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 Vilnius, May 19: Lithuanian Bishops Concerned with Spreading of Occult Practices

Lithuanian Bishops published the letter addressed “to the faithful and people of good will” warning against spreading of occult practices. Bishops’ letter was presented in the special press conference – by Cardinal Audrys Bačkis, President of Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference (LBC), general secretary of LBC Msgr Gintaras Gruđas and an expert psychologist Fr. Arűnas Peđkaitis OFM.

“Various occult practices destroy the values of community life, they subvert trust in human experience and common sense; even more, it is incompatible with the Catholic faith” state Lithuanian Bishops. They appeal to Christian consciousness of the faithful, and remind that “pretension of possessing supernatural powers, credulousness and using the ‘services’ of magicians is a grave sin”. The Bishops’ Conference states with regret that a considerable part of practicing Catholics use the services offered by magicians.The Bishops warn, that keeping busy with magic, horoscopes, amulets, feng-shui practices are dangerous, even when done just for entertainment. Occult practices deprive a person of God given liberty to decide and to choose, connected with responsibility for one’s actions. “Participation in rituals, performed by shamans (most often coming from Russia), is especially dangerous to spiritual integrity of a person”, warn the Bishops.

The Letter gives attention to the constantly increasing number of various diviners, clairvoyants, spiritual healers and other persons with various “special powers”, both in Western and in post-soviet countries. The people, who have lost traditional religion, look for quick and simple answers to their urgent questions, are general users of such “services”. The Bishops deplore the fact, that the ideas and solutions, offered by astrologists, sorcerers, extrasenses, are being propagated by some people in prominent social position, and by the media: “tens of magazines and at least five programs in various national TV channels”.

Legal norms and ethic codes, intending to defend Lithuanian citizens from the harmful influence of occult practices, are being neglected, state the Bishops. Commission of National Radio and Television broadcasting company LRT had issued norms, regulating, among other things, also conditions of broadcasting esoteric or paranormal phenomena. However the document didn’t get juridical implementation. Similarly sorcerers and magicians, advertising services of healing or psychological help, are not under juridical licence control. “Licensed services of medicine and psychotherapy must be clearly distinguished from activities of magicians”, – write the Bishops.

Bishops express their concern of high social status of occult institutions claiming to the titles of “academies”, “institutes”, “universities”, “study centres”. There are journalists who interview sorcerers and witches treating them as experts on important social issues. The society is being misled, when sorcerers and scientific researchers, being treated on equal rights, take part in public media debates. The Bishops are especially concerned with spreading of witchcraft books, videotapes and instructions on spiritism among the children, even in institutions of public education.

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