The Sin of Divination


In his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis explains that “faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness but a lamp that guides our steps in the night.” Entrusting oneself to God in faith is perhaps never more difficult than in times of grief and loss. Barrington Police Chief John LaCross was recently featured in the media, offering his own advice and counsel to those who have lost a loved one: consult a medium. The feature article went on to make a number of attempts to legitimize such a practice as acceptable and healthy.

Gone are the days of Johnny Carson’s “Carnac the Magnificent.” Late-night laughing at mediums and fortune tellers has been replaced today by popular cable TV shows like TLC’s “Long Island Medium.” Teresa Caputo, host of the show, claims to be a practicing Catholic. She, and those who watch the show, would do well to seek the mind of God on such matters. Our Catholic faith tells clearly of the misfortune in practicing such things.

In the Old Testament the practice of psychics and mediums is described quite bluntly as “an abomination.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church is more detailed, explaining that “all forms of divination are to be rejected” and that these “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” (CCC, #2116).