My Aunt had a session with a medium in order to communicate with her deceased father. When I found out about this a few months ago, I bought her the Catechism of the CC and advised her to read up about mediums, the occult, etc. Tonight during dinner she was telling an animated story about her latest session with a medium. I kept silent since I could only catch part of her story since I was in another conversation. How do I go about explaining to her the gravity of her situation? Have there been any papal encyclicals written about this topic? Has she committed a mortal sin?
Here are 2 Biblical references.
Deut 18: 10“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,11or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.12“For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.
Leviticus 19:31 “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God"
Though this is quite popular these days to the peril of those who participate. Probably the most effective thing to do would be to pray for her and her family for protection.
Well, it’s too bad she is so naive as to think that these people are actually reaching the dead. Most of the time if not ALL of the time, they are merely charlatans and frauds. They know how to get little bits of information from people and then expand upon that by guessing, and our weak minds are easily deceived into believing they are psychic. It’s too bad that your aunt is so susceptible to this fraud.
Yes, she should confess this and then stop doing it, but I know people who think that pretty much anything goes, and they consider themselves to be good and holy Catholics!
On a very practical level, you could try informing your aunt that so-called mediums and psychics are just very good at reading facial responses and body language of their clients, and hook them in that way. Almost all of these people are charlatans, and soak the public for large sums of money. The same goes for a lot of New Age practitioners.
Most of this stuff is just hogwash, and some of them get closed down by police bunko squads. Your aunt would do far better folding her money in half, putting it back in her wallet, and perhaps having some Masses said for the repose of her deceased loved ones.
I don’t think that much of anything you tell her is going to be successful, though, especially if she’s that enthusiastic. The gullible cling to their false beliefs. She needs prayers that her mind is enlightened.
The next time she is animatedly talking about her latest session with a “medium,” ask her precisely how much that “information” cost her. But be prepared for a fairly ugly response. Sorry to sound so negative about it, but I’ve been through this with my mother. The only thing that worked in her case was when she was living at my house after surgery, and I had to go collect her junk mail (about a grocery bag full of it each week.) I sorted through it, threw out the stuff that came from spiritualists, etc, and brought home the real mail. Anything that had pictures or references to preternatural beings or influences I burned in the barbecue and threw some holy water on the ashes. When she moved into an adult apartment, I filled out change of address cards for the important mail, and did not fill out a general forwarding card. That put a stop to the craziness. I found out she had been sending these people several thousand dollars for their hoaxes, and reported them to the postmaster for mail fraud. I have no idea what happened with them after that.
I felt bad about opening someone else’s mail, and confessed it in confession, along with a quick explanation of the circumstances. The priest said it was not sinful, and that I needed to stay strong in my approach to safeguard my mother’s best interest.
She figured it out, and for awhile I was about as popular with her as a skunk at a garden party. However, after about a year and a half of not sending these people money, she has now figured out that she has more disposable income that she can use for necessities and little luxuries, instead of worrying about how she is going to manage co-pays and so forth.
I don’t expect her to thank me for it any time in this life, though.
Sorry to sound so negative about this, but it was a heck of a struggle, and it did involve me directly, since I was paying for things that she couldn’t afford after sending these people money. Good luck with your aunt, do a lot of praying for her benefit, and keep your eyes peeled for a teachable moment.
Mortal sin? Guess we can say so, but in the other hand what she did was childish and maybe not in order, foolish I reckon.
So what can you do about it? Pray for her. She is seeking, and in a way I can understand her. But The Church do ban all “black magic” and further on and beyond. I have a prayer book in my native language with a prayer to help us (Catholic book) get rid of demons no matter if they are inside our head or really are present. I don’t know if you can find a copy in English, but if you want I can translate it for you. Can’t promise to do it today or even this week but send me a PM if you want me to do it. Meanwhile, pray for her, and she maybe should talk to a priest.
Yes it is sinful,
Most of the time it is just a fraud,
on some occasions an evil entity takes the form of the deceased.