A Catholic Séance?

November 08 2020 | by

DEAR DR: POCAK: I’ve been a widow now for a number of years, but I still miss my husband very much. A few weeks ago a friend of mine, who is also a widow, wanted to take me to a medium whom she thinks has the power to contact the departed. I refused to go because the idea of contacting the dead in this way frightens me, but my friend, who is Catholic, told me that even Saul in the Old Testament had recourse to a medium in order to seek advice from the Prophet Samuel. Should I follow her advice? 


It is certainly natural for you to want to feel a connection with your husband. However, there are ways to do that effectively that bring healing and peace, and ways that ultimately cause a greater sense of grief.

In Baptism and Confirmation (as well as in our profession of faith) we renounce Satan “and all his works, and all his empty promises.” In doing so, we reject worldly answers to our problems and turn to God for help in our times of need. While it can be tempting to seek consolation from people with self-proclaimed special gifts, Scripture cautions us, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spirits, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:31). It is true that King Saul consulted a medium, however 1 Chronicles 10:13 says that his actions were displeasing to the Lord, and that he suffered serious consequences for his unfaithfulness.

As Catholics we know that God has the answers to the desires of our hearts. Allow God into this moment, into your desire for connection with your husband, and ask Him to lead you toward healing. From a psychological perspective, to grieve effectively doesn’t mean letting go of the person we lost. It requires that we find healthy ways to stay connected to a person. One way to do that is by staying connected to the virtues that person lived out. This is not only a way for us to find connection, but truly a way for us to honor their life with ours, and to acknowledge the gift that they were in our lives. I would encourage you to reflect and pray about a few questions: What was it about your husband’s life and your relationship with him that gave you joy? In what ways was he a blessing to you and the people he encountered? What virtues or strengths would you use to describe your husband? What are the things that you miss doing with your husband?

Once you have answered these questions, identify ways that you can reflect his qualities in your life. Look for ways you will be a gift to others in the way that he was a gift, and serve in the ways he served. Let his example inspire you to be everything God created you to be.

Similarly, as you search for godly ways to connect with your husband, remember that it is good to talk to your husband throughout your day. As the Church teaches, all the faithfully departed are alive in Christ (Rom. 6:8). Because of this we can talk to our loved ones, ask them to intercede for us, and include them in our day to day lives.

And don’t forget to connect to your husband when you revisit the things you shared together. Whatever it is you enjoyed doing together, or however you both liked to spend your free time, don’t give up on those activities. Bring him with you.

Ultimately, beyond the problems associated with dabbling in occult practices, mediums are problematic for Christians because they make us think that we have to go through someone else to receive the gift that Christ gives us freely. Consulting a medium to communicate with your husband could actually cause you to stay stuck in grief. In truth, because your husband is alive in Christ, he is closer to you now than he even was in life. Ask God to show you how to cultivate that connection. Let our Lord show you how to experience your husband walking alongside you throughout your day, and especially when you participate in the activities and rituals you shared when he was with you. Don’t let his passing be the end. Let him continue to be your partner in helping you become everything God created you to be.

Updated on November 08 2020