Life in Christ
are all who trust in them.”
God, however, is the “living God”
who gives life and intervenes in history.
Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains
a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what
is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and re
veres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons
(for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state,
money, etc. Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Many martyrs died for not adoring “the Beast”
refusing even to
simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of
God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.
Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God.
The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and
saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion
of man’s innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who “trans
fers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God.”
Divination and magic
God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints.
Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confi
dently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the
future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvi
dence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.
All forms of
are to be rejected: recourse to Satan
or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely sup
posed 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 be
ings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict
the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to
tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have
a supernatural power over others—even if this were for the sake
115:4-5, 8; cf.
2, 40: PG 11, 861.