An examination of demonic possession in the Catholic Church

Exorcism though you hear little about it is a core Catholic practice for it and only it has the Church directly facing supernatural evil. The Church is all about combatting that evil or so it says. If it cannot handle demons it simply does not connect with God very well if at all. Jesus himself emphasised exorcism as a sign that Satan was being dealt with and that people were being saved from evil. His exorcisms were not just about curing an individual but about putting into practice the core teaching that God's kingdom was going to vanquish the kingdom of Satan and evil people.
Exorcism is a form of prayer to which God responds by putting the demons out. So it is said. But the fact remains that most rites are about nagging the demon to leave and not praying to God. The prayers seem to have no effect but the nagging does.
Exorcism is meant to be expulsion but most "exorcisms" are definitely not like that. The "demon" usually is still there after endless exorcisms. If it leaves it looks like it leaves of its own accord.
Not all religions think possession is curable. Some think that prayer only curtails some of the harm that the demon can do but cannot get rid of it and its leaving is its own decision. If so, exorcism does not cure. Asking a tenant to leave the house is not an eviction if they don't have to listen. In the same way, if a demon leaves during a ceremony it does not necessarily mean he was evicted.
The Catholic Church for about a hundred years has got more careful with performing exorcisms. Nowadays exorcism is only performed under extreme circumstances and if a supernatural agency is seen to be causing a person’s insanity or dangerous behaviour. So we are told but is it true that the Church is that careful? No. The whole process is shrouded in secrecy. There are no professional records such as what a doctor might keep. That alone is a warning bell.
In the past (it still happens but is hidden better) the Church made many schizophrenics and disturbed people far worse by diagnosing demonic possession and exorcising them! Mad people often think they are possessed and it will not help if priests validate their delusion. It will only encourage them. Even today the Church will not perform an exorcism on a person who is insane and whose insanity cannot be traced to anything medical unless that person shows signs of clairvoyance or speaks in languages he or she never learned and can make things float around the room just by thinking about it or whatever. So it needs evidence for the supernatural. Good luck to the Church then for science never found any evidence for the supernatural. And the evidence the Church provides is always hearsay.
It doesn’t trouble the Church that some force inside the so-called possessed that has nothing to do with demons could be causing the allegedly supernatural effects. Demons could be doing them but it still doesn’t show that the person is really possessed. It could be a simulated possession. Suppose you hear a "possessed" person talking in a language they have never learned. A demon could be getting into your mind to make you think the victim is talking in a language he or she never learned. It could be an illusion. If demons exist and possess people you cannot be sure of what is real.


Presumptuous Satan, I am placing this candle on your head to light you the way to Hell. This is the light of the Holy Catholic Church, and you are a spirit of darkness. Now go back to Hell, and rejoin your true companions.

I am staying here, because it's good here. In Hell it's not good.

Evidence of Satan in the Modern World, account of an alleged exorcism of a by at the orphanage of St. Charles at Schiltigheim.

My observation here is that there should be a lot of possessions, especially undetectable ones, if they give relief from Hell.  Notice how the exorcist tries to send the demon back.  This fits the traditional doctrine that God is responsible for sending the stubborn to Hell and you can't say it is them all doing it to themselves against his will.


[It] sometimes happens that God allows men of vicious lives, or those who sin against faith, to be punished or led astray by evil spirits.

God sometimes permits that the bodies of men who have given themselves over to the indulgence of their passions be possessed by evil spirits, as a town is occupied by a general who has conquered it.  This state is called possession. In the time of Our Lord there were many thus possessed, and who in consequence were dumb (Matt. ix. 32), blind (Matt. xii. 22), and exceeding fierce (Matt. viii. 28). God permitted that then there should be many such, that He might show the power of the Son of God and the feebleness of the devils in His presence, and that He might drive them forth from those whom they tormented. Yet it does not follow that all who were possessed were necessarily so through their own fault. Some children were possessed from their birth (Mark ix. 20). Sometimes God allowed even holy men to be possessed for a time; but more often it was a punishment for grievous sin, and especially for a deliberate friendship with the devil, as was the case with the witch of Endor (1 Kings xxviii. 7 seq. ; Cf. Acts xvi. 16). Such cases are not unfrequent now in pagan countries. God also permits the evil spirits to mislead those who practise spiritualism, which consists in the invoking of the spirits of the dead in order to discover things secret, or that are taking place at a distance. The devils personate the spirits invoked, and by their superior knowledge are able to reveal many things, by which they delude those who deal with them into thinking that they are really conversing with some departed relative or friend. On these occasions the spirits will sometimes take a material form. Spiritualism leads to the loss of faith or of morals, or at least to the ruin of the peace of mind of the person practising it. Very often it is mixed up with a great deal of imposture.

A person who claims to be possessed by Satan or a demon cannot just expect her or his word to be taken for it. The Church sets about a diagnosis which interestingly is kept top secret and confidential and medical professionals are not given the criteria or the reasons for the diagnosis. This is because possession is a scam.

Despite the New Testament teaching the opposite, being blind or deaf or dumb is not taken as a sufficient sign that a person is possessed!
Signs of demonic possession supposedly include:

A person knowing what he or she cannot possibly know without some paranormal or supernatural force telling him or her. (Why are there no remarkable examples of this such as a demon telling the the lottery numbers, where Jack the Ripper is buried, getting in the scientific investigator or even going on Oprah?)

A person may be able to speak reasonably well in a language she or he has not learned.

Strength far beyond what a person should be capable of.

A hysterical hatred of anything holy.

The power to float in mid-air not jumping but literally hovering.

What is the main sign?

Only the levitation would be necessarily paranormal or supernatural. But no reports of it have been well-verified. A person can surprise you with strength and some body parts such as legs are stronger than what most of us given them credit for.

None of these do anything to prove that demons are involved. The paranormal if it exists could explain it all. For that reason spiritual matters such as possession cannot be put in a manual of mental disorders. It cannot even go in as alleged possession!

So what is the main sign of demonic possession then? For Catholics it would be the hatred of sacred things and prayers. There is no point in the devil doing wonders such as levitating a victim if it is not a protest against the Catholic faith. It does not make sense to hold that devils hate God and the Catholic faith more than anything and then to say that they do not make their victims hate holy things or abuse the victims to force them to abuse the sacred. In fact when we think about it, extreme fear or aversion to holy Catholic things could be the real sign for Catholics while the others are just window dressing. The Church knows there is a shame in regarding hatred for the holy as enough to establish the work of a demon. The secular world and indeed most of the religious world would think it was hilarious.

The difficulty is that Satan by protesting the faith is advertising it and it is more rational to hold that he is in fact supporting the faith and pretending he does not. It is odd that God is everywhere meaning everywhere is sacred and God is in all so why would Satan fear things such as crosses?

The other problem is that the demon might not even need to get the person to hate the faith so the hate might be coming from the person.

Most think that the only sure sign a person has been possessed is when the exorcism works!  They are guinea pigs. Gabriel Amorth said that if a person is not really possessed an exorcism will do no harm.  The Church says different but did nothing about him.  Psychologists and psychiatrists should take action.
Such is the irrationality of the exorcist and the Church that they should not be allowed near troubled people.

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