Year of Youth 2018
Ask a Question

My questions

My following questions

Browse by topic



0 +


Native american catholic. can i still practice medicinal witchcraft?

A Xt3 Member asked at 5:46pm on September 5th 2018
I am Native american and Aztec, I want to honor my backrounds, but i also want to keep jesus in my life. can i still practice witchcraft occasionally as long as i keep jesus first?

0 +

Hi Emma, I've often thought of how the patron saint of my own country, Patrick, responded to the native Celtic customs he met there in the 400s. Since the High King lit a fire on the Hill of Tara to symbolise the coming of Spring, St Patrick lit a fire on the Hill of Slane, visible from Tara to celebrate Christ's Resurrection-which is one of the sources for our lighting of the New Fire during the Easter Vigil. What he was doing was taking elements of the pre-Christian culture and using them in the new context of Christian revelation. Isn't that always our task-to take up Jesus' statement when he said, 'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them' (Mt 5:17)?

One of St John Paul II's most important addresses was the one he gave to Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Alice Springs in 1986 (easily obtainable on the net). He quoted what Blessed Paul VI said to them in 1970:

We know that you have a life style proper to your own ethnic genius or culture - a culture which the Church respects and which she does not in any way ask you to renounce... Society itself is enriched by the presence of different cultural and ethnic elements. For us you and the values you represent are precious. We deeply respect your dignity and reiterate our deep affection for you.

And John Paul went on to say, as you've also wanted to do with your Aztec background:

Take heart from the fact that many of your languages are still spoken and that you still possess your ancient culture. You have kept your sense of brotherhood. If you stay closely united, you are like a tree standing in the middle of a bush-fire sweeping through the timber. The leaves are scorched and the tough bark is scarred and burned; but inside the tree the sap is still flowing, and under the ground the roots are still strong. Like that tree you have endured the flames, and you still have the power to be reborn. The time for this rebirth is now!

And just as you said, about keeping Jesus in your life, he went on:

Jesus calls you to accept his words and his values into your own culture. To develop in this way will make you more than ever truly Aboriginal. The old ways can draw new life and strength from the Gospel. The message of Jesus Christ can lift up your lives to new heights, reinforce all your positive values and add many others, which only the Gospel in its originality proposes. Take this Gospel into your own language and way of speaking; let its spirit penetrate your communities and determine your behaviour towards each other, let it bring new strength to your stories and your ceremonies. Let the Gospel come into your hearts and renew your personal lives.

So there's the two aspects you mentioned, respect for your traditions and penetrating them with the Gospel. But, even before the New Testament, the Old Testament already warned the people of Israel to have nothing to do with witchcraft (the clearest example is the story about King Solomon's meeting with the Witch of Endor in the First Book of Samuel, chapter 28. The trouble with any kind of witchcraft is that we're involving evil spirits who are much more powerful than we are, and once they get a hold on our lives, they can be terribly difficult to get rid of.

Even though the revelation of the Old Testament was God's plan to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of his Son, some among the Chosen People made bad choices and developed customs that Jesus had to reject. So some of the more obvious Aztec customs we know, like cutting out the hearts of enemies, had to give way to Christianity. Maybe St Juan Diego's beautiful encounter with Our Lady of Guadalupe, who spoke to him in the Aztec Nahuatl language, is the best example of this drawing on both Aztec and Christian culture. When Juan Diego, worried his uncle was dying, had delayed a promised meeting with her, she came to meet him and tell him his uncle was cured, saying: 'Am I not here, I who am your mother?' I'd advise always turning to her, since you are one of her beloved Aztec children. Very best, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 9:26pm on September 10th 2018 reply

Your reply

Please stick to the original question; avoid asking new questions, responding to other answers.

You have to login to post.