Chapter 1 - Personal experiences in the field of spiritual apparitions

- 28 - 1. 3. 2 A man of the cloth as a Spiritist One message, delivered one evening through the farmer boy of my parish as a speaking medium, seemed very improbable to us. It was to the effect that a monk from the neighbouring Benedictine monastery was attending “spiritist séances” held in a city not far away. We could scarcely believe that a monk, wearing the habit of his order, would take part in a spiritist gathering, in view of the strong opposition of the Catholic Church to spiritism. There was no way for us to verify this communication, but its correctness was soon to be demonstrated through an unforeseen channel. I had been reported to my ecclesiastic authorities as a frequenter of spiritist meetings, and a commission was sent to question me about the matter. The hearing was to be held at the very Benedictine monastery in question, and I was ordered to appear there. At the hearing I frankly admitted having attended spiritist gatherings and having instituted them in my parish. I was reminded that all Catholics had been forbidden by an order that came from Rome to attend any such meetings. I protested that I had heard nothing of such a prohibition, but that, if the facts were as alleged, I could not understand why a priest from that selfsame monastery should also be attending meetings of that sort. I said this, not to defend myself, but merely to learn in this way whether it was actually true that a priest from this monastery was attending spiritist meetings, as the medium had stated. The head of the investigating committee indignantly denied the truth of my assertion that a priest from the monastery was attending spiritist meetings and emphatically maintained that this was impossible. His habit alone would prevent him from going. He added that he must therefore reject my statement as heavily slanderous. I answered calmly that I had not brought the matter up to cause the monk or the monastery any trouble, but that I had heard it from a certain source and was taking this way of verifying the truth of the story. Should my statement prove false, I would see to it that my informant was set right. The head of the investigating committee then interrupted my hearing and went, I presume, to see the abbot of the monastery. After a short absence he returned with an embarrassed expression, and admitted that I was right. In his defence he added that the monk in question had received permission from the abbot to visit spiritist meetings. The truth of what the medium had told me was thus established.