Is water divining wrong?


I always believed that water divining was an occult practice forbidden in Scripture and the Catechism. I was therefore shocked to read a story in my diocesean newspaper about a religious brother who helps support his monestary by working as a contract water diviner; local farmers pay him to find water for them.

Is water divining allowed for a Catholic? If so, how does it differ from the other kinds of divining that are forbidden?


Q: Is water dowsing an acceptable means of locating water on one’s property?

A: Water dowsing (also known as water divination and water witching) is a method in which the practitioner uses a Y-shaped stick called a divining rod to hunt for underground water or minerals. If there is reason to believe that such a method could be explained naturally, then the method would be acceptable. The National Ground Water Association, though, dismisses the idea of water dowsing as “totally without scientific merit” and recommends instead “the use of proven hydrogeological and geophysical techniques for groundwater reconnaissance when its presence is not easily recognizable by drilling contractors” source].

But if one still believed that there is a natural reason that the method works and wished to pursue the method, despite no scientific proof thus far, then true superstition would not be involved. For more on superstition see the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2111 (source, scroll to Q&A 3).

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