MANCHESTER, N.H. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Within a day of contacting both the college and diocese, a spirit-channeling occult event was canceled.
Scheduled for the first Sunday of Advent, the Dana Center at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire was planning to have "An Afternoon of Mediumship."
Church Militant learned that a number of laity, including parents of current students, were "up in arms" over the occult event, and Church Militant was contacted in hopes of putting a stop to the event.
Church Militant reached out to the president of the Benedictine College, Steven DiSalvo, and Bp. Peter Libasci of the diocese of Manchester. The diocese's director of communications, Thomas Bebbington, immediately replied promising to check with Bp. Libasci who wasn't in the chancery.
On Wednesday, Bebbington and the executive director of college communications and marketing, Michelle Adams O'Regan, both responded that the event had been canceled.
Bebbington replied that Bp. Libaski called the college on Monday and said, "It is his understanding that the college has canceled the event."
Billed as "Spirits of the Season," the event boasted of having "world-renowned communication mediums" John Holland, Lauren Rainbow and Tony Stockwell. The event flyer noted they will "share their own unique styles of Spirit Communication with the audience, bringing validation, love and healing energy."
Holland is a self-professed "spiritual teacher" and would have explained "the delicate process of raising his own vibrational energy to link with the Other-Side." He charges about $200 for an online course that will "take your psychic powers to the next level by building your power."
Rainbow admits to having "a prophetic and psychic vision," saying, "These gifts allow me to help you on your current path with insight into where you are going and how you can best harness the energy of manifestation to create positive flow in your life."
Stockwell also teaches and has been featured in a number of reality-based shows such as Psychic Academy. He also does trance mediumship.
"In this state, spirit beings are able to merge with our minds so completely that we may truly understand who they are," Stockwell explains.
Righteous indignation over the event is justified, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is a sin against the First Commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."
The Catechism explains that all forms of divination and recourse to mediums "contradict the honor, respect and loving fear that we owe to God alone." It goes on to say:
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.
Consulting with psychics or mediums is addressed in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible numerous times.
Catholic Straight Answers lists examples in the Gospel of Matthew, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Galatians and the Book of Acts. Leviticus 20:27 calls for mediums and fortune tellers to be put to death by stoning and Deuteronomy 18:10–12 condemns sorcery strongly:
Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortuneteller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead. Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus Himself condemns the practice and destines those who practice sorcery to Hell: "As for the cowards and traitors to the faith, the depraved and murderers, the fornicators and sorcerers, the idol-worshipers and deceivers of every sort — their lot is the fiery pool of burning sulphur — the second death." (Revelation 21:8).
A note on the event pages says, "This show is not affiliated with the Dana Center or Saint Anselm College. The performance is being sponsored by JJR Productions."
UPDATE: JJR Productions has confirmed the event has been moved from the college campus.