In 1973, The Exorcist movie- loosely based on Roland Doe’s exorcism- was released. It featured scenes of the demon Pazuzu levitating, growling and spinning the head of the victim. Several other movie plots and literature have toured a similar story line.
Scenes of possessed victims (usually females) levitating in the air, spinning their heads, cursing in foreign languages or spewing nails at the sloshing of the holy water from the priest is a common thread in movies like The Exorcist III, Requiem, The Last Exorcism, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite, The Conjuring etc. These movies created a social neurosis that gave people a twisted notion about deliverance, and that only Catholic priests had the sceptre to deal with demons.
For years, the position of the “higher-up” Vatican intellectuals was that Satan and demons were Medieval myths made up to fill the pews. Joseph Fitzmyer, in his comments on Mark 9:1-29 where Jesus rebuked a demon wrote:
“A demon is invoked to explain the cause of the sickness or disaster that people of that time could not explain or diagnose properly…Recall, too, how Jesus is said to ‘rebuke’ the fever of Simon’s mother-in-law (Lk 4:39; cf Mk 1:31, Mt 8:15) i.e he is regarded as having rebuked the spirit protologically considered to be causing the high fever…Undoubtedly Jesus shared some of the protological thinking himself, being a child of his time.” (A Christological Catechism, 1991, 59-60)
This was not an obscure book; it had the Vatican’s Imprimi Potest and Nihil Obstat. Fitzmyer himself was a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, yet he found it convenient to accuse the Lord Jesus of “protological thinking.” It tells how really bad the state of affairs is in the Vatican.
Another Catholic priest wrote:
“The N[ew] T[estament] contains many references and allusions to the devil, demons, and unclean spirits…” He then throws in the party line: “Some of these references are poetic metaphor and hyperbole” (The New Dictionary of Theology, 275). For a religion that dismisses creationism for evolution, pushing demons into the closet of poetic metaphor can’t be that difficult.
On the other side of the divide, more Catholics are owning up about the demonic infestations in their lives which had hitherto been muffled with smells and bells. This has forced some of the Vatican hierarchy to begin to admit the obvious.
Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the head of the International Association of Exorcists, appealed to the pope to “give all priests the power to carry out exorcisms and to ensure priests are properly trained for these starting with the seminary. There’s a huge demand for them.” (Charisma News, May 30, 2013).
In order to handle the epidemic of demon possessions among Catholics, one of the biggest diocese in Europe has set up an “exorcist hotline” in Milan. Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni, the chief exorcist, said “the service has been set up in response to increasing numbers of requests from worshippers…” He added that one of these exorcists was reportedly dealing with as many as 120 cases every day (Daily Mail, October, 2013).
In 2014, the Vatican finally gave its official approval to the International Association of Exorcists. They now train priests and students on how to conduct exorcisms. Apparently, Rome is now being forced to name the elephant in the room.
The Games Exorcists Play
Exorcism is said to be a sacrament administered to those demon possessed. The Catholic Catechism says: “When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism” (par. 1673).
Exorcism is basically a ritual. It often starts with the priest touching the neck of the possessed one with the hem of his purple stole and holding his hand on his/her forehead saying: “Ecce crucem Domini” (“Behold the cross of the Lord”). In 1999, the Vatican issued a new rite of exorcism in which the use of Latin is optional. Now, an exorcism must be conducted with approval from a bishop, and only when there is proof that demons are present within the person. Otherwise, the applicant is to be handed over to a psychiatrist, medical doctor or a parish priest for “counseling.”
To anyone who knows about demonology, this rule is ludicrous. Demons do hide and mask their presence under medical terms. Many of them do not manifest unless their rights to live in their hosts are challenged with the power of Christ. So how can a psychiatrist differentiate between mental illness and a demon of mental illness?
Catholic texts say demon possession is detected when a person speaks foreign languages; has supernatural abilities (or knowledge); shows aversion to anything “holy” (e.g crucifixes, statues of Mary or the Eucharist) and spews blasphemies. This “detection system” is more rooted superstitions and vague ideas than facts. First, it ignores the primary stage called demonic oppression in which demons only latch to a person’s body or soul. A person who is demonically oppressed could be enslaved to a sinful habit (like pornography); he doesn’t speak foreign languages or have supernatural abilities, yet he still needs to have the demons kicked out.
Second, the idea that a crucifix or “holy water” scare demons is a demonic delusion reinforced into the minds of Catholics. There is no object invented by mankind that can scare demon spirits. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God” (2Cor 10:4). Since demons are non-physical beings, they can only be fought with spiritual weapons effective by divine power.
In 2006, I read a “prayer warfare” book authored by a Nigerian Catholic priest. Each chapter was on how to use candles, holy water, rosaries etc. to deal with demons. He said the holy water is the Spirit of God in liquid form and that buried charms can be detonated with a crucifix in hand (like those Nollywood flicks). The book is laced with stories of different “saints” e.g the “saint” who changed a big devil dog into a helpless puppy by beating it with a rosary – stories that make you laugh because you just don’t want to cry.
Exorcism is not Biblical. It is an occult ritual found in many ancient magical texts and later in Catholic ritual books. The only “exorcists” in the Bible who tried to use the name of Jesus in a magical way were not truly saved, and therefore had no spiritual authority. They got beaten up by the demonized man (Acts 19:13-19). Rituals are of no spiritual value and do not chase out demons.
Chief exorcist, Fr. Amorth says demons threaten him: “Tonight, I’m going to put a serpent between your sheets” to which he responds, “I’ve got the Madonna [Mary] on my side. I am called Gabriel. Go fight the Archangel Gabriel if you will.” What a heady stuff. He says the demons leave the people because they say “I am dying, I am dying. You are killing me; you have won. All priests are murderers” (Sunday Telegraph, Oct 29, 2000). This alone shows the extent of deception into which Catholic exorcists themselves have fallen. Little wonder Fr. Amorth boasts of having sent 170,000 demons to hell. Such a great lifetime achievement.
The grim reality is that the liturgy of Rome is powerless to deal with demons. In the 1970s, Annelese Michel a demon possessed lady, was exorcised by priests for almost 70 days. She ended up becoming worse and finally died of starvation. The excuse was that she had “talked of dying as a martyr.” Some bishops even said she was never possessed.
Michael Taylor was exorcised by Catholic priests who claimed to have removed 40 demons. But when he got home, he murdered his wife and their dog and was later found wandering aimlessly on the streets. In 1982, Pope John Paul II performed exorcism on a girl from Spoletto; she gained only temporary relief.
During a general audience with Pope John Paul II on September 6, 2000, a 19 year old girl flew into a rage and began to scream insults at him in a raspy, masculine and demonic voice. After attempts to calm her with a medal of the Virgin Mary and a crucifix failed, the pope spent an hour trying to cast out her demon without success. He promised to offer a mass for her the next day and sent her to Fr. Amorth. He too failed. The demon bragged “not even the head of your church can send me out” (Christianity Today, Nov. 13, 2000). Fr. Amorth later admitted the girl was still being exorcised weekly in Milan and monthly in Italy. Obviously, the men in robes don’t have in reality the power attributed to them by Hollywood.
Recently, a Polish priest received a text message after he failed to cast out the demons from a teenage girl which reads: “She will not come out of this hell. She’s mine. Anyone who prays for her will die.”
Similarly, in 2013, Pope Francis exorcised a Mexican man, publicly. The man later said, “I still have the demons inside me, they have not gone away.” After his exorcism, he started to fall into trances during which he blasphemed and spoke in unknown languages. “I could not sleep and when I managed to sleep I had terrible nightmares connected with the evil one” he said.
This man had undergone 30 exorcisms by 10 different priests, including Fr. Amorth, the man who claims to have “sent 170,000 demons to hell.” (The Christian Post May 31, 2013). Where in Scripture did Jesus or the apostles organize 30 exorcisms to set people free? In fact, Romanism seems to attract demons to those deep into it. “St.” Teresa of Avila wrote:
“Once, while approaching to receive communion, I saw with my soul’s eyes more clearly than with my bodily eyes two devils whose appearance was more abominable. It seems to me their horns were wrapped around the priest’s throat…” (The Collected Works of St Teresa, 1:38:23)
“St” Gemma also wrote of seeing a demon as “a giant of great height” who hit her on the head and said “You are in my hands!” Today, there are also cases of demon possessed priests and nuns. Mother Teresa was exorcised by archbishop Henry D’Couzas prior to her death to cast out her many demons. In the book, The Rite: The Making of an Exorcist by Matt Baglio (which inspired the movie, The Rite), there was a case of a possessed nun who had been seeing an exorcist for 9 years. In the movie version, the exorcist priest himself became possessed with a client’s demons.
A Prison of Unclean Spirits
“And he cried out with a mighty voice saying: ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of ever unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev 18:2)
There is a strong link between “Babylon the great” and Roman Catholicism. This has some similarities with Babel. The original purpose of its inhabitants was to build a “city and a tower whose top may reach heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” (Gen 11:4). The city was a political strategy while the tower functioned as a religious enterprise, a means of reaching heaven. Here, we see a union of the throne and altar; the state and the church. The kings were regarded as gods just like the pope, who wields political and religious control over nations.
The system of Babel was an attempt of man to reach up to God. It was a religion of self effort. On the contrary, God had to come to man; mankind couldn’t reach Him. No reconciliation to God or entrance to heaven was possible apart from the full payment of sin’s penalty God’s justice demanded- an infinite penalty that finite man could never pay. God Himself had to come as a sinless Man to pay this price. No human effort could play any part in man’s salvation.
Babel’s aim was to unify the people under a one world government and religion. This is being played out today by Catholicism’s agenda to bring all religions and nations under the pope.
What makes Catholicism a hotbed for demons?
I. It incorporates occult practices. This include image worship, consulting with familiar spirits (disguised as “Virgin Mary and the saints”) and various rituals. These sins are entry points for demonic invasion and unless they are renounced, the demons stand on their grounds.
II. Many of its emblems and structures are occult. The obelisk in St. Peter’s square is an emblem of Baal and the male organ. The 8 pointed circle around it represents “mother earth” and the female organ. Both combination stands for fertility rites. The pope faces this emblem whenever he is addressing the people.
High on the wall of St. Peter’s church in Rome is a huge, golden sun burst image right above the high altar. The monstrance which Catholics bow to is also sun-shaped. Sun worship is an old form of demonism. A 33 degree Mason wrote:
“The adoration of the sun was one of the earliest and most natural forms of religious expression…Among all the nations of antiquity, altars, mounds and temples were dedicated to the worship of the orb of the day…The sun became the Bull in Taurus…worshipped in Egypt as Apis and in Assyria as Bel, Baal or Bul.” (Manly Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, 49)
III. It teaches a false Christ. Wherever Jesus the True Light is absent, there you have darkness and Satan resides in darkness. When a religion preaches “another Christ,” it also has “another gospel” and this false gospel is backed up by demons. By worshipping the false Christ in the Eucharist, Catholics open themselves up to “another spirit.” (2Cor 11:4) Even if the demons had left before, they return into them through the mass.
IV. It teaches false doctrines. Jesus said “ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (Jh 8:32). For a person to be truely set free, he must first know the truth- not a church or a rite. All false doctrines originate from Satan, the father of lies. When a person persists in unbiblical doctrines and rebels against the Bible, he remains in demonic bondage.
V. It offers a convenient shield to different facets of paganism and the occult. This explains why strong Catholic countries and regions have higher rates of witchcraft.
Recently, a massive nationwide exorcism (Exorcismo Magno), the first of its kind, was performed on Mexico from the cathedral of San Luis Potosi. The archbishop said this was because violence, Satanism and witchcraft was too rampant in Mexico (a Catholic dominated country) so they drove out the demons behind it from the whole country (EWTN News, June, 16, 2015). Seriously? I guess this was why the Pope couldn’t drive out demons from an individual.
The trappings of Catholicism makes the occult appealing to Catholics, and as they dabble into satanism and New Age occultism, the rate of demon possession rises. In a homily Pope Francis said:
“The Christian life is combat; a beautiful combat because God wins in every steps of our lives, it fills us with joy and great happiness.”
To many who have found left Rome and have found spiritual freedom in Christ, this little jingle rings hollow. And to those still trapped in Rome’s cage, undergoing exorcisms 30 times or for 9 years, such “beautiful combat” or “great happiness” the pope speaks of are too nebulous to be experienced. Even when Rome’s exorcism seem to be effective, it reinforces the delusion that Catholics should stay in Rome’s dirty birdcage. Besides, when people do not have the Holy Spirit or persist in Catholic practices which are unbiblical, the demons easily find their way back in.
The answer is to leave Rome and accept the True Jesus and follow the Bible. He has given authority to all believers over Satan and all powers of darkness. Once the enemy’s grounds have been repented of, one can exercise this authority in Jesus’ name and send the devil’s imps out of one’s life (Lk. 10:19).