St John's Q&A

Friday, April 20, 2007

Inactive priests, psychics, etc.

1) Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are invited!!

2) Our theme for Youth Group this Sunday night will be, “Virginia Tech: We Remember”. Around 7:30, we will go over to Church for a Prayer Service. All are invited.
Anon commented, “I was surfing the net when I came across the website about married priests. These are priests that left the priesthood after Vatican 2 to get married. They believe that since they were ordained they will always be priests regardless if they are married or not. Once a priest always a priest. They perform baptisms, marriages etc. Are these marriages and baptisms valid?” You are correct that once a man is ordained a priest, it is forever. So, the priests to whom you refer still have the power to consecrate, forgive sins, etc., but it is highly illicit (against Church law) to do so. They are most likely doing this on their own, and not in a parish church or with the Church’s approval.

Normally, people ask if they can still consecrate the Eucharist which they can. With regard to Baptism, anyone can baptize (in case of emergency). But, these priests are no longer ordinary ministers of the Rite of Baptism, so any baptisms they perform would not be in a parish church or with the blessing of a bishop. Regarding marriages, I quoted from Canon Law # 1108 the other day about who can witness a valid marriage: “Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them…” A priest who has left the active ministry is no longer delegated by the local bishop or pastor, so any marriage that he witnesses is invalid.

Another Anon wrote, “Since school was out yesterday I watched the Oprah Winfrey show. She had John Edwards the psychic on her program. He was doing readings for people who wanted to get in contact with their dead loved ones. Although the show itself was fascinating I was wondering this whole act of talking to the dead must be dangerous as a malevolent spirit could come through and do some real damage.

She also had Alison Dubois on her program who is both a medium and a psychic. Alison works for the police department finding missing people. Apparently she is very good at her work and has helped out the police department a great deal. There is also a tv show about her called "The Medium" Could someone comment on the church's position on all this. Thanks”.

A priest said to me once about such psychics that for every case in which they are right in their “premonitions”, they are wrong a hundred times. I don’t pay a lot of attention to psychics, and I would strongly warn against fraudulence. The Church’s position can be found in the Catechism (#2115 – 2117):

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.

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.

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.


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