As you're reading this post we are now in the fourth week of Lent. The First Sunday and Third Sunday of Lent show us the reality of Satan expressed in the Gospel; when Christ was tempted by Satan in the desert, and when he cast out a demon from a man who was mute, respectively. My spiritual father, the late, great canonist Fr. Gommar DePauw, used to preach that there were two errors when it came to belief in the Devil: (1) those who believe in him too much, and (2) those who deny his existence.
In the former category fall our malevolent, misfit "monks," Fred and Bobby Dimond, who claim that Protestant minister, the anti-Catholic Dr. James White, is possessed. What is their proof for this claim?
- A video of a talk wherein the face of White is alleged to have "demonic facial movements" and the upper-left side of his mouth "moves unnaturally"
- Another video where White gives "the devil's horns" sign with his hands while pointing
- A still shot where White is looking down and you can "see what look like horns starting from his eyebrows and going up to the sides of his head"
- He is seen in front of a band with cymbals, hence a reference (they claim) to 1 Corinthians 13:1-2- "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not charity, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not charity, I am nothing." This is not offered as "direct evidence" but allegedly shows him to be without charity.
That James White hates the Catholic Faith (the True Church--and the false Vatican II sect insofar as it keeps any of the true beliefs, at least on paper) is not in question. However, are we to ascribe demonic possession to all such people? One need not be possessed to hate the One True Church. The "evidence" for this "possession" in facial expressions, the curve of his bald head, and holding his hands as "devil horns," is laughable. (See http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/catholicchurch/dr-james-white-and-demons/#.WqBvBtQrKt8).
On the other hand, we have atheist Dr. Phil Zuckerman writing in Psychology Today, "How can people seriously believe in the devil? The year is 2015, not 1315. And yet, the fact remains that tens of millions of Americans continue to believe that there is a magical, wicked, evil — oh, and smart — being out there doing magical, wicked, evil deeds and presiding over a fiery realm, where demons crawl and witches cackle. Oh, wait. No cackling witches. Just demons, right? (See https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-secular-life/201509/the-devil-seriously). This man is merely a pompous pseudo-educated dolt, who makes light of things he obviously doesn't understand.
Fr. DePauw understood well the Latin aphorism, "In medio stat veritas" ("in the middle lies the truth"). Not everyone is demon-possessed, and yet Satan is very real, going about like a roaring lion, seeking those he may devour (See 1 Peter 5:8). This post will attempt to lay out Church teaching regarding the power of Satan and his demons, and how to avoid opening yourself up to their influence.
Satan and his influence
What, exactly, can Satan do? Satan and his demons are fallen angels. As such, they are pure spirits with intellect and will. They are capable of things people cannot do, as humans are both body and soul. The Devil and his demons can hurt humanity in the following ways:
- Temptation. According to theologian Pohle,"Satan and his demons...continually strive by lies and false pretenses to seduce men to commit sin and thereby incur eternal damnation." (See Dogmatic Theology, B. Herder Book Company, , 3:345).
- Physical injury. According to theologian Ott, "The evil spirits also seek to hurt mankind physically also, through the causing of physical evil (e.g., Tob. 3:8, Job 1:12, 1 Cor. 5: 5)."
- Possession. Once more, from theologian Ott, "In some cases people are possessed, in which case the demon takes forcible possession of the human body, so that the bodily organs and the lower powers of the soul, but not the higher powers of the soul, are controlled by him. The possibility and reality of possession is firmly established by the express testimony of Christ, Who Himself drove out evil spirits and Who bestowed power over the evil spirits on His disciples (Church's power of exorcism---St. Mark 1:23; St. Luke 10: 17 et seq)." (See Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma , The Mercier Press, , pgs. 121-122).
In addition, there is diabolic obsession, in which strong disturbances are imposed on the mind, e.g., thoughts of suicide, committing serious sins, or gender dysphoria. It can also take the form of an "infestation" in the house (e.g., hearing mysterious footsteps, bad odors with no cause--and all experienced by more than just the one primarily afflicted). According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "But the influence of the demon, as we know from Scripture and the history of the Church, goes further still. He may attack man's body from without [obsession], or assume control of it from within [possession]." (See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12315a.htm).
According to theologian Delaporte, "Although very rare in ordinary life, obsession is very frequent in the heroic lives of the Saints...Persons of a nervous temperament and lively imagination, imagine themselves haunted by the Devil, when there is nothing of the kind. People should not believe in obsession without the most convincing proof." (See The Devil, Does He Exist and What Does He Do?, [reprint from 1871], pgs. 129-130). We must be on guard against Satan, yet not ascribe anything to direct demonic activity without ruling out natural causes, which will be the subject of the next section.
Ruling Out the Natural Causes
All Traditionalist priests, like those before Vatican II, must rule out natural causes if someone claims to be "obsessed" or another person is "possessed." As to the subject of "obsession," here are some natural explanations:
- Sleep disorders. Many times people attribute demonic activity in their lives because of things they experience when falling asleep or upon waking. Humans pass through a state of consciousness where they dream while partially awake, and problems may occur in those who experience it longer than most. This is called hypnopompic hallucination when going into a full sleep state, and hypnagogic hallucination when coming out of a fully asleep state. These hallucinations seem real and may appear to be supernatural in origin to the one experiencing them
- Overactive imagination. Considering the amount of occult themes that completely pervade today's movies, TV, books, Internet sites, and music, there are people who are unusually sensitive to any sound or passing image, and will ascribe to it an other-worldly origin
- Medication. People (usually the young or the aged) have bad side effects to medications that can make them "see" and/or "hear" things
- Neurological disorders. One who seriously fears demonic activity must go to a neurologist and psychiatrist to rule out brain tumors, dementia, the onset of some psychosis, epilepsy, etc.
- Head or Eye injuries. These can cause people to "see and hear" things out of the ordinary
Once all of the above has been ruled out, then a priest may intervene with the Church's prayers for deliverance. It may consist in prayers over the person combined with an intensified prayer and sacramental life, and not necessarily the Rite of Exorcism.
Signs of Demonic Possession
The Church has always recognized three (3) signs of authentic diabolic possession. Contrary to Fred and Bobby Dimond's contentions, it does not include facial expressions, hand gestures, or "looking like your head has horns." According to theologian Sagues, the signs of someone possessed are: (1) to speak a foreign language never studied or to understand someone speaking it; (2) to know things hidden far away; (3) to possess strength beyond one's age or natural condition. (See Sacrae Theologiae Summa, II B:221; these signs are also mentioned in the Rituale Romanum.).
Possession, in most cases, involves sin. Some innocent children may be possessed because their parents were Satanists and cursed them. However, this is much more rare than those who allow Satan in by their personal sins. Any one who is in a state of mortal sin (or Original Sin), does not have God dwelling in them, and are ---already and in a real sense---a slave of Satan. Fr. Gabriel Amorth (d. 2016, ordained 1954), was an exorcist in Italy, and the author of several books on demonic possession. He called the revised Rite of Exorcism "promulgated" by Wojtyla (JPII) in 1999 to be "useless" against demons. He continued to use the Traditional Rite of 1614. Unfortunately, he never saw the biggest helper of demons; the Vatican II sect from which he never separated himself; this is a complete mystery to me. Fr. Amorth was validly ordained, yet the revised Rite was useless. Think of the invalidly ordained Vatican II clergy. No matter what Rite they use, they are not priests and it wouldn't be efficacious.
The Vatican II sect helps Satan by taking away the Faith, morals, sacraments, Mass, and spiritual help everyone needs. Secondly, it helps the cause of Hell by not merely failing to warn people of grave spiritual dangers, but by actually incorporating them and promoting them. Fr. Amorth noted that there was more demonic activity than ever before. Here is but a partial list of things that can allow Satan into your life. See also how many are either used or never condemned by Vatican II sect clergy.
- Ecumenical services that, by their very nature, spit on the dogma Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus ("Outside the Church no salvation").
- Reiki "healing" (Bergoglio uses it!)
- Buddhist and other pagan forms of meditation
- Ouija boards
- Tarot cards
- Mediums and so-called psychics
- Joining the Masonic lodge
- Horror films. They have gratuitous sex and violence, which desensitizes you to sins against the Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Commandments. Many also depict evil as good, or blur distinctions between them.
- Rock and pop music. The repetition of evil messages can subconsciously change the way you think, and alter the way you view life. (See my once per moth posts on rock and pop music published the first Monday of the month).
- Fantasy and science fiction books and TV/movies. Many contain the idea that there is "good magic" and witchcraft is harmless (e.g. The Harry Potter franchise), or promote pagan ideas, such as pantheism ( The Star Wars franchise).
Against the errors of atheists and Modernists, we know the Devil is real. However, we must not come to hasty conclusions that anything that goes wrong is the direct work of Satan. The fallen nature of humanity is inclined to evil. The temporary things of the world tempt us to sin. These are all too real as well. To be victorious over Satan and his demons, try to always remain in the state of sanctifying grace. If you (God forbid) fall into mortal sin, make a sincere act of contrition and get to Confession as soon as possible. Stay close to Christ in the Mass and Holy Communion. Pray the Rosary, and develop a pure devotion to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Use Holy Water, and other sacramentals, especially the Medal of St. Benedict, or the Crucifix-Medal of St. Benedict. Have your house blessed by a priest, and enthrone the Sacred Heart. If you have a relic, give it a place of honor, praying before it. If you fear evil influences, pray also to St. Michael the Archangel, and St. Joseph.
Do this, and you will be following the sage advice of St. James, "Be subject therefore to God, but resist the devil, and he will fly from you. " (St. James 4:7).