Magic vs. sacraments

Magic attempts to use preternatural forces for natural ends. Sacraments use natural matter for supernatural ends.

—Fr. Dan Pattee (as paraphrased by Brian Niemeier)

Fr. Pattee is associate professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Brian Niemeier is a Loyal Reader and a good fellow with a sound head on his shoulders. He demonstrates this last point admirably in his recent blog post, ‘Squirrel Chasing’.


  1. I have always found it completely fascinating that people who claim not to believe in God believe in magic, and demons, and all kinds of supernatural phenomena.

    And go to all kinds of hand-waving and brain-twisting to describe how these things ‘work’ and can be used (if you’re careful and lucky).

    The universe is then fragmented into a billion different systems.

    For me, it does not compute logically.

    • Matt Osterndorf says

      “For me, it does not compute logically.”

      I don’t believe it’s supposed to.

      • Indeed, the people who believe this also tend to believe that logic itself is an evil plot of The Patriarchy to oppress them.

        And they endlessly shriek about this oppression using computers, which work by pure logic, and were built using electronics, which were invented on the basis of modern science. Their entire ability to communicate their illogic depends upon other people’s use of logic.

  2. Mr. Simon, what a surprise it was to visit your illustrious blog and find myself mentioned alongside that worthy sage, Fr. Dan!

    You give me too much credit, sir. Thank you all the same.

    P.S. I hope and pray that your health has improved.

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