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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Back to Paranormal

Dagnabit! We weren't paying attention and the deadline for the Blogger's Choice Awards has passed. I suppose we should be thrilled at coming in fourth in our category. Ask that forty year old woman who swam in the Olympics about that. We were only a few votes out of third and I know if I had brought it to people's attention...

Jesus hates a competitive nun.

That's not true. Jesus doesn't hate anyone, no matter what it says on protest signs seen at funerals.

OH, well. We have our exciting nun non contest! It still has no name. Names, anyone?

And it's time to get back to business. Today is a great day to start back in, what with back to school back to work, summer ending, etc. I realize that we have questions backed up to the moon, but I had to start in with this one because it's so....much.

Is it a sin to believe in the paranormal? Are things like Bigfoot and Atlantis and the Loch Ness Monster frowned upon by the church? What about angel sightings and so-called demonic posessions? Is it wrong to pursue a curiosity about such topics? I'm a huge x-files fan, and, when I'm not praying for the speedy recovery of Mr. David Duchovny, I like to ponder all those spooky topics addressed in the show. However, as a Catholic, I want to make sure I'm not crossing some kind of line. My belief in the paranormal is nowhere near as deep or as full as my belief in the Gospels - I almost use the word 'belief' in the wrong context - but I want to make sure that my - shall we say "interest" - in such topics isn't leading me down the wrong path or making me unpleasing in the eyes of God.

"Paranormal" is certainly a big umbrella. Is the idea that there is some kind of lost civilization underwater somewhere really paranormal? If it is, I think that the idea that we might someday find Noah's Ark would also fall into the category.

Believing in things we can't see, or didn't witness, like Jesus rising from the dead, is also called "faith".

I don't think we can make a big blanket judgment of what we can and can't believe, things that would fall into the paranormal category, so I thought if I made a list of things that are okay, things that are off limits and things that are iffy and try to explain why, you can use it as a guide.

Sister Mary Martha's Guide to the Paranormal

Bigfoot: Go for it. I think you're being a little silly, ignoring the fact that just a few years ago the guy that made up Big Foot died and his family finally told everyone that he made it up, but who am I to judge? Believing that there is some sort of giant stinky cave man roaming the various wilderness areas shouldn't shake your faith in God's message of Salvation. If you find him, try to get him to go to Mass.

Loch Ness Monster: Sure, why not. I have always hoped there actually is a Loch Ness Monster. Wouldn't that be fun?

Angels: Yes. There are angels.

Angel sightings: Iffy, but not overly dangerous. For one thing, it could be the devil trying to fool you. You just never know. I would worry about you if you thought an angel was telling you what to do. If the angel did something wonderful and benevolent, like lifting your car off you after it flipped over on top of you, fine. And always keep in mind that we are never ever asked to believe in the personal revelations of others, not even Fatima and Lourdes.

Demonic possessions: Yes! You betcha! The Catholic Church teaches that the devil is real and he is working very hard to get you. Do you have to believe that the kid down the street who is spewing green slime and swearing is possessed by the devil? Not really. We definitely want to take that kid to a doctor first. I've talked about this before.

Ghosts: Yes and No. Yes, to the idea that there could be ghosts. No, to you and any sort of relationship with specters. The Catholic Church does believe that, as people do go on living after they die, there could be 'ghosts'. But we don't want you going anywhere near any of them, because it really could be the devil impersonating your dear Aunt Sadie and he will be really, really tricky about it, like in the Exorcist when the devil turned into the priest's mother and sat on the end of the bed crying, "Dimmy! Dimmy!" If a ghost shows up, even if she's your Grandma, close your ears and hum.

Ouija boards: No. The Church says no. I personally believe that the Ouija board is simply a hunk of fiber board and a hunk of plastic and that you spell out things yourself because that's how the human mind and body work together. When I was about 12, back in the Ice Age, my friends and I asked the Ouija board when the world was going to end, because as I often say, everyone always thinks they are living in the end times. The Ouija board told us when the world was going to end. So scary! The Church doesn't you messing around with the Ouija board in case the devil uses it to contact you, but also because any kind of 'forecasting' is off limits.


Crystal Balls, Astrology, I Ching, Tarot Cards: NO. God's plan is not in Aries conjunct Gemini and the devil could be leading you astray through your silly beliefs.

Luck: No. God has a plan. It isn't luck.

Aliens from Space: Sure. The Catholic Church thinks there probably are aliens from space. We hope they are Catholic, or we are really going to have to re institute the Pagan Baby campaign.

You also can't believe in anything that contradicts Church doctrine, like finding the bones of Mary and the Jesus family.

I think I've covered the major fringe subjects here. If you understand what's dangerous and why, you should be fine.

Ask yourself:

1. Does this conflict with the teachings of the Cathlolic Church:

2. Does this make me doubt my faith?

3. Could this really be the tricky, tricky devil trying to steal my soul?

If the answer to any of the these questions is "yes", then this is not for you. If, for example, you believing that there is a big hairy stinky half man sort of creature in the woods behind your house makes you think God must have made some sort of creation mistake or that because this thing is so like a monkey and so like a man, it must mean that monkeys and man are equal in God's eyes and we need to bring monkeys into the Church and save their souls, then you need to drop your thinking about Big Foot ever again.

The world ended back on October 12 1986 by the way, according to the Ouija board, and we all missed it. Unless now we are all living in ....The Matrix......


Unknown said...

Sister, I would like to cast a vote for Mother Teresa for the most beautiful nun. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Well done.

Pauli said...

Sister, I'm honored that you copied my blog colors.

Sparki said...

Isn't there a legend that St. Columbcille tamed the Loch Ness Monster?

Unknown said...

Be wary of the Tarot, Ouji board, etc. "good intention" gambit. That is, someone will say they don't intend to use these for occult practices, so it's ok. For example, I was talking with someone who kept Tarot cards because he liked the pretty pictures, and it was ok because he was not using them for divination and that he does not believe they have power anyway. I relplied it does not matter because things have objective meaning independent of our intentions. Tarot cards have an inextricable connection to the occult/new age practice, and no amount of equivocation by changing the name or comparing it to a regular deck of playing cards can change that. Thus, Catholics should no more run around with these things than a married man should keep pretty pictures of ex-girlfriends on his bedroom dresser.

Anonymous said...

How about "Sister Earth Angel" for a contest name?

Jade Dunlop said...

...sounds like the name of a Penguins/Crew-Cuts song...

Sister Earth Angel (Will you be mine?)

Anonymous said...

About that beauty contest - and a title. How about:


Like the Bullwinkle and Rocky episodes which had titles like that. Remember? The format was:
One Thing

You really shouldn't be involved in a contest anyway you know - who would have a chance against you?

Big smile.

Anonymous said...

Different subject...how about the Catholic school teacher on that Big Brother show? What kind of trouble is he in for lying his way through a game hoping to win half a million dollars? Lying is a venial sin right? So a trip to confession and tithe ten percent back to the church and he's good right? Just curious on your opinion.

joannaB73 said...

I think the 'alien baby campaign' sounds good - I used to enjoy getting the pictures of smiling babies we could adopt but I don't remember my mother ever giving me any money to 'adopt' one - perhaps she thought she had enough of her own. Thank you for this list - very helpful - where would yoga fit into this list - for or against. Can the exercises be separated from the meditaiton on Hindu Gods? I once had a dream that the enemy was trying to possess me through my breath but it could have been something I ate for supper!

Anonymous said...

I have dibs on creating the theme:
Halos a'glowin'
Habits a'flowin'
Here's some nuns
You outta be knowin'
(Now go say a rosary)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Yes, Yes !!! to Enna !!!

Anonymous said...

How about 'Nun so beautiful'?

Anonymous said...

From anonymous above -- the idea "Nun So Beautiful" is wonderful. It's perfect. Amen.

Unknown said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha, sorry you couldn't load the film at my blog, i urge you to try again, it's a pretty good chat with lots of God.
I am still a catholic and have a best friend in a pastor at my church...Father Dan Mallette in Chicago.
As far as angel sightings, I have heard several great stories from an ex nun...she had allot of great angel stories.
thanks again for visiting my blog

Tim O