Ghosts and Spirits

There is no official Church teaching about the existence of ghosts but belief in them is consistent with what the Catholic Church teaches about the immortality of the human soul.

At death, the material body and spiritual soul become separated and while the body remains on Earth, the soul goes to Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. God may allow these spirits from Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell to appear to people on Earth.

In the English language, a soul is also known as a spirit or even as a ghost. But ghosts are not the same as the demonic who are purely evil and only want the destruction of man.

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament indicate a belief in ghosts and many of the saints of the Catholic Church have offered opinions on the subject.

While praying for the dead and asking for the intercession of the saints in Heaven and the holy souls in Purgatory are encouraged by the Church, attempting to summon the dead or directly communicate with them is forbidden.

Catholics believe in spirits:

Ghosts affirm Catholic beliefs:

While they were still speaking about this, Jesus stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”

Luke 24: 36-39

There is more to this world:

An invisible realm surrounds us:

Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people “wholly”, with “spirit and soul and body” kept sound and blameless at the Lord’s coming. The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul. “Spirit” signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 367

Human spirits without bodies:

God may allow spirits to appear:

When Jesus returns there will be no ghosts:

Human beings have always cared for their dead and sought to give them a sort of second life through attention, care and affection. In a way, we want to preserve their experience of life; and, paradoxically, by looking at their graves, before which countless memories return, we discover how they lived, what they loved, what they feared, what they hoped for and what they hated. They are almost a mirror of their world.

Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 2 November 2011

Summoning spirits of the dead is forbidden:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

The Universal Church:

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