Black Magic: A Grave Sin against the Faith
“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 of restoring their health — are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion” (no. 2117).Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2117.
The definition of magic tells us two things. Above all, it has ambition to modify and foretell the course of human events, and to utilize the preternatural (demoniac) powers to make a person fall in love, be cured of an illness, be dismissed from a job, kill someone, provoke atmospheric events, et cetera. In other words, magic is a practice used to do evil things and to influence people and the reality created by the devil.
This is also valid for the rites that are commonly called “white magic” and that are done for the “good” and “red magic,” which regards the sphere of sexuality. All turn to the same preternatural entity, the wizard, who, in all these cases, resorts to the power of Satan in order to obtain the invoked result. Therefore, there is no difference among them, “black,” “white,” or “red.” It is enough to see the effects of all of them.
Superstitions: Sacred & Profane
Whoever turns to witches, fortune-tellers, occultists, or wizards, commits a very serious sin of superstition, which is contrary to faith.
But what is superstition?
The term superstition derives from the Latin superstitio and indicates when something is superimposed on another, distorting the original sense. One is superstitious when one believes that something innocent in itself brings misfortune (the classic black cat that crosses one’s path) or that it brings luck (the rabbit’s foot) — that is, when one attributes to certain objects or deeds a power based on their intrinsic essence.
There are superstitions that also regard religious deeds or facts, such as superimposing a true piety on a false religion, that is, attributing power to objects and rites that are exteriorly Christian. This happens when practices and rites are carried out or formulas of our Faith are professed, making all their efficacy depend on rigid observances.
True piety in prayerful supplication places everything in God’s hands, knowing that He, in His liberty and sovereignty, whether pleasing us or not, will always act for our good and for the persons and situations for which we pray.
This mixing of the sacred and the profane, for example, the hanging of a horseshoe around a statue of the Madonna in order to implore good luck — is superstitious. It leads individuals to divination, magic, and witchcraft, with the expectation of gaining supernatural power over their neighbors. As the Catechism says, “even if this were for the sake of restoring their health,” it is “gravely contrary to the virtue of religion.”
Even today, many persons still wink at magic and its sorcerers. The only remedy is to issue an invitation to all those involved to repent and to confess this sin, with the firm intention of not doing anything so foolish again.
At this point, a question comes to mind: Is a person in God’s grace preserved from the effects of magical rites? It is certainly more difficult to strike a person in such a state, although it is not impossible; being that each thing is freely at God’s disposition, an evil can be permitted to be transmitted through a magical act and to do damage to one who lives in communion with God.
The Most Common Examples of Magic Are Evil Spells
“Evil spells” is a generic phrase, which includes all the forms in which someone is harmed through the occult action of the devil and its various rites. The objectives are to divide, to kill, to make fall in love, to make ill, to destroy, to lead to suicide, and to divide spouses, the engaged, and friends.
In order to bring about an evil spell, three things are necessary: a witch or a wizard, a person who commissions the witch or wizard, and an object on which the ritual is performed. As the sacraments have visible signs — for example, bread and wine in the Eucharist — evil spells also have theirs that are cursed by the wizard with rituals that are intended to produce negative spiritual effects on the persons affected.
The wizard must “win over” the action of the evil spirit, pressing it into service with invocations and prayers. The effect on the victim, however, is separate from his own personal inclinations, although, as I have said, a person in a state of grace with God is less vulnerable to the attack of an evil spell.
How Evil Spells Can Manifest Themselves
Some years ago, I exorcized a young man who had broken up with his fiancée. Soon after, he began to complain of sudden physical disturbances. It was then discovered during the prayer of the exorcism that the aspiring mother-in-law had commissioned an evil spell from a witch. The young man turned to me, and, after some exorcisms, the physical ills nearly disappeared.
The evil eye is a different case, rarer and even less easy to figure out: it involves tossing out a spell through the power of a glance, with the objective of “sending over” a devil. It has nothing to do with popular traditions, such as carrying a good-luck charm or looking cross-eyed at someone. Rather, it involves a true and proper rite. I must say, however, that I have never had a case clearly tied to this practice.
Awareness of a Curse?
Is a person ever aware of having suddenly been subjected to a spell? It is difficult, although possible, that a person subjected to an evil spell may never be aware of it. Above all, it is necessary to say that spells do not always reach their targets, either because the person may be well protected in his life of grace, or because God may not permit it, or because the wizard or sorcerer may not succeed.
I have had cases involving persons who did not know that they had been subjected to spells until they were casual participants in a prayer-of-liberation. In that circumstance they suddenly began to feel sick, to shout, and to curse, which for them was absurd and unthinkable behavior. After they discovered the evil spell, they immediately began to repair the situation by beginning a serious journey of faith — which is always necessary — by participating in prayer and exorcism.
Are Witches Possessed?
I am often asked if those who cast the spells are necessarily possessed? I think so, even if they are not aware of it or do not believe in these things. Magicians, wizards, sorcerers, and witches know that they have certain powers — it is something that gives them immense pleasure — and they use them to make people suffer, which also gives them pleasure. Furthermore, the wizards themselves will often submit to the spells, naturally for profit, since they do everything for money. Then the practice of magic worsens their situation.
Prayer Counters Spells
Prayer can counter evil spells, and if done with faith and love, it reaches its objective, which is the heart of God. We know that God Himself will dispose of things according to a plan whose ultimate end is always a greater good: eternal life. Each prayer prayed with this intention is effective. And at times, the Lord, in His infinite goodness, will grant us assistance and graces that are much greater than the fruit of our prayer.
This article is adapted from a chapter in Fr. Amorth’s An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: The Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angels. It is available through your favorite bookstore and online through Sophia Institute Press.