A reader writes:
I've been a Catholic for 26 years now. Over those years I have heard countless stories from Catholics, (usually devout) who tell about the time they were selling a house and how they buried a statue of St. Joseph (upside down at that!) in the yard in order to bring about a quick and successful sale. Those who've tried this swear by it! Do you know anything about this? Seems like pure unadulterated superstition to me. Correct me if I'm wrong.
You need no correction.
While it is reasonable to ask St. Joseph for his intercession in helping buy or sell a home (finding housing for the holy family being one of his duties as head of the holy family), the idea of burying a statue of him upside down has no plausible connection to any patronly interest he might have in housing.
Because an efficacy is attributed to a religious act that has no apparent rational basis, the act qualifies as superstition or a perverse excess of religion. The Catechism notes that "Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion" (CCC 2110). That's what we're talking about here.