Tarot cards and palm readings are idolatrous, according to Pope Francis, and should be shunned alongside other modern 'idols'.
The pope was speaking at his weekly audience yesterday after a month-long summer break. He asked his hearers: 'How many of you go to pray with tarot cards to see your future? How many of you go to get your hands read to see your future, instead of praying to God?'
He said: 'God is living, the rest [of these] are idols, and they aren't useful.'
Francis was expounding the first commandment, 'You shall have no other gods before me.'
He pointed to the Greek origin of the word 'idol', which means 'to see'. Idol worship, he said, was 'a vision which becomes a fixation, an obsession'.
He warned against the power of advertising, saying it turns a car or a smartphone into 'a way to respond to my existential needs' and to be happy.
He continued: 'In ancient times human sacrifices were made to idols, but even today people sacrifice their children for their careers, neglecting them or simply refusing to have them.'
Idols, he said, require blood.'Money robs us of life, and pleasure leads to loneliness. Economic structures sacrifice human lives for better profits. One lives in hypocrisy, doing and saying what others expect of us, because the god of self-affirmation imposes it. And lives are ruined; families are destroyed; and young people are abandoned to destructive habits, all to increase profit.'
God, he concluded, 'never requires life but gives it. The true God doesn't offer a projection of our success, but teaches us to love.'