Classification of Spirits

I am not interested in phrases that contradict what the individual words mean.
I am interested in saying things to newbies that actually make sense.

Clearly an animal’s soul is not material (hence it must be immaterial and therefore unseen and therefore “spiritual”) and equally clearly it does not last beyond death.

The word “spiritual” has a number of different meanings which you may not accept but most english speakers do. The CCC does not contradict what I stated, nor will you see in it a reference to animals having “material souls”. That is in fact a paraphrase of Aristotle, and not a particularly good one at that.

When the Church speaks of a “spiritual soul” the phrase is usually meant as a loose expression for “rational soul” or “immortal soul” mde in Gods image… ie distinuishing human life from animal life.

Just looking at the wide variety of life that has lived on the earth thru its history, dinosaurs, saber toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, etc it is pretty clear our God likes to create and likes to create vastly different forms of life.

I think its almost comical to realize this and then believe God just created the things you mentioned and stopped right there.

Personally I believe God has always been creating, long long before us and probably creating after us as well. Its just what he does imo.

Its hard to imagine a futher life classification other than material (plant and animal), material spiritual (human), spiritual only (angels and demons).

What further class would you suggest?
Perhaps spiritual but not rational (eg sprites, poltergeists, nymphs, jinns, fairies, taniwha, dragons, pixies, arahats …the equivalent of cheeky spiritual monkeys).

What about goblins, elves and centaurs? They are 4 rational therefore must be spiritual too. Should they be classified human then or aliens?

I think the question here is if there could be spiritual beings that* function like animals*, lacking an intellect and a will? (the presence of an intellect and a will makes a person, and persons have to choose a side: to be with God, or not. Animals aren’t capable of such a choice).

Has the Church said anything about this?

My understanding is that since spirits are more similar to God (who is Spirit) and thus higher in the hierarchy, it would be logical for them to have other traits that animals don’t have, such as an intellect and a will…

my understanding is also that the reason such beings were created is to be with God forever. This again requires an intellect and a will, and to be a person, who can love God. These other beings would live forever, but not be with God, they’d have some other purpose… what would it be?

If someone experienced something that doesn’t fit the Angel or demon categories, maybe it was something natural or psychological… or they misunderstood… I don’t know, that’s not up to me to figure out, but to the Church.

But is this the question that we’re discussing here, if such creatures can exist, who would be spiritual but “neutral”?

I know certain natural things can be spiritualized, like resurrected bodies, but here we’re talking about complete spiritual creatures…

has the Church said anything about this?

Why are these things dangerous (who says that?)? Who forbids this activity? Do they give a reason?

The fallen angels are all too eager to deceive those who engage in such activity. The Catholic Church teaches us that to try and contact people who have died opens the door to such deception.

Those who fall under such deception, and then recognize it for what it is, most likely will need help from a Catholic deliverance ministry run by a priest.

the Catechism and the Church over the centuries… it’s dangerous because you don’t know what you’ll get. We can’t “force” people who have died to “talk” to us. If we try, how do we know who is talking to us. It’s dangerous all around. It’s forbidden for Catholics and is listed in examination of conscience under grave matter.

Frank Sheed explains it this way:

The souls, the life-principles, of plants and animals produce no vital activities which rise above matter. They are marvellous enough, they animate the body; in plants they make possible movement and growth and reproduction, in animals some faint likeness of knowledge, some faint beginning of social life, as well.”

Yes, Frank simply repeats the thought of Aristotle, the science of the ancients which classifications the Church adopted like everybody else at the time.

What is the relevance to what I stated?

I simply observe the Church in the CCC by “spiritual soul” in this context means rational hence immortal. It slso speaks of “spiritual” in a different way, as per the Creed visible and invisible creation. Animals clearly have souls, and souls are invisible by definition.

The CCC never actually speaks of the existence of a “material soul” and if it did it would not mean that souls can be seen. Therefore souls are clearly immaterial and in that sense also spiritual.

Noone denies animal souls are mortal despite being immaterial.
That is because immortality is a property of rational souls which animals by definition are not.

Its a small point and surprising that its being argued here.
“Spiritual” is an amiguous word in the english language.

This was a very helpful article

**I am wondering if the very existence of a spirit implies the existence of an intellect? ** would St Thomas say that?

In the Summa, he says that an Angel’s intellect is not its essence, but that section gets so philosophical that I don’t understand it.

This however might also be relevant:

"I answer that, There must be some incorporeal creatures. For what is principally intended by God in creatures is good, and this consists in assimilation to God Himself. And the perfect assimilation of an effect to a cause is accomplished when the effect imitates the cause according to that whereby the cause produces the effect; as heat makes heat. Now, God produces the creature by His intellect and will (I:14:8; I:19:4). Hence the perfection of the universe requires that there should be intellectual creatures. Now intelligence cannot be the action of a body, nor of any corporeal faculty; for every body is limited to “here” and “now.” Hence the perfection of the universe requires the existence of an incorporeal creature.

The ancients, however, not properly realizing the force of intelligence, and failing to make a proper distinction between sense and intellect, thought that nothing existed in the world but what could be apprehended by sense and imagination. And because bodies alone fall under imagination, they supposed that no being existed except bodies, as the Philosopher observes (Phys. iv, text 52,57). Thence came the error of the Sadducees, who said there was no spirit (Acts 23:8).

But the very fact that intellect is above sense is a reasonable proof that there are some incorporeal things comprehensible by the intellect alone.

Here, he links intelligence to being an incorporeal spiritual being. So the question is, can such a being not have intelligence?

Exactly so, though the other way around.
The existence of rationality indicates the existence of a rational soul.
Animals therefore do not have rational souls.
Thus far Aquinas mimics Aristotle.
However he goes further and states that rational souls are immortal and survive death. Aristotle never really said anything like this, though Christians try and argue he did.

That is why I raised the possibility of the purely spiritual equivalent of animals just as angels are the purely spiritual equivalent of humans.
There is theoretic room for such beings but it would mean contradicting Aristotle somewhat. But given that Aquinas felt free to do so why not!

So sprites, jinns, arahats, pixies, poltergysts, fairies, taniwha etc may all be irrational cheeky spiritual beings that act randomly in the world like monkeys with little rhyme or reason.
But me, I will stick with Okcham’s razor and assume mental abnormalities until the patient starts levitating.

All this stuff is just ancient science of the day baptised by Christianity.
It isnt de fide Church Doctrine.

Its the very same science that spoke of hell below the ground (abandoned in the Middle Ages), the 7 heavens being physically beyond the moon in outer space (also abandoned), the stars and planets moved by an assigned angel, the planets being incorruptible and eternal (abandoned in more recent times) and the earth being at the centre of the cosmos (geocentrism now also abandoned). So nobody really knows.

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