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96. Superstitious Observances

1. It is futile and sinful to dabble in what is calledmagic, and to use charms, formulas of speech, or otherdevices, to obtain occult knowledge or to control events by evokingoccult powers. To do such things is to employ superstitiousobservances. Of course, the magic here mentioned is not the skilledtrickery of an entertainer, often called a magician, who diverts uswith prestidigitation and legerdemain; his tricks are notsuperstitious practices. The magic we speak of as superstition iswhat people commonly call black magic. This sort of thingdebases the mind, dishonors God, and opens the door to diabolicalintervention.

2. The carrying or wearing of health charms, luck pieces,and the like, is, when done with serious intent of profiting bytheir use, a great evil; for such practice involves a belief insome preternatural force, other than God, which gives to theobjects used a magical power. This belief is superstition, and is asin against religion.

3. Fortunetelling is a superstitious and unlawfulpractice, whether it be done by consulting a person, or by usingcards, reading tea leaves, looking in a crystal ball, or employingother inept and futile observances. Similarly, it is superstitionto give serious belief to the omens of luck, good or bad, such ashorseshoes, four-leaf clovers, thebreaking of a mirror,seeing a black cat, passing under a ladder, and so on.

4. The using of incantations (recited or chanted formulas ofwords or sounds) and the wearing of written words on the person, inthe belief that such things have a protective power, are acts ofsuperstition. Even sacred words and blessed objects such as medalsmust be used in the spirit of reverence to God, and never in theway of amulets or luck pieces.

"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."
St Philip Neri

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"Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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