standard roman catholic doctrine and magick

Yes, although some people in the church, even very high up, understand that magick is not “the occult” or the “summoning of demons” but a sophisticated and very ancient branch of the psychological sciences, unfortunately the current church leadership chooses the path of ignorance.

Its understandable. The Church has so heavily invested in the idea of “Jesus is God,” in the whole mythology of the crucification.

The Nag Hammadi texts have really changed the level of understanding of the teachings of Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas is dangerous to some in the Church. The Sun God myth is a convenient tool for social control.

However the Church doesn’t have to be in the business of social control. That has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus, in as much as they enthrone kings and work to keep the people docile in their misery, carrying the crosses thrown on their back by feudalism (monarchical or corporate).

This is what the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about magick:

Magic as a practice finds no place in Christianity, though the belief in the reality of magical powers has been held by Christians and individual Christians have been given to the practice. Two main reasons account for the belief: first, ignorance of physical laws. When the boundary between the physically possible and impossible was uncertain, some individuals were supposed to have gained almost limitless control over nature. Their souls were attuned to the symphony of the universe; they knew the mystery of numbers and in consequence their powers exceeded the common understanding. This, however, was natural magic.

But, secondly, belief in the frequency of diabolical interference with the forces of nature led easily to belief in real magic. The early Christians were emphatically warned against the practice of it in the “Didache” (v, 1) and the letter of Barnabas (xx, 1). In fact it was condemned as a heinous crime. The danger, however, came not only from the pagan world but also from the pseudo-Christian Gnostics. Although Simon Magus and Elymas, that child of the devil (Acts 13:6 sqq.) served as deterrent examples for all Christians, it took centuries to eradicate the propensity to magic. St. Gregory the Great, St. Augustine, St. Chrysostom, and St. Ephraem inveighed against it. A more rational view of religion and nature had hardly gained ground, when the Germanic nations entered the Church and brought with them the inclination for magic inherited from centuries of paganism. No wonder that during the Middle Ages wizardry was secretly practiced in many places notwithstanding innumerable decrees of the Church on the subject. Belief in the frequency of magic finally led to stringent measures taken against witchcraft.

Catholic theology defines magic as the art of performing actions beyond the power of man with the aid of powers other than the Divine, and condemns it and any attempt at it as a grievous sin against the virtue of religion, because all magical performances, if undertaken seriously, are based on the expectation of interference by demons or lost souls. Even if undertaken out of curiosity the performance of a magical ceremony is sinful as it either proves a lack of faith or is a vain superstition. The Catholic Church admits in principle the possibility of interference in the course of nature by spirits other than God, whether good or evil, but never without God’s permission. As to the frequency of such interference especially by malignant agencies at the request of man, she observes the utmost reserve.

Well, they just have it wrong. Magick is not about powers other than the divine. Being made not only in the image of, but the substance of the divine, when we learn about ourselves we learn about the divine, and vice versa. Magick is simply and ancient and poweful branch of psychological science, the science of knowing one’s self. No invocation of “dark forces,” no, its mostly the practice of yoga, meditation, and uplifting ritual designed to put one in touch with one’s higher self.

Certainly there are abusive persons who use magick to try to control other people, but we have to deal with that all the time, its also called advertising!

The magick of the Cabala is about a practical form of gnostic technique to come to understand God through direct experience. This is very dangerous to those who have invested in the idea that God is unknowable and totally separate from Man. The more sophisticated Catholic view in some circles could ultimately be seen as Pantheism, that God is everywhere all the time, within and without at the same time. This is closer to science’s understanding of the universe than worshiping Jesus as a God. Teachers like Jesus are sent here to inspire us, not for us to bow down and worship as idols.


1 thought on “standard roman catholic doctrine and magick

  1. The irony, of course, is that Catholicism is rife with magical thought and imagery. The transmutation of wafer and wine into flesh and blood; the expulsion of “evil spirits” thourgh exorcism; even Christian miracles could be considered magic, as they invoke a higher entity to carry out the “summoner’s” work.

    Not many people seem to write about the relationship between the Church and magic, beyond CHURCH SAYS MAGIC BAD, so it’s interesting to see someone writing beyond that.

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