Why witchcraft can never be used to accomplish good

Washington D.C., Sep 27, 2017 / 03:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Shortly after Donald Trump assumed the office of President of the United States, witches across the country began large-scale efforts to cast binding spells on him.

Amanda Yates Garcia, a self-identified witch known as the “Oracle of Los Angeles,” told Tucker Carlson of FOX News last week that the binding spells are not intended to harm Trump, but rather are intended to prevent him from causing any harm to others.

“Binding spells are a symbolic action used to harness the powers of the imagination and achieve a tangible result, eventually,” she said.

“I desire that Trump stop harming people that I care about and instituting policies that also harming me or people that I care about. My ultimate aim is that we protect the people that we love from having harm done to them,” she added.

But can witchcraft ever be used to accomplish something good?

Catholic theologian Dr. Anthony Lilles told CNA that even though the end result of witchcraft, magic or a spell may be some perceived good, these means are always an evil and are always below the dignity of the human person.

“Whether or not they’ve made a right judgment in the evil they want to prevent is one thing, but in Catholic moral tradition, we believe that you should never do evil that good might come from it,” he said.

“The way the logic of magic works, you attempt to control elements either above human nature or below human nature, and in your effort to manipulate or control these things, you always end up controlled by them. Whatever you give your heart to, that’s what has control over you,” Lilles said.

“As Christians we give our heart to God, and because he is completely above us, he is able to lift us up. When you give your heart to anything else, you always lower yourself, and so it’s very bad for the person who practices magic, because it always diminishes their own dignity,” he added.

Another problem with magic and spells is that they operate on the level of imagination, rather than in the world of reality and truth, Lilles said.

“Reason orients us to discern things according to the truth, to respond to situations such as they really truly are,” Lilles said.

With magic, “it’s trying to stand with your human dignity on something a little bit more whimsical, something that can’t support it. A fantasy can’t support the dignity and greatness of what it means to be a human being, only God can be that foundation. Only the truth is firm enough ground for the greatness of who each one of us is as a human being.”

For these reasons, witchcraft, magic and superstition have always been condemned practices in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which teaches that human beings must rely humbly and completely on the will of God, Lilles said.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church categorizes witchcraft and magic particularly as offenses against the First Commandment, which is: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.”

Witchcraft, magic and divination always stem from a desire to control and manipulate reality and situations in our lives, rather than humbly making our requests known to an all-powerful and all-loving God, Lilles said.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes, in paragraph 2115, that while God may choose to reveal future events to human being through the prophets or the saints, a right Christian attitude is “putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it.”

The Catechism also notes that all forms of divination, magic and sorcery are to be rejected.

Anything “by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons.” (CCC 2117)

Witchcraft can be attractive because of its grasp at power and control, especially in a culture that has forgotten God, Lilles noted.

“In a culture that no longer knows God, that has forgotten to pray, that doesn’t have confidence in humility before the creator and redeemer of the world, there will be a spiritual vacuum, and nature abhors vacuums,” he said.

“So turning to the occult, turning to magic, turning to all kinds of practices that are beneath our dignity is something that we will see people more and more inclined to do as they attempt to fill that vacuum, a vacuum that only God can fulfill in a satisfactory way.”

But that shouldn’t overly worry Christians with a proper understanding of magic and divination. Lilles said that Christians should not dismiss the practices of magic or divination as fantasy or as having no power, but at the same time, they can rest in knowing that their God is more powerful than any of these practices.

“The access to the very heart of God, which is ours by faith, far exceeds any magical power that someone might have,” he said.

“The creator of heaven and earth has implicated himself in our lives and in our own personal plights, and he is able to accomplish so much more than any power or force or element in this world below. All we have to do is make a humble cry and he is there, and that’s the truth we stand by.”

Father Vincent Lampert, an exorcist for the archdiocese of Indianapolis, told the National Catholic Register in February that the best antidote to magic and spells for Catholics is frequenting the sacraments.

“You can’t stop someone from placing a curse, but as a Christian, if you are you praying to God and going to him, the curse will have no power,” Father Lampert said.

Dr. Lilles echoed his sentiments.

“We don’t need to grasp at control or try to manipulate things, whether by magic or other means. What we need today is trust in God, and if we trust in him, everything is going to be ok. That’s why prayer is so important. Prayer is the school of trusting God.”


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  1. Some concrete examples might have been useful in this article such as those found in Fr. Amorth’s books. Many Western Catholics have never actually read or seen anything that they would recognize as being the result of witchcraft. There are seminarians who have no idea how to deal with such situations. Nevertheless, there are populations in which this is a real pastoral problem and the ignorance of priests can drive people to seek relief from people who promise to solve the problem since the priests are incredulous or unwilling to do anything. It is amazing what simple things like blessing the house can do (just for starters); then the Church has other weapons in her arsenal that should be taught to seminarians and used by priests.

    • I’m a practicing Witch I am a natural Witch! The ridiculous child that tried to
      Perform a spell on Trump was just that’ an Idiot who did not
      Regularly practice. I do Witchcraft for Good I also know that
      The Catholic religion has a pagan History and you all know
      it does! Read about what the Pagans took into Christianity
      When it rose in Europe and the meaning of the Christmas Tree
      A Phalic symbol the ornaments once used on a Christmas Tree
      We’re transparent known today as a Witches Ball or gazing Ball
      These were used to see any bad spirit entering your home.
      There are several things that the Catholic Church still use in their
      mass today that were allowed in the church via the Pagans.
      Pagan meaning.. ( people of the Countryside) it is said” that
      Jesus Christ in his youth lived among the Pagans
      Read the Book Titled: Glastonbury! So just because one Idiot
      Thought he would get a reality show from trying to get people
      To do a spell whom we’re not practitioners tried something
      Does not mean Witches don’t practice For the Better! I
      Would expect this ridiculous statement from the Pentecost
      and Holliness Church But not from the Catholics! BTW”
      I was baptized and was a practicing Catholic. Read your
      own History going back to the time of Catholicism and how
      Torture was very much present in the damp Torture chambers
      In your European Catholic Churches that still stand today!
      I’m not trying to beat up on a faith I raised my children in but who are
      you to say Witches are Evil! You wouldn’t be saying this
      If you didn’t believe our practice was True! I do not dispute God
      I Love my God .. Don’t judge us because of one person
      Who said he could Help

      • All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all 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. (CCC 2116)

        All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others — even if this were for the sake of restoring their health — are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity. (CCC 2117)
        Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

        St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

        Further Reading

        Charlotte Allen, “The Scholars and the Goddess,” The Atlantic, January 2001 (Available online: http://www.theatlantic.com)
        C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (HarperCollins)
        Sandra Miesel, “Who Burned the Witches?” Crisis, October 2001 (Available online: http://www.catholiceducation.org)
        Sandra Miesel, “The Witches Next Door,” Crisis, June 2002
        Catherine Edwards Sanders, Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality (Shaw Books, 2005)
        Donna Steichen, Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism (Ignatius, 1991)
        Alois Wiesinger, O.C.S.O, Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology (Roman Catholic Books)
        Michelle Arnold is a staff apologist for Catholic Answers. She writes from Santee, California.

        © Catholic Answers, Inc.

        This item 8602 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org

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  2. Reading this article again more carefully, I notice that the devil is never mentioned. Nor is there a clear explanation on how witchcraft is so dangerous that a series of exorcisms may be needed to try and undo the harm. “Occult powers” is too vague. The devil and other evil spirits are the “occult powers” whether or not those who get involved in this are aware of this fact. Some Italian publications, for example, are full of ads suggesting witchcraft as a way of solving your problems — really it is spiritual quicksand.

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