Why Catholics (And Everyone Else) Should Stay Away From Horoscopes

Why Catholics (And Everyone Else) Should Stay Away From Horoscopes November 17, 2015
The Fortune Teller by Caravaggio (Public domain: Wikimedia Commons)
The Fortune Teller by Caravaggio (Public domain: Wikimedia Commons)

“I would like to ask you,” said Pope Francis in his Sunday Angelus address,

“…but don’t answer out loud; each one answer to himself: How many are there among us who read the horoscope every day? Each one answer, and when you feel like reading your horoscope, look to Jesus who is with us. This is better and will serve us better.”

*     *     *     *     *

The disciples were interested in seeing the last page, too. Like us, they wondered what the future would bring.

And this past Sunday, just two weeks before the close of the liturgical year, the readings focused on the end of the world. In the first reading–drawn from Daniel 12:1—the prophet Daniel hears the word of the Lord regarding the end-times:

…At that time your people shall escape,
everyone who is found written in the book.

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;
some shall live forever,
others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.

“But the wise shall shine brightly
like the splendor of the firmament,
and those who lead the many to justice
shall be like the stars forever.”

And in the gospel reading taken from Mark 13:24-32, Jesus described the events which will mark the end of the world. “In those days after that tribulation,” Jesus said to his disciples,

“…the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.”

*     *     *     *     *

We’re interested in understanding how things will end, aren’t we? And in reflecting on our own personal end and on the end of all things, we may be tempted to seek answers in unfamiliar places. Some seek truth in the occult, in tarot cards and palm reading. One popular source for information about the future is the daily horoscope column.

But don’t do it! the pope warns.

Why is that?

*     *     *     *     *

English_ouija_boardThe Catholic Church teaches that we should not consult horoscopes and other such fortune-telling practices because they attempt to take the place of God.

For the same reason, it’s not a good idea to participate in astrology, palm reading, or clairvoyance, or to play with ouija boards. Same goes for seeking advice from a medium.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

“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.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2116


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nathaniel

    Don’t read the weather report either. Knowing the future takes the place of God.

    • kathyschiffer

      Predicting the weather is the purview of scientists and meteorologists. The Church has no problem with science–in fact, the Catholic Church teaches that reason is to be partnered with faith. But the occult invokes something (spirits) not God, and is to be avoided.

      Here, by the way, is a list of notable Catholic scientists. fact, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_scientists

      • Nathaniel

        In all seriousness, there is a much better reason to avoid horoscopes: they don’t work.

        Anyone who says they can tell you the future in a non-scientific way is either lying to you or lying to themselves. And tend to be bad for the contents of one’s pocketbook regardless.

      • Korou

        Horoscopes are, in a sense, scientific. They’re saying that our lives are influenced by the stars and planets, and that we can predict how they will affect us.
        The problem is, this is not true. If it were true, however, there could be no more objection to relying on horoscopes than on a weather forecast.

  • captcrisis

    If you think horoscopes are taken seriously, you are hanging out with some very shallow people. There’s just entertainment. I get a kick out of them because of how wildly inapplicable they often are to my own life.

  • calduncan

    It’s amazing how so many people who regard religion as a “superstition” take astrology seriously.

  • Korou

    I once saw a film of The Amazing Randi testing horoscopes. He took a group of volunteers, thanked them for agreeing to give him some information about themselves and then told them that, based on their answers, a horoscope had been produced for each of them. He asked them to read it and to evaluate it for how accurate it was in describing them. After doing so, most of the people agreed that their horoscope described them quite accurately.
    Then he said “Now please swap horoscopes with your neighbour,” and of course it turned out he’d given the same one to everybody!