The Problems with Possession


She was sixteen years old. She knocked on my door early on a Saturday morning, disheveled and frightened. “There is something around me. It’s like a shadow or something and it talks to me. It’s weird and I’m scared!” I asked a few questions and found she had been hanging around with the members of a witch’s coven in the town. I picked up the phone to call a more experienced priest and she started screaming, “It’s inside me. It’s inside me!” At that point her appearance changed. The pretty teenaged girl looked like a malevolent and sick old woman. She started growling in a foreign language neither of us could understand. The other symptoms of demonic infestation soon manifested themselves, and fortunately the older, experienced priest arrived within minutes and conducted an exorcism then and there. He went through the ritual and when the holy water hit her she shrieked and returned to normal.

I witnessed this exorcism and never wish to even come close to such a thing again. Ever.

It led me to read more on the subject of the deliverance ministry, and what I learned about the realm of the diabolical is that it is impossible to specify much of anything about the realm of the diabolical. What I mean is that it is impossible to accurately classify and explain and analyze what is going on when dealing with demonic possession. There is so much that is unknown–so much that is complex and ambiguous.



This is true for several reasons: First of all, it is difficult to truly pin down anything in the spiritual realm because we are dealing with a realm of reality that is totally alien to our physical, materialistic assumptions. Analysis and categorization are poor tools when dealing with the spiritual realm because the spiritual realm operates according to different criteria and expectations. From our materialist perspective everything is ambiguous. We see through a glass darkly. The spiritual realm operates with a different set of causal factors. Behaviors are unpredictable and defy our attempts to classify and explain.


Secondly, we perceive the spiritual realm through the aspect of our personality which might be called Imagination. This is the part of our mind with which we dream and intuit and pray and contemplate. Consequently, this part of our mind uses a different language. Symbols and signs and mythopoeic images are used to communicate. Raw emotion and primal experiences are the language of this realm. Rationality, language and grammar break down. We are in a realm that cannot be experienced but not explained.


Thirdly, this realm of the Imagination is not only sub-linguistic, but it is extremely complex. We are in a vast unknown realm. “On the edge of a grimpen where there is no foothold” This realm within our perception is inter-knotted with emotions, rational thought, ancestral memories, personal memories, relationships present and past. It is influenced and interwoven with our physiology–our medical history, mind altering drink and drugs, addictions, tragedies and triumphs–in other words our whole self.


To complicate matters further, is there is a demonic element involved, then by definition, we are dealing with a deceiver. The devil transforms his appearance. He lies. He hides. He is a shapeshifter, he transposes and transmogrifies. One moment a beast from beyond the darkness and the next moment whispering sweet nothings as an angel of light. We are out of our depth, and he knows it.


This is why the exorcist must be expertly trained not only in the rite of exorcism, but in psychology. This is why he must consult with sympathetic mental health experts, counselors and others who are expert in discernment of spirits. Those who have written on this subject have attempted to classify the levels of demonic influence. The lists are tentative and the borders are porous. The classification is more that of a continuum of influence rather than any strict method of diagnosis.


The first level of demonic influence is temptation. This is what we all experience which is one step up from the simple temptations of everyday life. We may be hungry and tempted to steal a loaf of bread. This is simple temptation, and only part of human nature. Demonic influence comes in when the temptation is to do something truly vile, or to spend time planning and pre meditating on a sin and beginning to wallow in it.


The second level of demonic influence is obsession. This is when the soul, after indulging in the sin becomes obsessed with it. The person thinks about the sin, if not constantly, then frequently enough that their life begins to revolve around the sin. This is where many addictive behaviors can overlap with demonic influences. At this point the personality of the obsessed person may begin to change. The change may be dramatic and sudden, but more likely it is gradual. Even when gradual the change may manifest itself from time to time in a sudden and dramatic way. The personality may alter, but the demonic influence is outside the person.


Experts disagree about the third and fourth stages. Some say that what we normally think of as ‘possession’ with the dramatic and horrifying manifestations should better be called infestation. At this point the demon has entered the personality and all the symptoms are evident and the exorcist is summoned.


What is most disturbing is that some go on to explain that true possession is when the horrible symptoms disappear and the person seems to go back to ‘normal’ but what has happened is that the demon has taken true possession and is now lodged permanently and deeply within the personality and is hiding there. Such a deeply possessed person will not exhibit any dramatic and monstrous symptoms, but the person will ‘live for the devil’. In other words, they will seem ‘normal’ but will pursue a sinful life without the slightest sense of guilt or shame. They will ridicule and (if pressured) exhibit a scorn and hatred of Christ and his disciples.


This is a debatable point because, of course, there are no obvious symptoms for these ‘truly possessed’ individuals. It is a frightening point as well because, if this is true, then there may well be very many individuals living among us who are truly and deeply possessed by the evil one. Because of the ambiguous nature of these diagnoses it is impossible to categorize neatly and certainly it is unwise to attempt a diagnosis of the spiritual condition of other individuals. Nevertheless, I have come across one or two people who seemed to me to be in this condition–one a totally charming and worldly man who seemed kindly to all, but who, beneath the surface, was quite evil. When the subject of religion ever came up he would go silent and it was like a shadow came over his face. If he ever spoke about religion it was with open scorn and ridicule.


What to do about it? This is why I rarely write on the subject–because the best thing to do about the devil is to laugh at him or ignore him. He’s proud and hates that. Not to ignore him in disbelief of course. Be watchful at all times. He is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.


Keep him in the corner of your eye, but focus on Christ and his beautiful face. Live the Christian life with simplicity, vigor and peace. Pray without ceasing. Go to confession with joy and tears. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Receive Christ in the sacraments and serve the Lord with gladness.


The devil will be enraged and run far from such a soul.


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01678341854029479678 Old Bob

    WOW!! Thank you, Father!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    Very informative— what about 'normal' mental illness like manic depression— do you think it is helpful to have maybe annointing of the sick or something like that for the suffering person? Is the devil involved in 'normal' mental illness- I suppose it is a result of original sin…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08198939874801282568 Stuart eChurch

    @priest's wife Oh I'm so glad you asked that. Those are the very questions I have been pondering since reading this powerful post.How do we distinguish between mental illness and demon possession, if the outward symptoms may be similar.And if we accept that something is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, what is to say that demonic activity may not aggrivate this weakness?Oh gosh it's such a quandary.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr Longenecker

    These complex problems prompted the post. It needs much discernment to disentangle mental illness from demonic oppression or possession–because some mental illness may have a diabolical dimension while still being mental illness.However, in cases of really obvious infestation the person displays clearly supernatural symptoms. It is rarely so clear though.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17970851228593550726 Lynne

    Father, you've always struck me as a very down-to-earth, common sense kind of guy. This post really put the fear of God in me…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18019092104281593899 Marija

    Thank you for this post. I have been wondering if this topic would ever come up and it did! I have an adult daughter who has an "eating disorder." She was always jealous of her older sister who was tall and beautiful and successful. Both daughters are actually beautiful and always have been slender–their natural build– but the one with the eating disorder is shorter and she has always hated how she looks. Sad! Anyway, her trying to become thinner than her older sister went too far and she now has a severe problem with food. Her weight is down to only 80 pounds at 5'3". She is undergoing therapy at a Christian institute locally. I am Catholic, but the rest of the family is not. If anyone knows of any Catholic ministries helping such cases I would like to know. She claims to be a Christian and prays and reads her Bible and asks God for help, but so far nothing seems to work for her obsession not to eat and the accompanying depression. When she talks about the "voice" that scolds her for eating certain foods, it makes me wonder what voice that is. She is a gourmet cook and makes us wonderful meals but cannot eat them. She realizes she is commiting a slow suicide and we have discussed that only the devil would want that. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like for her if she went to confession and asked forgiveness for not liking how God has made her and being so jealous of her older sister. I have no answers and like Father said we have to be careful what we assume in this area.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18019092104281593899 Marija

    Thank you for this post. I have been wondering if this topic would ever come up and it did! I have an adult daughter who has an "eating disorder." She was always jealous of her older sister who was tall and beautiful and successful. Both daughters are actually beautiful and always have been slender–their natural build– but the one with the eating disorder is shorter and she has always hated how she looks. Sad! Anyway, her trying to become thinner than her older sister went too far and she now has a severe problem with food. Her weight is down to only 80 pounds at 5'3". She is undergoing therapy at a Christian institute locally. I am Catholic, but the rest of the family is not. If anyone knows of any Catholic ministries helping such cases I would like to know. She claims to be a Christian and prays and reads her Bible and asks God for help, but so far nothing seems to work for her obsession not to eat and the accompanying depression. When she talks about the "voice" that scolds her for eating certain foods, it makes me wonder what voice that is. She is a gourmet cook and makes us wonderful meals but cannot eat them. She realizes she is commiting a slow suicide and we have discussed that only the devil would want that. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like for her if she went to confession and asked forgiveness for not liking how God has made her and being so jealous of her older sister. I have no answers and like Father said we have to be careful what we assume in this area.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03344410465359289979 carol278

    Very powerful information! This explains alot. Especially with whats going on with my family. Thank You Father..God Bless

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12204457653021913172 Rachel

    Marija, I too suffered severely from an eating disorder. I spent MANY years in hospitals and residential treatment homes, etc. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety issues as well. My family said I was not the same person that I once was and I often said things I didn't remember even saying. (possible demons talking, not me??) The treatment only helped in the way that I learned ALOT about nutrition and about how all food can be good, but all the therapy in the world couldn't take my obsessive food and body image thoughts away!!! I was raised Catholic and would practice my faith on the Holidays when my mom "bugged" me to go. I always loved The Lord, but was so obsessed with being pretty and thin, etc. that that's ALL I really could think about and care about. I met a very devout Catholic man when I was 27 years old. He and I grew close rather quickly and he asked me to go to confession with him. It had been YEARS since I had TRULY confessed any sins and prior to meeting him, I was living a very sinful life full of partying, drugs, sex, and of course my eating disorder. After a VERY LONG and HONEST confession, it was almost INSTANT that I felt 100% healed!! It was such a miracle! I don't suffer from depression or anxiety any more and that wonderful man is now my husband and we have 2 beautiful children and hoping to have more soon. I hope this helps. The sin inside and the guilt I felt deep down for the way I was living my life was causing me to want to numb my feelings by not eating, etc. When I removed that guilt, or rather, when God removed the guilt with his FORGIVENESS, I had no reason to numb myself any more. God Bless you and I will pray for your daughter!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10954184037365092171 Sally

    The Sacraments saved my life. Confession is huge and so I go at least monthly.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12909174793343094671 jane

    Father, thank you for this post. I read your blog often, but found this entry by searching for answers after seeing The Rite. After reading positive reviews by several Catholic bloggers, my husband and I went with our youngest, 22 year old, daughter to see the movie this weekend. As the parents of five 20-something adult children my husband and I have often found ourselves in the position of re-evangelizing and explaining the Church's position as our kids traveled down the rocky roads of their teen and young adult years. I was hoping this movie could serve as a powerful reminder of the existence of the spiritual realm for my daughter. I remembered having a deeply spiritual experience after reading The Exorcist as a college student. Like the young priest in The Rite, I became convinced there was a devil and therefore more than ever before convinced there was a God. I must say I was disappointed (spoiler alert). I found myself having to defend God's actions while not really knowing much about exorcism (e.g., do people actually die during the exorcism process? Can innocents become possessed or only those who delve into the spirit realm?) It was very difficult trying to explain the death of an innocent incest victim and her unborn baby. And then the possession of the faithful priest-exorcist. I haven't been that challenged in providing an explanation since the Haiti earthquake/hurricane/cholera outbreak! If the movie was faithful to the facts, then how could the power of the priest's exorcism not be strong enough to win out over the schemes of the devil? Very much like the death of the priest in The Exorcist – how can we explain cases of Satan seemingly given the power over the lives of innocent victims – something that was denied him by God when he plotted against Job? Sorry for the length, but I would appreciate any light you can shine on this.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14911446639458598875 Tina in Ashburn

    For any supernatural disturbance, no matter whether you trust it to be good or know that it is evil, get competent spiritual direction immediately. The power of authority of your parish priest, and if that fails, your bishop, and if that fails, the next up in the chain of command will be your salvation. Consider that every saint in such circumstance always submitted themselves to the assistance of obedience to their superiors. The devil has no power over an obedient soul. If the supernatural disturbance is really from God, then it won't hurt to seek that help anyway.Friends and concerned priests are helpful, but real power comes from those who have authority over you, such as your parish priest and bishop.In regard to the eating disorder, among the many treatments, one is a treatment targeting the inability of the sufferer to believe they are lovable. I recall Princess Diana worked with a successful 'home' where the objective was to surround the sufferer with unconditional love. Not eating is a form of deprivation driven by their sense of unworthiness. There is also a theory that control issues drive the sufferer to use food as the only controllable factor in their life, thus the impossible barrier of 'you can't make me eat'. Not that any of this means there isn't also demonic influence.Some spiritual writers posit that all human ills have a spiritual cause.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01360695596692483115 St. Raphael

    Thank you Father for the very good post. Im on the Healing Ministry at our Catholic church and we fast and pray before a Healing Mass for protection. But confession is really power against all evil. I wish more Priest would get involved in the Healing ministry. But most ive talked to say they were never trained or dont want to do it. Today i feel there is a great need because of all the stuff people get messed up in. Peace St.Raphael

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05118747216132040457 Ismael

    @ SallyThat is Great! The Sacrament of Confession/Penance and the Eucharist are the greatest enemy of the devil!—@ LynneDo not be afraid :)We must never fear the devil if we live in Christ!After all the worst thing the devil can do is tempt us. Yes, tempt us.If he takes hold of our body, our soul is still untouched, but if we give in into his temptations than he truly possesses us, even if we do not turn our heads 180 degrees like in 'The Exorcist'.In the end we must realize that the devil is powerless, since Christ defeated him on the Cross.The only way the devil has truly power on us is when we give in to sin and give him that power.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16951360211636509133 Barbara

    Jane – Regarding the two movies you wrote about – I've seen "The Exorcist" – in Hollywood, the devil always wins. The story of the triumph of evil over good while portraying God as impotent is a form of blasphemy, I think. In the book, "The Exorcist", the child was delivered and nothing bad happened to the priests involved. If Hollywood can convince everyone that God is impotent, it will put many people to despair and turn them away from even seeking God. My takeaway from this post and comments is that we must focus on Christ, go to Confession as often as we can, examine our conscience daily, pray the rosary (we can't ignore the power and love of the Mother of God)and be faithful to attend Mass as often as we can. The spiritual strength from that will help us to be kind to our neighbors and show them the face of Christ. It's the antidote to the possession of the airwaves.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16951360211636509133 Barbara

    Jane – Regarding the two movies you wrote about – I've seen "The Exorcist" – in Hollywood, the devil always wins. The story of the triumph of evil over good while portraying God as impotent is a form of blasphemy, I think. In the book, "The Exorcist", the child was delivered and nothing bad happened to the priests involved. If Hollywood can convince everyone that God is impotent, it will put many people to despair and turn them away from even seeking God. My takeaway from this post and comments is that we must focus on Christ, go to Confession as often as we can, examine our conscience daily, pray the rosary (we can't ignore the power and love of the Mother of God)and be faithful to attend Mass as often as we can. The spiritual strength from that will help us to be kind to our neighbors and show them the face of Christ. It's the antidote to the possession of the airwaves.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16454624391767903943 CAADA

    I'm surprised the verse, "Resist the devil and he will flee" isn't in this article. Also missing is Ephesians Chapter 6, the Armor of the Holy Spirit, for protection. Absent is the assurance we have in SO MANY New Testament writings. Father, you are more "Catholic" than ever now. What happened? No wonder Christians so often ask us, "Are Catholics CHRISTIAN?"I read the new book, The Rite, that was made into a movie and released only weeks ago. It's a joke. The devil is real. The Rite is wrong. The Rite is Catholic drivel, and it puts demons in control. Why can't Catholics DEMAND to be taught the New Testament-especially Paul's writings – he wrote 13 letters, and he's the only apostle that was individually mentored by the Holy Spirit Himself, yet Paul is mostly ignored!I know June 2008-June 2009 was the Vatican declared, "Year of St. Paul". It was treated like 2011's Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rabbit.Catholics learned no more about Paul or his writings, including the Book of Romans, considered by most Christians to be The Christian Constitution.We need expository preaching, that takes the New Testament, verse by verse, and exposes the truth in it to us. Not the 7 minute reflections we have now. No wonder seasoned Christians ask us so often, "Are Catholics Christian?"Folks – just read the New Testament. The devil and his demons have already lost, at Calvary. But one thing Father wrote that is worthy of repeating- the devil roams the earth, looking for whomever he can devour, or throw off base, or tempt or…you supply the verb.Thanks be to God, Christians, Catholics included, if they are indeed Christian, have tools to use to thwart the demonic. Jesus said, "It is written…" to Satan, to get rid of him in the desert. We have "It is written…" too – the New Testament tools & promises.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    'CAADA'- yes- we read the New Testament- and how could you know that we Catholics didn't learn more about St Paul and his writings during a year with a special focus on him? What is wrong with giving a focus to a day or a year? It is nice to have a framework and inspiration- my parish had special Bible studies on Paul's letters during this year. Yes- the Bible is filled with assurances of the victory of Jesus (PRAISE GOD) but while we are battling it out here on earth, there is sin to contend with- don't you agree?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14903318493928464714 Heather

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14903318493928464714 Holy Militant

    This article gives me a sense of relief after a very long time of feeling as though there was something "wrong" with myself.I am a very devout member of the Church who has a sister who, after I tried to reach out to numerous times in true love (despite many malicious verbal personal attacks on my character to others, denied to me) attacked me physically last year on Divine Mercy Sunday. She seemed almost inhuman that day. We were alone. She screamed in my face that she hated me… it was horrible, and I wept and told her I loved her as she attacked me. I left and have not seen her since. I have prayed so hard to understand why and what I could have done. She has always been very different. She is very jealous, she has stolen things, and she has also had an abortion. I have prayed very much for her.Is there anything one can do, aside from prayers of deliverance offered?God Bless you for your ministry.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03311666932502171783 Elizabeth Pringle

    The Lord has given me some experience of such things and, yes, if we truly live all that the Church has brought us and all that scripture teaches us we should be in pretty good shape, so long as we remember it is Christ we worship and not our 'holy' endeavors. It's a big 'if' though, knowing our natural tendencies to ingratitude and vanity and judgmentalism, so obvious in others, and so hidden in ourselves. Do we know that what we are most likely to accuse in others is what we are usually most guilty of ourselves? Sin is always the culprit, whether ours or someone else's, and satan sniffs it out. Unconditional love is the antidote and that must be our goal at this late stage of the day. Resist the devil, yes, but first surrender to Christ and the power of his precious blood to make a slippery foothold for these pesky creatures before you don your armor! And don't forget the power of the holy angels and their Queen, our Mother. Ultimately, the battle is theirs, one more time.I was interested in Father's comment that some priests say that the most possessed are those whose demon has gone deep and shows not himself. Agreed, yet there is one deeper yet, and that is the one who can worship the Lord God, receive the Eucharist without blinking, pray rosaries with equanimity, be the heart and soul of service to all in order to bring his master satan deeper into our fold. That, my friends, is the ultimate evil and these agents of darkness, appearing as bright light, are in our midst.I caution all to learn the way of love regardless of insult or hostile offense. Learn the way of the Lord. Turn the other cheek. Forgive. Repent. Reconcile with one another to the best possible. If it's not peace, love and joy it's not God. Let nothing take your peace: that is your victory! When you lose it, fight to get it back, that's the good fight!We know not what lurks in another or who is in our midst so tread carefully, be joyful, judge not and never assume someone to be good, or evil. Take all at face value, be kind, trust in the Lord and watch the fruit grow. Treat all people with respect and dignity including yourself. Seek the way of unconditional, sacrificial, holy love, which will lead to everyday holiness, which will take you all the way to the bosom of the Lord. Be blessed, beloved. Be safe.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16454624391767903943 CAADA

    To priest's wife – congratulations on your special teaching on Paul at your parish. What I'd like to see is the Vatican issue directives where all of us are on the same page, throughout the world.The pope has done it before – with pastors in every parish, asking people to either pray for a specific intention, or to donate funds to help for a certain cause.That is what should happen in order for us pew people to have uniform teaching, and to know our faith enough to defend it. I agree with you that there is sin on earth, and in order to combat it, MORE of us need to be on the same page. There is power in the Sacred Word of God.The apostles devoted themselves to preaching and teaching. But priests today are doing the work of deacons, for the most part, and it's almost a rarity for a priest to KNOW the Bible, let alone teach it. I have spoken with seminarians during the past years, and I've been shocked that they are so poorly taught in the Bible. They may be able to pass a true/false test on it. But it is not PART of them. Just what pew people need, more Sacrament Dispensers.By the way, I am a cradle Roman Catholic, with 12 years of Catholic education (taught by Holy Cross nuns, God love them- some are 100 years old now), and I never left the Church to go to any other denomination. I never became agnostic, or atheist.All I did differently than most Catholics is to sit down and read the Bible, from cover to cover, about 15 years ago. I've been in The Word ever since. What a blessing to know the Truth. And the Truth will set us free! Praise Jesus.By the way, I do not speak in tongues. But I have a friend that does-she does so privately. She's Bible-literate, so that's what's important. We must concern ourselves with matters of ETERNAL VALUE. Let's all stay in the Word. Let's all encourage the Vatican to TEACH and PREACH matters of eternal value, so we all have a right view of God.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16454624391767903943 CAADA

    Holy Militant- I'm sorry you are being treated so poorly by your sister. Only God knows the reason for it. Prayer, is of course, Number One for you.But have you also sought out Christian counseling and treatment for her? Especially for her to behave so poorly, to physically harass you on Divine Mercy Sunday, it sounds as if she needs medical help and quickly.Perhaps she may not be willing to have you suggest it to her. But there may be someone else that could help you, to help her. She may be more receptive of that.Is there a lay woman pastoral leader that has been trained to work for your parish? If your sister was at the Divine Mercy Sunday service, perhaps she would be willing to accept help from a lay woman. That person could arrange for proper Christian medical/psychological help.What you described in your post sounds as if her behavior is escalating, and you want to be sure you are not in harm's way. Keeping you and her in prayer….By the way, by suggesting a woman lay leader, I am not implying that women should be priests. PLEASE – men only are to be ordained to ministry. But there are some things that women can help other women with best – such as "Priest's Wife" may have a suggestion about this too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04537669302400232881 Amy

    I like what Fr. Corapi has said regarding healing and deliverance; emotional and mental problems, combined with demonic problems, are not necessarily mutually exclusive. What we accept as being emphatic, socially accepted, 'authetic' mental disorders, are far from such. The fact is science has yet to prove with conclusivity the origing and cause of all mental diagnoses, and that is why conditions are based upon observed symptoms. Symptoms are real without question, yet the human soul, the psyche is a highly sophisticated yet mysterious and substantially spiritual facet of the human person. Most MD's consider the major catholic, mystical saints to be bipolar based upon scientific theory. We can only try to live a life free of sin and in cooperation with much prayer and sacramental grace, but to suffer at the hand of the demonic is to suffer to the extreme both mentally and emotionally, and that is a fact.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12769269788839095432 Chris

    Listen to Fr Corapi's CD, "Addiction". Also in the book "Alcoholism: a Source book for priests" published in 1960, co-founder of AA Bill Wilson's spiritual advisor, Fr Ed Dowling S.J., states the following in this "Alcoholism": "Bill, the AA co-founder, told me he thought alcoholism in many cases was a diseased bodily reaction to alcohol plus a physic obsession. I think Bill meant diabolic obsession. It was a malign obsession by the Devil paralleling the guardian angel's benign obsession. We visualize the guardian angel as besieging us with good suggestions. He thought the Devil was also there besieging the alcoholic. Bill knew the difference between obsession and possession." page 269 (emphasis mine) Also Roy K, founder of SA, mentions the same thing, in different terminology, in the "White Book", "Impossible Joy" & "Lust Virus". As Fr. Corapi says in his CD, "Satan is the author of addictions." I know from experience, I've battled addiction most of my adult life. The good news is Jesus Christ has already won the victory & that is who delivered me from certain ruin.Chris

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02940575110785141336 Jeanette O’Toole

    Excellent article. Thank you! And my response to it is (always remembering the frequent reception of the Eucharist, Adoring as often as possible, and frequent Confession of course) … remember to say daily The Most Holy Rosary.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14903318493928464714 Holy Militant

    CAADA-I'm sorry, I didn't really flesh this out very well.There is no way that my sister would go to any kind of counseling. Period. She acts "fine".She also hasn't set foot in a church in years. She has blamed me for this "rift", stating many untrue things about me and my little family (I am the only one in the family who is actively practicing the faith- I go to daily Mass and Holy Hour, weekly confession, and do many other things, which she is not aware of, because she hasn't spoken to me in a long, long time, especially of these matters) and also has not told the truth about this altercation to other people within the family. The only reason it even came to light was because I would not deliver things to her anymore, as I was afraid to, and I had to tell my other sister why (in the course of this altercation, my sister tried to run me over with her car- this happened at her home).She is a very charming, very "nice", very "sweet" and "caring" person who everyone feels sorry for. I pray for her every single day. She has children who are not baptized, who I pray for every single day as well.I appreciate your advice, I really do. Prayer is the only way I can see to help here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10774194457357776653 SooNee

    Very insightful. If I could add this: If we have a troubled soul in our circle of family or friends, neighbors or other,we can fast and pray for them and fasting is a powerful tool in weakening the demonic hold upon them. Jesus has shown us that some only come out by prayer and fasting so this is a gift we have been given in standing against and overcoming the evil one. We are called to this which is not exorcism but intercession.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03962342727952029057 Sue

    Addendum to my previous post:When I was 25 yrs old I was part of a prayer support team in the deliverance of what seemed to be a "very normal" middle aged woman from a local Catholic parish. As the priests prayed with her I saw Satan manifest himself with grotesque physical changes to her bodily person as well as terrifying verbal outbursts, accusations & sounds. I have never forgotten that experience, which convinced me that the devil truly exists and I made a renewed effort to pray for those who are "oppressed" by his influences in their lives. Similar to what Father Longenecker states, the priest involved in this deliverance ministry described Satan's strategy as this: First we give in to the temptation of sin over & over again(let's say "anger"), then we build a "house of anger" within ourselves, then the "demon of anger" moves into this house. As stated earlier by other bloggers, regular confession, Holy Communion & calling upon the intercession of the Angels & Saints some of our best weapons in defeating the "Evil one's" influence & attacks in our lives. I especially recommend one of the best weapons we have at our disposal…the Holy Rosary! Oh, FYI, the priests were unable to unbind the Evil One's hold on this poor woman in the deliverance process…I felt strongly that we needed to invoke the Blessed Mother through her Rosary, and after they had exhausted all the other sacramental rites they finally agreed to the Rosary. Our Lady's intercession was the key that Our Lord used to finally deliver this woman from her bondage!!Peace of Christ'Susanna

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03962342727952029057 Sue

    These were my first comments & should have been posted first, sorry:Thank you Father Longenecker for having the priestly courage to comment on this issue! I am a registered Catholic nurse who tries to integrate God's message of Divine Mercy into the bedside care I give my patients. I always assess my patients' health in the physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual realms. If they are Catholic I take the responsibility to encourage them to see a priest & I usually give them a spare rosary that I carry in my pocket. I especially encourage my patients who are suffering from mental illness, anxieties & fears to get themselves back to God & seek a Christian counselor who is skilled in addiction therapy.In my personal life I have seen first-hand the demonic involvement in persons with addictions (my father, brothers & sisters had alcohol/other drugs/lust addictions). I was the only child out of 7 children who practiced (& still does) my Catholic faith, but it has come at a cost with much sufferings, rejection & misunderstandings. IT IS ALL WORTH IT IN CHRIST!!! Things I have learned in my journey…"He who is within me is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4), so we need not live in fear of the devil or give him too much attention. We must get our encouragement & instruction from the Holy Scriptures, as stated by other blog commenters, but we must also be obedient to the Magisterium teaching of the Church & those in authority over us! I focus my life of Jesus Christ and make my daily prayer life a priority which directs me in carrying out my duties as a mother of 5 children & nurse (age 57). I LAUGH AT THE DEVIL because he has no power over me except what I give him! I intend on seeing "The Rite" so I can respond to others in my workplace, family & community who will see this movie, & hopefully the Holy Spirit will inspire me with the words to say to them. The worst thing, as we all know, is for people to NOT believe in the devil, so if this movie influences people to acknowledge that he exists maybe this truth will move them towards the "ultimate truth" that an "All Powerful, all Loving Victorious God exists" and He has a Glorious Plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11-15) that will result in their healing & give them the Peace that surpasses all understanding!!! (1 Cor 2:9) Lord hear our prayer!!Peace of Christ. SusannaPS-Please pray for my brother Mark who is now under the attack of the evil one. He suffers from alcohol/drug addiction & mental illness.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04972365616107893394 Deacon Channing Fell

    Jesus Christ be praised, Forever!The battle rages and is reaching fever pitch.Stay strong, Father… Keep Jesus in the Eucharist in your thoughts and if possible, be in His presence as much as possible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03772885034951971715 Rosangela Canino-Koning

    Somehow this was posted on my Google Reader recommended items feed, or I would never have come across it.This is about the most disturbing piece of dismissive hand-waving I've ever read. Part of the attitude of those you describe of the "fully possessed" (not the evil bit, but the rest) could apply to anyone who thinks religion is ridiculous or harmful. In particular, your description and dismissal of the "totally charming and worldly man" was terrifying, but not for the reason you think.In one post, you have dismissed the opinions and sanity of every atheist in the world, merely because they have expressed an opinion that disagrees with yours. You imagine you can see into people's hearts, and because they don't believe in God, that they are FULL OF THE DEVIL. I am grateful that in my interactions with other believers of your faith (which I don't happen to share), I have never come across anyone as hateful and judgmental as you. Please consider my comments in the spirit (haha, no pun intended) which they were given: as a non-believer appalled by what she has read. You might want to search your own heart, and see what's actually in it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00518427385991447434 Dr. Eric

    Fr. Longenecker,Your description about being totally possessed and seeming normal may explain Christopher Hitchens' threats towards Fr. George Rutler a few years back at an awards banquet.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01178647775806071721 Jackson K. Eskew

    Isn't it amazing that in the Novus Ordo Church, speaking of the devil is seen as courageous? Talk about diabolical. At any rate, mandatory reading: Hostage to the Devil, by Malachi Martin

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08172827779493356123 msc

    I often have volunteers or coworkers talk to me about some kind of posession of their homes. As a Catholic I usually recommend that they use salt in dishes in their homes and most often that usually takes care of things.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14278135181589019911 SGuilfoyle

    Someone posted that in the movie "The Exorcist." The Devil wins.I don't see it that way.I thought the Devil was defeated, in the end, at a very, very high cost in priests.I know that the young priest's jumping out the window can be viewed as a suicide, and therefore, sinful. But again, who did the Devil have the next day for it to be declared a victory? No one that I recall. LIttle Regan runs up and hugs a priest she's never met.

  • Pingback: The Problems with Possession | Saint Michael's Journal


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