On December 4, 2019, during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis told the faithful that true faith means abandoning oneself to God “who makes himself known not through occult practices but through revelation and with gratuitous love.”
He added: “"How is it possible, if you believe in Jesus Christ, you go to a sorcerer, a fortuneteller, these types of people? Magic is not Christian! These things that are done to predict the future or predict many things or change situations in life are not Christian. The grace of Christ can bring you everything! Pray and trust in the Lord."
Sadly, so few people took this advice that the psychic industry is enjoying an unprecedented boom during the COVID-19 pandemic even as thousands of business are going bust and closing their shops for good.
According to numerous sources, astrologers, psychics, and tarot readers are experiencing anywhere from a 20-30 percent increase in business and websites traffic since the pandemic started.
A good example is Michelle Welch, owner of SoulTopia, an empath and “clair-blend,” who told CBS Dallas that since the pandemic started, her business has gone up over 70 percent.
“…[I]t’s just been an explosive amount of people coming in our stores and also through Zoom and online and also on the phone,” Welch said.
She’s giving readings to an increasing number of young people who are also turning to incense, crystals and stones which they believe will cleanse their space and ward off negativity, CBS reported.
“We sold a pallet of sage in the last two weeks,” Welch said, referring to the plant whose smoke is used to cleanse spaces of “negative energy”.
The New York Post reported on a similar story about a psychic named Betsey LeFae who has seen a steep uptick in people needing her services. It’s the uncertainty of the times that tends to lead people to psychics, she says, and they’re desperate enough for answers to pay fees as high as $997 an hour for a reading.
This is true all over New York with psychics reporting that even people who have never turned to the occult before are doing so now because of the pandemic.
For instance, a Manhattan psychic name Marion Hedger, whose business has been “absolutely nuts” amid the outbreak, told the Post that even medical professionals are resorting to her services.
“I’ve seen quite a few medical people, doctors, people like that, at my office space,” said Hedger, who charges $85 for a half-hour reading and $165 for an hour and said her weekly earnings grew from $1,000 pre-pandemic to $2,000.
There’s no doubt that Christians are among the number of psychic-seekers. As a recent Pew poll found, a whopping 40 percent of Christians and 46 percent of Catholics believe in psychics.
Why is this happening? Why aren’t people, especially Christians, turning to God instead of seeking answers from sources that are not exactly known for their accuracy?
There’s no simple to this question, but the increase in secularism combined with poor catechesis in the faith that has allowed the infiltration of New Age and occult beliefs to go almost unchallenged by the Church, is definitely influencing this dangerous turn to the powers of darkness.
This widespread ignorance has also contributed to the success of tactics used by psychics who put a Christian spin on their services in order to the faithful into these practices. Some of them are very convincing, such as the ever-popular John Edward who prays the rosary before readings and claims that nuns and priests are among his clients, and George Anderson who claims to be able to channel saints such as St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. People who don’t understand Catholic teaching on this subject (see the Catechism Nos. 2115-2117), or the occult, which includes many practitioners themselves, are easily led astray.
Another reason could be the widespread closing of churches during the pandemic that left many of the faithful feeling abandoned, not just by church and state, but by God as well.
In this letter by Bishop John O. Barres from the Diocese of Rockville Center, he believes the reason many turn to these practices is because their faith has grown cold.
“Twenty percent of Americans classify as ‘nones,’ having no religious affiliation, and thirteen percent of American adults are former Catholics,” he writes. “Further, today’s technological advances and moral relativism have numbed many to our need for God in this age of radical independence and self determination.…The same can be said for consulting psychics or horoscopes regarding the future; we gain peace of mind with a knowledge and control over the mysterious future, without having to trust in God’s providence and love for us.”
However, he goes on to warn that, “this peace of mind hinges on the illusion of control, which will inevitably dissipate the next time we encounter loss or uncertainty. Our faith in God, on the other hand, relies on a surrender— and this surrender can provide us with a far different, lasting peace. We are not called to make sense of ineffable mysteries such as death; instead we are called to trust God who is pure love. It is not easy to give up our desire for answers, but we will ultimately find far more comfort in entrusting ourselves to the merciful and loving God who died for us and gives us all that we need to find joy with Him in heaven.”
Even though we may be encountering stormy waters at the moment, if our boat is in the control of the Master, we have nothing to fear. He alone knows the way to safety, a claim that no psychic can ever make.
After all, if psychics are so reliable, why didn’t any of them see this coming?
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