Is astrology always immoral?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2116) says:

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.

There are two things astrologers claim to be able to determine through analysis of the stars: (1) an individual’s’ personality traits, and (2) universal influences on an individual’s history–past, present, and future.

The former, hereafter referred to as zodiac astrology, is done by consulting the positions of the stars at the time and location of a person’s birth. From this information, the astrologer observes the positions of each of the “planets,” including the Sun and Pluto, in one of twelve zones in the sky or zodiac signs, and makes an assessment about that individual’s personality based on that information. At this level, no claim is made to knowledge of the future.

The latter is done by cross-referencing the former data with the positions of the stars at a past, current or future timeframe. At this level, the astrologer claims to be able to know the influence the universe will have over a person’s life at any given time, most importantly the future. It is this level of astrology from which horoscopes are derived.

It is the latter level of astrology which the Catechism seems to condemn, and not what I refer to here as zodiac astrology. Am I wrong?

I submit the matter to the esteemed apologists at Catholic Answers.

One of the problems with the “zodiac astrology” to which you refer is that it is utterly unproven that the unique personalities of individual human beings can be pigeonholed by the alignment of the planets or the stars on the date of their birth, particularly since the human soul is created at the time of conception and not birth. Unsupported faith in such phenomena is superstition:

The first commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people. It proscribes superstition and irreligion. Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion; irreligion is the vice contrary by defect to the virtue of religion (CCC 2110).

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 (CCC 2111).

It cannot be said though, that “zodiac astrology,” as you have outlined it, is not a form of divination. For one human being to set himself up as a determiner of the personality traits of another through recourse to the alignment of the stars at time of birth is to assert power over that other person’s future. For example, for someone to say, “You’re a Pisces, so you have a compliant personality,” is to influence how another person sees himself and is to limit his willingness to make the choices he needs to make since he may say to himself, “What’s the use? I’m weak-willed because I was born that way.” That’s one of the forms of power over other human beings that CCC 2116 warns against.

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