Is it OK for Catholics to believe in ghosts? Is there an official Catholic position on the existence of ghosts or talking with spirits?
First, the Church forbids us to conjure up the dead. “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 (CCC2116).”
It is OK for Catholics to believe in the existence of ghosts as long as it is in the proper context. First of all, there is no such thing as “lost souls,” in the sense that there are not souls that are caught between death and eternity unable to “cross over” to “the other side.” After death, a soul is judged and is either saved or damned. A damned soul is in hell; a saved soul is either in heaven or in purgatory.
That said, it may be that purgatory might in some way involve the life one lived here on earth. It is not incompatible with a belief in purgatory to believe that our purgation might include “revisiting” places that were significant during our earthly lives. It may be that occasionally God allows people to see such souls in order to inspire prayers for them or in some way to teach a lesson to the people who see them. Although Church teaching does not rule out the possibility of ghosts, and although it also does not rule out the possibility that God might allow us to see ghosts on occasion, the Church does forbid us from attempting to initiate occult contact with departed souls.
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