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During Pope Francis’ Angelus last Sunday in Saint Peter’s Square, the Supreme Pontiff addressed those who consult with fortune tellers and horoscopes saying:

“When you do not cling to the word of the Lord, but have more security in consulting horoscopes and fortune tellers you sink.”

Pope Francis was referencing the miracle of Jesus walking on water. After sending the disciples to the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, following the feeding of the multitude, He stayed behind to pray. When night fell, the disciples ship became trapped in a fierce storm forcing them to row all night against the winds. After some time, the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water towards them. In the Gospel of Matthew, Peter walked on water towards Jesus, but faltered in his faith and sank into the water.

Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:28-31

The Popes Angelus was rife with symbolism. He said the boat “is the life of each of us, but it is also the life of the Church; The wind represents difficulties and trials.” Peter yelling out to the Lord “Lord, command me to come to you!” And his cry, “Lord, save me”, Pope Francis noted “are so much like our desire to feel the closeness of the Lord, but also the fear and anguish that accompany the toughest moments of our lives and our communities, marked by internal fragility and external difficulties.”

He explained that at the moment of his sinking, Peter was unsure of his Faith in the word of the Lord, which was like a life preserver in rough waters. He said this too can happen to us “when you do not cling to the word of the Lord, but to have more security in consulting horoscopes and fortune tellers you sink.” Today’s Gospel “reminds us that faith in the Lord and in his word does not open a path where everything is easy and quiet for us; It does not take away the storms of life.” That Faith in the Lord “gives us the assurance of a Presence, that is Christ, which pushes us to overcome the existential buffs; Faith, in short, is not a loophole from the problems of life, but it sustains our journey and gives it meaning.”

On horoscopes, fortune tellers, and other forms of divination, the Catechism states that:

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. – Catechism of the Catholic Church 2116

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