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The Truth About Demons

SAN DIEGO: Catholic Answers Press’s latest release, Demons, Deliverance, and Discernment: Separating Fact from Fiction About the Spirit World,cuts through Hollywood myths about demonic possession and cautions Christians to avoid sensationalistic and spiritually dangerous attitudes towards the supernatural.

With popular interest in the occult at an all-time high, and even the pope warning us about demonic influence, Fr. Mike Driscoll saw the need for a careful corrective to the hype found both outside and inside the Church. His doctorate in counseling, decades of pastoral experience, and in-depth research into the Catholic practice of exorcism made him uniquely qualified to speak to the growing phenomena of reported demonic attacks and the upstart devil-fighting ministries that claim to ward them off.

“Many people are over-emotional on this subject,” says Fr. Driscoll. “I wanted to sift through that and give a sober, objective look—from Church teaching and the testimony of working exorcists.”

Part of that objectivity, he says, involves the ability to distinguish between mental illness and demonic influence. “Chronic mental and emotional problems may be exacerbated by demons,” he says, “because the devil likes to attack us where we’re weakest. But not every problem has a demon behind it.”

Such discernment, he adds, is too often lacking in so-called “deliverance ministries,” which place undue emphasis on “spiritual warfare” against extraordinary demonic attacks and not enough on the less sensational way that most of us encounter the devil’s influence—in the daily temptations to sin.

“Every once in a while, Satan is a great dragon,” says Fr. Driscoll, “but most of the time he’s just a little whispering serpent, trying to steer us away from following God’s will.” And so Fr. Driscoll made a point to include in his book spiritual practices and prayers that will instill in us the grace and virtuous habits that are the ordinary—and for most of us the best—defense against demons.

Written  by Fr. Mike Driscoll













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8 comments

  1. Eleno Joyas jr. Reply

    Lots of prayers and lots of good works and faith in God. And by the way, you need not go far there are multitudes around here in America.

  2. Tom Rafferty Reply

    It’s amazing how demons, devils, et al have been hidden from science, the best tool humanity has to understand reality. Why do you think that is so?

    1. Msiamcanadian Reply

      Tom- if this is all a figment of people’s imaginations- why are you wasting your time by posting? Science has yet to answer my question- so I’m finding your statement that “science is the best tool that humanity has to understand reality” a bit hard to swallow.
      Yes- even harder to swallow than God, and satan, and angels and souls and life after death.
      There’s plenty of proof out there if you look with your eyes open..

      1. Tom Rafferty Reply

        Why am I “wasting” my time by posting? Because I respect the truth found through evidence and not dogma. Show me anything other than science that does that. And, while you are at it, present one study that concludes that there probably is anything supernatural.

        1. Meghan Reply

          I like how original your first post was. Demons etc are not actually hidden from science (I assume you are meaning the material sciences like physics etc). Science simply has not successfully penetrated that mystery yet, despite it pointing toward it.

          As for sciences to study specifically supporting the reality of the supernatural, there is both philosophy and theology. And metaphysics, and parapsychology, with neurology interwoven.

          Besides that, the material sciences, when you get deep into them, at their core is a darkness which they cannot explain, proving there is and must be something greater that rests as if waiting for us beyond the limited spectrum that the material sciences can verify (which is limited to 5% of the whole scope of reality and all that exists if we are honest with ourselves).

          1. Tom Rafferty

            Meghan, thanks for your response. There is science – – – period. There is no “material science.” It is the only way we know. After all, the word “science” is from the Latin for knowledge. Philosophy has value but will never lead to knowledge. Theology is based on the assumption that there is a god, then it works backwards unsuccessfully to attempt to justify the assumption. This thinking is based on the God of the Gaps/Argument from Ignorance fallacy. So then, how do you know that there IS a reality beyond what science tells us and then how do you verify that tool as being accurate? If you say personal experience, you can’t verify it for accuracy and you demonstrate your ignorance of the fact that the brain can lie to us. Science demonstrates that much of reality is counter-intuitive. Peace.

  3. Zorsha Reply

    Great read. Learned new stuff and was glad to see them touch on the mental illness issues which sometimes are confused for demonic possessions

  4. Karen Durham Reply

    I agree and I know that some people have denounce God and the Holy Spirit a do not believe in any types of Faith or Religion and they still are able to speak in the spiritual realm and try to ruin lives and bully people into believing they have powers greater then the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ our Lord. I thankful I am full fledge Catholic and the Bless Sacrament of wisdom, dicernment to tell the truth,ignore them and pray for them and love Holy Spirit within them, I do know the Vatican Canan Law mention exchoristism and I hear it only to be perform within inside the Vatican,

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