Thursday, June 25, 2009

Exorcism - A Connecticut Yankee in the Devil's Court.

Don't try this at home.
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I didn't watch the video but it's been in the news that some type of Christian sect performed/performs exorcism to rid a person of homosexuality. Yeah, whatevah. I got an email from a good friend with the following:
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"There was a book I read a couple of years ago (Dubay or Groeschl) and the author quoted Peter Kreeft regarding sexual sins ... suggesting that some souls because of the depth of their sexual sins, "exorcism" may be the only thing that would help to break the chains.
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What I don't understand or know enough about is who can rightly perform an exorcism? Are "exorcisms" outside the "Catholic" church effective when other Christians perform them? Personally ... I wouldn't want anyone other than an "authorized" exorcist priest praying over me ...."
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First.
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In the Roman Rite solemn exorcism is restricted to priests properly deputed for the process by the local Ordinary of the diocese the ritual is to be performed in. The exorcist must be a priest in the state of grace, knowledgeable and virtuous, sober and tactful. Prayers of deliverance taken from the Ritual can be used privately without the permission of the Ordinary. Although lay persons are permitted to use certain lengthy prayers to St. Michael, contemporary exorcists seem to caution against that. It is always best to consult a priest first. Ordinary prayers to St. Michael (see below) and the angels, the rosary, as well as Holy Water are suitably efficacious means for lay people. If a person really thinks they are under diabolic attack they should consult a priest. The sacraments are the ordinary means given by Christ to his Church to deliver a person from temptation and diabolic delusion.
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Secondly.
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Can non-Catholics perform exorcisms? I don't know - the mercy of God is unlimited - I just wouldn't trust it - rather, it is the Roman Catholic Church which holds and guarantees the promises of Christ, therefore Catholics should only have recourse to the Church and her ordained ministers. (Also, I believe that since Our Lady is Mediatrix of all graces, any such grace comes through the Catholic Church anyway.) Properly speaking, I would say a non-Catholic Christian could theoretically perform a deliverance - but we need to remember there are divisions regarding diabolic phenomena, and the devil's influence isn't always a matter of possession - in fact it is relatively rare. Obsession is another phenomenon which can be mistaken for possession.
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"Obsession consists in a series of unusually violent and persistent temptations. They can be external as when the temptations affect external senses, or internal as when they arouse sensations and emotions." - Tanquerey Bk III, Ch III, 1532
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I think this is where those who believe exorcism may help in delivering a person from homosexual sin take off with their loving-hands-at-home exorcism theory. Once again - I'd recommend consulting a learned priest, well grounded in moral theology, psychology and faithful to the Magisterium. No doubt all type of prayer is efficacious, but great discernment needs to be exercised. Protestant ministers are not really ministers, they are lay folk - their ordinations are not valid in the eyes of the Church.
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That said, if indeed something like an exorcism or deliverance is to be performed, I think it is necessary for the subject to have a strong desire and determination to stop homosexual behavior in the first place - in other words, a firm purpose of amendment. Ridding oneself of the general orientation is up to the subject and highly dependent upon motivation and age - most mature men have no desire to do that and they deal with the temptations as anyone else would act towards unwanted temptations to sex. In most cases, the prospect is unthinkable and unimaginable, and therefore the Catholic Church never requires anything more than abstaining from homosexual behavior, as well as any promotion of the so-called life-style.
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As far as boys and young men are concerned, parents have to do the best they can through great love and affirmation, shielding the child through solid formation in the faith and Catholic education, as well as a familial Catholic piety, encouraging the child towards wholesome same-sex friendships and activities, and so on. A parent's fear, anger, and/or over-reaction can do great harm however - and to throw a kid into therapy or some public deliverance ceremony is extremely dangerous, as is any form of shame or blame in an attempt to elicit a conversion. I'm no expert however, so always, always, consult a good priest first - he doesn't have to be especially pious either - in these circumstances, understanding, learning, compassion and solid virtue are most important. The child has to be comfortable about it too, and above all, the child must know he or she is loved.
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The other point I want to stress is that although addiction to sexual sin can oftentimes feel like something diabolic is going on and therefore beyond one's control, the person needs to realize and comprehend that we are beings graced with free-will, and with the help of divine grace we can overcome any compulsion, we can leap over any wall, as the psalmist says. The ordinary means the Church provides are superbly efficacious and effective. Conversion is a process, the gate is narrow and the path constricted, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 7.
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Pray, pray, pray. The prayers of the Holy Rosary, the Divine Chaplet, daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration, frequent - even daily confession if need be, fasting, self-denial, alms giving and works of charity are highly efficacious. The use of sacramentals: the scapular, the rosary, the Miraculous medal, the crucifix, St. Benedict's medal, Holy Water, and so on, used with faith are wonderful protections. Ora et labora - the rule of St. Benedict and the teachings of the desert fathers recommend a healthy balance of prayer and labor, active works coupled with devotion. It can take many years of falling and rising, back sliding and repenting - but in the end the soul is victorious through the Blood of Jesus.
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Just leave exorcism to the judgement of the Church and her ministers and DO NOT play around with the devil.
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It is interesting that in Tanquerey's book, he mentions some of the rules of decorum for the priest in the Ritual of Exorcism, he writes: The priest in the interrogation "should be careful to avoid useless words, idle questions, and above all, attempts at humor. Should the evil spirit or spirits give sarcastic or ridiculous answers or speak at random, he must with authority and dignity impose silence." - 1547. 3
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Remember a morbid fascination with the devil is extremely unhealthy, if not dangerous.
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Saint Michael the Archangel,

defend us in battle.

Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;

and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host

-by the Divine Power of God

-cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,

who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

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O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
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O Mary, by thy holy and Immaculate Conception, make my body pure and my spirit holy.
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"Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let them that hate you, flee from before your holy face." - Numbers 10:35

7 comments:

  1. Father, it is a relief to have you say that, thank you.

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  2. I'm at the Department of Motor Vehicles getting a car title. The woman helping me notices me take a call from a Padre.

    "My sister and I were talking last night about something being wrong".

    She went on to tell me the story of strange things happening at her home. Even the dogs are at times sensing something outdoors. I made a crying sound and asked her if they were making that particular noise. I asked if some things were happening that just did not seem right in her home. She said yes. And that funny noise is exactly what the dogs were doing.

    I told her to use the ritual of Saint Benedict: place four St. Benedict medals one in each corner of her property and place a St. Benedict crucifix in her home and ask him to help protect her home.

    I gave her some Holy Water. I did not give her blessed water. Holy Water is a sacramental. Blessed water is just that. It cannot bless other things. (Holy Water is salt and water with three prayers of Exorcism prayed over them by a Priest).

    I gave her the phone number of a Traditional Catholic Priest that she may attend Mass at his Chapel, and later bless her home.

    In my travels I spoke with a psychiatrist and psychologist that were having some trouble. Some of their collegues had sedated two clients into oblivion; the clients were able to disregard the medication and fight vigorously against the police and staff that tried to subdue these clients. (They were two clients at different times). Finally, some 'Ministers' from a prayer group they knew were able to come and 'exorcise' the two guys.

    Their question to me was "How can you go out, by yourself, alone, and rebuke these things?".

    I told them their ministers could eventually subdue the creatures because they were invoking the Holy Name.

    I told them I could rebuke them by using the sacramental of Holy Water, and calling upon the help of our Lord and His Saints. As a Roman Catholic, I am allowed to use the sacramental for that purpose. In times of emergency, we are allowed to protect ourselves.

    I told them I personally had no authority over Satan; only a Roman Catholic Priest does.

    I encouraged them to abandon their heresy and get into Holy Mother Church.

    If you read the prayers of Holy Water, the original one used by Traditional Priests, you will see we as lay people are allowed to sprinkle it in our homes as a defense against Satan.

    Using Holy Water to bless our homes and children is the only time we as laypeople are allowed to bless. Otherwise, all blessings must come from a Priest.

    I have seen the creature the woman decribed several times. It is a horrible presence.

    I have seen our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

    I thank God Pope Leo XIII allowed laypeople to pray the full Exorcism prayers. Until a Priest comes to help, those in need should pray it.

    May God our Lord in his infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us his abundant grace, that we may know his most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.

    Santa María de Guadalupe Esperanza nuestra, salva nuestra patria y conserva nuestra Fe.

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  3. Very wise. Considering the subject matter I don't know if it's appropriate to say I "enjoyed" this post, but it really is informative and a good read. This sort of thing is very real, and not many people believe in it anymore much less know how to deal with it.

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  4. Pablo, I believe the Traditionalists have fallen prey to their own heresy, and thus I put absolutely no credence in anything they say. They are not only judgmental of/against the Holy Father (er, the one Mary asks us to pray for and be obedient to in every age, the one every indulgence makes fidelity/ prayer a constant condition of--throughout the ages, the one who is prayed for in every holy (valid) Mass, but they are against Jesus' and Mary's and Anne's and Joachim's own contemporary relatives. Bottomline, they insult the Holy Sacrifice of Mass with their non serviam pride. Yes, leave it to them to think they can rout others' devils while hosting their own.

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  5. By the way, Terry, this post is indeed brilliant, and I had come by it again to review all the helps given here and to say "Amen" to the prayers -- I got distracted by yesterday's news, and once again, never got around to that! So, amen and amen!

    I also want to say that although we are vulnerable to hellish wiles, lucifer et al is but a devious mosquito to God, whom He will swat fully one day. Meanwhile, Jesus said not in parable but absolutely clearly, that all power in Heaven and on earth has been given Him. All. Even non-Catholics may trust in that, and run to Him and/or His mother for anything, for any help. There is nothing He cannot do. There is nothing His mother cannot bring to Him from her child.

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  6. Salutations.

    No one knows why our Lord allows diabolical possession or disorientation.

    I am happy that Divine Providence allowed us to find our way to a Traditional Priest who did not hesitate for a moment to help us. He had the proper sacramentals and the True Mass. It is wrong to accuse them of heresy.

    I have learned there are different demons for different things; one that sets fires, causes fights, homosexuality, and so on. The demon of homosexuality appears to be the most powerful.

    I am grateful for the traditional Priest that came to the aid of the Priest that married my wife and me. Just before the Sheriffs arrived to arrest him, the traditional Priest took his confession and gave him Holy Communion. Then he died.

    I am thankful Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre stood with our Lord and conserved the sacraments and Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that my Priest and confessor not fall into the fires of Hell.

    Two Bishops who knew him well had abandoned him.

    A Priest of the Society of Saint Pius X who did not know him at all brought the sacraments to him.

    Please pray for that Priest.

    It is good that this subject has been brought forth in this column. There are many people who do not know what tools are available to them. I believe you are helping souls fight.

    Carol, click on my name at this column and enter my website. In the sermons section, go to Requiem Masses. There is a sermon on Pope John Paul II. You might enjoy this sermon.

    May God be glorified.

    Viva Cristo Rey!

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