When Theresa Caput, star of the reality show Long Island Medium came to the Bismarck, North Dakota’s Events Center recently, there was a small group of people across the street praying against her work. It’s unlikely that she knew we were there. Neither did the many hundreds who walked past us on their way to the show pay us any heed.
I expected that I would be the lone Catholic in the prayer group but saw a woman wearing a sweatshirt with the word “Catholic” emblazoned on it. I later learned that she just came into the Church two years ago while seeking help to escape the occult. (Stay tuned for a future article.)
We had come to quietly pray against darkness masquerading as light. For the price of a ticket--$39 to $89—around 3,000 had come to see Theresa Caputo, the medium whose claim to TV fame is her supposed psychic ability to communicate with the dead. She often gives “readings” which means she talks to the dead and gives messages to their loved ones still on earth.
The TV Show
I watched a few episodes on the Internet to see who Theresa Caputo is.
Her personality and accent shouts “New York!” and the carefully coiffured blonde hair and meticulous manicure is the image I expected. Viewers to the Long Island Medium see a woman who makes people happy and changes lives. In one episode, Theresa brought an older woman to tears telling her enough personal details about the deceased husband to instill confidence. Then, Theresa exclaimed that the husband had chosen the unusual path of waiting for his wife to join him before he continued his eternal journey. In the meantime, the widow was to enjoy life and know that he was watching over her.
In another episode, Theresa reluctantly got up early in the morning to join a friend at a zumba exercise class. Luckily, the TV cameras went along, because suddenly, mid-zumba, Theresa received messages for the woman next to her whose father had died in an accident 56 years earlier. She was told that her father whom she had lost at the young age of 17, was still looking out for her. After a few more messages, the zumba instructor got impatient and clapped the class back to order. Episode over.
Theresa explained to the camera that most spirits will say “I’m guiding you from the other side,” but whatever they say, she claims it’s all about communicating messages from the dead to their loved ones here on earth.
Are people against psychics just a bunch of party poopers? What’s the problem with sharing kind and loving messages?
The first reason to stay far away from psychics is the First Commandment. “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have any gods before me.” Ah, but I’m not replacing God, you say, she is simply using a gift given to her by God.
To try to discover the future or to seek communication with the dead is putting something else in front of God. The Old Testament did not mince words against the occult. Here is one passage: “Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortuneteller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead. Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord…” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
St. Paul condemned Elymas, the magician, calling him “son of Satan and enemy of all that is right” (Acts 13:8). We are also taught: “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “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” (#2116).
Messages Misdirect Us
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, (John 14:6). The devil uses psychics to tempt us discreetly away from Jesus. On the surface, the psychic shares seemingly beneficial messages from deceased loved ones who are always living "in the light" and are very happy as they wait for their family.
It seems everyone is happy, regardless of what their lives on earth were like and their advice is how their loved ones can increase their happiness. I’ve never heard a message directing someone to read the Bible and go to church or repent of their sins and embrace the Gospel messages. Does a psychic ever channel a message that tells someone to sell all they have and give to the poor and then go and follow Jesus? Or to get out of their sinful lifestyle?
People refer to mediums as having a gift from God, yet they never promote God’s message of sacrificial love or rejecting sin. The devil is taking faith and placing it into shallow, distorted messages.
For a previous article warning against the occult, I interviewed Fr. Patrick, an exorcist for his diocese and also a parish priest who needs to remain anonymous. “God is infinitely more powerful, but no one should flirt with evil,” he said. Over the years, he has had people come to him after experiencing problems stemming after dabbling in the occult. His advice is for them to repent and go to the sacrament of confession in order to be forgiven and renew their relationship with God.
“God warns us against it [the occult] in the Bible,” Fr. Patrick said. “There’s nothing good that ever comes from it,” he said. “It’s a dimension you have no control over. Evil wants to convince you that you will have control over it, but you won’t. It’s always a mistake.”