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Catholic Dictionary




The art of divining the future through alleged communication with the dead. It was mentioned in the Bible and found in every ancient nation. It was forbidden by Mosaic law in any form, whether as alchemy, magic, or witchcraft. It is also forbidden by the Church. One reason is that the practice lends itself to dependence on the evil spirits who can pretend to foretell the future, but only to deceive and mislead the practitioners. In modern times it is called spiritism or spiritualism. (Etym. Greek nekros, corpse + manteia, divination; Latin necromantia.