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The Church's teachings on superstition and chain letters
Question from Not sure what to believe on 1/12/2007:

Dear Fr. Levis, I have received chain e-mails before. Many of these often say "send this to 20 people or this really bad thing will happen to you." My mom always tells me to just disreguard the e-mail because as Catholics we are not supposed to be superstitous. She also tells me if that something does happen it is not due to the letter. I know that this is true, but for some reason I still have a hard time letting it go. I recently received one from a friend that had a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe and it said to send it to 20 people. It told of the bad things that happened to people when they didn't send it and the good things that happened when they did. I know that this is really stupid to believe in this. It sounds even more stupid when I actually start typing all of this out, but for some reason in my head on a certain level it scares me. A little over a year ago or more I received a chain letter that said this same type of thing and I didn't send it to how ever many people it said. I believe it was a few months later I started experiencing anxiety/panic attacks. This is something I have worked on and I don't really think they were related. Still, it just is weird to me. I know that God allowed my anxiety attacks to learn and grow and really start to become my own person, but I am a person that satan knows exactly where my weak point is, and he knows he can try to make me think the 2 things are related. I tend to be very succeptible to the power of suggestion. I really want to be able to overcome this with God's grace.

Anyway, I guess my main question is what is the Church's teachings on superstition and/or chain letters and how can I feel confident in knowing that nothing bad will happen to me if I don't send these "chain e-mails" along to more people? Also, how can I stop worrying about it and know that even "religious" chain e-mails like the one I just received are ok not to forward? I am sorry this is so long! I just really would like the truth on this matter. Thank you!

Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 1/13/2007:

Dear Friend, The superstitious part of chain letters is their infallible connection between the letters and the good or evil infallibly connected with the process. This is an attempt to force God to act in a certain way. God is omnipotent and cannot be forced to do anything against His will. Friend, pray since these letters bother you. Pray to Mary to protect you from falling for this true nonsense. There cannot be any connection between good and evil and this letter business. 'Have courage and destroy them always. /Fr. Bob Levis


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