This past Friday I was speaking with a priest whose ministry involves deliverance from evil spirits in peoples lives. The fact is, Satan is real, demons are real, and spiritual warfare is real. He said he receives 10-12 phone calls every day from people who believe they are being affected by demons in some way or other and are seeking spiritual help from the Church.
He went on to say that he always asks them, “Have you spoken to your pastor about this?”. Note that the vast majority of the people are Catholic and their “pastor” in this case is a Roman Catholic priest. He told me that the number 1 response he receives is: “Yes. I’ve spoken to him and he said he doesn’t believe in demons.” Let that sink in for a moment.
So if there are no demons, then Jesus must have (a) LIED to us, and (b) been INSANE/DELUSIONAL because he believed that He, Himself, was delivering people from demonic possession.
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All of the Popes have spoken on the matter but here are some quotes from Pope Francis to think about but, then again, maybe those priests would simply say that the Pope is also a liar or is a lunatic/delusional: (note - all emphasis is mine)
“When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.”
“The Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ. Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here … even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naive, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”
“It is enough to open a newspaper and we see that around us there is the presence of evil, the Devil is at work. But I would like to say in a loud voice ‘God is stronger.’ Do you believe this, that God is stronger?”
“The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil.”
“The devil plants evil where there is good, trying to divide people, families and nations. But God … looks into the ‘field’ of each person with patience and mercy: he sees the dirt and the evil much better than we do, but he also sees the seeds of good and patiently awaits their germination.”
“Let us always remember… that the Adversary wants to keep us separated from God and therefore instills disappointment in our hearts when we do not see our apostolic commitment immediately rewarded. Every day the devil sows the seeds of pessimism and bitterness in our hearts. … Let us open ourselves to the breath of the Holy Spirit, who never ceases to sow seeds of hope and confidence.”
“He always pretends to be polite -- he does it with priests, with bishops. That’s how he enters your mind. But it ends badly if you don’t realize what is happening in time. (We should tell him) go away!”
“Friends: the devil is a con artist. He makes promises after promise, but he never delivers. He'll never really do anything he says. He doesn't make good on his promises. He makes you want things which he can't give, whether you get them or not. He makes you put your hopes in things which will never make you happy.”
“From whom do I have to defend myself? What must I do? Paul tells us to put on God's full armor, meaning that God acts as a defense, helping us to resist Satan's temptations. Is this clear? No spiritual life, no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without putting on God's armor which gives us strength and protects us.”
“The devil exists and we must fight against him. Paul tells us this, it's not me saying it! The Word of God is telling us this. But we're not all convinced of this. And then Paul describes God's armor and which are the different types that make up this great armor of God. And he says: "So stand your ground, with truth a belt around your waist." The truth is God's armor.”
“And he has this capability. This capacity to seduce. That’s why it is so difficult to understand that he has been vanquished, because he presents himself with great power, he promises you so many things, he brings you lovely presents, wrapped up beautifully. "Oh, how beautiful!" … but you don’t know what it contains within. "But the wrapping paper is so nice …." He seduces us with the packaging without allowing us to see what’s inside. He knows how to present his proposals to our vanity and our curiosity.”
“If I know that if I spiritually approach this or that thought, if I approach this or that desire, if I go to this place or that other one, I am approaching this furious, chained dog. Please, don’t do it. "I have a very deep wound …" "Who did that to you?" … "The dog" … "But wasn’t he chained up?" … "Yes, but I went to caress him …" "You went looking for him???" … That’s how it is. Never draw close to him just because he’s chained up. Let us leave him there. Chained up.”
“The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice. When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families and our communities.”
“For this spiritual combat, we can count on the powerful weapons that the Lord has given us: faith-filled prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration, sacramental Reconciliation.”