This morning, I was listening to the January 28, 2016 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show on The Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, New York. “Father” Rick Poblocki and moderator Steve Quebral were taking calls from listeners when Laura from West Seneca, New York phoned in with a question.
Laura’s father had recently passed away and, while rummaging through his personal belongings, she came across a wool sweater with a Native American dreamcatcher and wolf’s head design on the front and back and added it to her own wardrobe. She subsequently wore the sweater to mass and received a compliment but asked Rick if it was appropriate for a Catholic to wear a clothing item with prominent Native American spirituality symbols. Rick responded that wearing such an item was harmless as long as she wore it simply as a memorial to her deceased father and didn’t become enmeshed in Native American spirituality. Laura replied that she had seen an article by EWTN national talk radio host, Johnnette Benkovic, cautioning Catholics to stay away from dreamcatcher paraphernalia entirely because it could possibly be a gateway to the occult. “Father” Rick dismissed Benkovic’s warnings with an uncharitable personal attack on the radio host, saying that since she uses a lot of makeup, visits a hairdresser regularly, and purchases fancy suits as part of her job, then that could possibly demonstrate that she’s a “slave to fashion and the beauty cult and that’s a whole other thing opening up to Satan because it’s vanity.”
Evidently this “dreamcatcher” has become a very popular trinket in our American culture. A Catholic friend of my wife gave her a dreamcatcher several months ago and I understand it’s widely used by the New Age crowd. What is a dreamcatcher? For those outside the loop, here’s a description and photo:
“Dream catchers have long been a part of Native American religion, lore, and art, originating with the Ojibwe, or Chippewa, and the Lakota, a confederation of seven Sioux tribes. Dream catchers are webbed and beaded circles hung with feathers from the base of the circle. As one might suspect, the purpose of a dream catcher is to catch dreams—that is, to trap bad or evil dreams and channel good dreams to the sleeper. Dream catchers are usually placed in a window or above the bed, allowing the good dreams to drip down the feathers onto the sleeper below.”– from gotquestions.org
Many Christians might argue that dreamcatchers are just harmless fun; no need to get so uptight about it. But my thought is anyone who has genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and seeks to walk according to His Word by the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit would not want to get involved with the talismans and superstitions of a pagan religion. Let’s put it into perspective. Could anyone possibly imagine Jesus Christ walking around Judea and Galilee with a pagan talisman design on His clothing or having a pagan charm hanging by His bed? You say Jesus is too perfect an example? Okay then, how about the apostle, Paul? The idea is beyond ludicrous. Hey, I don’t want to be the dreamcatcher police but I also think we Christians are WAY too tolerant of this kind of garbage.
Roman Catholicism adopted many pagan practices and superstitions so “Father” Rick’s coddling of dreamcatchers is simply par for the course.
“Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.” – Acts 19:18-20