Demons, Deliverance, Discernment

Demons, Deliverance, Discernment May 29, 2015

Fr. Mike Driscoll on the reality of the demonic and how the Church approaches it sensibly and without all the lurid nonsense you get in the popular culture.

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  • Pete the Greek

    Thinking of grabbing this book. I’m so dreadfully tired of the cliched BS I see in pop culture on this topic. In addition, several non-Catholic friends have asked me serious questions on the topic and I found my ability to provide clear, full answers was lacking.

    Putting it on the Wish List.

  • Petey

    sorry, is there a link here?

  • ManyMoreSpices

    Demonic possession is something that I’ve given a wide berth. I recognize that the Church teaches that it’s a thing, but I’m curious about how determining that a demonic possession is taking place doesn’t amount to finding a “Demon of the Gaps.” Surely many things that we thought of as demonic possession 1,000 years ago we would recognize today as psychiatric disorders, treatable with medicine. How do we know that today’s demonic possession isn’t a psychiatric condition of unknown etiology, one that might be treated with a new antipsychotic available in a decade?

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      As I understand it, if full possession is suspected, all known mental illnesses need to be eliminated. However, the witness of people who have performed exorcisms, or who have been subject to them, is pretty powerful. Full possession seems to be rarer than demonic oppression, where demons are harassing someone.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        If full possession is suspected, all known mental illnesses need to be eliminated

        Well there’s the rub: all known mental illnesses. Again, that sounds like “Demon of the Gaps.” Medicine advances, and today’s unknown is tomorrow’s known.

        The Church has never said “well, we’ve eliminated all known causes for the tides and the motion of the stars and we can’t fully explain those, so it must be the work of angels.” But the Church seems to be me to be saying that if science can’t diagnose you with a medical explanation for why you’re acting crazy, we can call it ‘demonic possession.’

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Again, if it bothers you that much, familiarise yourself with what the Church actually says on this subject.

          • Des Farrell

            Two nasty, unnecessary comments Hez. Well done.

            • ManyMoreSpices

              I’d like to think that Hez is capable of some other kind of comment, but the evidence for that is pretty thin.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          There are things they look for that point specifically toward oppression or possession. Obviously, if someone doesn’t believe in demons, or doesn’t believe they affect our lives, accepting either is a stretch for them, but if demons exist (as the Church teaches) and can affect and influence us (as the Church teaches), it follows that when this happens, a spiritual solution is needed. Mental illness is quite complicated as well, and people have found healing from it through healing prayer, confession, prayer for generational sin, and exorcism.
          While the Church hasn’t ever said they’ve eliminated known causes of NATURAL events, they are an expert on SUPERNATURAL events, and the discernment thereof. (I cannot emphasize enough the importance of discernment in spiritual warfare or healing prayer.)

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Not a psychiatrist, huh? The actual etiology of several currently known mood and cognitive disorders are unknown, and most treatments consist of little more than throwing chemicals at the problem and seeing which ones stick. The field is one of the most shining examples of why biology, much less medicine, is more art than science.

      None of that is an argument for the Church’s position, mind you, just a suggestion that more knowledge about the subject might make your opinions more credible.

    • Sue Korlan

      In a case in Gary, the children were observed by professionals walking up walls, among a number of activities often associated with possession. Given that such behavior is normally impossible due to the forces of gravity, the conclusion was that an exorcism was necessary.