SP writes: “With demonic activity on the rise with support from the left and the media (i.e. TV shows “Lucifer,” “Long Island Medium,” etc.), I wondered if it is possible for one to be a legitimate clairvoyant and be Christian as well. Is it possible for ANYONE to be clairvoyant? Are there those who can “see” into other’s minds, solve crimes, etc.? If so, is this a “gift” from our LORD or always demonic in origin. Scripture is clear that occult activity is an abomination to GOD. But is it possible that certain kinds of clairvoyant ability is GOD’s will?”
This is an excellent question because it highlights the confusion that exists between clairvoyance and authentic Christian prophecy.
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of a clairvoyant is “having or claiming to have the power of seeing objects or actions beyond the range of natural vision.”
Persons who fit this description are often referred to as psychics, telepaths, empaths, prophets, visionaries, diviners, fortune tellers, mediums, or seers.
We know from Scripture that God does give some people these abilities, as evidenced in the lives of the great prophets such as Daniel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah. We also know of several instances where Our Lady appeared and made predictions to seers that later came true.
For example, at Fatima on July 13, 1917, Mary warned the children that “when you see a night that is lit by a strange and unknown light, you will know it is the sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world with war . . .”
Twenty years later, on the night of January 25-26, 1938, a rare aurora borealis lit up the sky over most of Europe and was seen as far away as North Africa and the U.S. Not long afterward, World War II broke out.
These seers might be said to be “clairvoyant” – although this term is never used to describe an authentic prophet or visionary – because they received a prophetic message from a supernatural source. So yes, it is possible for Christians to have these abilities.
And the Catechism confirms this in No. 2215 which says: “God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints.”
Father Lawrence J. Gesy, cult consultant for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and lead author of Today’s Destructive Cults and Movements, told me that he has encountered people with these abilities for many years in his work and believes everyone has psychic abilities to some extent.
“A mother has psychic ability. She knows when her child is in harm’s way,” he said. “Haven’t you ever known that something was wrong before it happened? We all have this. It’s an instinctual psychic ability.
“There are some who have the ability — and I’ve experienced people like this — whose powers are so strong they can see beyond the veil of this world into the next. I don’t understand it, but they do. And I really believe that is just a part of their makeup.”
The problem is when people who have these abilities put them to the wrong use, such as acting as fortune-tellers.
As the Catechism No. 2215 goes on to warn: “ . . . [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.”
We’re not supposed to be overly curious about the future because it can lead to the kind of carelessness the Catechism warns about. It has led many into becoming psychics who put their abilities to the wrong use. Instead of carrying authentic messages from God to His people, the clairvoyant begins to predict the future for anyone who asks, often charging fees or seeking media attention by claiming to solve crimes (which never happens, by the way – see Can Psychics Really Solve Crimes?) This person is not working for the Lord, but for themselves, and is tapping into demonic powers for the source of their information.
This is unlike the genuine “prophet” who depends solely on God for visions and accepts them whenever God chooses to reveal them. A genuine prophet always works on God’s terms rather than his or her own.
But what about when the clairvoyant’s prediction comes true? Doesn’t that mean their information came from God?
No! Consider the story of the slave girl with the “oracular spirit” in Acts 16:16-18. She had these gifts and used them to bring profit to her owners through fortune-telling. The girl began to follow Paul around, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She did this for many days until Paul finally had enough and, in the name of Jesus Christ, commanded the spirit to come out of her – which it did.
This girl was giving accurate information but she was not doing so at the bidding of the Most High. She was doing so at the bidding of herself and her owners.
Jesus warned us that “many false prophets will arise and deceive many” (Matt 24:11) which is why we are instructed to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1).
Authentic prophecy is a gift from God; clairvoyance is evil.
This explains why scripture is replete with warnings to avoid anyone who “practices divination or is a soothsayer, augur, or sorcerer, or who casts spells, consults ghost and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead” because anyone who does such things is “an abomination to the Lord” (Deut 18:10-12).
It’s also why the Catechism specifically condemns clairvoyance, saying that along with consulting horoscopes, palm reading and consulting mediums and omens, “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.” [No. 2216]
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