Ask a psychic why they don’t play the stock market or rake in big winnings at the Blackjack table. “It’s a gift for others,” they will tell you. Yet, that doesn’t stop them from charging top dollar for “readings” or selling tickets to their performances. Social workers they are not. Spiritually dangerous they are.
Every Catholic should know to steer clear of psychics of any sort yet interest in the occult is on the rise, no thanks to some celebrities—even some baptized Catholics—practitioners. For instance, Tom Brady—a baptized Catholic—has attributed his seventh Super Bowl win in part to his wife’s witchcraft.
This past summer Bishop John Barres of Rockville Centre, New York wrote a letter warning Catholics of its dangers to the soul. “But human nature always seeks assurance, and an increasingly popular supposed path to such assurance is recourse to mediums. On television and the internet we see countless mediums who travel far and wide claiming to connect the bereaved with loved ones on the ‘other side.’”
He pointed that the dangers of any sort of divination, especially consulting mediums to circumvent God, opens one up to demonic influence and it is actually from the devil. By blindly reaching into the supernatural, trying to know or control things, the devil shows up. Bishop Barres noted that some mediums even claim to be that be practicing Catholics and, “understandably, this strikes many as a beautiful work of faith, bringing solace to the sorrowful.”
One TV show that was cancelled last year after nine seasons which contained that kind of cunning was the Long Island Medium. The star, Theresa Caputo, identified as a Catholic. Recently, while on tour, she came to our civic center. I joined a friendly evangelical group outside to pray. I had been invited by a .friend of one of my daughters. They did not yell to people that they were going to hell—just prayers and singing.
Prior to the event, I watched a few episodes of the show online to see what it was all about. In one episode, Theresa brought an older woman to tears telling her personal details about the deceased husband. Then, Theresa exclaimed that the husband had chosen the unusual path of waiting for his wife to join him before he continued his eternal journey. In the meantime, the widow was to enjoy life.
In another episode, Theresa got up early to join a friend at a Zumba exercise class. Luckily, the TV cameras went along, because suddenly, mid-Zumba, Theresa received messages for the woman next to her whose father had died when she was just a teen, claiming that he was still looking out for her. After a few more messages, the Zumba instructor called the class back to order. Episode over.
What’s the problem with these seemingly loving messages? It starts with the First Commandment. “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have any gods before me.”
The Old Testament did not mince words. “Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortuneteller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead. Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord . . .” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
St. Paul condemned Elymas, the magician, calling him “son of Satan and enemy of all that is right,” (Acts 13:8).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone” (2116).
Messages misdirect us
On the surface, the psychic shares seemingly wonderful messages from deceased loved ones who are always living “in the light” and are very happy as they wait for their family. It seems everyone is happy regardless of what their lives on earth were like. Their advice is about how their loved ones can increase their happiness. The message is never to read the Bible and go to church or repent of their sins and embrace the Gospel messages.
It’s strange that mediums who claim having a gift from God, never promote God’s message of sacrificial love or rejecting sin. Instead, it’s a deforming of the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, (John 14:6).
An exorcist once shared with me that he has had people come to him experiencing problems after dabbling in the occult. His advice is to repent and go to the sacrament of confession to be forgiven and renew their relationship with God.
“There’s nothing good that ever comes from it,” the exorcist said. “It’s a dimension you have no control over. Evil wants to convince you that you will have control over it, but you won’t. It’s always a mistake.”
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