Demonology & Exorcism
There are many Christians who are ill equipped in the knowledge of demonology. This has led to a decline of exorcism in most dire times. Why learn of the demonic spirits; isn’t Christ enough? I propose that since Christ and the Bible teach of demons, we as Christians ought to give ear and learn.
The discourse will be divided into three topics. Why learn demonology written of in the Bible. The Nature and Works of the Evil Spirits. Lastly, and only in part because of its vast magnitude, Exorcism.
First we’ll learn why we ought to be somewhat knowledgeable in this field. It is no coincidence that the first authority given to the Apostles by Jesus is the authority to cast out demons (Mt. 10:1, 10:8, Mk 6:7, Lk 9:1, 10:17). Why? “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8). If we undermine the works of Satan, than we have undermined the works of Jesus Christ in redeeming mankind. If we exclude Satan from Salvation History than we have no basis for the need of the Incarnate Godman Jesus Christ.
It is to be noted and understood that in every exorcism Christ commissioned, Jesus never commanded the liberated person to remain silent of what has happened [there are nine Biblical recordings of exorcisms committed by Jesus Christ]. When Jesus healed people of physical ailments, many were told keep there experience hidden from public knowledge. But not so for exorcisms.
Why? Because it was the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. From this simple non-prohibition of silence, the liberated people filled the streets, home, and synagogues with the promulgation of the arrival of the Messiah and His kingdom.
Jesus Christ defeated Satan prior to His Passion on Calvary. Although His works of redemption were yet to be completed, Jesus had established the long awaited Kingdom of God on Earth. The Bible tells us so when Christ says, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. No one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. If it is by the finger of God that (I) drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Mt 12:28, Mk 3:26, Lk 11:20). St. Peter and St. Paul also confirm the establishment of a Heavenly Kingdom on Earth.
Only once did Jesus proffer the beauty and intimate sweetness of human love by a woman; an instance from which Mary poured a jar of perfume over Jesus. Commanding Judas to not dispute the matter, Jesus claimed this love for Himself. And rightfully so, for all intangible blessings are given only by God, a love that was sanctifying. Jesus Passion is His love, and His love is sanctifying. No wonder, the sanctification of love presented by Mary to Jesus was in the jar filled with a perfume used only for those who would soon pass. She was preparing Him in her love to do works of sanctification. This is why Satan, through Judas, despised that she would use the jar of the perfume oil on Jesus. It was to prepare Him for His Passion.
When St. Peter teaches Cornelius, the first pagan to convert to Christianity after Christ’s Passion, about Jesus, he only speaks of “all those who had fallen under the power of the devil (Acts 10:38). This mirrors the first authority given the Apostles, the power to exorcise Satan and his works from mankind.
Second we examine the nature and works of evil spirits. First, we must understand that they were created by God as sinlessly perfect beings; beings without bodies; beings that are completely metaphysical. They were created beautiful and angelic. But given a test to measure their compass for glory, they revolted. We will examine a process from which they were created, what they were to what the became, the transition of these two states of spirits [holy to unholy], and their nature and works as now unholy angels.
God the Creator created all things from Himself out of nothing [ex nihilio], including angels- for they too came from nothing. Every angel is infinitely unique. They are an individual specie unlike man whom is created and receives features from their maternal and paternal ancestry. People all have common traits in personality and looks because we all share a common origin; the first and man the first woman. Angels are created individually. A lack of predecessors causes them to be infinitely different from one another. It is created unique as it’s very own being. Mankind shares a commonality of humanness, hence we are called human beings.
The most magnificent angel of all was Lucifer. His name meant “light-bearer”; Halal was the Hebrew for “shine” applied to Lucifer before his fall. He was a Seraph[the highest of the nine choirs of angels]. Seraphs are the angels whom are closest to God; the angels whom stand at the very base of God’s throne. Lucifer was the angel in charge of music [which is considered a universal language that all can know and express to communicate].
God proposed a test, for no angel had seen the face of God. The Bible tells us God “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has even seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16), but when God reveals Himself to us in heaven we will then see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12; Matthew 5:8; Psalm 17:15). But how is this related to the fallen angels prior to their revolt? John teaches us of Beatific Vision. Once a being, man or angelic, views the face of God, they are no long able to sin. John writes, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him [God the Father], for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2). John is telling us that God is hidden, and once we behold the face of God, “we shall be like him” Who is sinless and perfect. This is why Jesus tells us to “be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Mt 5:48) and that “nothing unclean shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Rev 21:27). Angels who would have seen the face of God “shall be like him”. God draws all His creation back to oneness in unison of His divine glory. Creatures are given freedom to choose this opportunity or refuse it. The fallen angels are scorned by this for all time to never behold the face of God as a reminder of their sin, filth, and unworthiness.
Why would God test the angels? To convey their love given or forsaken by free will. This is to determine their capacity for glory by their response to God’s will. An angel that is imputed with love, coerced to adore God has no glory. For what virtue is accredited to a slave who wills not his virtuous deed but it coerced? The test was the response to the divine will of God. Will they serve, or will they not. How will the angels subject themselves to God? Given their response is how God rewarded them. The more glorious the response to God, the more God could fill them with Himself and multiply magnificence in them. “The role of each angel was determined by it’s response, and its response determined its Christocentric understanding”, according to Fr. Fortea. Angelic hierarchy is based on their love.
What was the test? The Church can only speculate. An suggest is that God revealed a plan of creating a material world, which is infinitesimally small to angels and the spiritual world. This upset many angels for they would have to serve mankind, the inferior and weak. Of the varying ideas proposed, the one that entices me the most, personally, is this. God revealed His plan to “empty himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7-8). The prideful angels could not serve a God whom “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28).
Satan lost his place due to envy of God; Satan is also envious of man because “man is made in the image and likeness of God”. Fr. Fortea tells us that “at the heart of much evil is the rejection of human dignity; the demons want us to forget that we have been created in the image and likeness of God” Interview With an Exorcist.
Satan was created most powerful, ruling over other angels. Satan confused this leadership over all angels with God’s rule over all things. Satan could not understand God’s creation because the Incarnation of Christ was withheld from all the angels. Saints such as Irenaeus of Lyons held that the devil’s apostasy began when he became jealous of man’s creation. Lucifer proceeded to tempt man to rebel against his Maker. Tertullian held that the devil attempted to counter God’s plan of salvation by plagiarizing the sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ.
The battle that raged forth in the realms of heaven was a battle of intellect. The angelic do not have physical bodies to combat but intellectual wills which either accepted or reasoned against the will to serve God.
The Church officially teaches that Lucifer’s first and only response to the will of God’s eternally wise and divine plan was, “Non serviam”, Latin for “I will not serve”. Lucifer became Satan and was exorcised from the heavenly realms. Yes, it was an exorcism because a fallen angel, a demon, was cast out by God’s power. St. Michael the archangel, a class inferior and weaker to that of Lucifer’s, an angel that was seven classes or choirs beneath Lucifer, was commissioned by God to single-handedly exorcise one third of heaven’s angels, for one third of the angels of heaven followed the fatal call, “non serviam”. William Law says, “If you will consult your heart in all honesty, you will know that there is only one reason why you are not even now a saint; you do not wholly want to be” A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life.
One angel in heaven is stronger by God’s authority than all the demons united. St. Michaels triumph over evil rendered all glory to God by conquering Lucifer.
St. Michael’s names meaning is derived from his response to doing the will of God. Michael’s name literally means “Who is like God?”; a perfect reminder to the enemy and a perfect reminder of St. Michael; choose and accept God by rejecting rebellion and pride itself. St. Michael understood no one is like God, not himself or any other angel or creation. And with this understanding, he was called to cast out all whom thought they were like God. Such honor is St. Michael’s that his name reflects who he is exactly; an angel humble and willing, the first to serve in humility, the first to kneel and respond, “Who Is Like God?”.
The Bible calls the fallen angels, the very demons of wickedness, glorious beings. This is because angels fallen still retain their nature. Nature is created by God alone; a fallen angel cannot create a nature for itself. It’s nature is to exist because God created all things from Himself, and God’s nature is existence; God Is (read article “God’s name, ‘I AM’” for further understand of God’s nature, existence, and what is meant by God Is). Also, God is pure good therefore existence is pure good. If nature is existence and existence is good, than nature is good. But do not confuse nature with will. All creation is good because it mirror the nature of God, but not all will is good because the will mirrors who we desire to be. Thus, only by nature, because that is controlled by God alone, do fallen angels maintain their radiance and glorious beauty. Only by nature tho.
Satan and the demons could not break way from the humans for by their very nature, which only God could create [and is unalterable], they were created to be amongst the humans in service. But in corruption, they are among the humans stirring apostasy.
Fallen angels not only retain their nature but the gifts given to them, such as their intelligence, strength, et cetera. All demons have what is called prenatural power. Only God has supernatural power. But God does not permit the fallen angels to use all their power lest mankind vanquish in a blink of an eye. The demonic, if allowed, would destroy all of God’s creation.
Fallen angels retain their gifts, nature, and hierarchy from when they were angels. St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians tells us, “For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers” (1:16). Just because a man sins or is even in hell does not mean he ceases to be human. A fallen angel does not cease to be a throne, dominion, principality, power, et cetera, just because it sinned and is fallen.
Sin is literally “nothingness”. Only God can exist and God is not sin, therefore sin is literally not an existence but a non-existence; the non-existence of God in one’s will and life. Therefore to exist, one must have one good attribute because only good exists; this is nature and the state of being (or existence). This concludes that evil cannot be infinite because in all evil (which is a non-existence of good; evil is not an existence in itself) is an iota of good to receive its existence. As St. Thomas Aquinas masterfully taught, “all creation borrows their existence from the One Who is Existence”. Existence mirrors God’s intrinsic existence, and therefore is beautiful and good. Demons do not recognize this in themselves. But they cannot undue their existence so they carry a nature which is intrinsically good but a will forever of damnation, torment, and enmity. St. Boudon ascertains that evil cannot be as infinite as good when he says “the God of Heaven is more desirous of our salvation than Hell is furiously bent on our destruction”
A mother, while assisting in her daughter’s exorcism, pronounced uncouth language as a judgment against the possessing devil. It turned to her and said, “You cannot expel me with hate, but only with love.” This is true, for we know that Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are pure love. Satan and his minions are pure hate. As Christ said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” Jesus made it a point to specifically tell us that Love is the greatest virtue. Love is what heals the sick. Love is what saves souls. Love is what the demons will flee from because love is God and God is love. Hate cannot remove hate. It takes love to remove hate.
God loves all his creation, including the fallen angels for they retain their nature although their wills are the antithesis of God. This is why we are not allowed to pass judgment on them. Peter tells us, “Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to revile glorious beings, whereas angels, despite their superior strength and power, do not bring a reviling judgment against them from the Lord” (2 Pt 2:10-11). Jude goes further to confirm that the ignorant humans “also defile the flesh, scorn lordship, and revile glorious beings. Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him but said, ‘May the Lord rebuke you!’ (1:8-9). Although we cannot pass judgment, we can rebuke an action or sin as noted by Zechariah, “And the angel of the LORD said to Satan, ‘May the LORD rebuke you, Satan; may the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!’”(3:2). There is a difference between judging the nature of God’s creation and rebuking the sin of a corrupt will.
The personality of Satan is revealed by the names Christ calls him. Jesus teaches that Satan is called, “a murderer from the beginning” and the “father of lies” (Jn 8:44). These are not two different names nor two different traits to Satan’s personality. The term ‘murderer’ is not how we understand it in our current vernacular. When it was written, for the Jews in a Jewish community, they understand a spiritual murderer to be a blasphemer, because blasphemy kills spiritual life by lies and deception; it is a falsehood. Jesus’ whole statement found in John’s Gospel is about lying; Satan blasphemies the Holy Spirit with lies, which is the unforgivable sin (Mt 12:31-32).
Why does the Bible call Satan “prince of this world”? The Bible conveys that he is the most important demon in this world. He is not King, only God is the One and true King
The devils goal is the destruction of Church and family; both are to love a person not for what they do but for whom they are; the devil hates this unselfish and nonjudgmental love. Scripture never tells us to fear evil but to resist in certainty the the devil will flee from us [Is 4:7] and to be watchful of the devils attack by remaining firm in the faith [1Pt 5:9]. Knowing the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church [Mt 16:18], St Teresa of Avila says, “more harm can come to us from one venial sin than all hell together”. St Theresa of Lisieux says “a soul in the state of grace has nothing to fear from demons, who are cowards capable of running away from the look of a child.” Story of a Soul. Joseph Cardinal Suenens tell us that “truth excludes fear and as such allows the power of the evil one to be seen” Renovation and the Power of Darkness.
Most heresies are not about God but about man. These heresies focus on man’s inability rather than God’s ability. Such heresies are sola fide (man can do nothing), a sinless theotokos (man cannot achieve sinlessness), mongolism (man has no works in his sanctification), et cetera. In truth, it is not faith alone but working according to God’s will, Mary was sinless not because of her greatness but God’s, and synergism because we are asked to “work out our salvation and renew it daily”. The devil despises the flesh that he was made to serve so his heresies are pitted against it. It is no coincidence that flesh has much to do with understanding Christ. If we do a good deed for another fleshly being, we do it for God (Mt 25:31-46); if we persecute another fleshly human, we persecute God Himself (Acts 9:24, 26:14). Also, the devil scorns that “we are made in the image and likeness of God.”
Fr. Gabriele Amorth states “When we think of the value of the Incarnation, we are reminded of the devil, who has no body because he is pure spirit. In his great arrogance, he wanted to be the center of all creation; instead, after the Incarnation he was forced to realize that it is Christ who is the center of creation and that Christ is true God… That is why he tries every trick to force man’s body to become an occasion for sin. He tries to humiliate the body, to break it, as a raging reaction against the Incarnation of the Word.”
Satan and his angels cannot be saved nor wish to be forgiven. Fallen angels cannot be saved because they understood with full knowledge there refusal of God. This is unlike mankind where the body receives information through empirical senses and is translated into intangible knowledge; it’s a process, meaning it takes time. Fallen angels, lacking corporeal bodies, know all things instantly, therefore when refusing God, were permanently and fully understanding of stating their unwillingness to serve.
No true conversation takes place between the devil and God as in Job. The devil has no interest in conversing with God whom he has the utmost hatred for. God has no interest in a being whom constantly breathes utter enmity against Him; God has perfect dignity. Remember, nothing imperfect enters the kingdom of Heaven, and Satan cannot speak without blaspheming.
Fallen angels have no sins attributed to the flesh. To name a couple sins: gluttony, lust of the flesh. A demon would need a physical body to communicate these sins as a crime against God and His law. This is not to say demons do not promote this eradicate and lethal behavior in beings with corporeal bodies. Angels are also sexless, because gender is the outcome of a physical body.
Although Satan is called a serpent, he never had a physical body. In fact, the Jews who read the Pentateuch understood that ‘serpent’ wasn’t a snake but a dragon according to the Hebrew. This is to emphasize Satan’s fierceness. This is why Satan is more accurately translated as dragon, not a serpent, in the book of Apocalypse (the original name of the book of Revelation).
A spirit is where it operates. Since God the Creator is pure spirit, He is where He operates. Since He holds everything in existence, He most be everywhere, since He is where He operates. Holy angels are the same why. They are with us and in Heaven, according to the Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel that “these little ones… their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father” (18:10). Angels are one with God because they have seen His face in Heaven (Jn 8:44) but are also with us (Mt 18:10). This is what we call bilocation. They are at two places at once because they are operating at two places.
This applies to demons as well. They are not bound by natural law of physics, space, and energy. They can bilocate and in some cases, possess two being at the same time. Remember, they are in a state of aeveternity where space and time are nothing like our corporeal and three dimensional world.
Mankind exists in a time that is finite. Our time has a beginning and an end. Spirits live outside of time, in a realm called infinity, but more accurately called aeveternity. This is the notion that they have a beginning but no end, and in this realm, time does not apply to them as it does to us whom live in a three dimensional world. Only God is eternal. To be eternal is to never have a beginning or origin, to never have an end or cease, and to transcend all time as one constant moment; eternity cannot have successive moments [which makes time]. The spiritual world, in laymen terms, is the midway between finite and eternity. They neither are eternal, but time does not lapse for them as it does the finite. This is how a spirit, holy or evil, can operate in two places at once; aiding or possessing two beings simultaneously. One demons whom called itself The Tortoise, goes so far to spew, “We, belonging to the Tortoise, existing in his eternity [Satan's], have all the time in front of us as one unceasing moment.” We know this is not impossible for Jesus bilocated as did St. Paul, being in two places at the exact same time. Also, a 20th century saint, Padre Pio, is known for having bilocated as a grace of God.
Hell is a spiritual place with spiritual beings suffering spiritual torments. The greatest torment is to never receive Beatific Vision (to behold the face of God). Therefore, hell is a state of being, or in further laymen terms, a state of mind. Hell is to be alone, to be immutable without love. A demon said to Fr. Gabriele Amorth “Down there everyone lives folded within themselves and torn apart by his regrets. There is no relationship with anyone; everyone finds himself in the most profound solitude and desperately weeps for the evil that he has committed. It is like a cemetery.” Several demons spoke of co-creating hell, since it is their “Kingdom”.
Demons vary in their torment at each moment. Although they do not recognize it, their existence is a gift from God (God is existence and God is good therefore existence is intrinsically good). When they rest from evil deeds, because they study our actions and devise plans, in this time of neutrality, they are simply existing, and existence is good, which is proper to their nature. It is as this time, when they experience neutral existence that they are most at rest. This is not to say they are not in torment, but less torment at times. Demons constantly have a conscience because all creatures receives God’s existence, and with God’s existence comes God’s good will, which is conscience. Willing others to exist is the same as saying you exist by God’s will; and God’s will in us we call our conscience.
Since hell is more of a state of mind, I will present a few quotations of demons to priests. Fr. Candido Amantini, late chief exorcist of the Roman Catholic Church, asked a demon if there was fire in hell. The demon responded, “If you knew what fire you are for me, you would not be asking this question.” Fr. Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of the Roman Catholic Church, during an exorcism compelled the demon to go back to hell where it would be tormented. The demon spat, “do you think I would leave if this were not worse than the suffering of hell?” A demon cannot stand the presence of God and Godly men. To the demon, hell is more pleasant because it is void of God.
But why then do demons come to earth and possess? Because even at the cost of its own torment, a demon cannot stop brewing evil simply for evils sake. They will do anything to cause evil, even out their own misery and destruction. They are the epitome of evil that lives for nothing but evils sake. Again, there hell is a state of mind.
Because demons have no bodies, they cannot speak. Their medium of communication is telepathy. This is how the spirit world works. God’s voice, our conscience, evil influences are all communicated to us by modes of telepathy. In some cases, God’s voice and a demons loquacity do reverberate in this world as physical sound waves. But as God hears our prayer unspoken, it is in the same way that angel, holy and unholy, communicate amongst themselves. But demons cannot read our minds, for our will, which is also our voice, is independent of them. They can only hear what is directed to them; such as a rebuke.
Also, because they are pure entity, they perceive by way of knowledge, not sensation; they have no body to sense with.
The demons greatest power relies in tempting us to sin. An action incurred through diabolical possession incurs no culpability to the victim because the victim lacks consent and knowledge of their actions (many possessed victims black out during possession). Even if they are conscience, they have no free will and therefore are blameless of the devils evil deeds. The greatest temptation to sin is pride, the sin from which all sin extends. All other sins have reason; they begin with a good and turn to corruption. Fornication and adultery being with the natural desire for sex; gluttony begins with a natural desire to eat. But pride desires nothing good; it only desires ones self above God. It is literally pitting oneself against God. The demons greatest power relies in tempting us to sin.
Christ began ministry by accepting to be tempted by Satan in the desert; He then warned us of temptation in His discourse in the Sermon on the Mount and in the Our Father prayer. Jesus first temptation is of the flesh, second is of spirituality where Satan temps Jesus to be more ‘humble’- where the soul longs for more than the corporeal can offer, and finally pride. Remember, the Satan never lied to Adam, but offered him a lesser good (mortal life over spiritual life; mortal knowledge over spiritual wisdom) and Adam accepted it. Satan told Adam, “Ye Can be as gods knowing good and evil,” the Serpent had said in the Bible-myth-not adding “but capable only of evil, if left to yourselves” [Fr. Amorth and Fr. Fortea]. What Satan offered and tempted Jesus with was not intrinsically bad, but was a lower state of gifts from God (to have food is not bad, but God’s bread of life is by far better; to have an earthly kingdom is not bad but a heavenly kingdom is by far greater; to have people serve us is not bad, but to serve is highest love).
Finally, we draw that all material is not intrinsically evil, for it was created by God. In Genesis, we find the creation of material matter. As God reflects upon all creation, He pronounces it “good”.
The sacrament are evidence of this. They are God’s salvation given to man by means of material vessels (please read article Sacraments for further understanding). Also, Christ has given us a visible Church (we can see the good with the bad in the nets and the wheat and weeds in the fields of harvest; we are called to be a house atop a hill with lights on, a light which no basket is to cover). Christ is physical, so is His bride; they are equally yoked and one flesh.
To call matter evil is a heresy of Manichaeism. St. John wrote his Gospel to refute Cerinthus who believed material wasn’t enough or that the spirit in material wasn’t existent. Unfortunately, all but the Roman Catholic Christians combat the heresy of Cerinthus; all other Christians claim that the sacraments cannot be material vessels of God’s salvific grace.
Jesus Christ, in His divine wisdom and authority, became Incarnate to reveal to Satan His divine plan. Satan rejected the test, when God revealed that the material world might be great as the spiritual. Christ revealed to Satan his inferiority by becoming the Incarnate Word made flesh. Jesus, keeping all His spiritual divinity, humbled Himself to become fully human, so much as to be created by a human, niched by a mother in her womb. Not only was Jesus fully God in spirituality, but fully human and material having been created by a material human being. It is this test that God proposed that the demons could not accept, and it is the subject of the test that would defeat the fallen angels; the spirit and material combined to be the Incarnate Word.
Third, we will address the varying aspects of exorcism; the types of demons and means which they are exorcised as well as about the victims of this unnatural crime against nature.
Understand, all possession needs God’s permission. Not everyone can be possessed. All exorcist know this. The Bible teaches this. A good passage from a true event can be found in Fr. Malachi Martin’s ‘Hostage to the Devil’. Uncle Poncho, a demon, says there are people who are drunkards, adulterers, angry, and prime for possession but they are forbidden from being touched because “He Who Is Light” will not allow it.
Also, note the valiance of our exorcist. Fr. Malachi Martin uses the title, “Hostage to the Devil” appropriately in that priest are to be spiritual fathers after God’s Fatherhood [Eph. 3:14], interceding as priests appointed by God for mankind [Heb. 5:1]. As Christ had done, priest who are exorcists, present themselves as hostages to Satan for the liberation of his victims. To understand this intercession, please read article Intercessory Prayer of Saints. Fr. Hearty lays a foundation of self offering in prayer and body that we should all make our own, and I quote, “Lord Jesus, if I must die, let me die. If I live, it will be your will. As long as I remain in life, let me abide in your presence, so completely that, despite my sins and my enemy, when I die, I merely go from your presence to your presence. Amen.” Amen.
An exorcist may often receive the ridicule of priests as a tool of God to humble his potential source of pride.
Our greatest defense is our personal angels. St. Francis of de Sales said, “Veneration of St. Michael is the greatest remedy against despising the rights of God, against insubordination, skepticism, and infidelity”. It was a single angel, an angel second to being the weakest class, an angel that was seven classes or choirs beneath Lucifer, that cast out all the rebellious angels from heaven. And we each have a personal holy angel according to Jesus from Matthew’s Gospel, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father” (18:10).
Another instance, a possessed lady in Fr. Malachi Martin’s piece is possessed and upon falling into a fainting spell, she sees an angel transforming into a guise of human whom parts the crowd gathering around her in the alleyway, and caries her to safety. Our greatest defense is our personal angels.
Know that the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is a far greater tool and injurious offense against Satan than an exorcism. In exorcism, Satan is forced to give back the body of the possessed. In Confession, Satan is forced to give back the soul that was bought by Christ’s blood and baptism. If only we understood and lived this truth that exorcism forces the devil to give back the body but confession forces the devil to give back the soul.
Not everyone has authority to the rite of exorcism. Acts 19:11-20 is a clear demonstration of men who had the power of Jesus’ name but not the divine authority to exorcise with it and they were severely beaten by the demons. With exorcism, there is a difference in power and authority [Lk 9:1 “And [Jesus] called the Twelve [Apostles] together and gave them power and authority over all demons”] but even with authority, the needed more power to exorcise a demon when they were instructed to “fast and pray” in Mk 9:29; conversely, a man may have power but no authority [Mk 9:38].
There are no cases in the Bible of a woman performing an exorcism. Statistically speaking, more woman have been possessed then men. This is because women are more susceptible to the spiritual world (this is why we find more women in Church than men, too). Just because more women have been possessed does not mean women are more inclined to evil. This leads me to my next point.
Not everyone of demonic possession is at fault for the possession or is guilty of a grave sin. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus asks a man how long his son has been possessed and the father replies, “since childhood” (9:21). This is a clear indicator that the child was accosted by the demon from an early age, presumably before the age of reason. The Bible and Church profess in unison that for one to be guilty (of sin), three things must be present in the person: mortal sin, understanding of the sin, full consent and will to commit the sin. A child lacks ability to execute good reason (which is the knowledge) and full consent (naiveté).
There are different types of demonpathy: External Pain caused by Satan; Demonic Possession in which the person-while possessed- may corporeally commit heinous acts but incur no moral blemish on the soul because they do not act with will or consent; Diabolical Oppression [St. Paul was oppressed by Satan, 2 Cor 12:7]; Diabolic Obsession; Diabolic Infestation; Diabolical Subjugation or Dependence.
Possession occurs due to one of four things. God’s permission, which can also happen to innocent victims. Grave and hardened sinful condition; it’s root cause is a lack of faith. And subjection to evil people or places. Origin testifies to exorcisms of animals and places. The Bible cautions us of who we dwell with lest we should become like them.
Not all demons are powerful as another demon. We see in Colossians 1:16 that they retain their hierarchy. Exorcist have noted that only demons whom have Biblical names (Beelzabub, Zebulun, Asmodeus, Meridian) or names given by tradition, are strong enough to say Jesus’ name, but only followed by a blasphemy. All other weaker demons say, “He”, “Him”, “The One”, et cetera. But typically demons are very wary of talking. They only speak to when forced, boasting, or are trying to distract the exorcist from the rite.
Following that not all demons are the same nor share the same strengths, there are different ways of exorcising the evil spirits. Christ said to His Apostle that they have authority to cast out demons in Jesus’ name (Mt. 10:1, 10:8, Mk 6:7, Lk 9:1, 10:17). But not every demon can be cast out by Jesus name. Some only come out through prayer (Mk 9:29) while other demons are only exorcised by prayer and fasting (Mt 17:21). But do not be fooled, the strength of the most inferior demon is strong enough to destroy all the cosmos- if God allowed it.
Demons always respond to one of two approaches. First is by love, the name of God, and truth (which are all one in the same). The second is by belittlement and condescension; demons, due to their pride, cannot stand mockery or to be confront with the truth of their pettiness. But a layman is never to personally confront a demon.
The demonic do not always scream and growl during an exorcism. Some remain quiet and still till they are gone, other are foul and boisterous. Most demons initially hide so that they are not detected; they are cowardly. If a demon is openly talking without being commanded, it is either prideful and boasting, or trying to deter the exorcist from finishing the rite by distracting him.
All exorcist have to be wise. They have to constantly be steadfast on guard, not to fall into wondering of the mind or day dreaming, they are not to engage in conversation or personal inquiries. They have to be aware of bouts of confusion or sleepiness cast by the demon to slow the rite of exorcism. Exorcist may be bogged with confusion. This confusion can be of the senses in which one sense is recording what another sense should be recording.
Jesus also warned that not all stranger behavior is due to possession, but some people and medically, mentally, and clinically ail. The greatest sign of possession is the great loss in human quality, humanness.
Three types of outcomes can come from exorcisms. First is good. The demon is expelled and the Holy Spirit fills the person. The second is bad. The demon and is expelled but the newly liberated person does not seek grace, mortification, or fortitude and is again possessed by seven demons worse than the first.
But the last and unique senerio of exorcism is worst; and it is because it is performed by someone outside the Church (i.e. witchdoctor, shaman, sorcerer, et cetera). These exorcisms can be legitimate, and the demon will not return. This is a bad sign because when a demon is cast out by a non-Christian and does not return, it does not return because God was going to use the possession as a means to humble and sanctify the possessed person. St. James writes to us that the triumph of temptation festers holiness in ourselves (1:2). St. Paul confirms that God will use possession in his first letter to the Corinthians, “you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord” (5:5). If a demon is exorcised by a witchdoctor, shaman, and all other sacrilegious blasphemers, and does not come back, it is a bad thing. For the demon knew God would hand the man over to Satan, for the destruction of the man’s pride, his flesh, so that the man might be saved on that day of judgment, therefore the demon will not return. This is a very unique and extraordinary experience. Most common, the demonic possession is not for sanctification. In this case, if it is not for sanctification, if a witchdoctor of any sort casts out a demon, a demon will return with many others worse than itself, or return in a close relative or friend.
Fr. Malachi Martin teaches that “possession by the spirit of evil proceeds along the structure of day-to-day life.” In each case of possession, as diverse as they are, a basic note that unites is confusion. People will confuse present with past (reincarnation), spiritual with material (telepathy), sexuality (transgenders and homosexuality- not all are possessed), principle with privilege (morality), et cetera. Fr. Malachi Martin records a real-life exorcism. In it, Fr. Mark asks, “When did you start working on Jamsie [possessed victim]?”. The demon, which assumed the named Uncle Ponto, spoke, “He was chosen before he was born.” The demon, Uncle Ponto, reveals that Christ opposed the demon on many occasions when it screams, “By that Person who is beyond notice by us [due to lack of Beatific Vision- emphasis mine]. By the Claimer of all adoration [Eucharistic lutria- emphasis mine]. By the one who never received and will never receive our adoration.” Fr. Mark said, “Did you make Jamsie see the ‘funny-lookin’ face’?” [the funny looking face was the face of the demon that Jamsie could see at his suicide attempts and other random occasions]. Uncle Ponto spat, “No. His protector. We would never frighten him away. We are more powerful than that. It was his protector trying to warn him.” Later to be revealed, it was Jamsie’s guardian angel whom forced the demonic to reveal their continual presence to Jamie which spur him on to seek spiritual healing of his possession. It is not uncommon for angels to intercede, as St. Paul tells us, “among us are angels we see as men, be on guard for we meet servants of the Lord”. The demon concludes that the face of the demon witnessed by Jamsie was the look that all demons take one who belong to their Kingdom [hell].
These are from verified documents of exorcisms of demons regarding their master, Satan: “Claimant, Master, Prince, Leader- it all came down to one being: the supreme intelligence of evil which had led and which leads all intelligence in revolt against the truth of God.” So as all angels of Heaven follow a righteous King of their holy kingdom, fallen angels follow an unruly king of an unholy Kingdom.
Not everyone has authority to cast out demons. It was first given to the Apostles, then seventy-two select disciples, then others. This shows a hierarchy of order. Also, St. Peter writes in Acts that not all men have authority. Seven sons of a devout Jewish father took upon themselves to cast out demons in Jesus’ name; among them a Jewish high priest. The demons rebuked the men, saying, “Jesus I recognize, Paul I know, but who are you?” The possessed man proceeded to assail the seven Jewish priests and beat them severely. The name of Jesus’ is infinitely powerful, but only used when given authority to (Acts 19:11-20).
Fr. Malachi Martin offers the format of the exorcism: Presense, Pretense, Breakpoint, Voice, and Clash, and Expulsion. Exorcist are to look for the Clash, in which he provokes the demon to lock its will with his so that he may expel it. As stated before, demons are pure spirit, therefore pure will. It is the battle of wills that pushes out a demon, since that’s all they have. Devil cannot touch our will; the last stand of an exorcism comes to the person willfully rebuking the evil spirit, for God nor Satan force a person’s will.
Sacramentals and relics can be used in exorcisms. St. Peter tells us in Acts that St. Paul emitted holiness that even his apron and handkerchief, after contact with St. Paul, were used to exorcise demons just by touching them to possessed persons. The Church also uses blessed salt, holy water, crucifix, confessional stole, and blowing on people. We know this is permitted for healing because God allowed holy relics such as the bronze serpent (Num 21:4-9), Elisha’s bones which brought a dead man back to life (2 Kgs 13:20-21), and Christ’s tassels which helped heal a hemorrhaging woman (Mt 9:20-22). St. Tertullian commended blowing during exorcisms since the time of the Church Fathers.
What the Church can only speculate is the vast unknown world of spirituality. Several exorcist, such as Fr. Malachi Martin, Fr. Gabriele Amorth, Fr. Hearty, and Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea, have all had occasions where the possessing spirit can only confess to being a human soul bound to the the work of hell. While exorcists were commanding the possessed to admit Christ is Lord, kiss the crucifix, bless themselves in holy water with the sign of the cross, the possessing spirit kept responding that it was a soul in hell forced by the demons to do ill. This is why many who are possessed believe that they are a reincarnated person; this is how many possessed will know a foreign custom, details, and people from an ancient era. It is peculiar that if it was a demon only, that the demon would call forth God’s name, kiss the crucifix, and bless itself, but still retain the power to lie about its true identity.
As God permits angels and saints of heaven to intercede among us on earth, so does Satan send forth his angels and damned souls of hell amongst us. After much spiritual warfare, a priest commanded a demon into admitting God’s glory, commanding it to kiss a crucifix, to make the sign of the cross over itself with holy water. And upon this breakdown of defense, he demanded the demons name, but it insisted it was a damned soul coerced to do the devils bidding. A demon would much rather give it’s name than profess God’s name and kiss the crucifix. This has happened to several exorcist. Fr. Hearty asks, “’But Carl spoke to people long dead. He knew their thought and their surroundings.’ The Tortoise [demon] replied, ‘The living are surrounded by their dead. Those of the dead who belong to us, they do our bidding. Everyone in the Kingdom [hell] does our bidding’.” Fr. Gabriele Amorth and Fr. Fortea have both had this same experience in which they break down the defense of the demonic, but the voice says they are a human soul damned to due the biddings of the evil spirits. Such are the cases for many whom believe they are reincarnated and have extraordinary knowledge about the past.
But not all abilities are demonic. Fr. Amorth, Fr. Malachi Martin, and Fr. Hearty have all encountered incidents where a psychic power is a prenatural gift; tho this is extremely rare. Fr. Hearty in fact was gifted with this prenatural gift. As was Fr. Malachi Martin who could visibly see demons. This is not completely uncommon, for even St. Padre Pio could see the demonic and once bilocated; St. Teresa of Avila and St. Faustina Kowalska both could see the demonic.
Demons are particular to territory. We know this when the demons asked Jesus to be cast into pigs. Fr. Malachi Martin quotes a dialogue of another exorcist combating a demon, “The evil spirit spoke, ‘Even the Anointed One gave us a place with the swine.’ The priest spat, ‘As a sign of your filth and as an indication of your being buried alive in torments’.”
Exorcist, in part, always incur something fatal and are never returned their loss, as a reminder of their spiritual warfare and a token of malefic from the demonic. If an exorcist fails, he may incur death or lose the ability to exorcise. As Fr. Michael said about an exorcist, they are “never at home again after an exorcism because he sees that the material world is only a banner, a cover, a skin which operates from the spiritual world.” Fr. Michael continues, “an exorcist shares their punishment with no one but God.” But truly, these exorcist are those who the demons hate when they say, “we hate those stained with His [Jesus'] blood”. Amen!
Fr. Amorth and Fr. Fortea say “We know the outcome, Christ defeated death. The story of Lazarus foreshadowed Calvary where Jesus wept, feeling helpless, but was rewarded life. Is that not what Christ felt again in the garden of Gethsemane, fear and helplessness? Again, exorcist stand alone against the devil, and whom do they look to in that moment of solidarity in which they must face pure, concentrated evil.”
As Fr. Amorth wrote, “this ministry is done from the Cross, if a priest cannot carry his than he should not accept this ministry.”
But an exorcist is not without his glory. Why an exorcist does what he does: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 & 1 Peter 4:13, “This I declare, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.”
Fr. Malachi Martin wrote that a possessed girl’s “mother’s heart was crying to another mother” as she prayed to Our Blessed Mother for intercession. Fr. Fortea, in Interview With an Exorcist, sees the wisdom for asking for this intercession when he contrasted Satan with Mary:
“God’s highest nature of creation was that of the angels; Lucifer. But Mary superseded Satan; her exaltation was not by creation but of sanctification through self sacrifice, serving, and the grace of God:
- Satan was created magnificent in nature but corrupted himself while Mary was created lowly and humble in nature and sanctified herself.
- Lucifer is the most perfect creature by nature while Mary is the most perfect creature by grace.
- Luficer corrupted himself by disobedience while Mary sanctified herself by obedience.
- Lucifer wanted to be king refusing to serve and in the end became nothing while Mary wanted to be nothing, desiring to serve, and in the end was crowned Queen of Heaven.
- Lucifer was called ‘Angelic star of the morning’ while Mary was called ‘Star of the Morning of Redemption’.
- The first star, Lucifer, fell from angelic firmament; the second star, Mary, was elevated [Assumption].
- The first star, which was spirit, fell to the earth; the second star, which was human, Mary, ascended to Heaven [Assumption].
- Lucifer did not want to accept the Son of God made man; the Blessed Virgin Mary welcomed Him in her womb.
- Lucifer is a spiritual being who ended up making himself worse than a beast (without ever ceasing to be spiritual); Mary is a human being that ended up becoming better than an angel (without ceasing to be human).
- Not only did the first morning star fall [Lucifer], but Mary, the second and only Morning Star shines even brighter. Mary’s radiance is much more beautiful and intense than Lucifer’s ever was because she shines with the light of grace, not merely nature.”
Love. Love was what kept the angels of heaven holy. Love is why Jesus gave His life for us that mankind be redeemed and that we might have salvation as children of God in the kingdom of heaven. Love is greater than faith and hope. Love is the greatest commandment. Love is what accepts God and rebukes Satan.
Fr. Fortea, “Within Your wounds, hide me.” Amen.