Tonight at RCIA the question came up, “What does the Church teach about ghosts? This article is a good, detailed teaching on the Catholic understanding of ghosts and departed spirits.
“There is no settled doctrinal or moral practice with respect to ghosts or apparitions,” says Lawrence Cunningham, professor emeritus of theology at the University of Notre Dame. “You can’t point to a canon in ecumenical councils or canon law that addresses this.”
When it comes to the paranormal, the church walks a fine line. On the one hand, Catholicism is defined by a belief in the supernatural—one person of the Trinity was in the not-too-distant past commonly called “the Holy Ghost.” But church leaders also must battle against errant belief in the occult.
I’ve experienced miracles of various kinds and definite answers to prayer, but never seen a ghost. I’ve been called to cleanse houses of ghostly presences however, and usually a house blessing and prayer will clear things up.
We can’t have specific teaching about ghosts because the whole area of the paranormal and human perception is so complicated and difficult to pin down, categorize and classify. Most paranormal experiences defy explanation or clear understanding
It doesn’t matter if we don’t have specific teaching about ghosts because we have clear action. If there is some sort of ghostly activity or problem we don’t try to figure out what it is. We just pray, use Holy Water and ask for there to be peace and deliverance from evil. I’ve always found that this clears up any problem.