So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

'Hey kids, look... the Eucharist is magic!'

So, what do you do or say when a priest does magic tricks as part of his homily?

Aside from the fact that tricks of any kind have little place alongside the preaching of the Gospel, which should be the focus of all preaching, why do priests think that they need to spice up their homilies with jokes, props, gimmicks and what-have-you to entertain the troops, so-to-speak? Is it to amaze and create fascination with the mysteries (sacraments)? Some might make that argument, but the burden is on the priest to justify the use of an illusion to entice people into a deeper understanding of the Eucharist and to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. More likely, the opposite outcome will occur. By performing magic tricks during Mass, priests unintentionally but essentially convey that the Holy Eucharist is nothing more than a magic trick, mere hocus pocus.
The words hocus pocus are probably a corruption or parody of the words of consecration started by scoffers and heretics:
HOC EST CORPUS MEUM (This is my Body...)
Friends in low places.

Magic tricks of the entertainment variety—e.g., sleight of hand, quick change—are harmless enough. Though, they still do not belong in the Divine Liturgy.

Magic of a kind assisted by diabolical preternatural forces is deadly to the soul. Dark powers demand expensive payment for sharing their power. The price of flirting with dark powers is the corruption of one's soul. Souls ensnared by evil desperately need our prayers. Invite the help of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, to accompany you in prayer to Almighty God for the liberation of souls from evil.

Theresa Caputo, the so-called Long Island Medium who has claimed she is a practicing Catholic and attends weekly Mass, needs our prayers. What she is doing strays dangerously close to or may actually constitute necromancy. Pray for her!
I’ve been seeing, feeling, and sensing Spirit since I was four years old, but it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned to communicate with souls in Heaven (Demons can simulate many things, including souls in heaven.). After suffering from debilitating anxiety and trying to manage it on my own and with a therapist for years, my mom introduced me to a spiritual healer and teacher named Pat Longo. After just one session, she told me that I was suppressing Spirit’s energy, which caused a lot of my anxiety, and helped me learn to channel Spirit through my chakras and release it with my words. (This woman could have been suffering and may very likely still be suffering from a demonic attack of some kind. The fact that she appears to have acquiesced to and is cooperating with the influence of some preternatural power suggests that she may very well have become dependent upon that same power, like a person addicted to drugs is dependent upon a drug dealer for a fix. The 'perfectly possessed' rarely realize there is a problem. Exorcists will tell you that many problems start with encounters such as those described above. Never consult with "spiritual healers". Seek out a good and holy Catholic priest known for authentic spiritual counsel. Be mindful of the fact that a good spiritual director may ask you to consider difficult truths about yourself that you do not want to hear!)

Clients, fans, and the media always ask me to describe how I receive information, and it’s hard to put into words because I see, hear, and feel things differently than we do in the physical world. Sprit (sic) mostly speaks to me through a sixth sense—a kind of feeling and knowing. When I get information, it feels like very strong intuition, or recall. Spirit also uses a vocabulary of signs and symbols that they show me during a reading; over time, I assigned words, phrases, and meanings to certain images I was shown, and then through trial and error, Spirit helped me add new ones until we created an entire vocabulary for us to work with. I translate my signs and what I feel as best I can, and then deliver the messages, but it’s the client’s job to interpret how the meaning is significant. It’s like piecing together a puzzle, and can sometimes sound like guesswork, but Spirit speaks “another language,” at another speed, and in another dimension.—Theresa Caputo.
In Jewish and Christian circles those gifted with special abilities, for example, share exactly what God wants. No 'ifs', 'ands' or 'buts' or 'what-do-you-think?' or 'it’s the client’s job to interpret how the meaning is significant'. The prophet Daniel supplied King Nebuchadnezzar with a perfectly clear and definitive interpretation of his dream. Recall, too, that Nebuchadnezzar had summoned "magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers" who could not even begin to tell the King anything about his dream. Daniel, by contrast, spoke in no uncertain terms (Daniel 2) and gave the king a definitive answer that proved to be true.

Why is it that so-called mediums always dodge the quality of precise communication? In other words, why do they speak about their supposed gift and the content they present to their clients as "a puzzle"? An attempt by a so-called psychic or medium to create wiggle room for interpretation is asking one's "clients" to engage in mental evasion and an attempt to mitigate responsibility for error or inaccuracy. Why do people pay good money for what amounts to charlatanism?

The Catechism responds:
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.
Those who dabble in fortune telling, and the "medium" whose experiences are presented above, risk the loss of their souls if they surrender their hearts and/or minds to something which preys on the vulnerable. Evil attempts to seduce those who are desperately looking for love in all the wrong places. Instead of turning to the Church, they turn to those who are already under the influence of malevolent preternatural forces.

The saints who have experienced and demonstrated exceptional abilities—levitation, bilocation, knowledge of distant events, the ability to read hearts—were intelligent enough to submit their experiences to rigorous examination. Those same saints never sought fame. One should immediately question the intentions of one who feels the need to expose their "gifts" on national television, i.e., in a forum which enables the "medium" to accumulate large sums of money for their "services".

Bear in mind, the demon can simulate the abilities listed above. The devil, however, can never give to someone the ability to know another person's sins that he or she has confessed and for which absolution has been granted in the Sacrament of Penance.
The new televangelists.

We live in an era when people who are searching and who have become starved of common sense treat some soothsayers as celebrities, gurus and personal saviours. No wonder the number of exorcisms is rapidly increasing.
So then, dear priests: do not expose your flock to a fascination with preternatural forces. Your harmless "tricks" are unbecoming the role of a Catholic priest, are inappropriate in the Mass and, frankly, are dangerous. Do not open that door to darkness by using a seemingly innocent magic trick that also reinforces problematic understandings which can be imposed upon the Faith and the Sacraments.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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