I’ve always been a fan of science fiction. As a youth, I was introduced to the world of role playing games through a game called Traveller. One of the components of Traveller which seems to be common across the genre is the concept of psionic ability. The idea has been popularized in television shows like Bablyon 5 with its Psi Corp and the movies like Push.
In Traveller, psionic abilities were categorized. Telepaths could communicate without speaking or could read others’ thoughts. Telekinetics could move things with their mind. Clairvoyants had visions – either of different places or times, past or future. It all made for wonderful make-believe entertainment.
It was a little jarring to read in the World Briefs section of The Catholic Telegraph about recent alleged apparitions at Knock, Ireland, where the local bishop has expressed skepticism. The brief quotes a “Dublin-based clairvoyant.” It’s the first time that I’ve ever seen a Church-based publication adopt the language of science fiction psionics. I’m accustomed, in church terms, to reading about visionaries or locutionists. I’ve never heard them called clairvoyants until now.
I suppose you could argue that it all reduces to semantics. Still, referring to mystical gives using psionic words tends to strip away the mystical and the supernatural. It seems to be conceding the verbal playing field to secularism. Unless, of course, that guy from Dublin was registered with Psi Corp as a level 5 clairvoyant.