Saturday, October 6, 2012

Concerning Psychics

Now this is a word most traditional Catholics have a strong reaction against.  If not completely bogus, we are under the impression that all activities of psychics and mediums are strictly forbidden by Church teaching.

This is almost true, and really depends on what we mean by "psychic."  Perhaps we would be more comfortable with "clairvoyant" or "mystic."  The issue is not the ability, but the source of the ability and our attitude towards it.

In a nutshell, genuine psychic individuals are either gifted with a special charism or paranormal talent by God, or have purchased forbidden powers from Satan.  Those who are trying especially hard to become psychic risk falling into the latter category, which is no laughing matter.  

Father Amorth claims to often make use of people he calls "seers" and "sensitives" during his exorcisms.  They can be useful in identifying evil presences, curses, hexes, and in revealing their causes.  He also cautions that these feelings are not always 100% accurate and must be thoroughly investigated.  

Because of the proliferation of suspect spiritualists at large, Father Amorth offers some criteria for identifying the good ones in An Exorcist Tells His Story.

"I would like to suggest four guidelines for determining the presence of true charisms.  (1) The individual or the community lives the Gospel in a profound way.  (2) The individual or the community performs the services completely free -- not even accepting donations, as through these it is easy to become wealthy.  (3) The practices used must be common means to obtain grace approved by the Church, avoiding unusual or superstitious actions.  For instance, they must not use 'magic' formulas but prayers, the Sign of the Cross and imposition of hands, and nothing that could offend modesty.  They should avail themselves of water, incense, and relics and avoid anything that is extraneous to the normal ecclesiastical use.  They should pray in the name of Jesus.  (4) The fruits must be good.  This is an evangelical rule that sums up all the other rules, 'the tree is known by its fruit' (Mt 12:33). . . .
"I will say that the seers and sensitives I have chosen to consult -- among the many that I have been offered as such -- have all been very prayerful individuals, rich in goodness and charity, and especially very humble.  If I had not discovered them by chance or because someone informed me of their talents, they would never have told me.  What are these talents?  Charisms?  Paranormal abilities?  I tend to believe that it is a paranormal gift that the person uses to serve others.  I do not exclude that it can be a charism.  I have never noticed in these people any sign of tiredness or loss of strength.  I have witnessed a gradual strengthening of these gifts through their use; this leads me to believe that we are faced with paranormal talents.  I will add that it is very difficult to find true seers or sensitives.  On the other hand, there are a multitude of people who believe they have and are reputed to have these gifts.  We need to be very careful."
Obviously, trying to contact the dead is still very much out of the question.  And like all extraordinary gifts and graces, being "psychic" is not something anyone should go clamoring after.  So don't even think about sending an application to any of those psychic schools or spiritual colleges popping up everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. I read that as "physics" at first, and was wondering why Catholics veer away from it.... Silly me!