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There is a deep, deep crevice of the occult, and we might as well admit it.

In our society and particularly among our young is a rising tide that goes beyond previous decades, stretching now to the extreme of even vampirism.

Why is this not addressed?

It's an unpleasant topic.

Yet, address it we must.

If nothing else, it is a major "prayer need": For many, many are those who were raised Catholic, received the sacraments, went to catechism classes, and perhaps even Catholic school, yet never heard a word of warning about psychics, necromancers, spiritualists, fortunetellers, mediums, clairvoyants, New Agers, or the like.

"It may come as a surprise to some to learn that many occultists have a Christian background," writes a former one, Vince McCann, in Dancing With the Devil, a collection of such accounts. "We need to be mindful that past hurts and doctrinal misunderstandings may be preventing occult followers from knowing what Christianity really is."

Let's be straight: there's no excuse for entering something such as witchcraft -- but it happens in a society where witches and vampires and ghost-hunters and mediums are so prominently featured on television, at the same time that there are so few warnings from the pulpit. The young look to feel a spiritual reality, and if they don't feel it in a church, they search elsewhere.

More than "catechesis," what our Church needs is plain talk.

There are even times when the clergy promote such things as the labyrinth or yoga. Just this week, an archbishop in India endorsed a book by a priest who extols the virtues of yogic meditation.

We don't like to go too far with such matters, but yoga truly is in need of further discernment. Notes a former medium, Laura Maxwell, in the book: "Within yoga even the trained yogis admit the basics of the first stage in yoga are designed to attain mystical union with the Universal Spirit. Yogis admit that the main aim for practicing yoga is not merely to relax or enjoy gentle exercise but to gain occult powers." (Print this and send it to your church if there is yoga or the enneagram going on.)

The greatest problem, however, is in society itself -- which is now awash with the preternaural. Astrology. Wizards.

Brian Reed was a "vampire." How'd that happen? "The more vampire stuff I read, the more vampirelike I became, but probably not in the way you're thinking," he contributes. "Hollywood loves to glamorize the covert seduction associated with the traditional vampire. The idea of an innocent victim becoming eternally damned along with him seems to appeal to a lot of people. However, what comes across the silver screen is cartoon-like compared to the real thing. There are no Transylvanian accents or black capes, no covens of us living in New Orleans, and thank goodness no one sparkles in the sunlight. The only similarity with Hollywood's depiction is that a vampire wants to blend into society and not be noticed. I actually looked more like a condescending preppie. The first day I drank blood is etched in my memory as the day things in my wretched existence began to go horribly wrong."

This makes us look especially close and hard at Catholic commentators who defend occult novels like "Harry Potter." Harmless?

Since the series, there has been a surge in witchcraft.

These poor kids even end up seeing demonic apparitions.

Or falling into insanity.

"I later found out that psychiatric wards are filled with people who sought power through the occult and ended up weak, hopeless, and broken," says Griffin. "Even though occultists put up a front and claim to be fearless, most are frightened, broken, and lonely inside.

"Occultists, vampire fanatics, witches, etcetera are all searching for power to keep from being destroyed by this cruel world."

It's our duty to show that Power to them.

[resources: Dancing With the Devil

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