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Ask the Register: what about this organization?

Q. Has the Church stated any opinion about the Edgar Cayce organization?

A. A very interesting question, thank you for asking it. Until you asked this question I had never heard of Edgar Cayce. Therefore, I had to do some research.

According to internet sources, Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) was an American clairvoyant who answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while allegedly asleep.

Again, according to what I can find, Edgar Cayce was a strange individual who made incredible claims that cannot be verified or substantiated. Suffice it to say from what I gathered from research, his ideas and so-called “readings” about Jesus and the Catholic Church do not square with what we, as Catholics, believe regarding Jesus as the Son of God–our Savior–and the Church that He established: Matt.16:18, Matt. 18:18, John 20:20-23, Luke 22:19, Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:15, Galatians 1:18.

I honestly do not believe that the Catholic Church ever said anything about Edgar Cayce and his claims.

Please allow me to expand on your question and touch upon what the Catholic Church teaches regarding spiritualism, psychics/New Age/occult, etc. I do so because many people, including Catholics, seem to be fascinated with people who make claims to be able to contact the dead or to be able to see into the future.

The Scriptures very clearly speak about the immorality of consulting mediums or psychics. Isaiah 8:19, Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, Deuteronomy 18:10-12, 18:14, 2 Kings 21:6, 1 Timothy 4:10, Acts 13:10- 11, Galatians 5:20-21.

Mediums are psychics who claim to be able to communicate with the dead or to channel spirits in order to secure information to pass on to the living.

The Catholic Church is clear: The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in No. 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.”

Dabbling in the occult and consulting mediums or psychics and playing with things such as Ouija boards and Tarot cards is a serious sin and a really dangerous path to go down. This is because, in doing so, you are opening the door to your soul and allowing the devil to come in. This is a dangerous game because many Catholics have no idea what they are doing when they do such things. Do not believe that you can compete with the devil and win. You will not.

That same section of the Catechism goes on to say that recourse to mediums contradicts “the honor, respect and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” Such sins are against the First Commandment. The Catechism references the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy which warns (18:10-11): “Let there not be found among you anyone … who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead.”

Having said that, I would not dispute that the souls of the departed may appear to the living and reveal the unknown. For example, Saint Padre Pio — the 20th century Italian saint, mystic and stigmatic — is commonly believed to have been visited with apparitions from souls of the departed. The difference — it seems to me — has to do with from which side the channel is opened: Padre Pio never actively conjured up such visions, nor even desired them, while mediums claim to have the power to do just that at will.

This question was answered by a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln. Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd., Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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