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Cardinal Cottier on Exorcisms - "The Church Must Speak About the Devil"
Zenit News Agency ^ | January 22, 2006 | Cardinal Georges Cottier

Posted on 01/22/2006 3:51:36 PM PST by NYer

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 22, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Georges Cottier, while he was still the theologian to the Pontifical Household, wrote an introduction to the book "Presidente degli Esorcisti -- Esperienze e Delucidazioni di Don Gabriele Amorth" (President of the Exorcists -- Experiences and Clarifications of Father Gabriel Amorth).

Father Amorth is an exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, and founder and honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists.

The book has been recently published by Edizioni Carismatici Francescani. Here is a translation of Cardinal Cottier's introduction.

* * *

The Church must speak about the devil. Though he sinned, the fallen angel has not lost all the power he had, according to God's plan, in the governance of the world. Now he uses this power for evil. John's Gospel calls him "the prince of this world" (John 12:31) and also in the First Letter of John one reads: "the whole world is in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). Paul speaks of our battle against spiritual powers (cf. Ephesians 6:10-17). We can also refer to Revelation.

We must fight not only against the human but the superhuman forces of evil in their origin and inspiration: Suffice it to think of Auschwitz, of the massacres of entire peoples, of all the horrendous crimes that are committed, of the scandals of which little ones and the innocent are victims, of the success of the ideologies of death, etc.

It is appropriate to recall some principles. The evil of sin is done by a free will. Only God can penetrate the depth of a person's heart; the devil does not have the power to enter that sanctuary. He acts only on the exterior, on the imagination and on feelings of a sentient origin. Moreover his action is limited by the permission of Almighty God.

The devil generally acts through temptation and deceit; he is a liar (cf. John 8,44). He can deceive, induce to error, cause illusion and, probably more than arouse vices, he can support the vices and the origins of the vices that are in us.

In the Synoptic Gospels, the first apparition of the devil is the temptation in the desert, when he subjects Jesus to several incursions (cf. Matthew 4:11 and Luke 4:1-13). This event is of great importance.

Jesus cured sicknesses and pathologies. Altogether, they refer to the devil, because all disorders afflicting humanity are reducible to sin, of which the devil is instigator. Among Jesus' miracles are liberation of diabolical possessions, in the precise sense.

We see in particular in Saint Luke that Jesus orders the devils who recognize him as Messiah.

The devil is much more dangerous as tempter than through extraordinary signs or astonishing external manifestations, because the gravest evil is sin. It is no accident that we ask in the Lord's prayer: Lead us not into temptation. Against sin the Christian can fight victoriously with prayer, prudence, in humility knowing the fragility of human freedom, with recourse to the sacraments, above all Reconciliation and the Eucharist. He must also ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment, knowing that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are received with the grace of Baptism.

Saint Thomas and Saint John of the Cross affirm that we have three tempters: the devil, the world (we certainly recognize this in our society) and ourselves, that is, self-love. Saint John of the Cross maintains that the most dangerous tempter is we ourselves because we alone deceive ourselves.

In the face of deceit, it is desirable that Catholic faithful have an ever more profound knowledge of Christian doctrine. The apostolate must be promoted for the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, of extraordinary usefulness to combat ignorance. The devil perhaps is instigator of this ignorance: He distracts man from God, and it is a great loss that can be contained by promoting an adequate apostolate in the media, in particular television, considering the amount of time that many people spend watching television programs, often with contents that are culturally inconsistent and immoral.

The action of the devil is also unleashed against the men of the Church: in 1972 the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI spoke of the "smoke of Satan that has entered the temple of God," alluding to the sins of Christians, to the devaluation of the morality of customs and to decadences (let us consider the history of the religious Orders and Congregations, in which the need has always been noted of reforms to react to the decadence), to yielding to the temptations in the pursuit of a career, of money and of wealth in which the members of the clergy themselves can incur, committing sins that cause scandal.

The exorcist can be a Good Samaritan -- but he is not the Good Samaritan -- as sin is a graver reality. A sinner who remains set in his sin is more wretched that one who is possessed. The conversion of heart is the most beautiful victory over the influence of Satan, against which the Sacrament of Reconciliation has an absolutely central importance, because in the mystery of the Redemption God has liberated us from sin, and gives us, when we have fallen, the restoration of his friendship.

The Sacraments have in truth a priority over the sacramentals, a category in which exorcisms are included, which are requested by the Church but not as a priority. If this approach is not considered, the risk exists of disturbing the faithful. Exorcism cannot be considered as the only defense against the action of the devil, but as a necessary spiritual means where the existence of specific cases of diabolic possession have been confirmed.

It seems that the possessed are more numerous in pagan countries, where the Gospel has not been disseminated and where magic practices are more widespread. In other places a cultural element endures where Christians conserve an indulgent tendency in regard to ancient forms of superstition. Moreover it must be considered that alleged cases of possession can be explained by present-day medicine and psychiatry, and that the solution to certain phenomena may consist in good psychiatric treatment. When a difficult case is manifested in practice it is necessary to get in contact with a psychologist and an exorcist; it is advisable to make use of psychiatrists of Catholic formation.

A course on these topics has recently been instituted in the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum. It also seems opportune to include such formation in seminaries, in a balanced and wise dimension, avoiding excesses and constrictions.

Cardinal Georges Cottier, O.P., Pro-theologian of the Pontifical Household

[Translation by ZENIT]


TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; General Discusssion; History; Moral Issues; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; church; exorcism; satan

1 posted on 01/22/2006 3:51:39 PM PST by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...


2 posted on 01/22/2006 3:53:04 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: NYer

Thanks for posting this GREAT article. I'm going to print it out and read it again.


3 posted on 01/22/2006 4:18:38 PM PST by TheCrusader ("The frenzy of the mohammedans has devastated the Churches of God" Pope Urban II ~ 1097A.D.)
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To: NYer

I was just thinking that too; thank you NYer for the great posts and pings.


4 posted on 01/22/2006 4:24:46 PM PST by kenth
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To: NYer

Just ordered a book called "The Deceiver" which is on Satan and how he works in our lives. I'll write to let you know how it is when it arrives.

F


5 posted on 01/22/2006 4:26:15 PM PST by Frank Sheed ("Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." ~GK Chesterton.)
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To: NYer

He is misunderestimating. The devil reads hearts and minds like an open book, and frequently writes in it and makes corrections.


6 posted on 01/22/2006 4:35:24 PM PST by GSlob
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To: NYer
With so much certainty of goings-on high, one would think all would be well with the world by now.

"If I knew God I'd be Him."

7 posted on 01/22/2006 6:29:47 PM PST by onedoug
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To: NYer; Frank Sheed
Great, yet chilling post, NYer!

Somewhere I read, perhaps in one of Amorth's books, that the Rite of Exorcism was altered or changed at Vat.II, and he felt that it was not as effective (for lack of a better word) as it once was.

Anyone heard of this?

Frank, your book sounds interesting. Keep us posted.

8 posted on 01/22/2006 7:24:39 PM PST by kstewskis ("There you go again..." R.R.)
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To: Frank Sheed

I have that book, Frank, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet (along with tons of other books). I hope to read it soon. It looks really good.


9 posted on 01/22/2006 8:39:08 PM PST by Pyro7480 (Sancte Joseph, terror daemonum, ora pro nobis!)
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To: Frank Sheed
Just ordered a book called "The Deceiver" which is on Satan and how he works in our lives. I'll write to let you know how it is when it arrives.

Thanks. Two of your recommendations are already on my amazon list :-)

10 posted on 01/22/2006 10:24:46 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: GSlob

Attempts to entice, harass, torment, compel, enslave, deceive, defile and weaken are sins of evil activity spawned by the evil one and/or his demons. Trying to control other people is a sign that evil's on the loose...


11 posted on 01/22/2006 10:33:34 PM PST by 185JHP ( "The thing thou purposest shall come to pass: And over all thy ways the light shall shine.")
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To: NYer
Thanks for posting this- I missed it in the news. I just finished "The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel" the original case study from which the movie "The Exorcism of Emily Rose was made. The book is far more harrowing and lethal that the (very truncated) plot in the movie. It's a very faith-strengthening read-it reminds one of the inescapable spiritual origin and nature of our world and our place as creatures in it.

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12 posted on 01/23/2006 12:33:50 AM PST by Antioch (Benedikt Gott Geschickt)
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To: kstewskis
Somewhere I read, perhaps in one of Amorth's books, that the Rite of Exorcism was altered or changed at Vat.II, and he felt that it was not as effective (for lack of a better word) as it once was.

Fr. Amorth said, plain and simply, it doesn't work. The exorcists themselves were not consulted when it was written and all the aspects of the old rite that truly drive demons out were removed.

13 posted on 01/23/2006 4:45:53 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: GSlob
He is misunderestimating. The devil reads hearts and minds like an open book, and frequently writes in it and makes corrections.

From what I understand it is true that demons can not read hearts and minds. But, the demons can closely monitor us and get to know us very closely so as to almost be able to read our minds kind of the way we can read the mind of someone very close to us only they are much more observant. They can throw thoughts into your mind which is one way they tempt us. So when combining the ability to throw thoughts into our mind and then watch our reaction, they get to know us very well.
14 posted on 01/23/2006 6:53:41 AM PST by goodform
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To: goodform

Devil can not only read hearts and minds, but write in them, too. This is reflected in the usage "and he put... in his heart". Reading most minds, however, is an incredibly boring proposition. So is writing in them, too - if one is to look at protocols of the witches' processes, then what was the devil putting in them?- mostly the things like drying the milk in the neighbor's cow, sophomoric pranks about making some girl's ex-boyfriend impotent, settling minor scores about regular quarrels in their small villages and other things of similar sophistication. From the devil one would expect more. Imagine having to write [on purpose] at the level of 5-year old. It is boring.


15 posted on 01/23/2006 7:41:19 AM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

I'm with you on the "put...in his heart" comment. I believe that is what I was trying to say by "throwing thoughts into our minds". But I'm not so sure about the "reading" part. I'm no expert on this, and I'm not trying to be combative with you. But this goes against things that I've heard, and read in the past. I'd be interested to see if there is official Catholic teaching on this.


16 posted on 01/23/2006 9:14:58 AM PST by goodform
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To: NYer

bttt


17 posted on 01/23/2006 7:24:50 PM PST by Coleus (IMHO, The IVF procedure is immoral & kills many embryos/children and should be outlawed)
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To: Desdemona
Fr. Amorth said, plain and simply, it doesn't work. The exorcists themselves were not consulted when it was written and all the aspects of the old rite that truly drive demons out were removed.

Now, that is frightening. I hate to think of what would truly happen in an authenticated case of demonic possession...what does one do then? (other than fly to Rome and consult Amorth!)

18 posted on 01/23/2006 8:33:26 PM PST by kstewskis ("There you go again..." R.R.)
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To: NYer

CARDINAL SAYS THAT GREATEST DANGER OF DEVIL IS NOT POSSESSION BUT TEMPTATION


19 posted on 01/23/2006 9:04:29 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: kstewskis
Now, that is frightening. I hate to think of what would truly happen in an authenticated case of demonic possession...what does one do then?

Use the old rite when a bishop will give permission and when he won't use it anyway. In the US, under some metropolitans, exorcists operate underground, so it doesn't matter if the exorcist receives permission or not. The bishops who actually have exorcists on staff (like they are supposed to), know the value of using the old rite, so they give permission.

The whole thing is really rather interesting.

20 posted on 01/24/2006 4:02:40 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: GSlob
Devil can not only read hearts and minds, but write in them, too.

No. Demons can see sin, and when one sins, one leaves oneself open to temptation. Demons will use sin against an exorcist or anyone at an exorcism, but they don't know what the person is thinking. This is why everyone at an exorcism has the Sacrament of Penance beforehand. Don't give the demons any weapons.

Remember, demons are not God, they are powers and principalities, mostly. Fallen angels. They chose that path and they want to take anyone they can with them, so they deceive and taunt and tempt until a good person gives in to evil.

21 posted on 01/24/2006 4:09:14 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: Desdemona

I'm working in B. L. Zebub's division as a part-timer, and you are telling me what he cannot do? Strange, to say the least.


22 posted on 01/24/2006 5:58:41 AM PST by GSlob
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