Beyond Long Distance

Can John Edward Give Us Peace about the Dead? Do We Need Him to?

Talked to any dead friends or relatives lately?

John Edward says he does it all the time.

You’ve probably heard of Edward, who hosts the syndicated Crossing Over. A self-described “medium,” he stands in a gallery of audience members eager to receive messages from loved ones who have died. Some have been informed of foul play; others are delighted to be assured that their loved ones are aware of a new baby or a new tattoo or old guilt.

There’s no doubt that something is going on with Edward; he seems to know too much about too many people he’s never met. He’s sweet, likable, gracious, and seems to genuinely care about the audience members with whom he communicates. His calm demeanor, along with the bittersweet tears of the grieving, all make for compelling television.

Edward is a believer in ADC’s , “after-death communications.” “You don’t need a medium to talk to loved ones who have passed,” he says, insisting that with an open mind we can train ourselves to receive dream messages or inner locutions from loved ones. You have to hand it to the guy, encouraging people to put him out of a job.

It does sounds tempting. On the other side are two grandparents I miss and an uncle I never met�what would they have to say to me if the opportunity were presented?

I’m not alone, apparently: ticket requests are so overwhelming that Crossing Over only opens their phone lines to them once a month. But do we really need Edward or ADC’s to know that our friends and family are safe and well?

Faith says we don’t. For the same reason it counsels against turning to psychics and horoscopes, the Church encourages Catholics to turn directly to God for comfort and direction. It’s understandable that we want guarantees, but instead we are asked to trust God. If we truly believe that Christ is the Resurrection, we can accept that our loved ones who have died are redeemed and heaven-bound.

And you don’t need to place a long-distance phone call to believe that.