Do Catholics believe in paranormal activity?

For Catholics there is no mystery as to who is behind certain paranormal phenomenon.

Over the past two decades there has been a steady rise in paranormal investigators and paranormal societies. These groups thrive on investigating those things that science can not explain, such as telekinesis, extrasensory perception, and ghosts.

From a Catholic perspective, what is paranormal activity and how does it fit within the Catholic faith?

First, here is a typical definition of the “paranormal” as described by writer Marco Pennekamp.

Paranormal consists of para, meaning above, beyond or abnormal, and normal. The normal world we live in is explainable by current scientific understanding. Thus, the paranormal world is not. We may be able to explain some parts of the paranormal world in the future. They are then part of the natural world, but not currently part of the normal world. So according to this etymological argument, paranormal describes something that is not currently, but possibly, explainable.

With this definition, paranormal activity is considered within the confines of “science,” though not immediately explainable. The theory is that whatever seems like it is outside of science is simply something that hasn’t been studied enough and in the end has a natural explanation.

Typically believers of paranormal activity put their faith in a world without God. If there are ghosts, they say, there is potentially a scientific explanation behind it, but we don’t have sufficient data to verify it.

We Catholics take a slightly different view. We recognize that paranormal activity is real and we agree that it is outside the natural order of science. However, where we depart is in our belief that there exists a supernatural world that we can not see and which has an effect on the visible world.

This is not to say that everyone who claims a paranormal experience is having a spiritual experience. In fact, Catholics are skeptics in this regard, always seeking out a scientific — medical or otherwise — explanation for things first.

But Catholics don’t deny the existence of the spiritual … and this can mean both the activity of God and his angels, as well as the activity of demons.

So while it’s true there might be many instances where science can explain what happened, it’s also true that extraordinary experiences might be linked to God or spiritual creatures who actually exist.

While paranormal societies continue to search for the explanation of such things, Catholics have no doubts as to the origin of such phenomena.

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