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Ghosts And Poltergeists - Herbert Thurston, Sj

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Nihil Obstat
[url="http://irenaeusgsaintonge.blogspot.ca/2012/08/a-catholic-priests-writings-on.html"][b] [/b][/url][b][url="http://irenaeusgsaintonge.blogspot.ca/2012/08/a-catholic-priests-writings-on.html"]I[/url][/b][url="http://irenaeusgsaintonge.blogspot.ca/2012/08/a-catholic-priests-writings-on.html"][b]mprimatur: A Catholic Priest's Writings on Poltergeists - Pt. I[/b][/url]

[b] [/b]

[b] Sunday, August 19, 2012[/b]


[indent=1]

[b] A Catholic Priest's Writings on Poltergeists Pt. I[/b]



[url="http://img0.fkcdn.com/img/707/9781163212707.jpg"][img]http://img0.fkcdn.com/img/707/9781163212707.jpg[/img][/url][/indent]

[indent=1]I've noticed that most of my traffic comes from keywords related to Church teaching on the paranormal, especially focussed on what specifically is the Catholic doctrine related to ghosts.
I think in fact it would be safe to say that, besides some fairly simple prerequisites, there is not a lot in the way of 'official' teachings on ghosts. That leaves a lot of room for speculation, as long as we remain firmly grounded in Catholic doctrine. For instance, we accept that the soul is created by God and does not pre-exist. We accept that all humans are judged at their death without exception, that some go to hell, some to heaven, and some heaven by way of purgatory.
These things in mind, I think it may be fun to look into some of the speculative theology and speculation in general surrounding ghosts and other paranormal phenomena from a Catholic perspective. I'll start with a nice old book I picked up called Ghosts and Poltergeists by Fr. Herbert Thurston, a Jesuit priest who died in 1939. It mainly deals with poltergeist activity, and is heavily focussed on individual accounts.



[b] Chapter 1:[/b]

[b] A General View of Poltergeist Phenomena[/b]
[/indent]
[center][Part I, pages 1-4][/center]

Although the Herman world "poltergeist" is now naturalized, and is often met with in the newspapers of both England and America, still an examination of standard dictionaries shows that it is a term of comparatively recent introduction. Few, if any, of those published in the last century will be found to contain in, and it is particularly noticeable that it is not recognized by [i]The Stanford Dictionary of anglicized words and phrases[/i] (London, 1892), though this work was expressly compiled to registered those foreign importations into the language which had acquired rights of citizenship. The word does appear in the great [i]Oxford English Dictionary[/i] in 1910, but the earliest illustration there given of its use dates only from 1871. It is certainly older than that. Mrs. Crowe, in her widely-circulated book [i]The Night Side of Nature[/i] (1848), makes frequent use of it - once in a chapter heading. When the Spiritualistic movement started in America, more attention was naturally directed to such matters, but the earliest American example I have met of the use of this term occurs in an article copied in 1852 from the [i]Boston Pilot[/i] which speaks as follows:

[indent=1]The Germans have long been familiar with a mischievous devil called the "Polter geist" whose delight it appears to be to enter houses and turn everything upside down, doing more mischief in an hour than a thousand monkeys would do in a day. It is not well to listen to these things, but really some respectable witnesses have testified that this same monkey ghost has troubled several families in England and America within the last few years.[/indent]

The article was reproduced in a book [i]Spiritual Manifestations[/i], by Adin Ballou, which may claim to be the first systematic treatise on Spiritualism ever printed either in America or elsewhere. As Ballou's little volume went through several editions, and was republished on both sides of the Atlantic, appearing in London, and again in Liverpool, within less than twelve months, it may very easily have helped to give currency to a term previously unfamiliar to most writers of English. Moreover, the description supplied may be regarded as fairly accurate. A poltergeist is simply a racketing spirit, which in almost all cases remains invisible, but which manifests its presence by throwing things about, knocking fire-irons together and creating an uproar, in the course of which the human spectators are occasionally hit by flying objects, but as a rule suffer no serious injury.
In the last century several prominent members of the Society for Psychical Research - notably Mr. Frank Podmore from the sceptical standpoint and Mr. Andrew Lang in a more benignant vein - occupied themselves with poltergeist phenomena; but the most important contribution to the subject, definitely upholding the objective reality of these manifestations, is that published in 1911 by the late Sir William Barrett, F.R.S. Being himself then resident in Ireland, he had personally investigated two Irish cases, and he takes occasion to outline the features which are found to recur in other examples of the same type of disturbance gathered from all parts of the world. The points upon which he lays stress as characteristic of the poltergeist are the invisibility of the agents, the sporadic and temporary nature of the manifestations, and notably their dependence upon the presence of some particular individual - usually a young person and often a child - who must be assumed to possess strange, if unconscious, mediumistic powers. When telekinetic phenomena occur - and this is almost invariably the case - whether they take the form of missiles which seem to come from nowhere, or of crockery and even furniture crashing or flying through the air, the movement often seems to be controlled, tortuous and at variance with the laws of gravitation. Professor Barrett writes: -

[indent=1]The movement of objects is usually quite unlike that due to gravitational or other attraction. They slide about, rise in the air, move in eccentric paths, sometimes in a leisurely manner, often turn round in their career, and usually descend quietly without hurting the observers. At other times an immense weight is lifted, often in daylight, no one being near, crockery is thrown about and broken, bedclothes are dragged off, the occupants sometimes lifted gently to the ground, and the bedstead tilted up or dragged about the room. The phenomena occur both in broad daylight and at night. Sometimes bells are continuously rung, even if all the bell wires are removed. Stones are frequently thrown, but no one is hurt; I myself have seen a large pebble drop apparently from space in a room where the only culprit could have been myself, and certainly I did not throw it. [[i]Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. XXV, p. 378.[/i]][/indent]

In both the cases investigated by Professor Barrett, rappings and inexplicable noises played a prominent part. The earlier occurred in 1877 at a lonely hamlet called Derrygonnelly, nine miles from Enniskillen, in the house of a farmer who had been left a widower with a family of four girls and a boy, the eldest child, Maggie, aged about twenty, seeming to be the centre of the disturbance. Strange rappings and scratchings were first heard, then objects were seen to move, stones began to fall, and candles and boots were repeatedly thrown out of the house. Several neighbours urged them to send for the priest, but the family were Methodists and preferred to put an open Bible on the bed with a big stone on top of it. Some unseen power, however, displaced the Bible and eventually removed it from the room, tearing seventeen pages right across. The freakish disturber of their peace evinced a peculiar dislike for any source of artificial light; candles and lamps were mysteriously stolen or thrown out, and Professor Barrett recounts how the old farmer told him that "Jack Flanigan came and lent us his lamp, saying he would engage the devil himself could not steal it, as he had got the priest to sprinkle it with holy water." Nevertheless the lamp, in spite of the blessing, seems to have shared the fate of the Bible. When Professor Barrett visited the scene he heard the long continued knockings some of which were "like those made by a heavy carpenter's hammer driving nails into flooring." He satisfied himself that the noises could not have been made by any of the inmates, who were all in view, and, as already mentioned, he saw a stone fall from the void. Moreover he challenged the mysterious agent of the knockings to echo by raps the numbers which he mentally indicated; which is did. Further putting his hands into the side pockets of his overcoat, Professor Barrett asked the spirit to "knock the number of fingers he held open." The experiment was repeated four times, with varying numbers, and in each case the answer was given correctly.
The disturbances which took place at Enniscorthy in July, 1910, were more dramatic, and though in this case Professor Barrett was not personally a witness of the phenomena, still the depositions he obtained from those principally concerned are so explicit and so fully confirmed by independent testimony that it would be unreasonable to doubt the facts. Apart from hammering and other noises, the prank upon which the poltergeist seemed to concentrate his efforts was the pulling off the bed-clothes and the moving right across the floor of a heavy bedstead, which, lacking one castor, was a particularly difficult object to shift from its place. Three young men slept in the room, all of whom were reduced to a state of abject terror. The principal sufferer was a lad of eighteen, named Randall. According to his account, confirmed on one occasion by reliable investigators who sat up with them, the sheets and blankets were pulled off him, he himself was dragged out of bed on to the floor, "a chair danced out into the middle of the room without anyone near it," and when all three in their fright decided to get into one bed together, "the bed turned up on one side and threw us out on to the floor, and before we were thrown out, the pillow was taken from under my head three times. When the bed rose up, it fell back without making any noise." [[i]Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. XXV, p. 389.[/i]]




I intend to post more of this over time, in pieces around this size.


Posted by Irenaeus G. Saintonge at [url="http://irenaeusgsaintonge.blogspot.ca/2012/08/a-catholic-priests-writings-on.html"]12:25 AM[/url]

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Ed Normile
There is no such thing as ghosts, demons yes ghosts no. There is another source of data you could source for this series, Ghostbusters, who you gonna call?

ed

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Nihil Obstat
[quote name='Ed Normile' timestamp='1345406190' post='2470218']
There is no such thing as ghosts, demons yes ghosts no. There is another source of data you could source for this series, Ghostbusters, who you gonna call?

ed
[/quote]

I don't think there's anything within our faith that rules out what we typically think of as ghosts. It presents a few important questions to be answered, but I do not think it excludes the possibility.

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Jaime
[quote name='Nihil Obstat' timestamp='1345406680' post='2470221']
I don't think there's anything within our faith that rules out what we typically think of as ghosts. It presents a few important questions to be answered, but I do not think it excludes the possibility.
[/quote]

I would agree

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Ed Normile
Nothing within our faith that would rule out ghosts?
[quote name='Nihil Obstat' timestamp='1345406680' post='2470221']
I don't think there's anything within our faith that rules out what we typically think of as ghosts. It presents a few important questions to be answered, but I do not think it excludes the possibility.
[/quote]
[quote name='jaime' timestamp='1345408027' post='2470236']
I would agree
[/quote]

Nothing within our faith that would rule out ghosts?
Allow me to quote a sensible young man, "For instance, we accept that the soul is created by God and does not pre-exist. We accept that all humans are judged at their death without exception, that some go to hell, some to heaven, and some heaven by way of purgatory." ok, that was your words, but taken at face value that alone "rules out " what we typically think of as ghosts. Most people assume that ghosts are souls trapped here due to unfinished business or their misconception (the ghosts) that they are actually dead. If we are to beleive we are indeed judged at death, what then allows these souls with unfinished business or an inability to accept they are dead to preempt their judgement. I know of no place in our faith that even remotrely allows for this thought, and I beleive it would be more strongly asserted as false if the thought were more widespread, basiclly as its only given credence by either the young or ignorant its not really something the Church really needs to address. In our creed we acknowledge Jesus will judge the living and the dead, no mention of the undead, or ghosts with unfinished business. The only ghost you hear of in our faith is the Holy Ghost.

Seriously writing about this is bad news Nihil, even hinting that the Church may somehow hold this possible as she does not specifically exclude the possibility is liable to be taken at face value by some child or impressionable person who has lost someone, perhaps leading them down the path to trying to contact these "lost souls" by either a Ouija board, through a psychic, or maybe even dabbling in a seance. These are all specifically forbidden in our faith and known to open one up to demonic influence.

ed Edited by Ed Normile

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Nihil Obstat
[quote name='Ed Normile' timestamp='1345418620' post='2470300']
Nothing within our faith that would rule out ghosts?



Nothing within our faith that would rule out ghosts?
Allow me to quote a sensible young man, "For instance, we accept that the soul is created by God and does not pre-exist. We accept that all humans are judged at their death without exception, that some go to hell, some to heaven, and some heaven by way of purgatory." ok, that was your words, but taken at face value that alone "rules out " what we typically think of as ghosts. Most people assume that ghosts are souls trapped here due to unfinished business or their misconception (the ghosts) that they are actually dead. If we are to beleive we are indeed judged at death, what then allows these souls with unfinished business or an inability to accept they are dead to preempt their judgement. I know of no place in our faith that even remotrely allows for this thought, and I beleive it would be more strongly asserted as false if the thought were more widespread, basiclly as its only given credence by either the young or ignorant its not really something the Church really needs to address. In our creed we acknowledge Jesus will judge the living and the dead, no mention of the undead, or ghosts with unfinished business. The only ghost you hear of in our faith is the Holy Ghost.

Seriously writing about this is bad news Nihil, even hinting that the Church may somehow hold this possible as she does specifically exclude the possibility is liable to be taken at face value by some child or impressionable person who has lost someone, perhaps leading them down the path to trying to contact these "lost souls" by either a Ouija board, through a psychic, or maybe even dabbling in a seance. These are all specifically forbidden in our faith and known to open one up to demonic influence.

ed
[/quote]

I see nothing in Scripture or Tradition that excludes the possibility of a soul in purgatory, for reasons known perhaps only to a select few, being permitted to visit the world for some purpose. In fact if I'm not mistaken there are a couple saints who received messages directly from recently deceased acquaintances asking for prayers.

I think it is eminently reasonable to suggest that a soul may be permitted to return to earth as part of his purgation, specifically in order to make amends for some sin or another.

[quote]Seriously writing about this is bad news Nihil, even hinting that the Church may somehow hold this possible as she does specifically exclude the possibility is liable to be taken at face value by some child or impressionable person who has lost someone, perhaps leading them down the path to trying to contact these "lost souls" by either a Ouija board, through a psychic, or maybe even dabbling in a seance. These are all specifically forbidden in our faith and known to open one up to demonic influence.
[/quote]

Frankly, I'm pretty annoyed that you're suggesting that this discussion somehow implicitly encourages interacting with the occult.


Also we have St. Thomas Aquinas who appears to back up my opinion:


[b] Article 3. Whether the souls who are in heaven or hell are able to go from thence?[/b]

[b]Objection 1.[/b] It would seem that the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] in [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm"]heaven[/url] or [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm"]hell[/url] are unable to go from thence. For [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm"]Augustine[/url]says (De Cura pro Mort. xiii): "If the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of the dead took any part in the affairs of the living, to say nothing of others, there is myself whom not for a single night would my [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09397a.htm"]loving[/url] mother fail to visit since she followed me by land and sea in order to abide with me": and from this he concludes that the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of the departed do not mingle in the affairs of the living. But they would be able to do so if they were to leave their abode. Therefore they do not go forth from their abode.
[b]Objection 2.[/b] Further, it is written ([url="http://www.newadvent.org/bible/psa026.htm#verse4"]Psalm 26:4[/url]): "That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life," and ([url="http://www.newadvent.org/bible/job007.htm#verse9"]Job 7:9[/url]): "He that shall go down to [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm"]hell[/url] shall not come up." Therefore neither the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06636b.htm"]good[/url]nor the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05649a.htm"]wicked[/url] quit their abode.
[b]Objection 3.[/b] Further, as stated above ([url="http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5069.htm#2"]Article 2[/url]), abodes are awarded to [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] after death as a reward or punishment. Now after death neither the rewards of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm"]saints[/url] nor the punishments of the damned are increased. Therefore they do not quit their abodes.
[b]On the contrary,[/b] [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08341a.htm"]Jerome[/url] writing against Vigilantius addresses him thus: "For thou sayest that the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url]of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01626c.htm"]apostles[/url] and [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09736b.htm"]martyrs[/url] have taken up their abode either in [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01051a.htm"]Abraham's[/url] bosom or in the place of refreshment, or under the altar of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06608a.htm"]God[/url], and that they are unable to visit their graves when they will. Wouldst thou then lay down the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09053a.htm"]law[/url] for [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06608a.htm"]God[/url]? Wouldst thou put the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01626c.htm"]apostles[/url] in chains, imprison them until the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08552a.htm"]day of judgment[/url], and forbid them to be with their lord, them of whom it is written: They follow the[url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08755b.htm"]Lamb[/url] whithersoever He goeth? And if the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08755b.htm"]Lamb[/url] is everywhere, therefore we must [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02408b.htm"]believe[/url] that those also who are with Him are everywhere." Therefore it is absurd to say that the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of the departed do not leave their abode.
Further, [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08341a.htm"]Jerome[/url] argues as follows: "Since the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04764a.htm"]devil[/url] and the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04710a.htm"]demons[/url] wander throughout the whole world, and are everywhere present with wondrous speed, why should the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09736b.htm"]martyrs[/url], after shedding their blood be imprisoned and unable to go forth?" Hence we may infer that not only the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06636b.htm"]good[/url] sometimes leave their abode, but also the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05649a.htm"]wicked[/url], since their damnation does not exceed that of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04710a.htm"]demons[/url] who wander about everywhere.
Further, the same conclusion may be gathered from [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06780a.htm"]Gregory[/url] (Dial. iv), where he relates many cases of the dead having appeared to the living.
[b]I answer that,[/b] There are two ways of understanding a [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11726a.htm"]person[/url] to leave [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm"]hell[/url] or heaven. First, that he goes from thence simply, so that [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm"]heaven[/url] or [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm"]hell[/url] be no longer his place: and in this way no one who is finally consigned to [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm"]hell[/url] or [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm"]heaven[/url] can go from thence, as we shall state further on (71, 5, ad 5). Secondly, they may be understood to go forth for a time: and here we must distinguish what befits them according to the order of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10715a.htm"]nature[/url], and what according to the order of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12510a.htm"]Divine providence[/url]; for as [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm"]Augustine[/url] says (De Cura pro Mort. xvi): "[url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09580c.htm"]Human[/url] affairs have their limits other than have the wonders of the Divine power,[url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10715a.htm"]nature's[/url] works differ from those which are done [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10338a.htm"]miraculously[/url]." Consequently, according to the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10715a.htm"]natural[/url]course, the separated [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] consigned to their respective abodes are utterly cut off from communication with the living. For according to the course of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10715a.htm"]nature[/url] men living in mortal bodies are not immediately united to separate [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14322c.htm"]substances[/url], since their entire [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08673a.htm"]knowledge[/url] arises from the senses: nor would it be fitting for them to leave their abode for any purpose other than to take part in the affairs of the living. Nevertheless, according to the disposition of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12510a.htm"]Divine providence[/url] separated [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] sometimes come forth from their abode and appear to [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09580c.htm"]men[/url], as [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm"]Augustine[/url], in the book quoted above, relates of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09736b.htm"]martyr[/url] Felixwho appeared visibly to the people of Nola when they were besieged by the barbarians. It is also credible that this may occur sometimes to the damned, and that for [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09580c.htm"]man's[/url] instruction and intimidation they be permitted to appear to the living; or again in order to seek our suffrages, as to those who are detained in[url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm"]purgatory[/url], as evidenced by many instances related in the fourth book of the Dialogues. There is, however, this difference between the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm"]saints[/url] and the damned, that the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm"]saints[/url] can appear when they will to the living, but not the damned; for even as the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm"]saints[/url] while living in the flesh are able by the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06553a.htm"]gifts[/url] of gratuitous [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06689a.htm"]grace[/url] to heal and work wonders, which can only be done [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10338a.htm"]miraculously[/url] by the Divine power, and cannot be done by those who lack this [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06553a.htm"]gift[/url], so it is not unfitting for the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm"]saints[/url] to be endowed with a power in virtue of their [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06585a.htm"]glory[/url], so that they are able to appear wondrously to the living, when they will: while others are unable to do so unless they be sometimes permitted.
[b]Reply to Objection 1.[/b] [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm"]Augustine[/url], as may be gathered from what he says afterwards, is speaking according to the common course of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10715a.htm"]nature[/url], And yet it does not follow, although the dead be able to appear to the living as they will, that they appear as often as when living in the flesh: because when they are separated from the flesh, they are either wholly conformed to the divine will, so that they may do nothing but what they see to be agreeable with the Divine disposition, or else they are so overwhelmed by their punishments that their grief for their unhappiness surpasses their desire to appear to others.
[b]Reply to Objection 2.[/b] The authorities quoted speak in the sense that no one comes forth from [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm"]heaven[/url] or[url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm"]hell[/url] simply, and do not imply that one may not come forth for a time.
[b]Reply to Objection 3.[/b] As stated above (1, ad 3) the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]soul's[/url] place conduces to its punishment or reward in so far as the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]soul[/url], through being consigned to that place, is affected either by [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07131b.htm"]joy[/url] or by grief. Now this[url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07131b.htm"]joy[/url] or grief at being consigned to such a place remains in the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]soul[/url] even when it is outside that place. Thus a [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02581b.htm"]bishop[/url] who is given the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07462a.htm"]honor[/url] of sitting on a throne in the church incurs no dishonor when he leaves the throne, for though he sits not therein actually, the place remains assigned to him.
We must also reply to the arguments in the contrary sense.
[b]Reply to Objection 4.[/b] [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08341a.htm"]Jerome[/url] is speaking of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01626c.htm"]apostles[/url] and [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09736b.htm"]martyrs[/url] in reference to that which they gain from their power of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06585a.htm"]glory[/url], and not to that which befits them as due to them by [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10715a.htm"]nature[/url]. And when he says that they are everywhere, he does not mean that they are in several places or everywhere at once, but that they can be wherever they will.
[b]Reply to Objection 5.[/b] There is no parity between [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04710a.htm"]demons[/url] and [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01476d.htm"]angels[/url] on the one hand and the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm"]saints[/url] and of the damned on the other. For the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06636b.htm"]good[/url] or bad [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01476d.htm"]angels[/url] have allotted to them the office of presiding over men, to watch over them or to try them; but this cannot be said of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09580c.htm"]men[/url]. Nevertheless, according to the power of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06585a.htm"]glory[/url], it is competent to the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm"]saints[/url] that they can be where they will; and this is what [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08341a.htm"]Jerome[/url] means to say.
[b]Reply to Objection 6.[/b] Although the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04171a.htm"]saints[/url] or of the damned are sometimes actually present where they appear, we are not to [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02408b.htm"]believe[/url] that this is always so: for sometimes these apparitions occur to[url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11726a.htm"]persons[/url] whether asleep or awake by the activity of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06636b.htm"]good[/url] or [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05649a.htm"]wicked[/url] [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01476d.htm"]angels[/url] in order to instruct or deceivethe living. Thus sometimes even the living appear to others and tell them many things in their sleep; and yet it is clear that they are not present, as [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm"]Augustine[/url] proves from many instances (De Cura pro Mort. xi, xii).

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Jaime
[quote name='Ed Normile' timestamp='1345418620' post='2470300']
Nothing within our faith that would rule out ghosts?





Seriously writing about this is bad news Nihil, even hinting that the Church may somehow hold this possible as she does not specifically exclude the possibility is liable to be taken at face value by some child or impressionable person who has lost someone, perhaps leading them down the path to trying to contact these "lost souls" by either a Ouija board, through a psychic, or maybe even dabbling in a seance. These are all specifically forbidden in our faith and known to open one up to demonic influence.

ed
[/quote]

Wowza ed

First of all the possibility of ghosts is something that is a little fuzzy with the Church. Ouija boards and palm readers are not. I know a few very orthodox priests that are open to the possibility of ghosts. None of them would ever suggest a psychic or ouija board.

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Nihil Obstat
[quote name='jaime' timestamp='1345419388' post='2470310']

First of all the possibility of ghosts is something that is a little fuzzy with the Church. Ouija boards and palm readers are not. [b]I know a few very orthodox priests that are open to the possibility of ghosts.[/b] None of them would ever suggest a psychic or ouija board.
[/quote]

Fr. Brian, for instance, knows quite a lot on the subject, has written a fair bit, and has some personal experience of his own.

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Mark of the Cross
TLDR Nihil. just joking. :hehe2: Actually I did read it ....well most of it! :unsure: Jaime is right. On a number of occasions I have heard priests to advise that the occult is something that should be left well alone. I don't think that they would advise that if they thought that it was unreal.
[i][url="http://www.drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=49&ch=24&l=39#x"][39][/url] See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see:[u] for a spirit hath not flesh and bones[/u], as you see me to have. [[url="http://drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=49&ch=24&l=39#x"]Luke 24:39[/url]][/i]

[i]And Jesus immediately gave them leave. And the unclean spirits going out, entered into the swine: and the herd with great violence was carried headlong into the sea, being about two thousand, and were stifled in the sea. [[url="http://drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=48&ch=5&l=13#x"]Mark 5:13[/url]][/i]


Can we contact the dead? We pray to saints! Do we pray in vain? Should we try to contact our deceased loved ones? I don't think that is wise. Our concern should be with the living and leave the dead to Gods care.

Just as an aside. Pope JP2 described heaven, hell and purgatory as states. If this is true then it is possible to be both in the physical reality as well as being in one of those states! Edited by Mark of the Cross

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Basilisa Marie
I heard one theologian say that ghosts could possibly be souls experiencing purgatory...since we really don't know how it works other than it's a purification process, prayer helps, and you get to heaven after. :)

(now going up to read the OP)

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Nihil Obstat
[quote name='Basilisa Marie' timestamp='1345426640' post='2470366']
I heard one theologian say that ghosts could possibly be souls experiencing purgatory...since we really don't know how it works other than it's a purification process, prayer helps, and you get to heaven after. :)

(now going up to read the OP)
[/quote]

That is what is most likely, in my opinion.

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Ed Normile
Nihil, your long reply still makes only one mention of souls being able to interact with men, and those would be the souls of saints. Not your basic haunted house ghosts, or even the unfinished business ghosts. I am sure you can discern the difference between a ghost or a poltergeist as your thread clearly mentions, and the apparrition of a saint . If not man, you should re-read the material you posted here for starters.

Consider this from your post above, seems clear enough " For the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06636b.htm"]good[/url] or bad [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01476d.htm"]angels[/url] have allotted to them the office of presiding over men, to watch over them or to try them; but this cannot be said of the [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm"]souls[/url] of [url="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09580c.htm"]men[/url]" thus meaning the souls of men are neither able to watch over or to try men, while angels, good or bad have this ability, good to watch and guide and bad to try or tempt. Therefore it would follow that any dead thing attempting to influence a person for anything other than the will of God would have to be an evil being. This would rule out uncle benny or aunt sue asking for prayers from purgatory or trying to tell us where the monies they forgot to leave us in their will is located.

ed

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Nihil Obstat
As I've said, and has been said by others several times, there is nothing whatsoever within Catholic teaching that excludes outright the proposition that souls experiencing their purgation may be allowed, by the grace of God, to visit the world of the living and even to interact to some limited extent with the living, as part of their ongoing penance and reparation.

We of course can debate on the subject and there are many solid points to be made, but denying it outright is far too hasty and unreasonable.

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Nihil Obstat
Thomas Euteneuer:

[b]Exorcism and the Church Militant[/b]
Pages 103-104:
[indent]"Most pagan societies believe in the separation of the soul from the body and an afterlife. This includes the idea that souls may "linger" after death due to "unfinished business" such as unbroken attachments to the earth, to unreconciled relationships or to the affairs of men that supposedly last beyond the grave. In this view, the souls can be benign or malicious; often pagan traditions of ancestor worship or appeasement of the dead are the result of these beliefs.[/indent][indent]"The Roman Catholic belief is categorically different from these pagan beliefs, however. The theological tradition concerning souls in purgatory is based on the belief that bodily death constitutes a definitive entrance into an afterlife which is either a temporal purification followed by heaven, or an eternal damnation. Thus, for Catholics there is no such thing as a "lingering" or "wandering" soul who has "not cut the bonds of this earthly life." For Catholics, there is another way to explain these things than the standard pagan reasoning.[/indent][indent]"A strong theological tradition recognizes that deceased human souls can and do visit the living after death for various reasons and in various modes. It is clear that this is only done "according to the disposition of Divine providence" and not as a common occurrence. St. Thomas Aquinas says that "separated souls sometimes come forth from their abode and appear to men...", and this can be both for "intimidation" (i.e., damned souls) or for "instruction" (i.e., redeemed souls). He also claims that souls may appear to others "in order to seek our suffrages" (i.e., souls in purgatory). Such apparitions can also be due to a special intervention into the human sphere by a demon creating a deception or an angel appearing in human form to communicate a message.[/indent][indent]"Some people call these various apparitions "ghosts." In light of the tradition above, these can be either disembodied human souls or evil spirits. In Catholic thought, however, if such appearances happen, they are always limited and marked by truth, simplicity and utter clarity to distinguish a holy apparition from a demonic one, which is always marked by confusion, discord, chaos, fear and anxiety. Thus, there is no strictly theological basis for believing that there are souls "wandering" around in the world communicating with loved ones, or "haunting" places, but Catholics do believe that the deceased can appear after death in a strictly limited fashion and only with God's permission for some greater reason.[/indent][indent]"What has been absolutely forbidden by the Church from the beginning is the attempt to conjure deceased souls from the grave or to communicate with the dead, a dark art known as necromancy. This prohibition is from Scripture. In the Christian tradition, we honor the dead and pray for them- we even consider ourselves in communion with them- but we do not conjure them up or attempt to dialogue with them. All such practices open us up to demonic deception and infestation."[/indent]


My response:

Rev. Euteneuer goes on to speculate as to whether or not a damned human soul could possess a living person in the same way that a demonic entity is able to do, and I will revisit this later.
I think we can condense his answer into a few key points.

[list=1]
[*]Judgement after death is immediate.
[*]God can allow, for various reasons, a deceased human soul to interact with living beings.
[*]These scenarios should be considered irregular and rare.
[*]We are not to seek out deceased souls with satanic magic.
[/list]
It will be useful from here, I believe, to glance at Church teaching on the immediacy of judgement after death.

[b]Catechism of the Catholic Church[/b]
1021-1022
[indent]
[center][url="http://mariancentercatholicbooks.com/images/catechism-of-the-catholic-church-pocket-soft-cover.jpg"][img]http://mariancentercatholicbooks.com/images/catechism-of-the-catholic-church-pocket-soft-cover.jpg[/img][/url][/center]1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. the parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul -a destiny which can be different for some and for others.[/indent][indent]1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately,-or immediate and everlasting damnation.[/indent]
So we can conclude from these that if we living beings find ourselves interacting with a deceased human entity, this entity has already faced its judgement. Therefore it may be a damned soul, in which case it may seek to cause us grave harm, or it may be a saved soul. Of the souls of the saved, it may be undergoing purgation, in which case it is in need of our prayers, or it may be a member of the Church Triumphant, and therefore be able to intercede for us with the power of the saints.

We can conclude now that ghostly/paranormal activity is a possibility from a Catholic point of view, and it would be good to examine this activity in greater depth.


[url="http://irenaeusgsaintonge.blogspot.ca/2011/05/catholic-teachings-on-ghosts.html"]From an earlier post of mine.[/url]

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Keith

Poltergeist are definitely real. Definitely troublesome and can at times be deadly.nAGWdo2.jpg

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