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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Can Catholics call on psychics?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,     
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

Question:  Can Catholics call on psychics?

Short answer:  no

Longer answer:  Scripture tells us that this we must distance ourselves from recourse to psychics, mediums and the occult.

 "Do not turn to ghosts or consult spirits, by which you will be defiled. I, the LORD,   am your God."--Leviticus 19:31

"There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination, a soothsayer, an augerer, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord ..."-- Deut. 18: 10-12. 

While it may be true that some people do indeed have a special gift of receiving dreams, visions, premonitions, we ought not consult these folks for information.  And if these gifts do come from the Holy Spirit, does it seem right that these "psychics" charge money or "sell" the use of this gift?

The Catholic Church warns against this in the Catechism:   All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.  

Use of tarot or oracle cards, crystals, pendulums, Ouija boards, runes, etc are an appeal to the occult.  Either they are inanimate objects with absolutely no power (that is, a waste of money), or they do have a supernatural, mysterious property--which would NOT be from God, given the explicit condemnation in the Bible.  As such, it would be spiritually perilous to seek recourse to these objects. 

Peter Kreeft in his book Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven says the reason for “this stricture is probably protection against the danger of deception by evil spirits. We are out of our depth, our knowledge, and our control once we open the doors to the supernatural. The only openings that are safe for us are the ones God has approved: revelation, prayer, His own miracles, sacraments, and primarily Christ Himself…The danger is not physical but spiritual, and spiritual danger always centers on deception.”

Incidentally, while Scripture shows an incident where Saul sinned by having a medium conjure the spirit of Samuel (1 Sam 28:8-19), this ought not be misunderstood as a condemnation of praying to the saints.  When we ask for the intercession of the saints, this is not the same thing as conjuring up spirits to ply them for knowledge not available by ordinary means.  There is no expectation of return communication from the saint. When we pray to the saints we are simply partaking of a "Divine Prayer Chain"--something which is not forbidden, and, in fact, a good and holy practice for Christians!

For more in-depth study visit these websites:

The Perils of Superstition by Apologist Trent Horn

Catholic Bible online

Catechism of the Catholic Church online

Catholics Come Home

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15