Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XCVI.: OF SUPERSTITIOUS OBSERVANCES. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
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QUESTION XCVI.: OF SUPERSTITIOUS OBSERVANCES. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF SUPERSTITIOUS OBSERVANCES.
Article II.—Are those observances unlawful, that are directed to producing changes in animal bodies, health, and the like effects?
R. In what is done for the producing of any particular effects, we must consider whether the agents employed seem naturally capable of producing such effects; for in that case the operation will not be unlawful, for it is lawful to employ natural causes to their own proper effects. Hence if the agents used do not seem naturally capable of causing such effects, it follows that they are not employed as causes to the causation of these effects, but only as signs; and thus they are part of a concerted system of signalling to evil spirits.
§ 1. If physical agents are simply employed to produce certain effects, for which they are thought to have a natural efficiency, that will not be superstitious or unlawful. But it will be superstitious and unlawful, if letters are brought in, or names, or any other vain observances, which manifestly have no natural efficiency in the case.
§ 3. It belongs to the dominion of the Divine Majesty, to which the devils are subject, that God should use them for whatever purpose He wills. But man has no authority given him over the devils, lawfully to use them for whatever purpose he will, but he has a war declared against the devils. Hence it is nowise lawful for man to employ the aid of devils by any compacts tacit or express.
Article III.—Is it unlawful to observe omens of good or bad luck?
R. Men make these observations, not as observing causes, but as observing signs of future events, good or evil. Now they are not observed as signs given by God, seeing that they are not introduced by divine authority, but rather by human folly, abetted by diabolical malice, as the devils endeavour to entangle the minds of men in such follies. Manifestly therefore all such observations are superstitious and unlawful, and seem to be relics of idolatry.
§ 2. The fact that, in the beginning, men have found some truth in these observances, is a result of chance; but once men begin to entangle their minds in such observances, many things turn out accordingly by the deception of evil spirits,—“to the end that, entangled in these observances, men may become more curious, and put their necks further and further into the manifold snares of pernicious error,” as Augustine says.
§ 3. As for the wearing of relics upon the person, if they are worn from a motive of confidence in God and the saints, whose relics they are, it will not be unlawful; but if there were any vain observance about the matter, as taking care that the locket should be triangular, or anything of that sort, which has nothing to do with reverence to God and to the saints, it would be a superstitious and unlawful observance.