Thursday, 17 May 2012

The pursuit of Spiritualism

"There is no Death"
Florence Marryatt (1891)
Project Gutenburg
"Before I proceed to write down the results of my private and premeditated investigations, I am reminded to say a word respecting the permission I received for the pursuit of Spiritualism. As soon as I expressed my curiosity on the subject, I was met on all sides with the objection that, as I am a Catholic, I could not possibly have anything to do with the matter, and it is a fact that the Church strictly forbids all meddling with necromancy, or communion with the departed. Necromancy is a terrible word, is it not? especially to such people as do not understand its meaning, and only associate it with the dead of night and charmed circles, and seething caldrons, and the arch fiend, in propria persona, with two horns and a tail. Yet it seems strange to me that the Catholic Church, whose very doctrine is overlaid with Spiritualism, and who makes it a matter of belief that the Saints hear and help us in our prayers and the daily actions of our lives, and recommends our kissing the ground every morning at the feet of our guardian angel, should consider it unlawful for us to communicate with our departed relatives. I cannot see the difference in iniquity between speaking to John Powles, who was and is a dear and trusted friend of mine, and Saint Peter of Alcantara, who is an old man whom I never saw in this life. They were both men, both mortal, and are both spirits.

Christ and the Saints as intermediaries
to the world beyond.

© Godric Godricson

Again, surely my mother who was a pious woman all her life, and is now in the other world, would be just as likely to take an interest in my welfare, and to try and promote the prospect of our future meeting, as Saint Veronica Guiliani, who is my patron. Yet were I to spend half my time in prayer before Saint Veronica's altar, asking her help and guidance, I should be doing right (according to the Church), but if I did the same thing at my mother's grave, or spoke to her at a séance, I should be doing wrong. These distinctions without a difference were hard nuts to crack, and I was bound to settle the matter with my conscience before I went on with my investigations."

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