What is the difference between talking to a saint and talking to a ghost?

What is the difference between talking to a saint and talking to a ghost? In both cases the Saint and ghost have passed on; therefore, they both are a spirit. So, what difference does it make if one spirit is in heaven and the other is in my house?

Answer

The primary reason the Church forbids occult contact isn’t that there is anything wrong in talking to the dead. It is because of the means used to communicate. Therefore what the Church is forbidding are the methods and techniques used to “summon” departed souls or other spirits (like using crystal balls, mediums, etc.). The Church has never taught that having a “conversation” with people on the other side is sinful; what is sinful is trying to manipulate the supernatural realm to obtain forbidden power or knowledge. Read this section of the Catechism carefully to understand Church position:

All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead, or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

CCC 2116