false doctrine is that the nine types are nine demons, the nine faces of God turned upside down. In no way does Christianity teach that God has nine faces. Nor can humans turn God’s face upside down or right side up. Such mythology is nonsense. Christ taught that He came to die for sinners and reconcile them to God. He taught the forgiveness of sin and the need to repent and live the Gospel He taught. The grace of Christ is what makes possible the moral and spiritual transformation of our lives. In addition to finding out if the enneagram is psychologically true, its proponents must also teach solid, Biblically based doctrines about sin, redemption, grace and free will.

Faith is not knowledge, as Gurdjieff taught, but a gift from God by which we accept what God has taught and by which we commit ourselves to God. Anyone who attends enneagram workshops needs to learn whether the enneagram is true before using it. That work has not yet been done by the experts. Secondly, and much more importantly, there should be certainty about true Catholic teaching. No matter how true a psychology or personality system may be, if the truth about Jesus Christ, His Church, and His redemption of the world is not taught or is contradicted, the possibility of spiritual danger remains very serious. Each Christian has the duty to find out whether the teachings they are receiving are true.”

In 2012 Anna Abbott wrote an assessment of the Enneagram for The Catholic World Report, “A Dangerous Practice” that drew on internal reports of the US Bishops’ Conference into the Enneagram. One of the most concerning conclusions about the errors of the Enneagram is the following about its approach to sin:

“The Enneagram redefines sin, among other fundamental concepts, by simply associating faults with personality types, which is particularly tempting in a cultural climate of irresponsibility and narcissism. It encourages an unhealthy self-absorption about one’s own “type,” so that the type is at fault rather than the person. This gives rise to a deterministic mindset at odds with Christian freedom.”


In the light of these authoritative and significant criticisms of the Enneagram Austen Ivereigh’s claim about Pope Francis’s attitude to the Enneagram is a matter of concern. Is Pope Francis really “not against” the Enneagram? Ivereigh’s claim carries weight as he is the author of a major biography of the Holy Father, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope. In the light of Ivereigh’s claims, it would be helpful to know how Pope Francis responds to serious criticisms of the Enneagram.

Originally published at EWTN GB. Reprinted with permission.

78 thoughts on “Is Pope Francis Really “Not Against” the Enneagram?”

    • It’s promoted heavily by Fr. Richard Rohr (OFM – but he’s the sort of priest that brings out the habit or collar only on fund-raiser picture day) through his “Center for Action and Contemplation”.

      Were we living in normal times for the Church he wouldn’t have made it to ordination, but instead, he’s done that and built quite a successful multi-media empire; books, blogs, social media presence, speakers circuit, as well as a year-round retreat program he runs at his Center, which is now apparently being duplicated under his direction elsewhere in the country. He’s building an army of enneagrammed, super-sensitive, socially aware Catholic men who will soon be breaking down walls and spreading the mercy at your parish! 😉

          • The only thing good I can say about Rohr is that he isn’t as bad as ex-Fr Matthew Fox and his “Creation spirituality” — and his sidekick, the Wiccan witch “Starhawk.”

          • Holy crap Starhawk is still kicking around? I knew a fellow who had just graduated from a Jesuit prep school. He was all keyed up when her book came out. He couldn’t wait to read it, as a self professed Wiccan. God. Help. Us. Have Mercy they truly know not what they do

          • I wish I could say I was shocked at the idea of a wiccan graduate of a Jesuit prep school, but unfortunately it sounds all too believable. I seem to remember reading in her biography that the late psychic Jean Dixon was taught by a Jesuit how to use the Tarot. . . .

          • Dear Lord have mercy on us all. St Ignatius Loyola, St Francis Xavier, St Isaac Jogues, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Peter Canisius, St. Edmund Campion, Fr. John Hardon, all spinning in their Graves to see how far this once noble knightly order has fallen!

      • I saw books by Rohr in our local Catholic bookstore this afternoon as well…the titles looked sketchy and now I know why

        • Indeed. He’s a promoter of a wide array of error, heresy and assorted forms of spiritual darkness, and yet – while profiting materially from the sale of his false teachings – he’s theoretically a priest in good standing. The current papacy has been quite and boon for him and priests like him. Aside from a few exceptions, the whole of the priesthood has fallen very, very far these past few decades.

          “For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” – 2 Timothy 4:3

    • I had entered a women’s religious order almost 10 yrs ago. When I was doing my canonical novitiate, we were inundated with these tests even though every candidate went through a psych evaluation to be accepted in the first place. Then to top it off the novice director tried to wield it like a weapon against all the novices. She was not even trained, nor had the spiritual or personal disposition to understand that at best gives minimal insight to ourselves, and is more hokum when others try to pigeon hole people. As far as my experience with these psychological tests while in religious life, they are used and valued above ones faith and in place of fostering real relationships, are administered and more importantly interpreted by unqualified individuals. So I guess to answer you question, yes they are and they are doing grave damage in the process.

      • I know several good Catholics who tried their vocations and were “washed out” because they were good–the devil loves to spoil genuine vocations, and pack convents & seminaries with the other sort.

        • Well my issue was with the “sisters”, who were by and large devoid of any manners, christian basics on how to treat people or even kindness. What I experienced was the duality of their “public” persona vs how they treat those they live with. To this day, when I see a picture of a smiling nun/sister or those overly exuberant with “joy” I see the hypocrisy and have to look away. Sorry to say, I have lost all respect. God was with me during that whole experience, and he saved me by showing me what I was getting into. New Orders need to be created to break with ingrained institutional/dysfunctional mental illness/behavior problems and get back to the heart and spirit that is Christ.

          • Terribly sorry for your experience. What we need are not new orders, but new reformers who will bring the ancient orders back the the charisms they have lost. The Jesuits need a new reformer like Ignatius of Loyola. The Franciscans need a reformer like St Francis of Assissi. The Carmelites need a new St Teresa of Avila. I don’t know about the Dominicans — they may still be orthodox and holy teachers — more power to them, if so.

            My own heartbreak was the Carmelites — both the Calced ( O Carm,) and Discalced ( OCD) who in their third orders both elected to become UN NGOs so they could “become international social workers” at the expense of their charism to foster prayer for the preaching of the gospel for the salvation of souls.

            I still have the Carmelite spirituality, but more as a hermit than as member of any organized community. I knew I could no longer be part of an order which compromised its contemplative and prophetic charism so it could be a UN NGO. This means the Carmelites can be “green” –but not criticise any other agency of the UN which promotes artificial birth control and abortion. (Which gags witness to the fullness of gospel truth) Our Superiors “sold us out”. I could not give obedience to the order under such a regime, so with sorrow I left the order I still love.

    • Wow, Papa! That Enneagram superimposed on your picture shows that you’re not just an eight but also a two, a five and a seven which by my reckoning indicates that you’re a cross between Cornelius Vanderbilt, Hugo Chávez and Dan Quayle.

      You are truly unique!

  1. “The Enneagram redefines sin, among other fundamental concepts, by simply associating faults with personality types, which is particularly tempting in a cultural climate of irresponsibility and narcissism. It encourages an unhealthy self-absorption about one’s own “type,” so that the type is at fault rather than the person. This gives rise to a deterministic mindset at odds with Christian freedom.”


    Seriously, folks, this is getting almost funny if that were possible…

    Is there ANY concept in Catholic doctrine that Pope Francis is simply on the right and clear, unambiguous Magesterial side of?


    I mean wow, this guy continues to BEG the question of the validity of his election… It is just a heaping, cumulative burying of us all in ambiguity, doubt, questioning, criticism and downright denial of past teaching.


    Every week it’s something new.

    Is this NEXT WEEK’s new headline?

    “Pope Francis Conjures Lazarus: Hell Ain’t So Bad After All”

    I’m at the point that I wouldn’t be shocked if it was…

  2. Hello? The 80’s called. They want their New Age spirituality back.

    Seriously, though, every Jesuit I have ever known has been enamored with the Enneagram. It is no suprise that Francis, who seems to embody every negative attribute of his troubled religious order, would not be opposed to it.

    • Not trying to question your statement, but how many, approximately, Jesuit have you known? (Saint Ignatius is spinning in his proverbial grave, IMHO.)

      • Well . . . I am Jesuit educated and formerly belonged to a Jesuit inspired women’s religious order. I know an awful lot and unfortunately none of the orthodox guys.

      • I’m afraid that my family and I have had two generations of dealings with a famous and *respected* Jesuit school and centre. We were taught by some wonderful old scholarly, holy Jesuits St Ignatius would have approved of. But they’ve been dead for years; there have been hushed-up scandals which i personally know to be true.

        We sent 2 of our 10 grandchildren there, but they came out ignorant of their faith and have never gone to Mass on Sunday since graduation. So though we have the money, we took great care that no more of our grandchildren would go there, breaking the tradition of 3 generations.

        Malachi Martin’s book “The Jesuits” is spot on and I wish I had read it when it was first published; it would have saved us much wasted time and money. Better to home-school and teach the faith yourself, or let your Catholic grandparents teach the tots if you have married a non-Catholic.

      • Please don’t lump Father Pacwa into the Jesuit pool of fools. He is an intelligent and prayerful priest. Maybe that is why he is not higher up in the SJ hierarchy. Peace and God bless.

  3. It is important to distinguish between Ivereigh and Pope Francis. Even though Ivereigh is among the most prominent defenders of the pontificate, and has become one of the attack dogs currently circling the four cardinals, he does not speak for the Pope. It would harm the legitimacy of the good and much-needed journalism done on this site to move immediately from a statement by Ivereigh to Francis, without any comment from the Pope himself to justify the claim on Ivereigh’s part.

    I’m not trying to take away from the seriousness of the danger posed by “New Age” practices (i.e., Gnosticism in yet another form). I’m just saying that Ivereigh speaks for himself unless Francis indicates something similar.

    Our efforts to resist the clear doctrinal problems in Amoris can easily be undermined if we give the impression that we are actually enemies of the Pope (whereas the only Catholic response to Amoris is to resist the Pope out of fidelity to the Pope, just as St. Paul resisted out of fidelity).

    [I edited this post]

    • I think that the question being asked here in Deacon Donnelly’s commentary covers this base. We don’t know that this is true, but Ivereigh is a credible source, Francis has not (and will not, most likely) speak on this, and the Jesuits are known for their use of the Enneagram, as noted by Fr. Pacwa.

      I also categorically reject the idea that in the case of Francis, we can’t know what he thinks unless he tells us directly. As I have noted in some detail in these pages, he is notorious for using surrogates to float stalking horses, and for saying things in private conversations that always wind up leaked to the media, but remain therefore firmly under the category of hearsay.

      His is a pontificate of insinuation, and it’s precisely why his refusal to answer the dubia makes so much sense. He rarely confirms and even more rarely denies. He lets others tell his story and allows the world to draw their own conclusions without a word of correction.

      • I’m not saying “We don’t know what Francis thinks unless he tells us directly.” He has consistently worked to achieve his goals by means of a network of surrogates, through whom he speaks. Ivereigh is one of these, so I have no particular reason to doubt the veracity of his claim.

        My point is that it is imperative that the resistance keep its credibility, rather than being successfully painted as a little fringe band of haters that indulges in conspiracy theorizing (which is how surrogates like Spadaro and Ivereigh are trying to present the resistance in the media).

        Catholics who realize that Amoris is deeply problematic (and 1P5 seeks to be a place for organizing such Catholics) cannot allow these surrogates to be able to discredit the resistance by presenting a narrative about unsubstantiated claims.

        The central issue is the doctrinal error that Amoris either presents or implies; everything else is — to a certain extent — a distraction. I’m not saying that 1P5 and allied Catholics shouldn’t be able to discuss anything which Francis doesn’t directly state. You are right to point out that much of the damage has been done by insinuations and hearsay. But it may be bait. If we can be accused of conspiracy theorizing, it will cast doubt on the basic facts about Amoris. It’s kind of a tough balancing act.

      • I can read Spanish a bit, but I don’t have a speaking fluency.

        In any case, my point about the article is that this kind of thing (this video, or some other clear statement from Francis) is what is needed. If Francis said it, then fine. The article only mentions Ivereigh, who is admittedly very close to the Pope but is not to be confused with the Pope.

        • I’ve noted in other articles that this indirect method of revealing his mind to the public is so consistent that it is impossible for it to be an accident. He tells people his unconventional thoughts and feelings, and they then speak to the media, with never so much as a word of correction from him.

          I could give many examples, but perhaps the most egregious are his interviews with Eugenio Scalfari. Papal Positivists were quick to point out that Scalfari is an elderly atheist whose interview technique involves reconstructing conversations from memory, not note taking or recordings. “He isn’t credible!” they wailed. And yet, Francis has gone back to him for a total of five interviews, if memory serves, each unleashing some neutron bomb of heterodox thought.

          It is my firm belief that this is a calculated strategy on Francis’s part. He cannot be accused of heresy and error via hearsay, but he can nevertheless get those stalking horses out into the mind of the public through such means. I can’t prove he is saying any of it — no matter how consistent it appears with what he does — but I can report that he is alleged to have said it.

          The impetus is on him to clear up these misunderstandings, if that’s what they are. He has chosen not to do so in a single case I can think of, which tells me he’s not at all concerned with these views being attributed to him.

          • I agree with all of this, and this strategy is one of the clearest signs that something extremely foul is going on (i.e., it shows that he’s not a guy “with his heart in the right place” who has committed to an erroneous position out of an exaggerated focus on mercy, but a guy who is deliberately manipulative).

            My point is that, precisely because this strategy is calculated to give him deniability if anyone asks questions, it also has the side benefit of allowing him or his allies to say “These people are ready to believe anything they hear about him; they listen to gossip rather than listening to the Pope’s own words.”

            So it is very helpful to have a Youtube video with the Pope actually saying “Yeah, the enneagram is OK by me,” not because I personally doubt Ivereigh’s words (I don’t), but because it takes away this line of attack. No one can say “That’s just Ivereigh’s own opinion,” if there is audio of the Pope’s words. I just think that in a climate like this one, where the integrity of any Catholic who criticizes the Pope is attacked, it’s useful to cover one’s rear end.

        • Steve is right – ” revealing his mind to the public is so consistent that it is impossible for it to be an accident. He tells people his unconventional thoughts and feelings, and they then speak to the media, with never so much as a word of correction from him.” – Ambiguity leads to confusion and dissension – we see this “Francis effect” repeatedly all over the world where he has sent his uncatholic synod fathers – India, Phillipines, Germany, England, etc. The recognition and authority given by PF to dissenting clerics (Schonborn, Kasper, Baldisseri, Turkson), and the punishment, removal and censure of faithfuls like C. Burke and the 3 cardinals, C. Sarah.

          The Problem of the Unofficial Francis

    • Scripture says by their fruits you will know them … here are some of PF’s fruits –

      1. Pope Francis Praises Soros-Funded Organization; Encourages “Resistance”

      2. Francis urges priests to ‘welcome’ cohabitating couples in the ‘style of the Gospel’

      3. Fatima and the Crisis in the Papacy – John Salza –
      The prophecies of Fatima and Akita are playing out before our eyes – cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops opposing bishops; the final battle will be against marriage and the family.
      These prophecies are surely meant for our time.
      Will there be a correction to this heresy? When?

  4. There’s a helpful and insightful piece a day ago, on Rorate Caeli on GNOSTICISM tracing its march through the pagan religions, from its first appearance in the rebellion of the Angels, and saying Gnosticism is really the creature’s own belief in the ability to gain knowledge sufficient for self-deification, apart from salvation through God’s Revelation. Its written by a priest using a Nom de plume – some 15 pages but well worth the effort.

  5. BTW: Appears Pacwa’s experience with this was back near the time he was involved in Alinskyite organizing. Sounds like after the guy was murdered in front of him and he left that “ministry”?

    Pacwa really must have found himself in the abyss of aberrant Catholicism back in the day.

  6. Ivereigh’s post on Crux is the most wicked and vicious attack on Pope Francis that I have yet seen. It should be read in its entirety to appreciate the subtlety and cruelty of his prose. Dripping with satire, irony and sarcasm from the get-go, it “praises” Francis for being everything that he most hates. All the qualities that are lauded would sound great for an ambitious peronist politician, but Ivereigh can’t find a single nice thing to say about the man that would qualify him to be a Pope – not one single thing.

    As for targetting the Pope with that Enneagram bullcrap – he may as well have come straight out and called him a freemason or an apostate. How he managed to smuggle this past Crux’s editors as a serious piece of prose I will never fathom. The sheer malign brilliance of the man is awesome. It is good to see that he no longer defends this awful papacy and that finally he is giving it to Francis with both barrels. Austin the worm has turned – and he’s done it with such brilliant irony and damnation with faint praise that the Bergoglio fan club will be the last to realize that he’s “stuck it up ’em.”

  7. Just a quick question…Does the enneagram have anything to do with the four personality types: choloric, sanguine, melancholic and (I forget the last one)?

    • None. I have written two books (so far) for Catholic parents on the 4 classic temperaments. These temperaments have their root in the teaching of Hippocrates, father of medicine. The Enneagram, as Fr. Pacwa says so well in the quotes above, is occult in origin and has no scientific or psychological basis. It is used as a pseudo-religious tool and is akin to other New Age errors. The four temperaments can help us pinpoint what our chief faults are, help us understand each other, see our gifts, and better parent our children. But temperament is a matter of psychology, not strictly spirituality. Temperament is not destiny. Nor is changing one’s temperament possible. Rather, over time and with grace, we can conquer the sins that are often associated with our temperament, while growing in the gifts we were born with — all for God’s glory. Btw, the last one is phlegmatic.

        • No, those are by Art and Laraine Bennett. I am writing a series for parents, one on each of the 4 temperaments. So far I have published A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child and ditto for the phlegmatic. The point is to help parents see and encourage the good in each child’s temperament, while helping them focus on their root sins. More coming in 2017, God willing.

      • Connie, Thank you for your prompt and thorough reply. I was happy to hear that the four temperaments have their root in the teachings of Hippocrates. I have raised my children by way of the temperaments and this method has helped me along the way. The Gospel message is adaptable to each of the temperaments.

      • Thank you. Can you recommend a good (beginner’s) book on the 4 classic temperaments, from a SOLID Catholic view? Thanks in advance.

          • I’m phlegmatic and when I was very young thought this dreadful, as the other 3 temperaments were all far more interesting and “romantic”. But over the years (providentially forced into very “active” careers and responsibilities that helped me overcome natural tendency to indolence) I discovered the good side of being phlegmatic– it steadys one, and makes one naturally cautious, and predisposes one to study a situation before acting. Then one day it dawned on me that St Thomas Aquinas was probably phlegmatic, and I was delighted.

      • Dear Connie, Thank you for posting on here. I have just visited your website. I will have a read through the free chapters later.

    • Hi Connie,

      In the link you provided which goes back to 2013, he also said: He criticized the “gnostic solution” of elite groups of “enlightened Catholics” who offer a “higher spirituality.” He said some advocates of ordaining nuns to the priesthood or of giving communion to the divorced and remarried fall into this error.

      Well, we now see that he is very much in favour of giving communion to the remarried. So perhaps this is one of those that he actually believed in but at the time was hesitant to show his hand.

    • Francis is known for his remarkable inconsistency, which others have noted (there’s a joke that if you don’t like something he says, just wait and he’ll say the opposite).

      I think it’s also important to note that Ivereigh is considered to be Francis’ best biographer. I’m not sure how much time they have spent together, but the his book is lauded as being the most thoroughly researched look at the life of Francis. Ivereigh is a big admirer of Francis, so I doubt he would suggest something harmful (clearly, he doesn’t see it as harmful) without basis.

      • Ivereigh obviously is an admirer of Fr. Richard Rohr and the Enneagram himself. That’s reason enough to be wary of Ivereigh. I agree he doesn’t see this as negative. If you read the article carefully, Ivereigh says Francis “is not against it.” That may simply mean that Francis is ambivalent or chooses not to speak clearly in favor of one side or the other. It does not necessarily tell us what Francis really thinks. It does not say, “Francis uses the Enneagram himself,” or even, “Francis sees it as a useful tool.” Maybe those things are true, but the article does not come right out and say so. In fact, it seems to have some of the same ambiguity of Francis himself.

        • There’s a reason it’s a question, not a statement. However, its entirely congruent — including the section about how an enneagram user views sin — with Francis’ public persona. It was a noteworthy statement in a very odd article. A question worth asking.

  8. Hummmm …. and next we will have shared Eucharist with the protestants ….. most likely followed with burning small amounts of incense to other gods ….. Quis ut Deus!?! Serviam !!!!! As for me and my household; we will serve the LORD!

  9. I saw Ivereigh’s book on Pope Francis in my local Catholic book store this afternoon. It was one of at least half a dozen about the pontiff. Kinda disconcerting to see his face staring back at me so much. I also saw one on the Enneagram that made the argument outlined here, that the Enneagram comes from the Desert Fathers instead of Eastern mysticism.

    I must say that I was more than a little disconcerted to find it. My first introduction to the Enneagram came back when it was all the rage in the late 90’s. My parents were worried because it was being used in something our local parish was doing (we lived in El Paso, Texas at the time). If I remember correctly, my mom actually approached the pastor with a copy of Fr. Pacwa’s book to share her concerns. (I have since read the book myself.) I had thought the Enneagram had gone out of fashion.

  10. Now the enneagram! I’m not saying the pope is involved in this one, but it is full of the trappings of evil. To number people’s personalities is stupid and finite. A person who is so concerned with their personality and can spend the time with this deserve what they get. They get trapped badly for a long time. There is a monastery in Snowmass, CO that teaches this stuff also along with the centering prayer. So much has been intelligently written against this type of spirituality one can hardly believe it still exists in the Catholic church. When Jesus teaches personal sacrifice, contrition, and prayer what in the world does self-reflection of our personality do for us? Isn’t it written that Lucifer fell because of his self-reflection? Oh, I forgot, us humans are more clear and intelligent than angels so we can do it better!!! Ha-ha-ha.

  11. Just another thinking. The pentagram is a five-point star being figured in opposition to Jesus’ five holy wounds. Perhaps the 9-point enneagram is figured in opposition to the 9 choirs of holy angels….

  12. This is rich indeed. I had neglected this article because I have an aversion to anything that smacks of new age. That was a mistake.
    It has been apparent to me since the beginning of the pontificate that this individual has serious personality problems. Engaging in such practices, ascribing to them any credence, is a clarion alarm of someone in bad straits looking for a way out of deep crisis.
    “A way” out of deep crisis.
    Jesus Christ is “the way,” the truth and the life. It is rudely apparent He is not sufficient remedy for the “needs” of a certain school of thought presently occupying pride of place in the Church.
    Ambiguity, “core compulsions” inherited from “childhood,” Gnosticism…
    All evidenced in the current fiasco.

  13. Anyone who quotes “Father” Richard Rohr for a seal of approval….oy, that tells you everything you need to know about enneagrans and Austen Ivereigh.

  14. I think Lucifer was probably an 8, as probably was Stalin. Who cares what it says your number is? You would do better reading “The Temperament God Gave You” by the Bennetts. I was wondering if maybe Pope Francis was being used as a kind of “talking e-card” by a godless cabal of Vatican staff to push their agendas, but I read he was not interested in dogmas in Latin America, as well. Should he be an anti-pope or a misguided valid one, this is a test of our belief in the authority given The Church. As Jesus told Pilate he would have no authority, had not God given him it, to execute him or not, God let this one be The Pope and we have to defer as much as deigned by God, which is going with whatever the former has within the perimeters of his authority to order and, as hard as it is to say about this one, at least respect his thoughts on things, if just because he is in the seat of Peter, insofar as they are not inherently evil and/or disordered.

  15. The Enneagram has origins in the occult. Watch this video where Naranjo himself admits that the he received the personality types by automatic writing channeling some sort of ancient spirit. For me this is enough not to even consider it as a valid secular tool.


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