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Tarot Cards
Question from John Coleman on 7/9/2006:

I am a roman catholic and I was wondering are tarot cards against my religion. I’m not talking Wicca or anything just the fortune telling of the cards. thanks

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 7/19/2006:

The earliest appearance of Tarot cards is in Northern Italy in the 15th century; they were used chiefly for card or table games such as Tarocchi. Condemnations of their use, then were not specifically for their use in divination but against card games of chance in general. Moreover, the cards were sometimes used as educational tools, and there are certain Christian symbols that are still visible in the more traditional decks sold today. Moreover, the association of Tarot cards with divination was a late development, occurring probably in the 18th century. Sadly, they have been used since primarily as tools of divination. One notable exception, has been their application by psychologists for the assessment of the unconscious (I believe Carl Jung was an adherent of this).

Today, then, the vast numbers of Tarot decks are used for divination almost exclusively, and the Tarot is now lumped together with the other New Age practices that are so much a part of modern culture, and Tarot falls under the same category as other forms of divination or attempts to foretell future or hidden things by means of things like dreams, necromancy, spiritism, examination of entrails, astrology, augury, omens, palmistry, drawing straws, dice, cards, etc. Practices like these attribute to created things a power which belongs to God alone and are violations of the First Commandment.

The Catechism teaches: 2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. 2117 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. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

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