The Mysterious World of Jimmy Akin
Has his love for UFOs compromised his role as a leading Catholic apologist?

At Catholic Answers, Jimmy Akin has been a great apologist for over 20 years. We've often referred to his articulate and accurate defenses on the Catholic faith. His interview with Matt Fradd was a huge disappointment that sent us on a journey into his Mysterious World. This was quite a surprise.

Jimmy Akin has tried to combine his love of Catholicism and his love of SciFi. He co-hosts the popular podcasts "Secrets of Star Trek", the "Secrets of Dr. Who" and the about 6 years ago started Mysterious World of Jimmy Akin. Many of his Mysterious World podcasts contain solid Catholic content and he's debunked many false claims by charlatans, which is good.

However, almost as many of the shows are skewed favourably toward the paranormal. We think this has resulted in a dangerously open posture to phenomena that are foreign to the Catholic faith, even though the show is pitched in a "Catholic" context. In show #216 he describes himself as a teacher, which indeed he is.

We think his high profile as a representative of the Catholic faith at Catholic Answers and beyond gives rise to much confusion at this critical time in the Church's history.

UFOs collision with Catholicism

Jimmy Akin is particularly passionate about UFOs. Mysterious World Episodes 22, 37, 49, 61, 62, 70, 80, 86, 127, 128, 188, 207, 221, 231, 278, 281, 291 and more are each 1-3 hours and dedicated to all things Extraterrestrial.

Listening to Jimmy Akin talk about UFOs is like listening to
Fr. James Martin talk about LGBTQ+ issues,
It'll send your head spinning

We discuss the Church's position on UFO's here. Jimmy Akin presents his show as a Catholic outreach and an entry point to Catholicism for secular people interested in paranormal phenomena. Those of us who have escaped the New Age recognize the danger of this kind of nonchalant positive attention to paranormal activity. Jimmy loves to say "it's not always the devil" but almost never does he attribute paranormal activity to the realm of the devil and his minions, which we think is naive.

Can demons appear as spaceships and aliens?

St. Athanasius wrote a biography of St. Anthony the Great (251-356 A.D.) also known as “Anthony of Egypt,” and the “Father of All Monks.” Selection 342 from that biography says:

The demons ... [approach in] guise, and thenceforth shaping displays they attempt to strike fear, changing their shapes, taking the forms of women, wild beasts, creeping things, gigantic bodies, and troops of soldiers. ...[they] pretend to prophesy and foretell the future, and to show themselves of a height reaching to the roof and of great breadth; that they may stealthily catch by such displays those who could not be deceived by their arguments...

Jimmy dismissed the idea that the occult and New Age are entry points to demons (and UFO experiences) in people's lives. During a critique of Evangelical astrophysicist Hugh Ross, Jimmy said:

Ross used the word "occult" as a scare word as if anything occult is automatically bad ... St. Thomas Aquinas said ... the word occult is from the Latin word occultus which just means hidden .... (Podcast #281)

This is a straw man. All serious Christians know full well that the word "occult" today means engaging in spiritual activity outside the realm and protection of the Church. It is condemned by the Magisterium.

In the same show, he conflated the pious veneration of Saints, Mary and study of Marian Apparitions, with the dangerous exploration of paranormal activity that is outside the realm and protection of the Church. It was an embarrassing misrepresentation of the Catholic Church that can be seized upon by Evangelicals who are already suspicious of us. (Podcast #281)

This increasing attention to the occult is consistent with what we see in those who go down the UFO rabbit hole. The fruit of UFO belief is always rotten. Wherever we see persistent attraction to UFOs, not far behind we see a whole cesspool of paranormal interests, followed by, a sometimes slow, loss of faith in Jesus and eventual apostasy.

“... there is a general disregard and forgetfulness of the supernatural, a gradual falling away from the strict standard of Christian virtue...men are slipping back more and more into the shameful practices of paganism.” —Pope Benedict XV. Humani Generis Redemptionem §2

Jimmy's show has more than 100,000 listeners so its going to be rough for him to step back and see where he's headed. We pray that Jimmy Akin will be able to get off this garbage truck before it gets to the dump. But of course this prayer itself may cause Jimmy to dismiss us as fundamentalist, because "the devil's not behind every door, ya know".

Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter whether we believe the devil isn't active in UFology, any more than thinking we're fine walking through a bad neighbourhood at night. Its a reminder to all of us that it doesn't matter how intelligent, articulate, well read, or established in Catholic media we are. We're all vulnerable.

Stages in UFO addiction:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Fascination
  3. Growing internet in the occult and seemingly unrelated topics
  4. Excitement at “imminent disclosures”
  5. Rage against Government “cover ups” of UFO sightings
  6. Engage in pseudo-spiritual contact with the ETs
  7. Contact is made and the Devil has his foot in the door
  8. Downward spiral of sin, error, heresy, apostasy, and blasphemy

Jimmy defends Freemasonry

In Episode #272 takes a strange twist to defend Freemasonry against charges that it is a product of the devil. The show's producer, Domenico Bettinelli opens the show with:

My father ... was a Mason for ... most of his adult life ... he had become a grand master of his local Lodge and held other positions of importance... I .. a young child attending a masonic ceremony at his lodge probably when he became a master. ...there was conflict between Freemasonry and the Catholic church ...he always gave reasons why he saw no conflict for himself. My dad was a devout Catholic to the end of his life going to Daily Mass , praying every day and receiving the sacraments ... there are a lot of Catholics who see no conflict between Catholicism and Freemasonry

The show presented an elaborate apologetic to prove Freemasonry was not of demonic origin. He tells the story of a prominent anti-Catholic Freemason author named Léo Taxil, from the late 1800's who converted to Catholicism. He then wrote books against Freemasonry for 12 years, But he held a press conference to say it was all an elaborate "prank" that he didn't even share with his wife for 11 years.

Jimmy wants us to believe Taxil when he said it was a prank, rather than simply view it as a reversion like Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" responsible for gaining legal right to abortion through Roe Vs Wade. She converted to Catholicism, repented, became a prolife activists, and then reverted to pro-abort near the end of her life. The devil is very active trying to win back high profile converts, like Taxil, McCorvey, and perhaps certain high profile apologists who convert.

Jimmy said "Some Freemasons have done bad things..." but he never spoke against Freemasonry as a movement. It is telling that Jimmy is more accommodating to Freemasonry than he was to Jesus believing Evangelical astrophysicist Hugh Ross spoken about above.

profile converts, like Taxil, McCorvey, and perhaps certain apologists who converted.

Conclusion

We think that Jimmy's attraction to UFOs, and the paranormal has compromised his role as a leading Catholic apologist, at least on matters that intersect with SciFi and the paranormal. We hope he follows the example of Christopher West who got popular with his series on Theology of the Body series but was legitimately criticized for overstepped JPII's narrative and some errors in content. He received the criticism seriously, took some time off and re-calibrated his ministry. He's back better, more faithful and stronger than ever.

We'll end with a quote from Vatican I.

... every assertion contrary to the truth of enlightened faith is totally false (Ch. 4 6,7) All faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith ... anathema. (Vatican I, 3039 DS 1818. 3)

NOTE: This article includes some excerpts and/or summaries from Daniel O'Conner's book " Only Man Bears his Image".