I just started reading Fr. Euteneuer’s new book, Exorcism and the Church Militant. It’s a real page-turner, written in a Q&A format, and loaded with essential facts that all of us need to know about the Enemy.
The following are a few facts about Satan and exorcism that I learned in just the first 100 pages:
– There are many more possessed people walking around than we know of. These are the “freely chosen” possessed who have given themselves over to devil worship. As Malachi Martin once described, these victims “are absolutely controlled by evil and give no outward indication or hint whatsoever of the demonic residing within. He or she will not cringe, as others who are possessed will, at the sight of such religious symbols as a crucifix or a Rosary. The perfectly possessed will not bridle at the touch of Holy Water or hesitate to discuss religious topics with equanimity.” (If that’s not terrifying, what is?) Fr. Euteneuer asks that we pray for these people, and pray that God protect us from them.
– Demons with biblical names are always the most powerful and most wicked. These names include Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Asmodeus, Meridian, Zebulun, Astarte or Ashteroth, Baal, Moloch, Lilith, Mephpistopheles, or any derivitive of these names.
– Lucifer’s name, which means “Light Bearer,” was the name he was originally given while still a member of the highest choir of angels – the Seraphim.
– The reason that St. Michael, an Archangel, which is one of the lowest ranks of angels, was able to defeat Lucifer, who was an angel much more powerful than himself is because when Lucifer turned against God, all of his angelic powers were instantaneously corrupted. As a result, even the weakest angel in the hierarchy of heaven is now capable of defeating Satan.
– There is a difference between demons and devils. Devils were once angels of the higher choirs while demons were from the lower choirs of angels, which means devils are more powerful than demons.
– Demons cannot possess localities, but only living things. A house can be infested with demons that have chosen to live in that place for one reason or another (perhaps there were occult practices taking place there at some time or they were otherwise invited to the place), but a house, building or land cannot be possessed. This also applies to animals. They can be infested, but not possessed.
– One of Hollywood’s favorite distortions about exorcism is the way it typically portrays the Church and priest as being a kind of “beleaguered combatant” in the war against the devil. “It is the other way around!” Fr. Euteneuer writes. Demons are terrified of exorcisms and will do anything in their power to escape it because they are always defeated by them. Also contrary to Hollywood portrays are demons attacking priests during exorcisms. Fr. Euteneuer says they rarely do so “because they are generally too busy defending themselves.”
– However, demons may retaliate against an exorcist by causing him all kinds of harrasshments such as inconveniences, persecutions, disruptions. These will rarely be catastrophic. In Fr. Euteneuer’s experience, he has had to put up with things like pipes bursting, sudden illness, a stolen credit card number, dead car batteries, etc.
– Priests can do exorcisms in secret, but this would not be a solemn exorcism. For instance, a priest might say exorcism prayers for someone that he suspects might be suffering from demonic attack but who refuses to accept it. St. Alphonsus Liguori also recommended that priests recite silent prayers of exorcism in the confessional if he suspects that a person needs deliverance. “he need not recite these prayers out loud,” Fr. Euteneuer writes. “The devil, if he is truly present in the interior of the victim, will certainly hear them!”
– Other religions can perform successful exorcisms, but the Catholic rite is the most powerful because our Church is a direct heir of the apostles. The power to “bind and loose” is greatest in apostolic churches. Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis Muslim clerics and even Buddhist monks can and do perform exorcisms, but because they have fewer weapons in their arsenal, these cases tend to be the easier cases. However, in cases involving more powerful demons, they routinely seek assistance from the Catholic Church.
These were a few of the more interesting points that I encountered in the book. I’ll keep you posted as I read more!