How are Catholics to view luck?


#1

Luck is so ingrained in our culture – to wish someone luck, to have a lucky object, the luck of the Irish, etc. I see many people in the forum ending their post with “Good Luck.” Lucky objects (penny, rabbit’s foot, game jersey, etc.) would fall under idol worship wouldn’t it?

Can we as Catholics equate wishing someone luck as actually wishing someone God’s blessings or should we avoid the phrase altogether?


#2

[quote=themartin7]Luck is so ingrained in our culture – to wish someone luck, to have a lucky object, the luck of the Irish, etc. I see many people in the forum ending their post with “Good Luck.” Lucky objects (penny, rabbit’s foot, game jersey, etc.) would fall under idol worship wouldn’t it?
[/quote]

More precisely, ascribing good fortune to tokens such as pennies, a rabbit’s foot, jersey, etc., would fall under superstition. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2111) defines superstition this way:

Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.

Carrying a rabbit’s foot or a penny as a token of affection from a loved one can be seen, in a loose manner, as a non-traditional “sacramental” sign of that person and of your mutual affection. This would be a practice “otherwise lawful.” Ascribing to the rabbit’s foot or penny a “power” to alter the course of your everyday fortunes is to attribute good fortune to the “mere external performance” of carrying the token and thus is superstition.

[quote=themartin7]Can we as Catholics equate wishing someone luck as actually wishing someone God’s blessings or should we avoid the phrase altogether?
[/quote]

Most people use the phrase “Good luck” as a colloquial equivalent to “I wish you good fortune and pray that you will obtain it.” If that is the intent, one could use the phrase “Good luck” if one wishes. If one prefers, he could also say “Good blessings.”

Something to remember is that the word good in English comes from the English word for God (e.g., goodbye = “God be with you”; Good Friday = “God’s Friday”). In light of that, one could also consider the phrase “Good luck” to be a colloquial equivalent to “God’s fortunes * be with you.” For more information on this, please see the following article:

Why Is It Called Good Friday?*


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