Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Divination Among Catholics

"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." These are the words from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (# 2116).

The Catholic Times describes the many ways the lack of trust in God leads to many of the superstitions of folk religion. Surveys have shown that the number of Catholics participating in different forms of folk religion is not negligible. One survey indicates that 40 percent of Catholics after baptism have at least once consulted Tojeongbigyeol (Book of Fortunes). Those who have chosen an auspicious day, changed their names, checked horoscopes, and participated in other forms of superstition are estimated to be one out of every four Catholics.

The article notes that over the years those going back to folk religion for periodic guidance is increasing. There are many who do not believe there is anything wrong with this way of acting, especially consulting with fortune tellers. Each month of the lunar year has days when harmful spirits are said to take a rest; on these days people move or begin their trips and projects. This year of the dragon the leap month is considered favorable. The different forms this takes are numerous, and there are many who make their living by providing quick and consoling answers to the difficult questions all of us encounter in life.

One pastor has seen this desire for consulting 'those who know' as a great problem among his parishioners; they see nothing wrong with what they are doing. It is a form of religion that is thought to dispense blessings. What is needed, the pastor believes, is education on what true religion is.

This whole matter of divination is an indication that many Christians do not see that God made all things good. The article ends with a reminder from a priest of the Seoul Pastoral Research Institute that those who have been called by Christ to trust in God's love and his providence, and thus made free, should not throw it all away with this kind of unwholesome curiosity.


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