Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
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No. In 1917, the Church decreed as follows: "It is not lawful to assist at Spiritistic Seances or manifestations whether with or without a medium, even though such meetings seem to be honest and religious." Spiritualism claims to be a new religion, and therefore meets with the same fate as all other religions invented by men since the time of Christ. The only true religion is that established by Christ, and in the form in which He established it. It is little use to call oneself a Christian, and reject the Church as Christ built it, accepting any form of religion men would like to substitute for it.
There is truth in the claim that the soul is distinct from, and can survive the body. All men instinctively know this, and as they lose faith in Protestantism, this fundamental truth of reason remains. Many of them therefore turn to Spiritualism. Thus this new phase gains ground among non-Catholics. As a religious system Spiritualism is the outcome of human effort, and is in vogue among certain men for a time. But it is valueless as a religion in the sight of God. It will die out in due course, possibly to give place to some other extravagant form of religious excitement. Man is constitutionally religious, and if deprived of Catholic truth will grasp at anything for a time. But substitutes are bound to disappoint in the end.
The Catholic Church certainly believes in the existence of the spiritual world, of God, of good and evil created spirits, and in the continued existence of the souls of men. But the phenomena of Spiritualism are due at best to natural causes; at times to imposture; very often to evil spirits. Certainly any effects due to the influence of spirits are not due to the intervention of good spirits. The medium acts under uncanny and feverish excitement; the effects are evil only too often; and messages received, as well as the methods adopted, are openly blasphemous and immoral, and quite unworthy of God. God Himself says, "Neither let there be found among you . . . one that seeketh the truth from the dead." Deut. XVIII., 10-11.
In the history of the Catholic Church there are many accounts of messages received from the souls of the departed. The truth of these accounts is subject to the ordinary laws of historical criticism, and some accounts have certainly been proved doubtful. Others leave no room for prudent doubt. As a rule, God permits a soul only occasionally to communicate momentarily a warning, or a request for prayers, but nothing fantastical. Likewise, the messages are spontaneous, and not due to the curious efforts of people seeking the truth from the dead. The Church tests the messages received, or claimed as received, in order to discern whether good or evil spirits are responsible for the communication. (1) The message must in no way conflict with Catholic teaching or moral principles. Gal. I., 9. (2) The person who claims to have received such a communication must be characterized by sound common sense, and even be undesirous of such occurrences. (3) The effects of the message must be good, the recipient being moved to a holier life, and to nothing indecent, shameful, or contrary to Christian standards.
The idea of merely natural happiness in Heaven is nonsense. The supreme happiness of Heaven is totally different from any happiness we know on earth. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . . what things God hath prepared for them that love Him." I. Cor. II., 9. An eternity of the things we know here, and of life as we experience it would soon become blank misery, and not Heaven at all. God Himself tells us that we shall see Him face to face, and it is better to believe the God who made us than the Spiritualist who would only unmake us as regards our rational nature.