The enneagram

A couple of people at the Faith Winter Conference asked me if I could post some further information about the enneagram. This is a "new age" type of personality analysis. By self-observation, the user assigns himself to one of nine personality types. From a scientific point of view, it is worthless. From the religious point of view, it can be harmful because it derives from religious ideas that are incompatible with the Catholic faith. Expressions such as "sin", "fruits of the spirit", "redemption", and "prayer" are used in ways that are quite different from the way that they are used in Catholic teaching. It would therefore be easy for someone to be misled.

There is online the text of a draft from the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices entitled "A brief report on the origins of the enneagram." I don't know whether this ever got into a final version. Part of the conclusion reads:
An examination of the origins of enneagram teaching reveals that it does not have credibility as an instrument of scientific psychology and that the philosophical and religious ideas of its creators are out of keeping with basic elements of Christian faith on several points. Consequently, the attempt to adapt the enneagram to Christianity as a tool for personal spiritual development shows little promise of providing substantial benefit to the Christian community. [...]

In conclusion, those who are looking for an aid for personal and psychological development should be aware that enneagram teaching lacks a scientific foundation for its assertion and that the enneagram is of questionable value as a scientific tool for the understanding of human psychology. Moreover, Christians who are looking for an aid for spiritual growth should be aware that the enneagram has its origins in a non-Christian worldview and remains connected to a complex of philosophical and religious ideas that do not accord with Christian belief.
Further reading

Fr Mitch Pacwa Tell Me Who I Am, O Enneagram

Rick Kephart Enneagram versus the Catholic Church

Bruce Sabalaskey The Enneagram

Michael Rose The Enneagram Theory of Personality. Why it's use is incompatible with Christianity

Mary Jo Anderson Enneagram: Psychic Babble, The

For a "neutral" view, you could try the Wikipedia article, Enneagram. Also interesting is the discussion that has been raging about whether it is neutral enough. A contributor said "This article appears to be written from the point of view that the enneagram concepts are valid and widely accepted."

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