Skip to comments.[Catholic Caucus] Exclusive excerpt from Father Euteneuer's book on exorcism
Posted on 06/16/2010 3:24:59 PM PDT by mlizzy
Below is the Introduction to Exorcism and the Church Militant, a new book authored by Father Tom Euteneuer, president of Human Life International.
Introduction to Exorcism and the Church Militant:
Draw your strength from the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above. You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground. (Eph 6:10-13)The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ to fulfill a most dramatic mission; it is perhaps the most dangerous and exhilarating of missions ever entrusted to men. It is the mission of saving souls.
This mission cannot be accomplished without entering into conflict with "the world, the flesh and the devil." It is not a mission for the fainthearted or for those who wish to take the wide road to heaven. It is the path of warfare, of spiritual battle. And although we know that Our Lord has fought that battle before us, and won, every age of the Church must take up arms anew and fight it until the end of time. Let it be said with certainty that those who embrace wholeheartedly the Church's mission to save souls will live a difficult life, one full of challenges and at times real sorrows, but, at the same time, a life imbued with immense blessings that accrue only to those who risk everything for Christ. It is for those who "fight the good fight" for souls in hand-to-hand combat with the devil that this book is written, to support, encourage and strengthen them in their conflict with the forces of evil arrayed against man's salvation. Theirs is the work of the Church Militant.
The Real Power of Satan
In today's day and age, Satan is growing exponentially more powerful due to the enormity of human sinfulness, and the Church must confront his power either willingly or unwillingly. Satan is normally "hidden in the dark sea of human sin and error," like Leviathan of the Old Testament, but nowadays he is walking tall in powerful structures of sin like abortion, pornography, sex slavery, rapacious greed and terrorism. He flexes his muscles in the massive diffusion of errors and sinful practices like the doctrines of myriad false religions, pernicious ideologies like radical feminism and "pro-choice" extremism, the militant homosexual movement and the aggressive mass media which is the ministry of propaganda for Satan and all his works and all his empty promises.
Never in all of history have we seen evil promoted so effectively and the true good so roundly mocked and rejected as in this age of extreme technological prowess. Although evil has existed since the dawn of time and manifested itself to the world, the difference between the modern world and past generations is that Satan has a greater ability to use groups and institutions for increasing his wicked reach into human life and society. No longer is evil just practiced in the haunts of cemeteries, seedy parlors and hidden covens. Nowadays, objective evil is displayed out in the open air with impunity, celebrated in the public forum and strategized in plush board rooms. Whole industries and power groups are dedicated to its promotion and dissemination, and sometimes the sheer power of these industries of immorality defies imagination. They target the younger generations with an immense seductive force, and the young are almost entirely unequipped to deal with this tyranny of sin due to unparalleled attacks on faith, marriage, family and innocent human life in modern times. Not only do young people not know the truth about their salvation; they don't even know that they don't know it.
The 21st century is a moral and spiritual battlefield of such immense proportions that no era of human history will have ever seen a war like it. Satan is using the cumulative force of this world's sinfulness to re-define life as we know it. Now, this war is not just against trained combatants. It is total war against all that is sacred and natural. It is a war against humanity itself, something unseen before in all of history with the possible exception of atheistic Communism.
The devil now arrogates to himself the right to control the totality of human existence even in so-called free societies: from manipulating the very act of creation (in vitro fertilization, cloning, Human Genome); to the authority over life and death (abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia); to the definition of human sexuality and marriage (birth control, divorce, homosexual unions); to the very prospect of human annihilation (nuclear war, genocide and the impending New World Order). Nothing escapes the rebellious forces of hedonism and secularism in their violent march through our world. They creep into the fabric of our lives and families like a vapor until they have poisoned the entire environment and make everyone believe that their toxicity is "normal." If the measure of a war's ferociousness is the number of casualties, the modern war to exterminate souls is unprecedented in the history of humanity; it is nothing short of history's worst nuclear holocaust in spiritual terms.
Malachi Martin, in the 1992 preface to his book, Hostage to the Devil, said that "ritualistic Satanism and its inevitable consequence, demonic Possession, are now part and parcel of the atmosphere of life in America....such pervasive cultural desolation is the most fertile ground one could possibly imagine for the causes of Possession to take root and flourish in almost unimpeded freedom." It must be kept in mind that such a frightening observation was made at a time before the advent of the Internet, the massive diffusion of New Age beliefs and the Harry Potter books and movies. Martin's observations suggest that this evil is so all-encompassing that only the authority of God Himself, borne and administered by the Church, is adequate to meet this challenge.
The Authority of the Church Militant
We know from our catechism that the whole Church of Christ is not confined just to this earthly realm. The battle against Satan has already been won in heaven and purgatory, and only in this earthly realm is the devil allowed to work. God, in His Mercy, certainly has not abandoned us to the forces of evil, though. There is one spiritual force on earth that can counter the hubris of Satan and his apostate angels and conquer them. That force is the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," which, in my opinion, has been singularly unprepared for and unengaged in the hard work of spiritual warfare since the Second Vatican Council. By this I mean that if the institutional Church on earth were ever to train its members to be spiritual combatants and aggressively apply its great authority against the power of evil in this world, the evils mentioned above would simply not be able to exist in their potency or scope. As it is, the Church has yet to seriously enter the battle and become what it is called to be, namely, the Church Militant.
The hour is late, Satan's forces are already assembled, and the Church's army and its officers must stir for battle. The trumpet call of Christ our Commander beckons. Souls are at stake, and the devil's only real hope for victory is that the Church will sit this one out. The devil certainly "knows that his time is short" and would be much shorter should the Church of Christ ever take the call to spiritual warfare seriously. When our Lord healed a paralytic by forgiving his sins and restoring him to health, the Gospel said that "a feeling of awe came over the crowd, and they praised God for giving such authority to men." Indeed, that spiritual authority has been given to the men of the Church for the protection, sanctification and saving of souls it only has to be used.
Goals of this work
First goal: to communicate a proper understanding of exorcism
The transformation of exorcism into a popular cultural phenomenon in recent decades has led to a major distortion of both the Church's mission to expel demons and the power of the devil. A main concern of this present work is the taking back of this important pastoral ministry of the Church from the realm of the internet, movies and tabloids and placing it back in the hands of priests where it belongs the true officers of the Church Militant.
Exaggerated pop images of exorcism falsely define people's understanding of the Church's ancient ritual that is meant to liberate victims of the devil from these very deceptions. Popular movies like The Exorcist (1973) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), while containing some truthful elements, have done very little to present a correct picture of exorcism itself. These movies and others, for the sake of sensationalizing the power of the devil, present the Church and her priests as being the underdogs in a fight against the devil and oftentimes as weak or reluctant combatants. While there are certainly moments of heroism depicted in these movies, the devil is shown as powerful and tantalizing, sort of like one who always seems to have the upper hand against the Church. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Exorcists are never in a position of subjugation to the evil one during the course of an exorcism, nor is the devil ever entertaining and enthralling like he is portrayed in the movies. He is pure evil, and that is never lost on the one who has to face him down in a possession.
A correct understanding of exorcism can also divest many people of a dangerous fascination with the occult. No sane person who truly understands the nature of demons would be fascinated with them or their works. Due to its mysterious nature, exorcism will never be totally removed from popular distortions or fear, but priests can assure that the Church's rightful patrimony is understood by the faithful and people who need sacramental assistance against demons. The priest's work is to fortify Christians to "reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises."
The organization of the chapters in this book is meant to introduce people to the diverse dimensions of exorcism. Through a discussion of the nature of Christ's high-priestly ministry of exorcism, the nature of the demonic forces that afflict men and the rightful authority of the Church over evil, readers will understand better the theological and pastoral dimensions of exorcism. Furthermore, I have made every attempt to rely on only the most reputable sources on exorcism from the tradition and modern writings that are tested and orthodox. I pray that this work will become a resource for many in their fight against the forces of evil.
Second goal: to motivate priests
Exorcism is best understood in the context of evangelization and the care of souls, and, as such, is the proper office of ordained Catholic priests. As such, the second purpose of this work is precisely to help Catholic priests recognize that exorcism is a normal and very important form of pastoral ministry in the care of souls. In times to come, priests will be increasingly called upon to expel real demons from truly demonically-afflicted individuals who have, in one way or another, fallen into the seductions and empty promises of the master deceiver.
Occult influences have been unleashed into our modern world like the emptying of a demonic Pandora's Box of unclean spirits. The popularity of the New Age movement, the rise of Satanism as an organized and institutionalized force, the flood of satanic video games and Heavy Metal music, the massive diffusion of occult terminology and images through the immensely-popular Harry Potter series and other youth-targeted entertainments, like the rash of modern vampire movies, assure that Catholic priests will be very busy in the next decade.
To aid priests in a proper understanding of the nature of exorcism, one chapter explains how exorcisms are actually conducted, which may help to take away some of the mysticism or fear related to a ritual that any priest can perform (with the proper authorization). I also attempt to provide some clarity in the nebulous area of differences between the ministries of exorcism, deliverance and healing and some practical rules for discernment of ambiguous cases. Chapter 7 will show priests that exorcism is a truly pastoral ministry, worthy of their engagement, and will give them principles and best practices for helping their parishioners discern the presence and power of evil in their lives. It concludes with some of my personal recommendations for resources on spiritual warfare and discernment which will be helpful to any priest wishing to give people guidance and direction in these matters. The bibliography included at the end of this book will be a resource for information on exorcism and deliverance.
This book is essentially for priests, but it may be read with benefit by any lay person who is interested in spiritual warfare. It offers only one priest's point of view but has been written after fairly extensive consultation with other priests in the ministry and attempts to be as comprehensive as possible on the subject while keeping the text relatively short and readable. I have organized six of the seven chapters in a short question and answer format to facilitate the book's use as an ongoing reference source, and not just something that is read from cover-to-cover. The detailed Index and Table of Contents are given for this same purpose.
As in all things related to faith and morals, I submit my views on these matters to the final judgment of the Church's Magisterium and welcome any feedback and correction from priests, more capable than I, who are involved in this ministry. We can all benefit from further fraternal dialogue on these matters. It is my thesis that the devil's spiritual warfare on our flocks will intensify as the years proceed and that all Christians, but especially priests, will have no choice but to engage more deeply in the spiritual battle for souls. There is no time like the present to begin the training. Read more... [emphasis/link; mine]
Also Hostage to the Devil is a sobering read, got a copy from the local library many years ago. Gives insights on how this happens. And those undergoing exorcism DO seem to know unconfessed sins of participants and other odd phenomena, speaking in a real foreign language, levitating, horrible manifestations in bodies. Also eerie were that a couple psychiatrists present, the multiple entities possessing the person would say "he belongs to us."
I don't dwell on this subject much at all as I got sick while watching the Exorcist many years ago. I went with a neighbor (a little against my better judgment), started feeling feverish/sickish mid-way through, went to a restaurant and was feeling ill. Came home and had a temp, waited a couple days, got a terrible pain in my side and ended up in the ER. Turned out to be a kidney infection, never had one in my life before, was very sick and in bed for 2 weeks, think I took Naprosin to get rid of it.
Few priests in America would take this seriously, doubt they could get permission from the local bishop to perform one.
I (this Mac keyboard is driving me nutz - processor fan on PC not working so can't use that one very long). I used to think of building a little grotto, gave up on it, but glad you were inspired to do so, must have been a reason.
I fear I am right, think they don't want to go out on a limb. A layperson ought not to be casting anything out like so many protestant types tend to do (not the mainstream ones; they have other issues tho), asking for trouble, but no reason you can't pray your way thru, nothing too far out though. I truly believe Jesus delegated that authority only to priests and for good reason after reading what the scriptures have to say about it, but modernists don't take any of that literally about seizures and the rest of it. I do but don't go around accusing anyone of it.
At RCIA right B4 confirmation I half-jokingly and half-seriously said that I was worried about the exorcism. A priest joked about it and said they'd just use extra holy water on me. Everybody laughed, but I was not amused. Guess what followed is too personal but now have sense enough not to bring it up because of scoffers, don't manifest any of the more serious symptoms thankfully, but I truly believe my whole family is oppressed and have some pretty good clues why, just can't be sure.
ABC has an interesting article going about 911 victims' families and spiritual manifestations of their dead loved ones. I learned way back not to pray or seek anything from the dead. I do, however, believe that God in his infinite power and wisdom will occasionally give you a sign or manifestation (not to be confused with spiritualism), have heard too many cases. BUT there's NO PROOF who it really is. The Evil One and his minions have a lot of hidden knowledge, too, and can deceive and appear as whomever. I don't have the gift of discernment, but often those spontaneous experiences, if not relied on overmuch can be comforting and bring a feeling of peace.
Oops. Mod, please delete my duplicate post if it isn’t too much trouble. Tnx.
Roman Catholic tradition BTTT
Thank you for posting this. I have been waiting for this to come out.
Strangely, I found myself repeating the Hail Mary until it became a chant. Being a recent convert to Catholicism, I had yet to accept the Catholic doctrines concerning Mary and considered any form of Marian devotion to be idolatry. Though I had never before prayed a Hail Mary in my life, I suddenly found myself incapable of any other form of prayer. Somehow, Mary's intercessions allowed me to find peace during that long night; I knew that I had survived the worst and that I would exit with my faith intact. It terrified me to recall how close I came to turning away from Christ out of fear ... --Link.P.S. That's our new grotto, btw. Still much work to be done with tall plantings (fencing) to enclose and backdrop Mary, but it's a nice start. (My friendly robin buddy came as I was taking pictures, but right when I clicked the shutter, he flew away. :):))
We don't have a grotto, but we do have a small prayer chapel in our home. I inherited this altar from a dear friend, a retired Byzantine priest. He said Divine Liturgy daily on this altar in his spare bedroom after he retired:
A priest I knew worked on some exorcisms. He said the satanic spirit controlling the person told him things about himself that no one could know.
Oh, that is beautiful Dr. Kopp. Thank you for posting the photograph. All that’s missing is The Eucharistic Lord.:):) My husband once asked his brother (the priest!) if we could have Adoration at our home, and he said we couldn’t, but, of course, nothing wrong with a prayer chapel. I’m inspired!
A priest I knew worked on some exorcisms. He said the satanic spirit controlling the person told him things about himself that no one could know.Some dismiss the devil as not being powerful (but as you state, a priest knows better!). The priest is always more powerful, though, and I'm sure Fr. Euteneuer's book will encourage hopefully many to join him in his quest.
I word from experience for anyone seeking information on exorcism. BE CAREFUL. Strange things can start to happen. It happened to me. Still does from time to time if I seek out information on evil, even if my intentions are to know how to defend myself. Go to confession regularly and adoration if possible. Wear a crucifix, scapular and say a Rosary daily. This is major league serious stuff. I’m not kidding. Satan will try to use the interest in the subject against you. And if it’s sounds like I’m purposefully trying to scare people - I am. Even reading up on freemasonry can be a problem.
A word. Jeez. Time for bed.
That’s all very good advice! Spending time seeking out info on exorcisms can be better spent at daily Mass in the pews of a Catholic Church (or Adoration as you state), but praying for more priests to exorcise demons is always a good thing to do ...
Thanks for snapping the photo!
No, I didn't know that about Jindal at all or that he was Catholic. Eerie there with the syncretism, voodoo and so much else, debauchery, not that it isn't most everywhere now. Some exorcisms take so long and exhausting for all. Jesus got them out fast, but he did say some required fasting. Maybe the one of which you speak wasn't so involved. Well, if a cross was blessed by the pope, that would be ok. I am too much of a strict legalist, but I firmly believe when people do their best and have the right intention in their heart, God may not be so strict about some of it. Playing fast and loose with the mass and it was like they deliberately went out of their way to flaunt the rules, it bothered me so much, I wondered if they were illicit, made me so uncomfortable some of the things they did once I caught on which I didn't notice some of it at first. A little mistake doesn't bother me or something the priest or servers do they can't help. One priest read the consecration part twice, lost his place. LOL, I just figured it would be twice as blessed for me, hoped anyway. 3 times I've received two hosts. Probably humidity.
No man but a priest will lay hands on me and pray ever again though, and I did that when I didn't know any better, sure don't now unless I'm rubbing some holy water on someone, haven't done that for awhile.
That's all history now; I don't go any more. Personal. I didn't totally lose my faith, but it's been hard to hang on. I had more faith B4 I became a Catholic believe it or not, even though I learned and still believe a lot of what I learned during my Catholic sojourn.
As to a battle of wills between Jindal and the president, I don't like to say my opinion any more because I think you can guess. It does appear to be a partisan thing, and Jindal was right. Petty when so much is at stake. Sick of it. Was better off when I didn't care about politics.
Praying to Mary is now an issue for me, said hundreds of rosaries B4. Made tons of cord rosaries for missions and some beautiful beaded ones including a Mexican ladder rosary with silver links. Other things started bothering me. Don't like to talk about it. So I get around it by asking God through Jesus Christ that if there are any saints in heaven that would be willing to pray for me, would he please ask them to and I'd be honored? The more the better. Believe there are thousands there we know nothing about because they aren't in any hagiography, just obscure and unknown to us. God knows each and every one.
I wonder what the Eastern & Russian Orthodox do about exorcism, don't remember reading anything about that and have made many comparisons between east and west, differences to be sure, but far more in common.
I had a dream about Obama some nights back; he was more humble, and I didn't feel any hostility toward him in the dream, wanted his autograph but didn't actually get one, nothing religious in it. Then a few nights later, I was talking in my sleep and witnessing to President Clinton. Just something very simple and basic about the faith from the bible, believe in your heart and confress that Jesus is Lord was about it. Weird. Hope that stops lol.
I don’t think the devil is powerful at all. I believe people let him or his minions in.
The Bible clearly states that there is enmity between us and him.
A lot of people don't know that there are long and short versions of the Prayer to St. Michael.
I sent a friend at our TLM a copy of the longer version, and when he discussed it with our pastor, our pastor actually recommended against laity using the longer version, because the longer version is much more akin to exorcism prayers, which should be reserved to the priest, implying that there was a danger in laity attempting any kind of exorcism itself.
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