Do ghosts exist?


#1

What is the Church’s teaching on ghosts? My kids watch a show on the Sci-Fi channel called Ghost Hunters and the kids tell me “See… Ghosts do exisit,” but I tell them that it is impossible because our faith tells us that once a person dies, their soul goes in front of Jesus for judgment.

I do not believe there are such things as souls that can not find their way or souls that do not want to “cross over.” How should I go about explaining this to my kids?


#2

[quote=lost sheep]What is the Church’s teaching on ghosts?
[/quote]

Recommended reading:

What’s the Catholic theory behind such phenomena as ghosts?

[quote=lost sheep]My kids watch a show on the Sci-Fi channel called Ghost Hunters and the kids tell me “See… Ghosts do exisit,” but I tell them that it is impossible because our faith tells us that once a person dies, their soul goes in front of Jesus for judgment.
[/quote]

You are correct that once a person dies, that person’s soul is immediately judged:

And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment
(Heb. 9:27).

[quote=lost sheep]I do not believe there are such things as souls that can not find their way or souls that do not want to “cross over.” How should I go about explaining this to my kids?
[/quote]

You are also correct that there are not “lost souls,” in the sense that there are not souls that are caught between death and eternity unable to “cross over” to “the other side.” After death, a soul is judged and is either saved or damned. A damned soul is in hell; a saved soul is either in heaven or in purgatory.

That said, it may be that purgatory might in some way involve the life one lived here on earth. It is not incompatible with a belief in purgatory to believe that our purgation might include “revisiting” places that were significant during our earthly lives. It may be that occasionally God allows people to see such souls in order to inspire prayers for them or in some way to teach a lesson to the people who see them.

In any case, what you can tell your kids is this: Although Church teaching does not rule out the possibility of ghosts, and although it also does not rule out the possibility that God might allow us to see ghosts on occasion, the Church *does *forbid us from attempting to initiate occult contact with departed souls:

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 (CCC 2116).

Recommended reading:

Ghosts? by Jimmy Akin
Theology of the Living Dead by Jimmy Akin


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