What's the difference between Angels/Intercession & Mediums/Contacting the dead?

A combination of reading the other thread on Angels and watching the UK TV series “afterlife” (about a medium and a psychologist) got me thinking.

If I am correct, the CC definitely believes in Angels, that we all have our own guardian angels which are there to guide us etc. We are not supposed to go out of our way to contact them, but at times God may permit an Angel to appear to a person. Obviously they are not to be worshipped.

Saints and family members who have passed on can ask God as intercession for prayers for us as God is the God of the living not the dead.

I’m not sure on the churches position on “ghosts” - don’t exist? Demons? Deceased relatives?

Mediums, occult etc are big no nos…

However my question is, if we can ask deceased people for their intercession, why are mediums a no no? It seems quite a grey, overlapping area which I’m not sure on?

Where is the line?

I think because angels are still on God’s side, they’re not the fallen ones, so maybe, MAYBE, God might hear their plea? While saints are venerated as saints because of their faith to God as well, so they’re on God’s side.

While mediums and the types are pretty much on the demon’s side, so they have no authority whatsoever on the souls of the believers.

I have a mate from school days that is both a Catholic and a Medium! He hardly ever talks about it. Doesnt go out of his way to mention it. His wife is one too.

:wave: I think you’ll find that these three articles answer your questions:




Hello TF.

You’re are smart not to give to much credibility to what is on TV. Read the account of what happened to Saul when he gave up on the Lord and resorted to the Witch of Endor as a medium: 1 Samuel, Chap 28:5 to 20 then read 1 Samuel, Chap. 31 just verses 4 to 6. Saul killed himself out of pride. We are taught that suicides go to Hell. Resorting to the Witch of Endor instead of waiting on God was a very grave mistake for Saul and it was followed by his suicide in battle. The likelihood of him getting out of Hell is slim. I don’t think that happened. In fact, I’d venture to say his judgment was greatly impaired both before his consultations with the Witch and became much worse after. Even if for a “good” reason, as some may see in Saul’s desire of help, we are never to resort to evil means of obtaining any end, in this case the answer to his questions about his leadership, etc. The story is a good one for your question I think. Hope it helps.


  1. Ghosts exist. They are mentioned in the bible. They may be souls in purgatory appealing for prayers, or they may be demons, or they may be a quick one-time visitation to the living to comfort them in their grief, as God wills it.

  2. When mediums contact “the dead”, the medium is looking for information from the deceased in a two-way interaction. They are attempting to draw the deceased from whatever plane of the afterlife they are existing in, and trying to engage them in a relationship, of sorts. This relationship almost always involves a receiving of information about the afterlife to satisfy the curiosity of the medium and those who contract with them.

Needless to say, one cannot just contact the deceased like you would pick up the telephone and call someone. Our Lord is not going to allow deceased souls to drop in to our world for coffee and donuts and entertain us with stories about how cool heaven is. There wouldn’t be any point in having faith if it were that easy to verify the afterlife. And you know how much importance our Lord places on faith. Any spirit that would respond is most likely a demon.

  1. When saints are asked for intercession, there is no two-way conversation going on. We are not waiting for them to show up at our doorstep. We are not trying to extract hidden information from them. But we have faith that our prayers will reach them. We have faith that they will take our petition to the Lord. But we can never know for sure. That is where the all-important *faith *comes in.

Wouldnt that go against our free will if God did not allow any deceased person to answer someone living trying to get ahold of them? IMO, that sounds like an infringement on our free will.

Is it against your free will for God to tell you not to kill, or steal, or to do any other sinful thing? God tells you not to do them because they will harm your soul, but you still have free will to disobey Him and do as you please, but you would be doing them at your own risk. In the end, it’s always your own choice which way you want to go.

The reason that the Church teaches against doing such things, is because they are spiritually dangerous. Using things like Ouija boards, or Tarot cards, seances, etc., opens up channels/doorways to the spiritual realms. Just speaking to the dead with the intention of getting answers from them is the same thing. When people do those kinds of things, they open themselves up to demonic influences and, as a result, can even become possessed by demons. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Demons are very real.

The Catechism is extremely helpful here and draws the line for us pretty clearly:

2116 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.

So the problem isn’t really with talking to dead people, it’s with the method and intent behind it. Mediums are essentially trying to play God, by conjuring and manipulating the dead for their own purposes. This shows a desire for power over the dead and control over the future, as the Church describes it. That’s the problem and the danger with mediums, not to mention the fact that the spirits they contact are usually demonic.

But nothing like that happens when we are praying to saints.

Instead we are recognizing the spiritual bond that exists between all members of the body of Christ, (Which includes the saints in heaven) and humbly asking them to intercede for us. We’re not trying to control them or God, we know it’s ultimately God who answers prayers. But we also know God heeds the prayers of a righteous man (Jas 5:16) and wants all his children, including the ones in heaven, praying and interceding for each other. This isn’t manipulating Him, but following the plan He established. He could have chosen to answer prayers in any number of ways, but He’s chosen to do it in response to our petitions for one another. And so we ask for the prayers of believers in heaven who are close to God just like we do with believers on earth.

On the surface, the two may seem similar, but once you really see the method and intention behind each one, it becomes clear praying to a saint and holding a seance are two very different things entirely.

Does that help clarify things a little?

I believe the church teaches that one does not know the disposition of another soul… even for suicides. In fact the church now does funerals and burials for suicides because only god knows what the person was thinking the instant before death.

With regard to ghosts we can certainly say they are not the souls of the dead who have not yet crossed over because of unfinished business. At death the soul is immediately judged and immediately goes to Hell or is saved (Purgatory first or straight to Heaven). There is no such thing as a soul that does not cross over at death.

Thanks all for your replies…all very useful information! :slight_smile:

I would be concerned about the dangers of “channeling” in our materialistic world.

How do you explain ‘ghostly visits’ many people have experienced, and the ghosts are there to help the person? this does not sound like something a demon would do. Demons trick and fool people…not encourage and help people.

For some, it may be a coping mechanism from the mind; for other’s perhaps a vision allowed by God - as the rich man asked Lazarus to do for his siblings; and for other’s a deception from the evil one to turn them away from God

That’s like saying it’s an infringement of your free will that you can’t fly under your own power. Free will does not imply that anything you wish is possible under the rules of the universe, only that God will not reach in and directly change what you want to something else He likes better.


I’ve always thought satan must be pretty stupid to give a lets say atheist a “spiritual experience”…at the very least it proves the existence of satan, and if he exists, God definitely does. Wouldn’t he be shouting himself in the foot slightly.

I don’t blame everything on satan, people have free will, but some people just seem to have a sense of being wrapped round his little finger…it’s the evil that exists in some, probably as a cause from satan…that strengthens my faith in God and while I struggle to find a church home, my faith and belief in the greatest good and love in God will never cease.

Once upon a time on a clear sunny day, I took my college final exams. Sets of questions were randomly selected by the computer. I was already on my 30th of the 40 questions and I wasn’t sure about any of my answers and I know I will flunk my exams. I wouldn’t be able to graduate, indebted big time and my family’s future will be jeopardized if I fail that exams. With cold sweats and a shaking body, I asked for my guardian angel’s help. I told him that I was very thankful for his guidance and I know he’s always watching over me. Out of desperation, I told him that I never asked for his help and I dared him to help me, regardless of what it takes, even if he had to do a physical intervention. Right after my plea, there was a loud thud, the computer restarted and I got a new set of questions which I answered perfectly. Yes, that was my guardian angel.:wink:

I agree with you Mikekle because I’ve experienced those visits in my dreams, 3x.

I have too, a few times actually.

Its funny, but yesterday while working at one of my stores, they had hired a new manager, we got to talking about spirits and ghosts, and apparently she can see spirits…she spoke about this in such a normal manner, like it was normal to see ghosts all the time!

She told us she saw an older guy continually working in the store (spirit btw), she described him, and it turns out, it was a description of a former manager that died in the store a couple years ago, she said she sees this ghost all the time, and hes always walking around the store, working, so not sure what this is…why is Ernie not in heaven or hell? Why would there be a spirit of him moving around the store doing things he did in life?

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