Monday, August 16, 2010

Interview With an Exorcist

Here is an interview with an exorcist named Fr. Thomas Euteneuer:

Q: As I read your book, my impression was that exorcism is essentially a form of prayer. Is that right?


Q: Some people hear about exorcisms and ask: Why is a priest and all the ritual necessary? Why can't a person just have his friends pray for him, or pray to cast out the demons himself?

It is correct that people can pray spontaneously against the power of evil. What the Church reserves to itself are the worst cases; in these worst cases you need a liturgical form of public prayer and a consecrated professional whose work is spiritual warfare. When you're dealing with a very bad guy (a strong demon), you don't just politely invite him to leave. That's not going to work. The liturgical form of prayer has great power because it is a common prayer, the prayer of the Church -- not just an individual or group prayer. In it, the Church commands the demon to leave. It is backed up by the apostolic authority of the bishop, delegated to the Church from Christ himself.

Q: In another interview you made the comment that "the power of the ritual is based on the faith you bring to it." Could you elaborate on that statement?

The ritual itself, because it is the Church's ritual, has the Church's faith behind it. Even if the exorcist didn't believe in its power, it somehow would be effective because of the faith of the Church. Having said that, if a person brings his own faith to the ritual and believes in the authority of Christ, it adds an incredible amount of power for expelling a demon.

Q: One thing that is clear from your book is the power of the name of Jesus and how much it torments demons. Is this a word that they can say (e.g. in a disrespectful way), or is in unpronouncable to them? Does the name torment them in and of itself, or only when said respectfully by believers?

The sacred and holy Name of Jesus is "the Name to which every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth" (Phil 2:10-11). It is feared by demons always. They normally would not say It or want to hear It but they must submit to any command that is issued in His Name. The only exception is if they are given a command to say His Name as their sign of departure indicating that their power has been totally vanquished. I have ordered demons to say, "Jesus is Lord" as they depart from a person and go to the Foot of the Cross. It is also odious to them when believers speak the sacred Name respectfully or in a word of Scripture or some liturgical prayer. Above all, the Name of Jesus represents the authority of God over the power of evil, and they must obey the unworthy minister who wields it to cast them out.

Q: I've heard crazy stories about the types of things that happen in exorcisms: objects flying off of shelves, the possessed person levitating, etc. How often do you encounter things like that?

Not often. Most of the dramatic stuff you see is Hollywood's presentation of exorcism, and of course Hollywood has a vested interest in dramatizing the encounters. The movie versions of exorcism all wildly exaggerate the power of the devil and the drama that takes place in an actual exorcism. I don't deny that some of the exorcisms can be dramatic, but the vast majority of them are pretty banal.


1 comment:

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Great post Teresa!

Loved this and explains much of the left,,,,,

"It is (mentioning Jesus Christ) also odious to them when believers speak the sacred Name respectfully or in a word of Scripture or some liturgical prayer"