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Why you shouldn’t major in the occult

I just read that Exeter University has launched a new master’s degree program — in the occult. That’s right. You too can learn everything you could possibly imagine about the Dark Arts. According to the university, “By delving into the history and profound influence of witchcraft and magic on society and science, this one-year program promises to be a captivating exploration.”

Yup, they’re going to teach them a whole bunch of stuff. About the history of the occult. The literature of the occult. The influence of the occult.

But here’s one thing I bet they won’t teach: that the occult can utterly destroy your life.

And so, I am here to step into the breach, and to teach you what Exeter University won’t.

Welcome to MB’s Master Class: Everything YOU Need to Know About the Occult.

Let’s start with the definition: dictionary.com defines the occult as “of or relating to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies.”

OK, this should be our first red flag. Who exactly might these “supernatural powers or agencies” be? Clearly, they are not God the Creator and all of the related heavenly entities we have all come to know and love. If that were the case, this course of study would be called “theology” and it would be nothing new.

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Eliminate those and what do you have left?

That’s right — the “other” side.

And that’s a side you don’t want to go anywhere near — much less study on a graduate level.

The Catholic Church has been warning people for years not to mess around with the occult. Why? Is it because they don’t want us to waste our money on phonies and hucksters? If that was the case, there would also be encyclicals warning us against The Dangers Of Late Night Infomercials. (In Periculis Noctis Multae Infomercialis)

The Church isn’t warning us about the occult because we are getting involved in something phony. The warning comes because it is very likely true. And dangerous.

We all know about the spirits that are aligned with God, and are for us. Those we only communicate with through Him and in His name.

There is only one other category of supernatural spirit. Jesus said we are either for Him or against Him. The same goes for the spirit world. The spirits that are not for Him are against Him. And, by extension, against us.

They are Satan and his agents. They hate God. And they hate us. They want to destroy us, and they are all too happy to show up and do that when we let them in.

Which is exactly what the occult does. We unwitting idiots, when we participate in occult activities, are actually inviting evil spirits into our lives. The same spirits we spend our Catholic lives praying for protection from, we suddenly turn to and say “Hey, come on in!”

So where does the occult touch us? Where are we risking inviting evil into our lives?

Let’s start with psychics. Just a little harmless party fun? Maybe. But maybe not. Perhaps some are flat-out phonies. But I have no doubt that plenty of them are actually communicating with someone “out there.” Doesn’t Satan know things a psychic couldn’t know? And wouldn’t he be happy to share those things once you, by opening yourself up to the psychic, by extension open yourself up to him?

The same goes for seances, or any efforts to “contact” the dead. I know that we, as Catholics, believe that we have a relationship with those who have gone before us. But those relationships are only in and through God. And they are limited in scope. We believe that they are “cheering us on.” We believe they can pray for us. We ask them to pray for us. 

We communicate with them. We don’t ask them to communicate with us.

“But I did reach my departed great aunt! She knew things that nobody else would know!” Really, nobody? Evil spirits are smart. They know stuff. And they would be more than happy to impersonate your dead relative in exchange for access to your soul.

I get the temptation. You want to know your loved one on the other side is okay. But the problem is that you’re not talking to your loved one. You’re talking to a demon pretending to be your loved one.

The list goes on. Witchcraft, astrology, tarot card reading, ouija boards, santeros — anything that’s claiming supernatural power, invoking spirits, or seeking information not available to us here in this mortal coil. It’s all one giant portal to the Evil One. And you need to stay far away from it.

“But I was just dabbling. I just visited once. Asked a few questions. I didn’t open myself to anything.”

So is one visit to a psychic going to make your head start spinning around and spewing pea soup like Linda Blair? Perhaps not. But you did open yourself up to something. Something evil. Once you’ve done that, there’s no telling what could happen. There are a lot of degrees of demonic harassment that fall short of full possession. And none of them are good.

Ask any exorcist. They see it all the time. People who “just dabbled,” “just played it once,” “just visited at a party.” They show up manifesting weird stuff. Sometimes they just sense something “off.” They are repulsed by prayer. They find themselves avoiding church. They feel distant from God, and can’t overcome it.

Others experience more profound reactions. They hear voices. They speak in voices not their own. They experience a sense of profound evil in their own bodies.

I’ve seen it myself. Trust me, it’s not something you want to mess with.

Satan is evil. He hates you. And when you open yourself in any way to the occult, you invite him into your soul and your life.

Don’t do it. Don’t explore it. Don’t dabble in it. Don’t open yourself up to it.

And definitely don’t enroll for a master’s degree in it.

Mary Beth Bonacci
Mary Beth Bonacci
Mary Beth Bonacci has been giving talks on love and relationships across the United States and internationally for . . .well . . . her entire adult life. She was among the first Catholic speakers to introduce audiences to St. John Paul II’s beautiful Theology of the Body. She is the founder of Real Love, Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting respect for God’s gift of human sexuality. Her book Real Love, based on the Theology of the Body, has been translated into ten languages. She is also the author of We’re on a Mission from God, writes a monthly column for Catholic newspapers and contributes regularly to the Catholic Match Institute blog.
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