Errors of Astrology.–Whatever the popularity of this practice in the past, and whatever its prospective vogue in the near future, it is to be set down without qualification or hesitation as a delusion and a snare. To suppose that the heavenly bodies have an influence on human conduct is in its origin a pagan error, closely allied with the pagan myth that the sun, moon and stars are presided over by as many separate deities. Only thus could have originated the delusion that Jupiter and Venus would procure a blessed destiny, and Mars and Saturn a troubled one, for the children born at the time of their rising. Nor can the cult be justified by an array of the names of those who have been its votaries. It is true that many astronomers in the past, including the great Kepler himself, have practised the astrological art, casting horoscopes for their clients. But in most cases it would be found, at least in the modern period, that these scientists merely yielded through tolerance to the weakness of their age. In true astronomy there is no place whatever for astrology. Besides being groundless the practice is to be condemned for its perilous moral tendencies. Distracting the soul from the worship of the spiritual God, who alone governs the universe, it substitutes for His action that of mere material objects, stars and planets, which it thus elevates to the rank of lesser gods or demons. Pretending to forecast from birth what each man’s course in life shall be, it robs the will of its proper share in moulding human conduct.

An interesting testimony to the former prevalence of this erroneous belief is found in one of Sir Walter Scott’s novels, “Guy Mannering,” whose whole plot turns upon the fulfilment of an astrological prediction. Reading the history at hand the novelist had learned what complete sway the cult had formerly exercised, almost down to the time of his writing. It would have interested the celebrated author to know that there was, however, one long period in which astrology was absolutely and effectually excluded from Christian Europe. For over a thousand years Christendom remained free from this blight, thanks to the teachings of the Fathers of the Church.

Father George Vincent Leahy, Astronomical Essays (1910)


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