“Ask a Priest: Is It Wrong to Turn to a Medium?”

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Q: Is it a mortal sin to see a medium? Would God forgive me? I’m not at peace with the death of my mother. -P.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The short answers are: 1) yes, it could be a mortal sin, and 2) yes, God is always willing to forgive when there is a spirit of repentance.

The Catechism warns about recourse to mediums and other things dealing with the occult or spiritism. It is worth quoting a few numbers here, which appear under the header “Divination and magic”:

2115. God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

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.

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. [end quoted material]

If you have gone to a medium, it would be good to stop immediately and permanently, and to go to confession.

Then you might consider taking advantage of the prayers and other helps offered by the Church. The best thing you can do for your deceased mom is to pray for her, to have Masses offered for her, to offer up sacrifices for the repose of her soul. If you feel a need for an intermediary, you might try turning to the Blessed Virgin Mary or a favorite saint.

Part of the hope we have as Christians is that someday we might be reunited with our loved ones. Death is not the last word. The resurrection awaits all of us.

If we stay close to Jesus, then someday we can rise again and be with him — and with our loved ones who have persevered in their love for Christ — for all eternity.

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