Q. But since the “saints” are dead, and since the Bible condemns communication with the dead as necromancy, Catholic teaching clearly contradicts Sacred Scripture. Is that not true?
A. It is certainly true that in Deuteronomy 18:10-11 scripture condemns necromancy which is communication with the dead.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…
But let’s think about what is meant in Deuteronomy. Would it even be possible to communicate with the souls of the dead unless God had a hand in it? No. So, if people are communicating to “souls” of the dead who might they actually be? I would say they are definitely evil spirits. And these evil spirits are pretending to be the soul of someone known to the person trying to contact the dead loved one or whoever. So, God is warning us not to open ourselves up to the lies and powers of the evil spirits- the fallen angels. And this warning is still very much in effect.
Also, when people practice divination or consult the dead they are communicating with spirits. Notice, scripture says “consults the dead” or in the King James “practices necromancy”. They do it in order to get answers from the spirit (divination) or at the very least some sort of communication from the spirit. Necromancy is the word that translates the Hebrew and the definition for necromancy is:
1. the practice of attempting to communicate with the spirits of the dead in order to predict or influence the future
2. witchcraft or sorcery in general (literary) -Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999
There is nothing in the practice that resembles Catholic intercessory prayer, of asking the saints to pray to God for us. And the Church teaches that it is through the power of God that our requests for prayer are made known to the saints. Therefore, Catholic intercessory prayer with the saints is not forbidden by scripture.
To find out more about Catholic intercessory prayer see under the category “Prayer to Saints“