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Pat Dickerson wrote:

Hi, guys —

I just moved to St. Louis this past Monday, August 26th, and the night before while packing
I discovered that most of my silver and gold jewelry was missing. The moving company packed my house at the end of July, however, I didn't move until the end of the August so a whole month went by before I discovered this. I have filed a police report and a detective will be investigating the theft.

  • My question is would be wrong to work with a physic only for the purposes of solving this crime?

Many departments utilize their skills and I wasn't sure, as a devoted Catholic, if that would be permissible. I know it is wrong to use one to contact the dead or to ask for readings about the future but I wanted to make sure that using a crime physic would be okay before working with one.

Thank you very much,

Pat Dickerson

  { Would using a physic for the sole purpose of solving a crime be allowed by the Church? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Pat —

No, the Church would not allow it — that would constitute consulting a medium, which is forbidden by the First Commandment. Psychics are either frauds, in which case you are wasting your money and setting yourself up for disappointment, or real, in which case you are communing with demons. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

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. (cf. Deuteronomy 18:10; Jeremiah 29:8) 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.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers,
so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

I quote the second paragraph to show that even committing acts for the sake of doing good — restoring health, for example — are forbidden.

I hope this helps.


Paul replied:

Hi, Pat —

  • Even if psychics are not frauds, isn't it something to consider that conjuring up spirits is distinct from the notion of a natural power of the mind to intuit things not experienced through the senses?

Reading carefully the two Catechism of the Catholic Church sections Eric sited, it speaks of supernatural phenomena but doesn't mention the notion or possibility of natural phenomena.

  • The Church hasn't judged on whether some people might have a natural gift of psychic intuition more so than others do; but is the running assumption that natural extra sensory perception is impossible?


An Anonymous AskACatholic helper replied:

Hi, Pat —

Psychics are B.S. artists who have no crime-solving abilities any better than average guessing. They are good at self-promotion and they mistake their occasional random successes for proof of their supposed abilities.

Famous would-be psychic Sylvia Browne made a completely wrong claim on T.V. in 2004: She told
a missing girl's mother that her daughter was dead. The daughter surfaced this year as one of the ten-year kidnapping victims in Ohio. Chalk up a fail for her.

I'm sorry to hear that your jewelry disappeared but the proper Catholic thing to do is to pray to
St. Anthony of Padua and to St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina and cooperate with the police investigation.

As follow-up, here's a web page about psychic frauds: six who failed and were exposed, some hilariously:

Anonymous AAC Helper

Pat replied:

Mike and team:

Thank you so much for your time and information.

Pat Dickerson

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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