Expert Answer Forum
The Catholic position toward the occult QUESTION from Abbey Carria October 25, 2000 I accidentally stumbled upon one of your Q&A; pages today. I was struck by a response that you gave to one writer who was discussing Qabballah. You aligned the occult as something akin to or stemming from your idea of evil (Satan). I can assure you that no true Qabballist would see it that way. Every one of them is a devout Jew (a believer in God), and all Qabballah extends from the scriptures, as does Christianity. Furthermore, there are many Qabballists who hold Jesus in high regard- despite the Jewish tendency to curse the name- mainly due to his message of love, which they believe is more important than anything else, including all Earth-bound institutions no matter how divinely inspired. The Qabballah is an ancient tradition stemming from a desire to understand the One. It is not based on a desire to manipulate nature and other people. I have seen people who go into Qabballah with such a disposition as that. They tend to fall flat on their faces. Such is the power of God. Qabballah is an honest attempt made by humble people to do the will of God. So is Christianity. In fact, the even word Islam means just that: Submission to God. Everyone is born in this state, but Qabballists are among those willing to admit it, even at the risk of their lives. Furthermore, Qabballah states that we are all extensions of God, and have no power without the power of God. Does this sound familiar?
My parents come from Jewish backgrounds, but they raised their children in a Lutheran Church. My father himself had been raised a Roman Catholic, but left due to an overabundance of clerical materialism and hatred, attributes which he deemed non-Christian and offensive to Jesus. I tend to share these views. My grandmother, born into a Jewish family, began to attend a Roman Catholic Church in upstate New York. She only donated to the Church what she could, as she needed money to raise her 5 children on her own. The parishioners frowned on this, and the priest eventually told her that she was not welcome in the house of God again unless she paid more in donations. About 12 years later, that priest died, and left his mansion and a hefty sum of money to his mistress and her child. As a citizen of Earth and God's Universe, I know this is not an isolated incident.
Had the priest been subjected to Qabballah and Islam, I doubt he would have made it through the first year of seminary. The Will of God eliminates the dishonest from Its Holy Presence. You can claim to be waging spiritual warfare against the rest of the world's religions which you believe must be wrong because the Catholic Church was divinely inspired. But if you continue to disregard the scriptural commandment of Love what side will you truly be on?
My question is this: What divine right does the Church have to banish Qabballah as Satanic, which it isn't; when the Qabballistic traditions were established on similar footing as the Catholic Church, making them equal, not to mention that all people are equal in the sight of God; and when Jesus himself spoke of loving one another? Isn't it in defiance of God's instituted law to wage a spiritual war against the occult without using love and understanding?
Peace, and God Bless You.
P.S. I will make one concession. There are occult religions out there that have no basis in the One. Everyday in my profession I witness disillusioned people who have turned their backs on God and have built alternate altars for themselves in the original religions of the planet, without truly understanding what they meant. However, it is more often than not that these people had improper religious guidance somewhere along the way: abusive parents, priests who shouldn't have been in power, adult leaders who were barred from instituting moral consciousness in them. I work everyday to prevent this from happening to another being, but I do it with Love, the Law of God.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on December 17, 2000 Dear Miss Carria:
The Catholic Church has been given the divine right to declare, interpret, defend, and protect the TRUTH of God's law and teachings with authority and with infallibility -- including infallibly determining what is and what is not valid Inspired Scripture. This right was given to the Catholic Church by God Himself, by Jesus Christ when he gave the keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter.
God has ALWAYS communicated and dealt with his people through a leadership, a magisterium. In much of the Old Testament that leadership through which God worked was the Chair of Moses. Moses and his successors were God's Prime Minister with divine authority to pass on and to interpret God's teachings. When Jesus came that chair was passed to St. Peter and his successors.
It is that magisterium that God Himself established and appointed that has the Prime Ministerial authority over all issues faith and morals, and is the defender of the only TRUE faith.
Bottom line: Why does the Catholic Church assert this authority? Because God said so.
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