Halloween is quickly approaching – ever wonder what the Catholic Church says about ghosts? Gabby tackles this question in this week’s installment of “Dear Gabby.” Have a question for Gabby? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are Catholics allowed to believe in ghosts?
Thanks for the great, and timely, question. First, it’s important to note that Catholics aren’t allowed to consult anything regarding the occult – Ouija boards, mediums, psychics, horoscopes, etc. (Deut. 18:10-11). This is for our protection against deception by evil spirits. Remember what happened to Saul when he went to the medium to try to contact the dead prophet Samuel about his battle with the Philistines? Not only did the Israelites get beat down worse than the New York Mets but Saul and his sons all lost their lives the very next day.
Secondly, the Bible actually points to evidence that ghosts do indeed exist. When Jesus appeared in the resurrected body, he was mistaken for a ghost and even said that ghosts don’t have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). The prophet Samuel, besides appearing to Saul when he was in trouble with the medium, also prophesized from the grave (Sirach 46:20). Also, in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), it’s implied that the dead can communicate with the living in v. 25. And even stranger is the possible separation of the spirit from the living body or bi-location in the story of Philip baptizing the Ethiopian in Acts 8:39: “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again…”
In the Old Testament, ghosts appeared to both Job and Macabees in their sleep to relay messages (2 Maccabees 15:12-16 and Job 4:15).
Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston College, authored a couple books about ghosts and Catholic teachings using writings of St. Thomas, philosophy and several saints: “Angels (and demons): buy cialis in canada What Do we Know About Them?” and “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven”. He lays out the different kinds of ghosts and says that reputable people, like C.S. Lewis, have even seen a ghost of his wife.
The Catholic Church recognizes that probably ghosts do exist but urges Catholics to be extremely cautious and guarded simply because Satan will play on any emotion to trick us.
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