Priest Psychic? [excerpt from God or Allah, truth or bull? pages 240/241]

Text of email sent to some friends on 18 Oct 2016

Several years ago I met a Catholic priest who projected the impression that he knew what was going on in certain people’s lives without, apparently, having any prior contact with them or having been informed by them or other people beforehand. This priest was from another parish and was reputed to be someone with special spiritual powers for healing of sicknesses and for providing “blessings” that appeared to be effective. Apparently, some married couples who were childless would come to him for advice and/or spiritual blessing and it was said that they were able to procreate after having been blessed by him. Whether they were taking fertility pills as supplement would be known only to the couples and, perhaps, the priest. I shall be happy to wager the entire balance in my bank account that the prayer plus blessing of this priest, no matter how many times he may care to make, earnestly or pretentiously, would be completely ineffective in the case of a woman who has had a hysterectomy. I shall assume that the priest knows or at least will be suitably kept informed with regard to hysterectomy, its significance and how nature works, regardless of the teachings of his lord, Jesus, and scriptural text about miracles.

I was among the congregants, numbering in the thousands, when this priest was celebrating Mass for a special occasion in my parish, Church of St. Francis Xavier [when I was a Catholic]. After delivering the usual sermon, this priest then started saying certain things for/about certain people in the congregation. Among other things, he said a woman was present among the congregation, wearing a polka-dot dress, who was having marital problems and his advice to her was to be patient and to forgive any wrong she had suffered. He also said another woman was present, wearing a red dress, who was having a serious health problem [some specific sickness was apparently mentioned] and his advice to her was to continue with the medication she was taking, and that he would pray for her to get well. Besides these two women, the priest also made reference to several other people among the congregation, but only by their attire, and said something specific about the problem[s] pertaining to each individual and openly gave advice for their benefit. From the priest’s descriptive references to specific personal attire, it can be reasonably deduced that there were, at least, one polka-dot dress and one red dress, if not more than one in either case, among the assortment of attire worn by the congregants on this particular occasion. Maybe the people the priest was referring to were sitting somewhere in the front pews, within visual distance from the priest’s position. Who at any rate among the faithful would be bothered with ascertaining whether the priest was talking factually? Furthermore, this priest was reputedly a celebrity among the Catholic community in this part of the world.

My elder daughter, around 11 or 12 yrs’ old at the time, was with me and she commented – “he knows.” Yes, but what exactly did the priest know? There was no announcement made as to whether there was an invitation to parishioners to write or speak to any of the priests regarding their problems, if any, for which they would like advice or spiritual blessings from the Church. My skepticism was brought to the fore—as a natural consequence. To ask: Was this priest psychic? – would not be irrelevant. But I had my doubts, and my skepticism in this regard, to say the least, is still the same today. How many people in the congregation actually believed him is anybody’s guess. It was clear, however, from the deafening applause he received at the end of his speech that there were many parishioners who thought highly of him and, presumably, his psychic powers.

Gullibility, one can argue, seems to be a common trait of humanity, but some human beings tend to be more gullible than others. There is the possibility that humankind can outgrow its infantile tendencies, as I suggested in Childhood’s End. But it is amazing how childishly gullible humans are [Arthur C. Clarke]. Whether there are any psychic people around today, I am willing to bet to my last dollar that none are able to foretell the six winning numbers of a Singapore Pools Toto draw or, say, any of the top three winning numbers for a 4D draw. There are millions of dollars to be won every week from Singapore Pools from simply forecasting the winning numbers for each draw, Toto or 4D. The Catholic Church can do away with collections from its lay members by asking for the winning numbers of lottery draws, from any priest within its flock with psychic abilities. Maybe such psychic abilities have their own weaknesses or limitations, or maybe they are nothing but fraudulent misrepresentations. People who are not psychic but pretend to be deserve to be called cheats or charlatans.

Have you come across “psychic” people or people who projected themselves as being psychic? If you haven’t, just be wary, for a start.

[excerpt from God or Allah, truth or bull? pages 240/241]

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