Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
That it is superstitious nonsense, and that it is sinful to place any serious reliance upon it.
None of it is really harmless, for even if one were to indulge in astrology jocosely there would always be a danger of beginning to take oneself seriously. Real danger commences the moment one begins to entertain the thought that "there might be something in it." And there are many gullible and easily impressed people who do this. The end of the road is complete abandonment of both reason and religion. I have recently read a book by a prominent English "astrologer" in which he says that the sun itself is really God, and that the planets are angels. He declares that the sun and the moon and the planets deserve our reverence and our worship, though people are not educated up to the stage of realizing that yet! However, according to him, as astrology becomes more popular, more and more people will come to discern its spiritual and religious significance. Catholics are bound in conscience to have nothing to do with astrology.
I would give three reasons: the first based on an analysis of the stars; the second on an analysis of man; and the third on a study of history. Astronomy, by spectroscopic analysis reveals the purely material constitution of the stars, and reason insists that there is no more reason why they, rather than any other material elements in the universe, should have any control over man's conduct. Reasonable people no more believe that they are influenced by stars than by starfish.Secondly, an analysis of man reveals that he lives not only by bodily senses which can be affected by material influences, but also by intelligence and will. And only the infinite intelligence of God can know what the free will of man will choose in the future. That cannot be known by us from a study of the stars.Thirdly, a study of history shows a complete lack of consistency in the life and conduct of people born in the same astrological circumstances, and no trace of uniformity which should be present were the stars a reliable influence upon them.
Their belief is due to their own credulity. I admit that such credulity is growing more and more widespread in these days. But that does not justify it. The ancient pagans were profoundly given to such superstitions, and the general driftage of the world around us from religion is leading to a revival of these pagan tendencies.
Strangely enough, I myself was born in August; but apparently I didn't get the gifts and traits required for a belief in astrology. It is really absurd to think that the forces of heredity must adjust themselves to a given month and constellation before they dare to operate in a given child. However, I cannot go more deeply into the subject now, and can but suggest that you tell your friends to use their reason rather than blindly follow imagination and credulity inspired by futile curiosity.
He would have been much wiser had he not done so, rather than pen such nonsense.
That is absolutely false. From the very first days of its existence the Catholic Church condemned astrology. Astrology was rife amongst the Jews when Christianity commenced. The Jews had picked up the superstition from the Babylonians; and in the Old Testament the prophets sent by God denounced it again and again. The Catholic Church took up the same stand. In the year 120, Aquila Ponticus was excommunicated from the Church for practicing astrology. How can Dr. Korsch say the Church did not condemn it? Under the firm stand taken by the Church, and as Christianity grew, the astrologers of pagan Rome lost their reputation and influence, and were reduced to the position of mere quacks deceiving the credulous and gullible. In the Middle Ages, Arabs and Jews kept astrology going, whilst both Church and State in Catholic Christendom condemned it absolutely as a heathen superstition. That condemnation has never been withdrawn.
The latter concession does not make reparation for the error in the first part of the statement. Astrological demonology was a Jewish and pagan product against which the early Fathers fought in every possible way. St. Jerome, who lived at the same time as St. Augustine, when writing his Commentary on the prophet Micheas, declared the teaching of the Church by saying that indulgence in such superstition is always sinful. St. Augustine himself writes in his "Confessions" that, before his conversion to Catholicism, he was addicted to astrology—a "thing which true Christian piety rejects and condemns." And never did he teach that demoniac forces are located in the stars.
He did not. He wrote on astronomy and philosophy. Unfortunately, the term astrology was used with much wider significance than now to include even astronomy in those days. But what must be noted was the distinction between superstitious astrology and astrology as the purely natural science of astronomy. Albertus Magnus confined his attention to the latter, and emphatically subscribed to the Church's condemnation of the former.
He would have been the greatest opponent of astrology as understood by advocates of it today, were he still alive. No man living would have poured more merciless ridicule upon it. Bacon was most interested in astronomy and philosophy, not in astrology as a superstition so much in vogue amongst moderns who, deprived of the Catholic Faith, are drifting from all genuine Christian religion and turning to old pagan, Arabian, and Jewish superstitions.
St. Thomas Aquinas expressly condemns that idea; and declares that divination of the future by the stars, save where purely astronomical phenomena are concerned, is both impossible and sinful as an attempted practice. He concludes his explanation of this matter in his "Summa Theologica" by saying that if anyone uses a consideration of the stars in order to fortell future accidental events or the future conduct of men, he is indulging in a vain and false opinion, and his divination is superstitious and sinful. II, II, Q. 95, art V. It is an insult to St. Thomas to say that anywhere in his writings he declares that man's character is fixed by the stars. If men cannot even read aright the written words of those they quote, what is the value of their astrological guesswork when they pretend to read the stars!
The term "natural astrology" meant ordinary scientific astronomy. The Council of Trent permitted no astrology at all as that word is understood today. The "genethliacal astrology" condemned by the Council of Trent is defined as "the prediction of the future from the consideration of birthdays and the relative positions and movements of the stars." That is the condemnation of what is today known as astrology.
That is quite false. How he could come to such a conclusion it is impossible to imagine. On his own words it stands condemned! And all the misquotations and ambiguities of which he has been guilty in his efforts to arrive at such a conclusion argue either to a colossal ignorance of history, or to a dishonesty one is loath to attribute to any man, even to an astrologer.
No. Whether they give mere conjectures, or have actually got in touch with occult sources of information, there is no certainty that what they predict will eventuate. Fortune telling is not a reliable source of knowledge, but must be ranked as superstition.
Yes. By doing so, people seek a knowledge of the future which has not been revealed by God, and which cannot be known in a natural way. Apart from revelation by God, we can know events in this world either by their actual occurrence, or in their natural causes—as an astronomer predicts future rain from present atmospheric conditions. But future events dependent upon the providence of God and the free will of men are not contained in the lines on one's hand or in the throwing of dice, or in crystals and tea cups.Any serious intention of discovering the hidden future by such means is forbidden by the Catholic Church as superstition and a sin against religion. And the Church is here repeating God's own law. In Deut. XVIII., 10-11, we read, "Neither let there be found among you anyone . . . that consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens . . . neither let there be anyone that consulteth pythonic spirits or fortune tellers." Such is the clear law given by Almighty God.
I have said that it would be a sin. If you ask concerning the gravity of the sin, I would say that it is gravely sinful to do so with a serious intention of thus discovering the future.
Firstly, the Church does forbid Catholics to consult fortune tellers; and this mother either knows it, and is in bad faith; or else she is ignorant of her religion on this point.Secondly, her serious consultation of fortune tellers is a gravely sinful thing, and she is obliged in conscience to give it up.Thirdly, her boasting of her belief and practice in the presence of her family is a grave scandal, and she must cease giving such bad example, doing all she can to correct the wrong impressions already given.Fourthly, that some things fortune tellers predict have come true in no way justifies her conduct. That some, and not all of the things told her have come true, suggests mere guesswork; and serious reliance upon such predictions is superstition. If she denies that the replies are mere guesswork, and asserts that the fortune teller really does know the hidden things of the future, then the case is worse. Whence would such a fortune teller derive such knowledge? Certainly not from any natural means. The knowledge would come either from God, or good spirits, or from evil spirits. It can't come from God, for He has forbidden the seeking of knowledge from fortune tellers. It can't come from good spirits, for they are obedient to God. It can only come from evil spirits with whom Christians are forbidden to have any communication. Whatever be the results, and however they be obtained, Catholics are forbidden by God and by the Church to place any superstitious reliance on fortune tellers, or to consult them seriously concerning their affairs, temporal or eternal.