In these perilous times when we are bereft of clergy and so few instructions have been left to us on how to defend ourselves against the Devil, all knowledge of how to protect ourselves is precious. In their work, The Devil, Rev. Bernard Leeming S. J. and Rev. Walter Farrell, O.P., give us some insights on how to spot his operation and guard against the temptations he offers us. This information is more important today than ever before.
Of course we know Satan lost Heaven through pride, and that is why it is the queen of all vices. He could not stand the idea that Someone was greater than he was, Someone who could direct his will and command obedience. This was revolting to him and was why he in turn revolted. We know pride when we see it because it is the sin that holds all others in contempt and believes its bearer alone has all the answers. It will not be called out, it cannot be wrong, it bases its beliefs solely on its own opinions, it obeys no one and it will not be contradicted or rebuked. It is pride, the authors note, which “is a complete barrier to social life, to common effort and common goals.” And how could it be otherwise, for the Devil’s primary goal is to prevent the faithful’s cooperation in the life of Christ’s Mystical Body on earth.
The authors continue: [Hell] is a group of [people] bound together only by the foulness of their common disease…not…their common suffering and a merciful appreciation of the misery of the other, but by the one factor of foulness. This would be no community at all for the very foulness would repel any intimacy… Hell is not so much a community as a horde of the damned. It is not only that evil is no bond of union, but is a barrier of all intimacy… In hell, truth, love, accomplishment have no place. There the lie holds full sway, hatred is in full command, complete and rampant injustice makes every individual a relentless enemy of all, and despair is the common air everyone breathes.” And reading this it must strike the reader that we are very close in this life to experiencing hell on earth. For our own well-being, and for the sake of others it is important to know how the devil gains access to the soul and manipulates it.
Scholastic philosophy assigns to the soul the task of commanding the imagination and sensibility, informed by reason enlightened by truth. “This interaction between the faculties affects also the will, whose decisions may be influenced very strongly, by the attractions brought to bear on it from the side of the sensibility,” Farrell and Leeming explain. It has to do with the “vital movement” of the nervous system, analogous to sensibility (a faculty of the soul), and “permits the transmission of the commands of the will to the body and its movements. It is this union that is weakened by mental disorders, for these are definable as disorders of the nervous system, carrying ipso facto a disorder of the same importance into the sensibility, and resulting, at the limit, in madness. Then the will finds all machinery of command put out of action and no longer controls either the sensibility or the nervous system, which are both abandoned to their only two alternatives of dazed depression or furious excitement.”
Jean Lehrmitte, in Soundings on Satanism, by various authors, described hysteria as pseudo possession. Some have pointed to guilt obsessions as preparing the soil of the imagination for possession. Yet his theory is called into question by another author in the same book, F.M. Catherinet. Writing on the many demoniacs cured by Christ that are recorded in the Gospels, Catherinet boldly stated that “all true diabolic possession is accompanied, in fact and by a quasi-necessity, by mental or nervous troubles amplified or produced by the demon.” (And the Devil’s means of amplifying these nervous troubles has been greatly assisted today by the wide variety and availability of both prescription and illegal drugs, which induce relaxed mental states he can easily manipulate.) So the Evil One can either exacerbate such mental states, thereby installing himself at this point of least resistance, or actually produce them — either out of whole cloth or aided by the use of psychoactive drugs/narcotics — to gain access to the intellect. By the time such a malady comes to the attention of a psychiatrist, it seems likely that it already has advanced sufficiently to admit of such demonic installation. Catherinet admitted the capability of psychiatrists to identify the mental condition, but denied them the right to exclude the possibility of possession. “The doctor… if he enjoys the light of faith, will never exclude a priori, and in some cases may well suspect the presence and action of some occult power behind the malady,” he wrote.
As Pope St. Pius X, quoting Pope Leo XIII, stated in condemning the Modernists: “If you carefully search for the cause of errors, you will find that it lies in the fact that in these days, when the natural sciences absorb so much study, the more severe and lofty studies have been proportionately neglected… They have been disfigured by perverse doctrines and monstrous errors.” But Catholics dealing with those suffering from what they term to be the signs of possession should not automatically assume possession is the primary problem. A psychiatric evaluation should be obtained because many mental illnesses can mimic the signs and symptoms of possession. Mental patients, Fr. Rosen says, are subject to possession and possession may well coexist. But the mental condition should also be treated and drugs administered often can minimize at least the more aggressive manifestations of possession. And in treating the mental condition, recovery is possible and the better management or the disappearance of the evil one could result, with prayer and proper care of the patient.
But psychotropic drugs should be the last resort. In a world where serial murders and sexual crimes are legion, where murders in families have escalated dramatically, where drug use, both of street and pharmaceutical varieties is not only rampant but is condoned, how is it possible that cases of possession have not likewise increased exponentially? The “insanity” explosion, whether contrived or legitimate, has occasioned a plethora of these pharmaceuticals especially designed to alleviate the symptoms without “curing” the insanity. In this way no one will appear inhumane while the cycle is being perpetuated. By drugging a large sector of the population, whether the medium is “street” or prescription drugs, “artificial exhaustion” can be induced and as one author writing on brainwashing observed, “loyalties can be definitely rearranged,” (Goff).
Here we find the disassociation of the sensibilities from the will described above by Farrell and Leeming. Those who try to blow the whistle must be laughed to scorn, induced to commit suicide, (eliminated) or labeled insane themselves. We have seen the creation of a “Prozac nation,” and the success of the massive propaganda used to promote the safe and effective use of these mind-stultifying drugs. The profit for pharmaceutical companies is astronomical, and the physicians working hand in hand with them also benefit, in more ways than one. This is true because it is impossible to accurately predict the long-term side effects of many of the psychoactive drugs now in vogue, especially where children are the patients. Consequently, doctors will treat more patients simply for side effects than they ever treated before these drugs became available.
In the appendix to Rev. Delaporte’s work, The Devil, Rev. Szymanski did mention as requisite to determining the existence of non-obvious possession — a sign also seized upon by another author, Woollen — the existence of dual personality. People who desire to do good things and are repeatedly prevented from them by a certain “something inside;” many people who medicate legally or illegally just to “feel normal” are evidencing signs of an alien intelligence deep within that inhibits their freedom. People who seem to have lost the ability to effectively direct their will into truly Catholic/Christian channels, despite their desires to do so may be experiencing this unimaginable horror. Rev. Szymanski also affirmed diabolical possession could exist almost without any of the obvious signs usually associated with this state. Below are his further writings on this subject where he explains that even laymen can exorcise the demons.
Fr. Domonic Szymanski’s instruction in its entirety can be downloaded at: https://archive.org/details/devildoesheexist00dela
Long Saint Michael’s Prayer
(For private devotion)
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered.
Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient sermon, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
V/ Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
R/ The Lion of the Tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
V/ Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
R/ As we have hoped in Thee.
V/ O Lord hear my prayer.
R/ And let my cry come unto Thee.
V/ Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls. R/ Amen.
(The faithful are encouraged to say these prayers loudly, forcefully, authoritatively, but reverently, with as many people (preferably Catholic) present as possible. Those present should pray for the one exorcising prior to the recitation of the prayers. The one exorcising should say a Perfect Act of Contrition, Spiritual Communion, Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity and the Apostles Creed, also the above St. Michael’s prayer before proceeding.)
© Copyright 2022, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)