Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. ~ Ephesians 6:10-13

Lisa MladinichThere's an exciting new film in wide release here in the U.S. based on the real-life experiences of Father Gary Thomas, whose training as an exorcist in Rome prepared him for active ministry in his California diocese. The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins, does something rare in the media—it gets a lot of the story right. My friend Tracey caught the movie over the weekend and emailed:

. . . It started out with a quote across the big screen from Pope John Paul II about the devil and Christ. . . . . On the negative side, the language was harsh at times, and Hollywood leads you to think that the devil can enter you if he wants, but that isn't true. He can only take possession of you if you invite him, or dabble in his world. Saint Pio said, "God has the devil chained up like a dog, he can only bite you if you try to pet him."

Tracey makes a great point about inviting the devil into our lives. Modern day exorcists have been trying to teach us about this for years; a devil cannot enter us when we are faithful to God's laws, when we practice our faith and confess our sins. But one can enter, with disastrous consequences, if we open the door by exposing ourselves or our children to the occult through movies, books, games, and superstitious practices.

Mary Ellen Barrett, a colleague of mine at has written well on this subject, and I share her latest column here for you to enjoy.

Ouija Boards: Portals of Evil

By Mary Ellen Barrett

While Christmas shopping at a big-name book store, I noted that the "Teen Vampire Romance" section offered "vampire kits"; in the "Wizardology" section there were tarot cards and "wizard kits," and on a "Family Game Table" were the Ouija boards. Nothing says "Happy birthday, Jesus!" like a bunch of occult gifts, right?

Of all of these troubling items, the Ouija boards were by far the most dangerous. While a "wizard kit" may encourage a child to explore the occult and familiarize them with the lingo, a Ouija board is a tool that can actually introduce your child to evil made manifest.