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Caitlin Kennell Kim
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Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
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Our readers asked:

Paranormal Activity
I am very interested in investigating paranormal activity, such as trying to contact spirits or search for "energy" using audio or electrical equipment. I have not done any of this yet because I'm conflicted with this as I do not want to go against the Church. What does the Catholic Church think about this and is it okay for me to do my investigations?

Fr. Joe Answers:

Attempts to contact or communicate with the spirits of the dead are warned against both in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Leviticus 19:31, I Samuel 28:8) and in the teaching of the Catholic Church (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 9-269). Some of the reasons given for this are: (a) a context of superstitious beliefs and practices, (b) the frequency of fraud and deception in the methods of mediums and channelers, (c) the possible influence of the demonic. The New Catholic Encyclopedia article on “Spiritism” notes: “it is understood, however, that what is condemned is superstitious abuse and that there was no intention to preclude legitimate scientific study, provided there is no recourse to means that are essentially immoral or specifically forbidden.” (M.D. Griffen, p. 429).

A few more thoughts:

1. The Church affirms the existence of a spiritual world that has as much reality as our tangible material world.

2. The Church asserts that death does not end life. In a way we do not fully understand, but witness in the resurrection of Christ, the power of God’s love transcends the power of death.

3. The Church invites us to respect the mystery that is ever present in our encounters with the world of the spirit. It is not susceptible, nor should it be, to our manipulation and control. We are best in harmony with God’s intention when we encounter this world AND the next with an attitude of humility and wonder.

I hope this will provide some food for thought as you consider your decision.

 
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The Author : Fr. Joe
Fr. Joe Scott, CSP, has been a campus minister, pastor and editor as a Paulist priest.
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