Spiritual warfare site on books and movies


JULY 2013


Spiritual warfare site on books and movies

Principles of Discernment in Evaluating Books


Compiled by the St. Padre Pio Center for Spiritual Warfare – Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r), CCL, L. Th., DD, LNDC

Index of Books on Spiritual Warfare

Books Recommended and Not Recommended to Catholics
Introduction: Principles of Discernment

SPECIAL NOTE: Since this is a Catholic Website and a Catholic apostolate, our recommendations are made from a loyal Catholic point-of-view with just and equitable consideration of the knowledge and wisdom of our “separated” brethren (non-Catholic).

Throughout this essay we may use the terms “non-Catholic” and “Protestant” interchangeably. In either usage we are referring to all Christian groups that are not Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.

The terms “Evangelical”, “Fundamentalist”, and “Pentecostal” refer to specific sects within the non-Catholic world.

The term “misguided Catholics” refers to Catholics who have adopted or who are contaminated by ideas or theology or practices from non-Catholic sources that are inconsistent with Catholic teaching, discipline, and worldview.

We focus on the Evangelical, Fundamentalist, and Pentecostal groups in this essay only because they are the most involved in Spiritual Warfare. Our comments about what to watch for, however, applies to ALL groups, regardless of religious or denominational tradition.


Principles of Discernment:

Within the Catholic world there are relatively few books dealing directly with Spiritual Warfare — that is specifically on demonology and deliverance. The Catholic heritage does give us a wealth of books and writings of the Saints and others of great spirituality and devotion in which Spiritual Warfare is ancillary. We can learn much from them.

Since Catholic publications do not include many books on demonology and deliverance, we have selected a few books written by non-Catholics that provide excellent analysis of the subjects they contain. By non-Catholics we mean mostly works of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Pentecostal communities. It is primarily those communities that have taken the most interest in the area of demonology in the modern era. As a result of their interest, the Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Pentecostal communities have researched and written on this subject probably more than any other groups.

A general caution, however, is needed in reading any non-Catholic volume. There are fundamental differences between Catholics and non-Catholics in theology, ecclesiology, philosophy, and worldview. Thus we must be “on watch” for these differences whenever reading a non-Catholic book or, for that matter, any book written by a misguided Catholic who has been influenced by non-Catholic ideas inconsistent with Catholicism.

Catholics should not venture into studying non-Catholic writings without guidance or without solid and proven personal knowledge and experience in Catholic teaching and worldview. That caution includes the non-Catholic books on our Recommended Books list.

Those volumes we cannot recommend, or can recommend only with a Caution Alert need to be approached by Catholics only with the greatest caution and circumspection.

Our Index of Books Not Recommended to Catholics on Spiritual Warfare includes those books which are either not recommended, or that are on a “caution alert.”

Our Index of Recommended Books on Spiritual Warfare [under construction] includes those Catholic and non-Catholic books that we recommend, or recommend with qualification.

Concerning some general cautions about non-Catholic books, we offer some guidelines for Catholics to consider when reading non-Catholic books in general, and Spiritual Warfare books in particular.

In constructing these guidelines we are reviewing and comparing the Catholic teaching and worldview with the typical and mainstream Evangelical, Fundamentalist, or Pentecostal teaching and worldview. Since there are many factions within these non-Catholic faith traditions it is not surprising that many groups may contradict each other in their beliefs on Spiritual Warfare. Some groups are fanatic in their presumptions. For example, we know of many groups who think that if one contracts a common cold then such a person needs to be exorcized of the “demon of the common cold”. This extremism is ridiculous. Some of the books that come from this or similar extremist or intellectually careless views will be found on our Index of Books Not Recommended to Catholics on Spiritual Warfare.



It is wise to remember the adage of C.S. Lewis found in his book, The Screwtape Letters:

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about demons. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.

We take this advice ourselves in our own involvement in Spiritual Warfare and when analyzing books (Catholic or non-Catholic) we look to see if the author is taking that advice.


General Overview:

Spiritual Warfare, in general, involves mostly principles and understandings of the faith that find little disagreement between Catholic Christians and non-Catholic Christians. Since most of what we know about demonology comes from the Holy Scriptures and from clinical field observations, Catholic Christians and non-Catholic Christians generally share a common experience and understanding of the basics of Spiritual Warfare.

It is not so much that Catholic Christians and non-Catholic Christians differ on Spiritual Warfare; it is mostly that the non-Catholic Christians have a “Readers Digest” understanding of it — that is an abridged understanding. This is to be expected since non-Catholic Christians, and especially Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and Pentecostals, do not have the fullness of the faith that has been entrusted by Christ Himself to the Catholic Church.

The areas in which Catholics and Evangelicals/Fundamentalists/Pentecostals differ in their thinking and practice of Spiritual Warfare are mostly in the areas of ecclesiology (specifically the authority of the Church versus the authority of the believer) and the royal priesthood (as opposed to the ministerial priesthood and the roles of each).

Other areas that have an effect on the thinking of Spiritual Warfare include sola scriptura (as opposed to a fuller understanding of Divine Revelation deposited in Sacred Tradition and Written Tradition), the Communion of the Saints (and its role in Spiritual Warfare), Soteriology (the nature of justification & sanctification), the nature and use of the Sacraments, and the nature of the Charismatic gifts of the Spirit.


What to Watch For: Ecclesiology & the Royal Priesthood

The primary element in ecclesiology to watch out for in the teachings of non-Catholic Christians is the presumption that all authority is given to all believers rather than certain authority reserved to the ministerial priesthood.

We must remember that Jesus established a ministerial priesthood and although we are all a part of the “royal priesthood” there are delineations of roles. For example, the passages in the Book of James about anointing the sick is reserved to the priest and the Sacrament of Anointing. These passages are not referring to any member of the laity performing this function. It is for the priest alone to perform this function. The Laity, however, can make similar, but non-sacramental, anointment with those to whom they have a paterfamilias relationship (a royal priestly relationship) such as with one’s family. The way in which the anointing with oil is employed, however, must not too closely resemble the Sacrament of Anointing that must be reserved to a priest.

Also reserved to priests alone are practices that constitute a “solemn” exorcism and even then a priest cannot perform this rite without the express permission of the bishop. Thus, since solemn exorcism is reserved to priests alone, technically all non-validly ordained priests, including Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and Pentecostals, do not have the authority to perform the full-blown exorcism of fully possessed people. The laity (whether Catholic or not), however, may perform lesser forms of exorcism technically called “simple” exorcisms, but commonly referred to as deliverance.

Regardless of whether the simple exorcism (deliverance) is performed by a priest or layman, for Catholics at least, the issue of imprecatory commands and speaking directly to the demons and asking them for information is, as of 1985, restricted to Solemn Exorcisms only. That means that no priest or layman may use that method outside of a solemn exorcism authorized by a bishop. (See Inde Ab Aliquot Annis: On The Current Norms Governing Exorcisms, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith September 29, 1985; Translated by Father Gabriele Amorth, Exorcist of Diocese of Rome)

There may be other matters that laymen, Catholic or non-Catholic, may perform that should be reserved only to the valid priesthood. One needs to be on-watch for those issues.


What to Watch For: Sola Scriptura

This area is a fundamental difference between Catholics and Protestants. The primary thing to remember here is that the Bible does not have all knowledge about spiritual issues. The Bible itself affirms that there are many teachings not written in Scriptures — though the Bible is where most of our information comes from. Nevertheless, we must also listen to what Sacred Tradition has to teach us about the nature of the devil, demons, angels, spirituality, free will, etc. There are times when the Protestant presumptions about the nature of the devil and how he works is limited due to his avoidance of Sacred Tradition and sometime might even be wrong. For example, a minority of Protestants believe that Christians cannot be possessed, that the Holy Spirit cannot reside in a body that is possessed by a demon. This is false. Christians can be possessed just as they can also lose their salvation (which we will speak about below). Protestants may also have unusual ideas about the devil in relation to the “end times” due to the reliance upon “Dispensationalism” and other innovations of eschatology that circulate among Protestant groups.


What to Watch For: Communion of the Saints

Many Protestants, and particularly Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and Pentecostals, all who utterly misunderstand the Catholic doctrine of the Communion of the Saints, will identify this Catholic doctrine as occultic (speaking to the dead and/or saint worship). In reading books on Spiritual Warfare be watchful of this bias as they may specifically treat the Communion of Saints as an act of the devil. Also be watchful for their own interpretation of Communion of the Saints which is taken by them to mean only a communion or fellowship among what Catholics call the “Church Militant” (those Christians still on the earth).




What to Watch For: Soteriology

The nature of Salvation is the other major contention between many Protestants and Catholics. These differences can have direct relevance in how we deal with a demonized person. The debate here is between the false notion of justification “by faith alone,” versus the Catholic teaching of justification by faith worked out in love; and the notion of “once-saved-always-saved” versus Catholic teaching of the possibility of falling from grace. Be watchful of these false notions. Such misunderstandings lead some to believe that Christians cannot be possessed. As mentioned above, the Church makes no such presumption and clinical evidence has convinced most Protestants as well as Catholics that Christians can certainly be possessed.

The lack of proper understanding of mortal sin and venial sin, the State of Grace of the soul, the ability to lose one’s salvation (a soul not in a state of grace) can all lead to errors in counseling and dealing with clients who are demonized, or with people reading books seeking to help themselves. We must realize that we can indeed lose our salvation through the commission of mortal sin. We must also realize the Church’s teaching on diminished responsibility concerning grave sin. We must realize how Satan can manipulate us and inspire us to sin.

Thus we need to be watchful of ideas and statements that are based upon such false presumptions as “once-saved-always-saved” and/or “justification by faith alone.”


What to Watch For: The Sacraments

For most Protestants the Sacraments just simply don’t exist. The primary notion to look out for is how the Protestant deals with the concept of forgiveness and accountability for sin. The Protestant really has no objective way to ask for absolution and thus has no real accountability. Interestingly, most Protestants these days do understand the need for “confession” and talk about seeking out an “accountability partner”. Well Catholics already have an “accountability partner”. He is called a priest.

Thus when Protestants talk about asking for forgiveness and/or accountability partners we need to understand that within the context of the Sacrament of Confession.

Protestants simply do not understand healing power of the Sacraments, or of the Sacramentals, such as Holy Water, Holy Salt, relics, etc. The Sacramentals will be seen by them as superstitions at best and demonic contrivances at worst.


What to Watch For: The Charismatic Experience

The Charismatic Renewal has been a great blessing in the Church in that it has inspired thousands to “…fan into flame the gift” that is within them (2 Tim 1:6). Although the Church has ensured theological correctness in the Renewal, unfortunately many in the Charismatic Renewal have borrowed terminology and practices (praxiology) from the Pentecostals that is in error.

Deliverance work is a major facet of the practice of spiritual gifts in the Charismatic experience. Abuses stemming from incorrect ideas about gifts by Catholic Charismatic Deliverance Teams became serious enough that by 1985 the Holy See placed restrictions upon what can or cannot be done outside of a solemn exorcism. (See Inde Ab Aliquot Annis: On The Current Norms Governing Exorcisms, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith September 29, 1985; Translated by Father Gabriele Amorth, Exorcist of Diocese of Rome).

It is particularly important in evaluating books and teaching about Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance written by Catholics or non-Catholics that “Pentecostalisms” be discerned and watched for. The contributions of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal can be beneficial as long as it remains close to the Church not only in theology, but also in praxiology; Pentecostalisms must be avoided. (Please refer to our article, Charism Gifts that Build Up the Church (PDF) for a detailed evaluation and review of the Charismatic Renewal).



Although most of the meat of the issue will be similar between Catholics and Protestants, there can be many potholes in the road that can pull your steering out of alignment. That is why Catholics need to be very cautious in reading non-Catholic material — particularly Pentecostal material or any material, even written by Catholics, that is influenced by Pentecostal notions.


Catholic Books Not Recommended


All books by Francis MacNutt [See also page 13]

Deliverance from Evil Spirits: A Practical Manual
Prayer that Heals
The Power to Heal
Praying for Your Unborn Child
—Overcome by the Spirit: The Extraordinary Phenomenon that is Happening to Ordinary People
The Nearly Perfect Crime: How the Church Almost Killed the Ministry of Healing

Although there is a lot of good material in Mr. MacNutt’s books, we cannot offer an overall positive recommendation. Mr. MacNutt is a laicized priest who is so concerned about ecumenism that the Catholic distinctives has faded away in favor of not offending non-Catholics. He is more a Pentecostal charismatic with all the erroneous praxiology about healing, spiritual warfare, the gifts of the Spirit, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit that comes with Pentecostalism.




While it is true that one could, if they know what to look for, sift through and filter out the non-Catholic or pseudo-Catholic notions and worldview and thereby find some good material, we would ask why risk it when there is no legitimate information in his books that cannot be found in the books of solidly orthodox Catholics who are Catholic and can be trusted to present a thoroughly Catholic teaching and worldview instead of some combination of Protestant Pentecostal/Catholicism.

The very best book ever written on spiritual warfare is not for sale anymore: Exorcism and the Church Militant by Thomas Euteneuer.

The second best book is Onward Catholic Soldier, by John LaBriola.

Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth’s books are recommended.

It is very difficult to find Catholic sites on spiritual warfare that are accurate.


Protestant Books Not Recommended

Pigs in the Parlor: A Practical Guide to Deliverance by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond

One of the hallmarks of testing private revelations is whether or not such private revelations contradict the teachings of the Christian faith or contradict known truths of other types.

In Chapter 21 entitled “Schizophrenia” there is a section called, the Schizophrenic Revelation Mr. Hammond introduces this section by sounding knowledgeable: “The disturbance and disintegration of personality known as schizophrenia or dementia praecox is frequently encountered by the deliverance minister.”

He continues: “The Lord has graciously given us a special revelation on the problem which enables us to deal with such cases more effectively. Since this revelation came to my wife, Ida Mae, I have asked her to write the remainder of this chapter.”

So far so good — until we read the details of Ida Mae’s “revelation”.

In working with a client named Sarah, Ida Mae allegedly received a revelation that Sarah’s problem was schizophrenia. There is no way to know what Sarah’s problem may have been since there is no reference to a psychiatric examination or any information that may help us to speculate on her problem.

The true “revelation,” however, comes in the definition of schizophrenia that God gives to Ida Mae. She first tells us that she studied psychology a little bit in college and had a passing familiarity with some psychological terminology. She states further, “I reached back in my memory to recall that schizophrenia is sometimes referred to as ‘split personality.'”

Here we begin to see a problem. There is no such psychiatric term of “split personality.” This term is an inaccurate and misleading slang often used by non-professionals to refer to schizophrenia.

The Ida Mae claims to quote from God Himself the definition of Schizophrenia (she puts quotation marks around the following):

“Schizophrenia is a disturbance, distortion or disintegration of the development of the personality. You will no longer call her Sarah but ‘Sarah One’ and ‘Sarah Two’, for she has more than one personality in her.”

This is NOT the definition of schizophrenia. Multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia are two different conditions with two separate definitions:

1. Schizophrenia: A psychotic disorder characteristically marked by a retreat from reality with delusion formation, hallucinations, emotional disharmony, and regressive behavior. (Source: Brain Institute of the University of Florida Online Dictionary of Neuroscience)

2. Multiple Personality Disorder: is called Dissociative Identity Disorder in the DSM IV. This condition is a dissociative disorder, which is a different class of disorder than Schizophrenic disorders, where “one person who appears to be two or more entirely different personalities and characters.” (Source: Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry)

The question is now begged: How could God give this woman a revelation revealing the true nature of schizophrenia that includes a definition of multiple personality when schizophrenia and multiple personality are two separate classes of psychiatric disorders with two completely different definitions?

It is also interesting that the alleged definition from God parallels the common misunderstanding of these disorders that is typical among laymen — the same false definition Ida Mae gives in her false revelation.

This illustrates just another problem of the Charismatic tendency to rely upon subjective and mediumistic “revelations” that are mostly derived at best from their subconscious and not from God. In any event, God would not confuse schizophrenia and a dissociative disorder. Ida Mae’s revelation is false and derives either from Satan, the father of lies, or from her own mind — either way it is false.

Given that the Hammonds are of the type of Charismatics who rarely think with reason, but rather with subjective and even mediumistic approaches, and given that we have proof-positive that Ida Mae’s “revelation” is false, we cannot possibly recommend this book.

The only portion of this book that has some limited value is a chart of demonic groupings and attributes. Especially in Deliverance Counseling in which we are not allowed to ask demons for their names, we must refer to them by attribute. The Hammond’s have a chart in their book as an example of the various attributes demons may take on. Other than that, there is no value in this book.


Spiritual Warfare Question and Answer Forum

Reviewed till August 30, 2013

St. Michael’s Questions and Answer Forums

There are around 1600 different questions answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary at the above link. –Michael





Are imagination techniques allowed in counseling sessions? See also pages 11, 23, 26-30


Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM, August 24, 2004


Bro. Ignatius,
My son read a book called “The Catholic Warrior” by Robert Abel. He bought it at a Charismatic conference. There are some errors in it about praying to Mary and the saints. This man thinks that because he prayed to St. Jude for something that he wanted but which turned out not to be good for him that he made St. Jude into an idol and got around what God wanted for him. He’s very mixed up about praying to Our Lady too.

Abel states “Marian devotions become unhealthy when Catholics pray directly to Mary instead of praying in communion with Mary.” Another statement: “…If the statue of St. Paul inspires me to fight the good fight of faith like he did, then the image is a healthy form of honor. But the second I start to pray to Paul, pouring out my heart to him, trying to acquire spiritual favors behind God’s back, then it becomes a form of witchcraft.”

Now my son is an adult with a good solid grounding in the Catholic faith and he could see through this in a moment.

In another part of the book Abel talks about imagination techniques where he helps a person go back into her past and visit the little girl from her childhood. If she was unloved as a child she would invite Jesus into the scene to heal the hurts of being unloved. Also as an adult she would be in the scene showing love to herself as a little girl. He also talks about going through something similar when a thought came to him when he was in front of the Blessed Sacrament about a hurt he suffered when he was a child. He goes back in thought, invites Jesus into the scene, Jesus heals him and he comforts him self as an adult in the scene.

Now my question is in light of the author’s views of praying to saints should I take what he says about these imagination healings seriously? Is such a thing possible to do anyway? Does the Church approve of this technique? –Linda


Dear Linda,
You are correct, I believe, to be skeptical of this person Robert Abel if he is teaching such things. If he, as a Catholic, cannot understand the rather simple doctrine of Communion with the Saints, and especially if he is to rebelliously teach contrary to the Church on this, then he cannot be trusted on other things.
Jesus Himself said that if one cannot be trusted on small things, then he cannot be trusted with big things.
As for this practice of “going back” in imagination to be healed of past wounds, I find such practice to be dangerous. Jesus can heal such wounds without such a practice. Memories can be healed without such a practice. This technique, by the way, is a popular one in New Age psychobabble. Such methods can lead to “false memories” and can also open one up to spiritual experiences not of God.
The “imagination” is the level in which we can be sifted like wheat by the devil. This is one reason why role-play games such as Dungeons and Dragons are so dangerous, as is allowing ourselves to be exposed to pornography or any other improper images. The Bible tells us to guard our senses because of this reality.
Since I have not read the book, and cannot afford to buy it, I cannot speak directly in review of the book or Mr. Abel in terms of the book as a whole. Nevertheless, a review by Michael Brown does reveal the problem of the man’s ideas about the saints. Mr. Brown dismisses this problem and endorses the book anyway. I think Mr. Brown is wrong in doing that. From my experience whenever I find a writer who flirts with heresy (and denying the efficacy of praying to the saints is a flirtation with heresy), then where else has the person been contaminated in his thoughts?
Sometimes, such contaminations can be very subtle as to easily miss them. Even if the book is useful apart from the problematic parts, it cannot be recommended to the general public as not everyone who reads it will be so discerning as to skip the problem parts. Besides, there are plenty of other books that can give similar information without the “problem parts” so why not go with an author who is in communion with the Church on all things?
This, again, is a problem coming from Charismatics. I am not surprised a book like this is promoted by Charismatics many of whom often tend to lack the discernment God gave a toadstool due to their reliance upon emotion and subjective experience, and sometimes Pentecostal influence.
My generic advice is to avoid any books or people who claim to be Catholic but do not stand firmly upon the Rock of the Church and her teachings. And always take a double-check to books written by or endorsed by so-called Charismatics to be sure they are thoroughly Catholic and do not stray into Pentecostalism or into what is called sensualism – a reliance upon subjective experience and emotion over and above the faculty of reason (Sensualism can, in some cases and at its worst, lead to heresy or some other form of heterodoxy; in most cases it leads to mis-directed notions and views, misplaced devotions, and errors in orthopraxy). God Bless, Bro. Ignatius Mary


Another book that http://www.saint-mike.org warns Catholics against reading is Fr. Peter B. Coughlin‘s
Understanding the Charismatic Gifts.

Charism gifts building up the Church


(Excerpt from the Rule of St. Michael) 2004, Order of the Legion of St. Michael

[…]Misdirected and False Teachings




There is much misdirected and even false teaching found in the Pentecostal and Protestant “charismatic movements”, and even sometimes among the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. As pointed out above, Catholics ought to take care to ensure their beliefs and practices with the charismatic experience are not only fully obedient with Catholic teaching, but also consistent with the praxiology, philosophy, and worldview of Catholicism. Catholics in the Renewal need to take care that they do not seek to create a Pentecostalism within the Church. We need to always avoid “seeking the gifts of the Giver and not the Giver of the gifts.” Indeed, in respect to the Catholic worldview they ought to divorce themselves altogether from the following problematic or erroneous Pentecostalisms:

(f) On the Predominance of Sensualism (Empiricism)

The primary problematic characteristic of the charismatic experience in Pentecostalism and in much of the Catholic Renewal, even greater than the undue emphasis on Tongues (see subparagraph. (i) below), is the predominance of Sensualism. Sensualism is the notion derived from Empiricism52
that the senses (experiences and emotions) are sufficient principle of all our ideas and knowledge.
Indeed, God has created us as sensory beings. We experience the world through our senses. We are, in fact, a “sacramental people.” A “sacrament” is a visible manifestation discerned by the senses of an invisible reality. This is why God has given us the Seven Sacraments and numerous “sacramentals”—because He knows we experience reality through our senses. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Man’s natural path to knowing things only his mind can grasp is thorough what he perceives with his senses … All our knowledge originates in sense-perception…”
54[The fact of positive supernatural revelation]. The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; “for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” [Rom 1:20] Once such knowledge is gained, it must be tested and authenticated. Reason informs our sense perception. This is the role of reason. This is why Vatican I dogmatically proclaimed (De fide) that God can be certainly known by human reason by virtue of creation:
55 The Great Angelic Doctor helps us to understand. He teaches us that in God’s creation of living creatures exist up to three “souls.” The first soul is the “vegetative soul.” This is the life force of all living creatures—plants and animals. Next is the “sensitive soul.” This gives animals the faculty of experiencing the world about them and responding to that world through the senses. The third type of soul is the “rational soul.” This is the faculty that is the “image of God” given only to human beings. Human beings have all three kinds of soul; animals have the sensitive and the vegetative; plants have only the vegetative. And thus the Catechism concludes: Feelings or passions are emotions or movement of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil. (CCC 1763) In themselves passion are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will . (CCC 1767) While human beings experience the world about them through the faculty of the sensitive soul (the senses), those experiences must be “qualified” and interpreted by the rational soul (reason). Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, identifies this empiricism (sense predominance), when isolated from reason, as a threat to Christianity 56. This leads us back to the official Church teaching that the senses, the passions, must be governed by reason (CCC 1767). Given this teaching of the Church, it is critically important for those who are involved in the Charismatic Renewal to “reason” through their experiences and not presume anything about their experiences on the weight of their experiences alone. We need to “test the spirits,” we need to know the presumptions behind the things we believe, we need to know where our beliefs and practices originate, we need to evaluate and to analyze the suppositions, consequences, and ramifications of what we believe and practice. To not evaluate and test our experiences against such “reasoned” analysis is to flirt with imprudent, problematic, or even erroneous ideas and notions that can lead us astray or at least rob us of the fullness of the victorious Christ-Life. Many in the Renewal exaggerate the empirical if not isolate it from reason. The leader of the Charismatic Renewal in Canada offers us an example of this exaggeration in his book, Understanding the Charismatic Gifts, in which it is suggested that we will “just know” if our Tongues was not from the Holy Spirit.57

The Letter to Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation speaks in some detail about the danger of one aspect of this exaggeration. This Curia document is important to review, since the phenomenon of Tongues is very similar to the effects of classical meditation.58 […]

(h) On the Distribution of the Gifts

Another very common example of misdirected teaching is that each of us has the all of the “manifestation gifts.”59

These are the gifts that to some degree are present in each of us although one or the other may predominate, making us have a particular motivating force or direction in our lives. In light of this false teaching, it is important to re-emphasize and for members to understand that we do not all possesses the same “charismatic” gifts — the gifts are varied (1 Cor 12:14) and are distributed by God as He sees fit” (1 Cor 12:18), not as we desire. Despite this clear statement of St. Paul, leaders of the Charismatic Renewal teach the opposite. For example, Father Coughlin, in his book previously cited, states:
These are the gifts that to some degree are present in each of us although one or the other may predominate, making us have a particular motivating force or direction in our lives.60
It is fascinating to note that Father Coughlin quotes Romans 12:6-8 immediately before the statement quoted above. “These are the gifts…” refers to the Romans passage he quotes in his text. That quote from Romans begins with these words: “Let each one of us, therefore, serve according to our different gifts…” He repeats several times throughout his book that everyone has all the charism gifts.

(i) On What Is Evidence of Spiritual Maturity

Although most Catholics generally understand this point correctly, it is important, in the face of misdirected teaching on this subject among non-Catholics, to understand that no particular charismatic gift is evidence of spirituality or maturity. No particular gift is evidence of “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” Neither is the manifestation of a “private prayer language” evidence of “baptism in the Spirit” or of some level of maturity or spirituality. The gift of a “private prayer language”, as with all gifts, may be given by God to whom He pleases and as He sees fit. Thus, not everyone will exhibit this particular “gift.” 62
The true evidence for spirituality, maturity, and “baptism in the Spirit,” according to Holy Scripture and Church teaching, is the “Fruit of the Spirit” which is love (1 Cor 13:1-3; Gal 5:22-26).




While Catholics in the Renewal understand this point intellectually and articulate the point correctly in their rhetoric, their behavior often implies something else to an onlooker or a seeker. The emphasis on Tongues (subpara. (i) below) and especially the idea that Tongues is the way to “pray in the spirit” or to pray more “perfectly” (see subpara. (j) below) are two major ways that at least implies that being “spiritual” requires “Tongues.” An attitudinal assent, praxiology, and consistent understanding throughout the charismatic experience must follow intellectual assent to this doctrinal point.

(j) On the Emphasis on the Gift of Tongues and Other Sigil Gifts

Despite the clear teaching of Scripture, the Charismatic Renewal, in one fashion or another, to one degree or another, seems to maintain an emphasis upon the Gift of Speaking in Tongues and upon a private prayer language.

St. Paul spends a great deal of time admonishing the Church at Corinth against their immaturity and abuse of the Gifts, and especially that of Tongues. One of St. Paul’s instructions on this subject is found in 1 Corinthians 14:6-12: Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will any one know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will any one know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. But earnestly desire the higher gifts. (1 Cor 11:31a) Father Coughlin, however, writes, “each gift is of equal value. No one is greater than another.”63


57 Father Peter B. Coughlin, Understanding the Charismatic Gifts (Hamilton, ON: C.C.S.O. Bread of Life Renewal Centre, 1998, book handed out in a “Life in the Spirit” Seminar in Watertown, South Dakota in May 2006), 75:

Sometimes people are concerned with the origin of the gift and are afraid the Tongues may be false (originating from their own spirit). It should be generally presumed, in this case, that it is by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and not one’s own spirit, since one would know if they were “making it up.” This is a most remarkable statement for a person to make. The ability for human beings to delude themselves is quite high. Phenomena like “tongues” can easily be a psychogenic experience. For a priest, let alone the top charismatic priest in Canada to give this advice is extremely troublesome and alarming. Father Coughlin repeats his alarming advice on page 74: The biggest block to praying in Tongues initially is “head knowledge,” in that a person is responding to the Lord from their head (intellect) rather then from their heart… (they) don’t understand the why of Tongues, which is a yielding of control of the tongue over to the Lord. The good Father’s advice seems to be saying that we are to turn off our intellect (that faculty God has given us to guide us and to help us discern truth from error through the virtue of Reason), so that control of our “tongue” may be given over to the Lord. Nowhere in Scripture or Tradition are we advised to suspend our intellect with its faculty of reason in order to “yield control” over to the Lord. Such advice is reflective of the Gnostic heresy called Pseudognosticism. A footnote in the document cited below in Endnote #58 defines pseudognosticism as a notion that “considered matter as something impure and degraded which enveloped the soul in an ignorance from which prayer had to free it, thereby raising it to true superior knowledge and so to a pure state. Of course, not everyone was capable of this, only those who were truly spiritual; for simple believers, faith and observance of the commandments of Christ were sufficient.” Rhetoric in the Catholic Renewal that “tongues” allows one to pray “more perfectly” seems to reflect this pseudognostic notion.

SPECIAL NOTE: This book is decidedly not to be recommended in our view as it contains many spiritually dangerous ideas. We also do not recommend Dove Publications of Pecos, New Mexico as their literature contains much Pentecostalism, though from the particular brochures we reviewed Father Coughlin’s book is far more problematic.

58 Christian Meditation, nn. 8-11, 18-19. The good Father’s advice also describes a similar practice in Eastern Meditation whereby one suspends the intellect and yields oneself to the “spirit.” The Letter to Bishops states in a section called, “Erroneous Ways of Praying’: 8. Even in the first centuries of the Church some incorrect forms of prayer crept in. Some New Testament texts (cf. 1 Jn 4:3; 1 Tim 1:3-7 and 4:3-4) already give hints of their existence. Subsequently, two fundamental deviations came to be identified: Pseudognosticism and Messalianism, both of concern to the Fathers of the Church. There is much to be learned from that experience of primitive Christianity and the reaction of the Fathers which can help in tackling the current problem. In combating the errors of “pseudognosticism” the Fathers affirmed that matter is created by God and as such is not evil. Moreover, they maintained that grace, which always has the Holy Spirit as its source is not a good proper to the soul, but must be sought from God as a gift. Consequently, the illumination or superior knowledge of the Spirit (“gnosis”) does not make Christian faith something superfluous. Finally, for the Fathers, the authentic sign of a superior knowledge, the fruit of prayer, is always Christian love. 9. If the perfection of Christian prayer cannot be evaluated using the sublimity of gnostic knowledge as a basis, neither can it be judged by referring to the experience of the divine, as “Messalianism” proposed.

These false fourth-century charismatics identified the grace of the Holy Spirit with the psychological experience of his presence in the soul. In opposing them, the Fathers insisted on the fact that the soul’s union with God in prayer is realized in a mysterious way and in particular through the sacraments of the Church. Moreover, it can even be achieved through experiences of affliction or desolation. Contrary to the view of the Messalians, these are not necessarily a sign that the Spirit has abandoned a soul. Rather, as masters of spirituality have always clearly acknowledged, they may be an authentic participation in the state of abandonment experienced on the cross by our Lord, who always remains the model and mediator of prayer. Both of these forms of error continue to be a “temptation for man the sinner.” They incite him to try and overcome the distance separating creature from Creator, as though there ought not to be such a distance; to consider the way of Christ on earth, by which he wishes to lead us to the Father, as something now surpassed; to bring down to the level of natural psychology what has been regarded as pure grace, considering it instead as “superior knowledge” or as “experience.” 10.




Such erroneous forms, having reappeared in history from time to time on the fringes of the Church’s prayer, seem once more to impress many Christians, appealing to them as a kind of remedy, be it psychological or spiritual, or as a quick way of finding God. Similar techniques were subsequently identified and dismissed by St. Teresa of Avila who perceptively observed that “the very care taken not to think about anything will arouse the mind to think a great deal,” and that the separation of the mystery of Christ from Christian meditation is always a form of “betrayal” (see: St. Teresa of Jesus. Vida 12, 5 and 22, 1-5). 11. However, these forms of error, wherever they arise, “can be diagnosed” very simply. The meditation of the Christian in prayer seeks to grasp the depths of the divine in the salvific works of God in Christ, the Incarnate Word, and in the gift of his Spirit. These divine depths are always revealed to him through the human-earthly dimension.

Similar methods of meditation, on the other hand, including those which have their starting-point in the words and deeds of Jesus, try as far as possible to put aside everything that is worldly, sense perceptible or conceptually limited. It is thus an attempt to ascend to or immerse oneself in the sphere of the divine, which, as such, is neither terrestrial, sense-perceptible nor capable of conceptualization. This tendency, already present in the religious sentiments of the later Greek period (especially in “Neoplatonism”), is found deep in the religious inspiration of many peoples, no sooner than they become aware of the precarious character of their representations of the divine and of their attempts to draw close to it. The passions (empirical faculty) are neither good nor evil in themselves, but they must be guided by reason, as already mentioned, and must be guarded from their natural tendency toward selfishness. The emptying of the mind (turning off the intellect) in prayer refers to this emptying of selfishness, not a denial of created things, of which the intellect is a major gift. Paragraphs 18-19 of the Letter to Bishops speaks of this: 18. The seeking of God through prayer has to be preceded and accompanied by an ascetical struggle and a purification from one’s own sins and errors, since Jesus has said that only “the pure of heart shall see God” (Mt 5:8). The Gospel aims above all at a moral purification from the lack of truth and love and, on a deeper level, from all the selfish instincts which impede man from recognizing and accepting the will of God in its purity. The passions are not negative in themselves (as the Stoics and Neoplatonists thought), but their tendency is to selfishness. It is from this that the Christian has to free himself in order to arrive at that state of positive freedom which in classical Christian times was called “apatheia,” in the Middle Ages “Impassibilitas” and in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises “indiferencia.” This is impossible without a radical self-denial, as can also be seen in St. Paul who openly uses the word “mortification” (of sinful tendencies). Only this self-denial renders man free to carry out the will of God and to share in the freedom of the Holy Spirit. 19. Therefore, one has to interpret correctly the teaching of those masters who recommend “emptying” the spirit of all sensible representations and of every concept, while remaining lovingly attentive to God. In this way, the person praying creates an empty space which can then be filled by the richness of God. However, the emptiness which God requires is that of the renunciation of personal selfishness, not necessarily that of the renunciation of those created things (i.e., the intellect) which he has given us and among which he has placed us.

59 1 Corinthians 12:7: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues.

60 Coughlin, 3.

61 e.g., Coughlin, 71: “Yet everyone who wants it could yield to the gift (of tongues), since it is present in everyone who believes and is filled with, or baptized, in the Holy Spirit” and “The spirit indwells with every gift…”

62 In addition to the text of endnote #21, it is also important to emphasize and repeat the point made in the main text that God may not give this “gift” of a Private Prayer Language to everyone. Not having such a “gift” does not depreciate the level of one’s spirituality, maturity, or grace in any way. However, Father Coughlin seems to disagree and to assert, rather, that those filled with the Spirit will have this and every other gift. See endnote #61 above.

63 Coughlin, 5.


Books by Neal Lozano


Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM, February 14, 2011

Could you please tell me what you think of Neal Lozano? I read both of his books recently to try and help myself. He seems to disagree with you on certain issues. He implies that lay Catholics at one point were very active with deliverance ministries. He doesn’t make a very big deal about it and encourages all the Catholic laity to use his unbound model.

He believes as believers in Jesus and Catholics we actually have the obligation to deliver. So long as we live in a state of grace and we use the non-confrontational unbound model there usually are very few manifestations and should be straight forward.

He has a different position on the imprecatory command as he believes the Church’s regulation is more for the exorcism realm and especially public exorcism and we should not be afraid to command in the name of Jesus for the demons to leave so long as we do it at an appropriate time after the person freely renounces the evil spirit by trait.

He also stated he sometimes puts his hands on the individual but only he or the person leading the prayer he believes should do this as they were put in charge by God.

I am not interested at this time to try this with anyone but I have been using his model on myself. I can’t say I feel completely “free” yet. But I have prayed and discerned many people I need to forgive, found areas of my life which I have to renounce do to the occult which I had no idea I had done they were so distant in memory and I do feel better. I found old collections on floppy disks laying around in the closet of nude pictures of women and such which I got rid of. It seems the course you offer is extensive and much more cautionary in nature. Just wondering what you think of all of this. –George

There is very little difference between Neil Lozano and myself as far as I know. In terms of giving an actual review of “Unbound”, I cannot do that at the moment. I have only glanced through the book. Generally speaking, what I have seen, the book is okay, but I must reserve judgment until I have a chance to read it carefully.



I can address the issues you present in your question:

Jesus did give us all the authority to cast out demons, not just to priests (Mark 16:15-18; Luke 10:17). But, the Church has the authority to regulate any apostolic activity and has placed regulations and restrictions on what the laity can do in casting out demons.

Those restrictions include that the laity, or a priest outside of a solemn exorcism, may not seek out the demon’s name or have conversations with demons. Imprecatory language cannot be outside a solemn exorcism by a priest, but imperative commands
can be used. For years I relied upon erroneous information about that from those who turned out to not know what they were talking about. I explain the details about imprecatory vs. imperative commands in a previous post.

As for an obligation, we are obligated to pray for each other, but not all should do deliverance, even though may be allowed. St. Paul said, (1 Cor 6:12a) “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” (1 Cor 10:23b)  “All things are lawful, but not all things build up.”

The principle taught by St. Paul here is “because we can do something does not mean we ought to do it.” If we do not know what we are doing, then we are not helpful. In fact, those who are untrained and inexperienced can find themselves and their “clients” in very serious trouble when they do not know what they are doing. Everyone can apply first aid, but one a few become doctors.

The Foreword to Neil’s book is written by Francis MacNutt, whom I really do not recommend for a variety of reasons (but that is another story). In the Foreword MacNutt seems to imply that doing deliverance is not dangerous. That is nonsense. In carefully reading his Foreword, however, I think MacNutt is saying the deliverance is not as dangerous as Hollywood (e.g., The Exorcist) makes if out to be. I agree with that completely, but the casual reader may think that MacNutt is saying exorcism/deliverance has little to no danger. That impression by the reader would be false.

There are dangers. I personally experience those dangers in the form of demonic attacks because I do this work. I have also had to pick up the pieces of a deliverance gone bad by others. I had two cases in which a charismatic priest harmed the client. The Charismatic Renewal likes to specialize in deliverance but few actually know what they are doing and most use techniques that are imprudent.

As for laying on hands, Neil is correct. When doing this only the leader should lay on hands. This should be done, however, only with the client’s permission. Laying on hands indiscriminately can be dangerous. It is possible to effect a demonic transference. I have seen this happen with Charismatics laying on hands imprudently and without thinking.

Frankly, given the mess of the Renewal, I would never allow most Charismatics to lay hand upon me. See article Charism Gifts Building up the Church for a thorough analysis of the pros and cons of the Renewal.

While anyone can use spiritual warfare prayers, we have a whole catalog of such prayers linked below, to do an actual deliverance requires prudence, training, and experience to be sure one knows what they are doing to prevent harm to oneself or others. Casting out demons is not a game. It is serious and dangerous business.

As for self-help, use the prayers found in the Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog and the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance both linked below.

As for training for Deliverance Counseling, you are correct. Our training program is the most extensive in the world, Catholic or Protestant. It takes from three-four years to get through our program, plus another three years in “residency” (doing deliverance under supervision). There is a lot more to deliverance counseling than saying prayers. Subjects like theology is but a mere beginning. Even a little physics is required.


“Unbound” by Neal Lozano

More on page 13

Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM, April 21, 2013


Bro. Ignatius,

I have read part of Neal Lozano‘s book Unbound on the Google read on the Internet. I would not recommend that book to anyone. To give the impression that any Catholic or Christian can command spirits is dangerous and I. It would be far better if we could get more solid Church teaching on this area and guidance from Catholics who base their teaching on the Sacraments and the Church. Neal Lozano has a section on ‘how to deal with manifestations’. I consider that very reckless and irresponsible to put such things in a book where any vulnerable soul could take it on. I know people who have taken on this ministry on their own initiative and I also know people who went to them and more harm than good was done. So Please it is important the Church do more in this area to regulate those who do this ministry as it is not for everyone and is dangerous. Please perhaps you can give me some of your opinion on this book. –Anne



Dear Anne,

There is nothing wrong with Part 1 of Neal’s book. That section is no different than the two books written by Fr. Amorth, former Chief Exorcist of Rome, or the Spanish exorcist Fr. Fortea‘s book, or that of Fr. Syquia, exorcist of Manila.

Part 2, on the other hand is a problem. Neal is telling ordinary people to do deliverance on others and to use techniques, such as laying on of hands, that is quite dangerous. The information given in Part 2 should not be attempted by anyone unless they have been called to deliverance work and have been thoroughly trained. Therefore, I cannot recommend Part 2, and seriously caution anyone from using the information in Part 2 to attempt deliverance on anyone. (See information below about the apostolate of deliverance and the need for calling and training before attempting).



I also think it was bad judgment for Neal to have Francis MacNutt to write the forward (see article about this).

I would recommend reading Onward Catholic Soldier by John LaBriola. He has been interviewed on EWTN about his book. The book is a good overview of the issue of Spiritual Warfare, including the issue of laity conducting deliverance, something that Jesus Himself authorized in Mark 16:15-18.

The only aspect of deliverance that is restricted by the Church is solemn exorcism, which can only be performed by a priest appointed by the bishop and only with the bishop’s express permission.

What is commonly called deliverance can be done by anyone. But, as St. Paul taught, just because one can do something does not mean they ought to do it.

While the apostolate of deliverance can be done by anyone, no one should attempt it unless they have been called by God to do so, and have been trained.

We have an Academy to train deliverance counselors that is the most extensive in the world. To get through our program takes about 3-4 years, plus another 3 years “residency” before going out on one’s own. No one, Catholic or Protestant, has such an extensive training program.

To do this work requires a lot more than knowing how to say a few prayers. Our students are taught all Church teaching relevant to this issue, angelology, demonology, philosophy, science, physics, critical and logical thinking, psychology, psychiatry, how to do spiritual direction, how to do catechetics and apologetics, spiritual counseling, clinical issues, and more. Our students undergo practicums and a one year internship.

All these subjects are required, in our opinion, to be able to do deliverance counseling at the highest competence.

We have had exorcists and dioceses refer people to us that needed deliverance and not exorcism. One of our students is a deacon who has been given permission by his bishop to be our student, to do deliverance in his diocese, and to use our materials. But… we do not advise that anyone conduct an apostolate of deliverance without training and discernment of calling.

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of damage done by apostolates that are not well trained or not trained at all. Charismatics have done the greatest damage since many of them think they are qualified to do this work by the mere fact that they are Charismatic. Being in the Charismatic Renewal, in-and-of-itself, does not qualify a person to do that. I have had to pick up the pieces of more than one person harmed by Charismatic priests.

As to individuals commanding demons, this too is permitted and, I would suggest, is a duty to do in some instances. For example, if demons are attacking one’s children, the parent better start commanding demons to leave. Any parent not doing so is neglecting their children and placing them in harms way.

Such prayers that are allowable to the ordinary person are found in our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog, linked below.

The idea that people should not rebuke or command demons comes from people with false notions commonly passed around about the subject, and by people who teach this fallacy who are not qualified to teach on this subject.

For example, there is a common fallacy among many Catholics and others that we should not mention the name of Satan as that gives Satan power. WRONG. Just the opposite is true. Satan wants to stay in the shadows. To mention his name in the context of education and prayer is to HAVE POWER OVER HIM.

God tells us in the Bible that names are significant. Adam was given dominion over all creatures by the power given to him to “name” the creatures. In solemn exorcism the priest forces the demon to reveal his name as once known the priest has power over the demon.

Now, we are not to be asking demons for their names nor are we to converse with them in any way. But, we may refer to demons by their attribute (demon of lust, anger, greed, etc) and we may rebuke and command them with imperative prayers (“I rebuke you,” “I commend you to leave” type prayers), or with deprecatory prayers (of the style, “Father in heaven please rebuke this demon of anger…”)

The only type of prayer we are not allowed to say is the imprecatory prayer, which are prayers that curse or brings down malediction upon the demon. This is to be done only in solemn exorcism.

The prayers mentioned by people like Fr. Amorth, Fr. Fortea, Part 1 of Neal Lozano, and us are permitted.

Now, I agree that these books can be misused by people. Sometimes I wish the books were not made public since some people read them and then think they know something about the subject.

Physicians have the same headache. People read medical information on the Internet and then think they know something about medicine. I know for a fact that some doctors wish that information was not on the Internet.

But, the information can be helpful to many people. We cannot be held hostage to the few who are arrogant and abuse the information.

There is some specific information, however, that absolutely should not be made public. I am asked those sorts of questions every time I do a speaking engagement, and sometimes here on this Q&A. I refuse to answer when those subjects come up. The Deliverance Counselor Manual that we have produced for our staff is not made public.

With that said, the faithful need to know the schemes of the devil as the bible says we are to know that. We are to resist the devil, as the bible says we are to do that. We cannot follow those biblical instructions without the proper knowledge and weapons. Those weapons include the Sacraments, the Bible, Church teaching, sacramentals, devotions and appeals to the Saints, devotional prayers, and spiritual warfare prayers.

These are the weapons God has given us. We are not to avoid using them, but we are to use them properly.

For information on how to receive help see our Help page. We suggest that before contacting us directly for help you try the Seven Steps to Self-Deliverance. These self-help steps will often resolve the problem. Also our Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog contains many prayers that may be helpful.



“Exorcism and the Church Militant”


Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM, April 17, 2013


Bro. Ignatius,

I recently tried to purchase “Exorcism and the Church Militant” by Rev. Thomas Euteneuer but was outbid by one dollar at the last second on eBay. So, I had a library loan the book to my school so I could read it. I’m entering seminary in the fall and am interested in this ministry, and my spiritual adviser (an exorcist priest) said this is “probably the best book on the subject.” He has read all of Amorth’s work and much more, including books not printed in English, and also knows Euteneuer personally.
Anyhow, I am working on my final paper analyzing virtue and vice in Aquinas and won’t have time to finish the book before its due date, so I scanned the pages to read later. My question is whether or not it would be wrong to put the book online since the author is silenced by the Church? There are no heretical teachings in the work of course, and he was not silenced when he wrote it. As far as I know there isn’t access to it online and I think it’s a shame people can’t read the book without paying high prices for the few remaining copies available.
If there is nothing wrong with the idea, I thought you may want to put a link on your site? It’s in PDF. –Joseph



Dear Joseph,

I would be most interested in the pdf file if you have the whole book translated into a pdf file. I have a copy of the book and have been planning to scan the book into digital form ever since the book was published.

We plan on publishing the book as a free textbook (eBook) for our students and other interested people.

Neither you or we can place this book on the Internet because of copyright issues. We plan, however, on asking the copyright owner for permission to re-publish the book formally if they are not going to do so.

In the meantime, the book cannot be reproduced for public consumption.

But, if you can provide us with the PDF file of the book that you have, this would save us many hours of work and would be very appreciative.


St Germain – A Real Saint?


May 7, 2012

I found an interesting book on amazon about St. Germain and the violet flame by Elizabeth Claire Prophet. I checked out the reviews and they sound good. Before I go further, is St. Germain a real saint? Have you heard about this violet flame before? I don’t know about this author, so I thought I should ask about this. Is this New Age or is it safe? I’m not sure. –Tina

There is a real St. Germain. You can read about him in the Catholic Encyclopedia. But, New Age wackos also claim a St. Germain.

Elizabeth Claire Prophet was a new ager who founded the cult, Church Universal and Triumphant.

She believed she was the reincarnation of people like St. Theresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Sienna, and Marie Antoinette.

Stay far away from this cult. Do not buy or read Elizabeth’s book. There is nothing even remotely compatible between Prophet and the Catholic Church. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Unhealthy devotions site See also pages 5, 23, 26-30


October 6, 2011

I found your site while searching about spiritual warfare. I found that there was an answer to a question posed about the unhealthydevotions.com site here.
The questioner also brought up Robert Abel. The unhealthy devotions sites consecrationvows.com, and apparitionsites.com are all run by Robert Abel. I recently exposed this and it was picked up by the newspaper in which the original article can be read here. Thought you might find the information helpful. –Von Troster

Thanks for the information; it is helpful. We will do some of our own research on this and consider Robert Abel a candidate for our Hall of Shame.


Unhealthy devotions


November 14, 2011

I read Robert Abel‘s book: “The Healing Power of Jesus” this week, and he utilizes visualization technique. In his chapter on salvation, he provides instruction to visualize being before Jesus during his crucifixion, and to look into his eyes to thank him and confess your sins.

I have done visualization in meditative prayer to The Blessed Mother since childhood, but I never thought of applying visualization in confession to Jesus. I do not know the controversies on the referenced on the referenced post. Is there anything improper to utilize Visualization of Jesus in the Confessional? –Marie




I cannot recommend Robert Abel. He seems to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as was discussed in previous posts here and here, and the original article on Abel here. I would not recommend any of his books or websites.

As for visualizations, this practice can be used in prayer as long as it is not of the New Age variety. The focus must always be on Jesus and/or our Blessed Mother.

A friend of mine, Deacon Frank O’Connell, has a healing ministry where he uses guided imagery (no New Age to it). Many people have been healed from emotional and spiritual afflictions through his ministry. He has a CD that can be obtained with the healing program on it (audio). His website is At the Waters Edge.

As for visualizations in the Confessional, I think you need to be attentive to your confessing of sins and to the advice of the Priest. It does not seem to me that the Confessional is a place to meditate. Rather, meditating on ones sins should be before entering the Confessional. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


“The Secret”


June 6, 2011

Could I have your views on the book “The Secret” it was recommended by a colleague at work who is not strong in her faith so I did not read it, but when a priest friend also recommended it I went ahead and bought the book but was not comfortable after the first few chapters. I was convinced it was wrong I made a confession and threw the book in the garbage. I feel good to have done that and feel it was God’s mercy that saved me from reading the book to the end. But I am concerned as many vulnerable Catholics would be exposed to it. –Agnes

The priest who recommended the book, The Secret, should be horse-whipped for incompetence and malpractice for potentially causing you spiritual damage.

Under no circumstance should The Secret be recommended.

In a Sunday Visitor article, Father Mitch Pacwa is asked about The Secret:

According to Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, who hosts EWTN Live and writes extensively on the New Age movement, The Secret, far from being some long-lost piece of ancient wisdom, is just the same old New Age nonsense dressed up for TV.
“It’s a standard New Age idea that all the world’s problems would go away if everyone would just be a little more positive,” said Father Pacwa. “This is an old scam. It’s like a nasty scene from Poltergeist: They’re ba-ack.”
The Secret, however, go further back than the New Age movement. In fact, said Father Pacwa, they go right back to Eden.
“What did the devil say to Eve? Eat this, and you’ll become like gods. That’s what The Secret really promises,” he said.
The promise of The Secret does seem to echo the promise of the serpent. It promises that without help from man or God you can control your destiny. It assures you neither grace nor suffering are necessary. It makes you your own god, and leaves no room for a messiah who hung on a cross.
Of course, the cost of believing those promises is as high as ever, which is why the best way for Catholics to respond to The Secret is not to think “lovely, wonderful thoughts” about the phenomenon coming to a quick demise. Rather, Father Pacwa advised, Catholics need to help the culture rediscover their dependence on God’s grace and the redemptive power of suffering.
“Suffering isn’t easy, but it’s profound and powerful,” he said. “Our task is to help folks in the culture face their problems instead of looking for the easy way out. It doesn’t exist.”

The Holy Spirit was speaking to you when you felt uncomfortable with the book. You did the right thing in getting rid of this book. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


“Interview with an Exorcist”


May 24, 2010

I came across this book at Amazon entitled “Interview with an Exorcist: An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance” by Father Jose Antonio Fortea. I would like to know whether you would recommend this book. –Clement

Father Fortea is a good priest. His book is good and useful for training deliverance counselors.

But, as with Fr. Amorth’s books, and others, in some way I wish they had not been published to the general public. The reason for this is that people tend to read these books and then think they know something about exorcism and deliverance, and worse, try to perform deliverance upon people. Such situation can be dangerous.

Merely reading these books does not make us exorcists or deliverance ministers anymore than reading books on brain surgery makes a brain surgeon. As the old say goes, “I little knowledge is dangerous.”

What is even worse is that we have had clients with demonological problems who think they know all about the diagnosis and treatment because they have read these books. This can really be dangerous. Again, using the brain surgery analogy, this is like having a patient needing brain surgery trying to tell the surgeon how to do it because the patient read a few books.

Thus, to everyone, if you think you must read Fr. Fortea’s book or that of Fr. Amorth’s or others, just remember that reading the books does not qualify you to diagnose anyone, including yourself, or to perform deliverance, or for that matter, even to have a complete academic understanding of spiritual warfare. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM





“Interview with an Exorcist”


January 1, 2009

I read the “not recommended” book list you have. Can you please expound all the ideas and doctrines of Francis MacNutt which are erroneous and be more detailed. Since there are plenty of reading material on the subject of Spiritual Warfare, I think people should know which ideas or doctrines of the above author we should be wary of because I think his ideas are adapted by other authors which are not much known. If you can’t list it all here, please have an article about it.

I have already explained why I do not recommend Mr. MacNutt on the “not recommended” page. [See page 3 above]

If you want to know more about the Pentecostalisms that I mention, see the essay, Charism Gift Building up the Church.

Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Walter Martin’s “Kingdom of the Cults”


October 13, 2008

I was wondering if you were familiar with the book “Kingdom of the Cults”, and if you would recommend it? –Frank

Kingdom of the Cults is a book by Walter Martin. Martin is the founder of the Christian Research Institute. Martin died in 1989. Hank Hanegraaff is now the president of the Institute.

The Christian Research Institute and Walter Martin have some good material and analysis of various cults. But, one must remember that their theological perspective is fundamentalist evangelical.

While Martin, as best as I can remember, was not actively anti-Catholic, Hanegraaff been very anti-Catholic. Hanegraaff leadership of the Institute has been very controversial and even Martin’s widow and eldest daughter called for his dismissal in 2000. Martin’s eldest daughter split off from the Institute to start Walter Martin Ministries. They maintain Martin’s series of Kingdom of the Cults.

In the last ten years of Martin’s life he was embroiled in controversy over the cult of Positive Confession (e.g. Kenneth Copeland). This “name it and claim it” theology is heretical to Christianity and is, in my opinion, cultish. I give Martin credit for his courage to stand up to this.

I have this book on my bookshelf. It is a good resource as long as one keeps in mind the evangelical perspective in which it is written. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


“Unbound” by Neal Lozano Continued from pages 8-10


September 22, 2008

I want to ask if you would commend the deliverance book of Neal Lozano called ‘Unbound’. I thought it was good although I haven’t read it yet and I want to, but I want to hear from you because sometimes we thought something was harmless but it isn’t. Lozano is said to be a cousin of Fr. Michael Scanlan. –DJ

I commented about Lozano’s book in a previous post. Here is the link*. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM See below


“Unbound” by Neal Lozano


August 26, 2008

I have just read the book Unbound by Neal Lozano. Do you know of it and, if so, what do you think of it? The book itself seemed OK to me, but the foreword was written by Francis MacNutt. (So then I read one of MacNutt’s books, which was interesting but seemed a little wacky—then I saw it was on your list of un-recommended books.) Anyhow, any thoughts you have regarding Lozano and Unbound would be greatly appreciated. –Ivonne

The book, Unbound, was sent to be for review. Unfortunately I have not had the time to read it thoroughly. I have glanced at it and it appears to be okay, but I really cannot say until I read it thoroughly.

The fact that Lozano chose MacNutt to write the foreword is problematic in my view. But, that bad judgment does not negate the value of the book in-and-of-itself.

If I get the chance to read the book and do a formal review I will put that in the recommended/not recommended list as the case may be. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM Now see pages 8-10


“Practical Praying” by John Edwards


April 17, 2008

What do you think of this new book from John Edwards? http://www.johnedward.net/PracticalPraying.htm. -John

I am utterly offended that John Edwards would pass himself off as some sort of Catholic or use Catholic trappings.

John Edwards is a fraud at best, and demonically inspired at worse, in our view. Under no circumstances can I recommend anything that he writes or says. I have noticed recently that occultist, new agers, and other assorted dingbats are using a lot of Catholic trappings in their perversions. I guess they think using things Catholic will give them a sense of credibility.

What John Edwards does is an abomination before the Lord according to the Bible and is absolutely condemned by the Catholic Church. Under no circumstances are John Edwards and his ilk to be considered genuine or credible or Christian. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



Books by Martin Israel


April 23, 2008

I was wondering if you’ve heard of a Dr. Martin Israel, who seems to be an Episcopal priest. He has written several books, one of them being on Exorcism. I wanted to know if his material would be viewed as safe to read by the Catholic Church. I’ve read some of his work on exorcism, and it seems to flow in context with Catholic teachings, but would like your take on it. His website is: {URL removed by moderator} –Omar

I would advise NOT reading this man’s material. He uses techniques that are very problematic and even dangerous, such as confirming answers he “receives from God” in prayer by tossing a coin. He bases this practice on the Biblical examples of casting sacred lots found in Joshua 6 and in the book of Acts. He misapplies and misunderstands this practice.

In addition, he uses a “profound imageless contemplation, so that the love of God can permeate my whole being.” This “emptying of the mind” technique comes from Eastern Mysticism and is very dangerous.

With this technique he “learns” about the person to whom he is ministering: “Into my mind flow the needs of many people whom I know, most often with illness.” This “flowing” is a lot like that of a medium.

But the clincher is that his demonology is heretical. He says, “I command a demonic spirit to leave this earthbound plane and go to that place in the life beyond death which God has prepared for its reception and healing.”

Healing? Demons cannot be “healed.” They are eternally damned.

These observations I found after skimming his “Exorcism” book for only five minutes. Who knows what I would find if a read the book carefully, and his other books that go along with it.

I would advise NOT reading this guy. I removed the URL you gave because I think it dangerous for a Catholic to read. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


“The Devil’s Apocrypha: There are two sides to every story”


December 22, 2004

Have you read the book? –James

No I have not read this book, but I have looked at a summary. Based upon that summary I would say that the bottom line is that this book is blasphemous garbage at best and at worse could cause great damage to those searching.

There is only ONE side to the story, and that is God’s side. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


“23 minutes in Hell”
by Bill Weise


October 25, 2007

What do you think of the book “23 Minutes in Hell” by Bill Weise? –Len

The experience of Bill Weise was real to him. As such we need to respect it and not make fun of it. We need to remember that the experience of hell will be different for each of those who go there.

The perceptions of hell that we have now will most likely determine much of our experience in hell itself. Bill’s perspective of hell is completely engulfed in a very literalistic interpretation of the Bible and thus his “vision” was in concert with his perception that he learned from that literal interpretation.

We know that in Godly apparitions of saints or angels that those saints and angels can appear to us in the ways that we expect them to look like. For example, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared like a Mexican woman. The Blessed mother was not Mexican in her life on earth, but to appear as a Mexican was important for whom she appeared to.

If we think the devil is red with horns and a forked tail, then we are likely to perceive him that way if we have a vision of him, or meet him in hell.

Our late Holy Father, John Paul II, of happy memory, stated:

God is the infinitely good and merciful Father. But man, called to respond to him freely, can unfortunately choose to reject his love and forgiveness once and for all, thus separating himself for ever from joyful communion with him. It is precisely this tragic situation that Christian doctrine explains when it speaks of eternal damnation or hell. It is not a punishment imposed externally by God but a development of premises already set by people in this life. The very dimension of unhappiness which this obscure condition brings can in a certain way be sensed in the light of some of the terrible experiences we have suffered which, as is commonly said, make life “hell”.

In a theological sense however, hell is something else: it is the ultimate consequence of sin itself, which turns against the person who committed it. It is the state of those who definitively reject the Father’s mercy, even at the last moment of their life.

Hell is a state of eternal damnation… The images of hell that Sacred Scripture presents to us must be correctly interpreted. They show the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. More than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy. This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the truths of faith on this subject: “To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell'” (n. 1033).

Bill is indoctrinated in the idea that hell is a place, and more so, that hell is literally in the center of the earth (he says 4000 miles into the earth). This is theologically in error not only because hell is “more than a place” as our Holy Father stated, but because the earth itself will not last forever (at the very least the earth will be destroyed when our sun supernova’s in approximately 5 billion years), and hell lasts forever.



As for all the body imagery the Bill relates, while those who go to hell now do so in spirit and soul, at the final resurrection, our bodies will be re-united with our spirits and will then enter heaven or hell body and soul. Thus, the body will be in hell, too.

What I noticed is that Bill is one of those people who exercises and keeps fit. For him, I imagine the body torture would be very acute and that may be the reason for all the body imagery he related. Since he is focused on the body here on earth, it stands to reason that his torture in hell will be focused on the body as well.

Most of the theological errors expressed by Bill, such as the lack of God’s presence, hell in the center of the earth, perceiving distance, time, and space in an earthy manner are all a direct result of the tradition of literalism of interpretation of the Bible that ignores literary types and forms and analogies.

Jonah in hell is another misinterpretation. Jonah is an archetype the foresees Christ who went to hell, that is Hades, to the side of Hades called Abraham’s Bosom to bring the Old Testament saints out of that limbo and into heaven. Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days and was then “resurrected” (spewed out of the fish). This is a pre-figuring of Jesus’ decent into Hades during the three days between his death and Resurrection.

That can be excused if only Bill would relate this experience as “HIS” experience, rather than to dogmatize it as if his experience is the definitive description of hell.

The most serious and potentially damaging theological error, however, is the notion that he was made to forget he was Christian during his stay in hell. When he was brought out of hell, he remembered he was Christian. This notion is based on a once-saved-always-saved theology which is unbiblical and potentially dangerous.

The fact is that many CHRISTIANS will likely go to hell. The greater torture in hell will be for us to be there with the mark of Christian baptism on our soul. Worse yet, to have the mark of holy orders on the souls of priests and deacons.

The idea of God not being present is a careless, and common, mistake. I am sure that he believes God is omnipresent and doesn’t think about how saying God not being present in hell contradicts this. The truth is God is everywhere. Those in hell will not perceive Him because they have been blinded by their own choices, but that does not mean God is not there.

As my father always said when there was something right in front of our eyes yet we didn’t see it, “If it was a snake it would have bit you.”

Interestingly, Bill misses a major point of his own story. He describes that demons hate the body and thus torture it, but he never says why. The why would be that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The body is a tabernacle. Even those who never had the Holy Spirit within them because they rejected God all their lives still have a body that has been blessed by God because that body contained the rational soul specially created by God and imbued in that body. Animals do not have that. Demons hate that we mere creatures were given that privilege.

There are other errors such as demons having no I.Q. Demons are brilliantly intelligent creatures. While it is true that hatred and pride can blind them, this does not remove the fact that they, as angels, have an inherent intelligence that far exceeds man.

The narrative that “sounds” like Bill is saying the God is responsible for the problems here on earth it not that. I listened to it twice since it sounds to me like he was saying that, but he isn’t. He says the “god of this world” causes all these problems. The “god of this world” is one of the titles in the Bible for Satan.

Bill interprets his experience in a very bodily way because he is a very bodily person and because that image of hell is what he has been taught. To some degree you get what you expect.

I have no reason to believe that his experience was false. I do believe him when he said he was taken into hell. I would only say that his experience was “his hell” based upon his pre-conceptions of what hell is like and based upon his earthly focus of bodily health and exercise as something critically important to him.

The theological errors come from his flawed theology that pre-existed his experience and thus tainted his perceptions during the experience, tainted his interpretation of his experience after that fact. The first twenty minutes of the video is all that is really interesting; most of the rest of the video is mere preaching. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



October 28, 2007

I was raised mostly as a Pentecostal, but then I became a member of the Baptist church.

My friend has posted on your site before, and he was talking about him and I, and how we have been studying Catholicism. I believe he said it was History and the Bible that has led us this way, and I would definitely have to agree. My friend’s name is Matt, just wondering if you remember him.

My mother almost killed me when I mentioned we were just studying it, but we continue our studies. Is that dishonoring her? That’s one question.

My main question is about what you responded to about the post titled “23 Minutes in Hell.” You say, “Bill interprets his experience in a very bodily way because he is a very bodily person and because that image of hell is what he has been taught. To some degree you get what you expect.”

You also say, “The most serious and potentially damaging theological error, however, is the notion that he was made to forget he was Christian during his stay in hell. When he was brought out of hell, he remembered he was Christian. This notion is based on a once-saved-always-saved theology which is unbiblical and potentially dangerous.”

My question is what about people on earth who expect to go to Heaven because they were taught under their faith that once they were saved they will always be saved? If, to some degree, you get what you expect, and you expect to go to Heaven because of the way you were raised and your faith, will you go? –Bryon


As for your first question about dishonoring your mother, I do not have enough information to really answer that. I do not know how old you are or the context of what your mother did or said to “almost kill you.” If you are a minor then you do have obligations to obey your parents. That is not an absolute obligation; a minor does not have to obey orders from a parent that are immoral, illegal, abusive, etc. But, generally speaking there is an obligation for a minor child to obey his parents. God expects this obedience and honors it.

There have been cases where a minor child wanted to convert to the Catholic Church but the parents would not let him and forbid him to attend Mass. The minor child had to obey this and wait until he was an adult to convert.

This obedience to parents is seen in some of the Catholic saints. There have been Catholic saints, who as children, wanted to join a religious order but was forbidden to do so by their parents. They patiently waited until either their parents changed their mind with the grace or God, or they became adults. God is pleased by such obedience and will honor it.

Now, whether or not you are in a situation that studying the Catholic faith as you are violates the due obedience you have to your parents (assuming you are a minor) I do not know. I would not think that reading about the Catholic faith would be a problem, but I do not know your situation.

On the second question concerning the “23 minutes in Hell” review, you are misinterpreting my comments a little. The idea that we “get what we expect” refers to the fact that angels and demons are pure spirit. They have no body, no material form. If they appear to us they take on a bodily form. The bodily form they take on will often be consistent with what we expect. For example, an angel may appear to us in long white robes and wings. This is not how angels actually look, but they may appear to us that way because that is what we are expecting. This does not mean they MUST appear this way, but they might.

With demons it is the same way: if we expect a demon to be red with horns and a tail and a pitchfork then a demon may very well appear that way to us, but he does not have to appear that way.

The motivation of the angel is to appear to us in a pleasant and comforting way. The motivation of the demon is to appear to us in a frightening way.

In terms of the destination of our eternal soul getting what we expect is certainly NOT the case. Even in the Bible there is a story of people who thought of themselves as followers of Jesus and thus going to heaven but Jesus told them to depart from him and to go to hell (Matthew 7:21-23; 25:31-46).

There is most likely going to be people who expect to go to heaven but will find themselves in hell. And, by the way, there may be people who expect to go to hell who find themselves in heaven.

Our eternal destination is not determined by our expectations, but by the state of our soul at the time of our death, the sincerity of our heart to honestly seek God, and the mercy and just judgment of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



February 23, 2008

I was in the bookstore night before last and thumbed through a book called 23 minutes in hell. There was another book by a woman I think called “A Revelation of Hell” that I also looked at.

I looked up some information on the computer about the first author and found several sites where he speaks about his experience. One of the sites had a 3 minute video clip with images like the ones he claims he saw. It was very disturbing especially after having experienced demonic oppression to watch this since it brought back some painful memories of what I experienced.

I don’t doubt that these 2 authors had an experience that was real to both of them but I found some of it doesn’t seem to hold up to scripture. For one, I can’t imagine God creating this marvelous creation called earth and then putting something as horrible as hell in the middle of it. Imagine the most beautiful place you’ve travelled to and then have all of that beautiful imagery ruined by the thought of what lies beneath. Doesn’t make sense to me! I’ve always thought of hell as being located in another dimension not necessarily a physical reality like he describes.

Another thing he says is that demons have no I.Q. I’ve always been taught that they are very intelligent. How else could they plot and carry out all of their deceptive schemes on mankind without being seen for what they really are? You have to be extremely intelligent to do that.

What are your views on these revelations in relation to what the church teaches about hell? –Stacey

Your evaluation of these “stories” is accurate. These people may indeed have had an experience in hell, I do not know, but whatever experience they had it was colored by their pre-conceived notions about hell and about demons.

Demons are (fallen) angels. As angels, demons are extremely intelligent beings. They have “I.Qs” that are far above that of humans. Their intelligence is often overshadowed by their hatred and pride (which also happens to humans) but they have great intelligence.

The location of hell, as reported by them, is also colored by their pre-conceived notions. The imagery of hell being in the earth is merely an image that was useful to the Biblical writers. The grave (a place in the earth) is a place of death. From within the earth even people thousands of years ago knew contained “fire and brimstone”. We call this magma. The ancients saw this “fire and brimstone” every time a volcano erupted. The image of “fire and brimstone” was an analogy of the pain and suffering the Biblical writers envisioned would be the experience of a person forever separated from God’s love.

But, the earth and fire and brimstone are part of the material world. This material world will pass away, this earth will be no more. If nothing else, our Sun will supernova in about 5 billion years and this our entire solar system will be destroyed. Thus, inside the earth cannot be hell since hell lasts forever.



These people speak of these notions not as their perception of things but as if they are absolute fact. While their stories are interesting, the details should not be taken as fact.

I have had an experience of hell myself. What I saw was nothing like what they describe. What I saw was a blackness or a darkness that was more than black, more than dark, it was an abyss, it was something that I cannot explain or describe. I saw my soul as it really was at that time – dead. Demons were these black and dark entities, of the same blackness that was more than black, entities completely devoid of light who were pure evil. There was no sense of “place”, it was just a state of being (which, by the way is consistent with Catholic teaching on the nature of hell). It was a frightening experience and one that inspired me to be the prodigal son returning home to God.

Bottom line: take these fanciful stories with a grain of salt. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



February 23, 2008

I asked a question here previously about Bl. Anne Emmerich’s Dolorous Passion.
My next question would be about St. John’s vision of hell. I’m not sure if you read it, but St. John’s interpretations seem to be of a very physical sense: ‘rats eating out the eyes of the people’. He also describes a literal HEAT that people feel, not a state of mind. He said there were 1000 walls I think, all 1000 miles apart, and he put his hand on the wall furthest away from hell (thousands of miles away) and when he awoke from his vision his hand had been burned in real life.
What are your comments on this? It does not just seem like a state of mind… it seems like St. John was describing both a state of mind but also a physical pain. –Jack

I am not sure which “St. John” you are referring to. There are many Saints named “John”.

In any event, private revelations are always given to people according to the personality and expectations of the receiver of the revelation. This is why two different people can have an experience of hell and report vastly different things.

The images you describe from St. John’s vision are again archetypal. The 1000 walls that are 1000 miles apart is a clue to the archetypal nature of his vision. In the afterworld time and space does not exist as we think of it. Thus, “1000 miles” is meaningless.

There may indeed be a kind of physicality after the Final Judgment. We know that Jesus after the Resurrection had a physical body of sorts. He could be touched, he could eat, but he could also walk through walls and appear and disappear like a ghost.

St. Paul said it best when he said that we do not know what we will be in heaven, but we will be like Christ.

Similarly, hell will also have some sort of physicality but the type of which we cannot know.

The primary pain of hell, however, is not physical torture; it is separation from the Love and Light of God. That separation is not accomplished by God, but by those in hell. It is their state of mind that places them in a state separate from God and outside the love and light of God.

As mentioned before, the images of physical torture are mostly a human way to try to understand the pain of being deprived of the beatific vision.

One other thing we need to remember is that it is the Pope and Magisterium in union with the Pope who are the official teachers and guardians of the faith, not any of us, and not even a Saint. If there is any conflict in a Saint’s interpretation of things and the Holy See’s interpretation of things, we are to accept what the Holy See says above the opinions of the Saint. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


“True Haunting” by Edwin Becker


June 1, 2013

Have you read the book ‘True Haunting’ by Edwin Becker? I have not, but in the book description on Amazon the author claims that ghosts can not be exorcised and can cause physical harm to people living in their territory. What are your thoughts on this? –Omar

This book is just another case of a person writing about something with no competence on the subject. This is not a “reporter’s account” of events, but an accounting with an agenda, an attempt to explain the supernatural events. He fails completely on the score. 

To begin with, his primary “expert” is a psychic. No so-called psychic is competent in these matters. There are only three kinds of psychics: frauds, the deluded who think they “powers” but are actually tapping into natural abilities of observation (like the frauds do) and into their imaginations, and the demonic, where some real preternatural abilities are manifested, but sourced in the devil. 

The idea that a ghost cannot be cast out is proof-positive that this author, and his psychic sidekick are incompetent and uttering ignorant about these issues. 

First off, ghosts who cause problems are almost always demons, perhaps disguised as a human. 

Secondly, this is only one case I know of where a human spirit was alleged to possess a person. That was the Earling, Iowa case in 1928. The exorcist-priest reported that one of the spirits possessing the girl was her very evil dead father. This may have been a demon in disguise, but the point is this spirit was successfully exorcised. 

Thus, this book should be ignored as having any credible information about ghost, demons, hauntings, and how these things work. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM




“The Catholic Demonologist Handbook” by Kenneth Deel


June 24, 2013

Have you read or heard of the book ‘The Catholic Demonologist Handbook’ by Kenneth Deel? If so, what are your thoughts? –Omar

I am horrified that you know about this book, and even more so if you have a copy.

Kenneth Deel, who, thank God, has retired from deliverance work, is a very confused person. I made the comment once that he was essentially a good guy but his problem was that he hung around the ghost busting wackos, such as the Warrens and Fr. Ashcraft, and that affected his judgment and his theology.

Father Ashcraft was the founder of “United Paranormal International”. I criticized his Discussion group for purveying misinformation and allowing witches and other occultist into the group with their obviously erroneous ideas. The primary catalyst that began once of the worse defamation campaigns against me was when Fr. Ashcraft came on our BBS after kicking me off of his BBS. He joined our Spiritual Warfare BBS and then began trying to recruit people to his BBS through PMs. I properly sent out a warning to the members of our BBS asking them to ignore Fr. Ashcraft’s PMs and why. He was kicked off our BBS.

In the course of that I also made comments about Deel, as reported below in our Detractor Malefactor blog. Our assessment of Deel on the blog is as follows:

Ken Deel is a buddy of Fr. Ashcraft and is closely associated with the ghost busting and paranormal investigator crowd. Mr. Deel has a radio show to which Bro. Ignatius was a guest on a couple of occasions. When Bro. Ignatius warned our BBS members about what Fr. Ashcraft was doing on our SPCDC BBS (Ashcraft was trying to poach our members in PMs, thus he was kicked off our BBS)), he also mentioned Ken Deel by saying:

Ken Deel is certainly more “Catholic” [than Fr. Ashcraft] but runs around with the Ghost Hunting crowd, Lorraine Warren, and other problematic people. His site and radio show is sometimes reminiscent of the Art Bell show. He needs to abandon the errors of the wacko crowd and focus on his Catholic faith

Mr. Deal wrote a book called, The Catholic Demonologist Handbook. On page 69 he states: “Little known fact, if you flat-line and die, you need to be re-baptized, partly because of the simple exorcism built into it.”

This is a heresy. The Catechism states:

1272 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.

The veracity of Mr. Deel is in serious question, not only from his libels but from teaching things contrary to the Dogma of the Sacrament of Baptism.

I pray for Mr. Deel. Perhaps if he has ceased his associations with the nutball squad of “ghost hunters” he may return to his senses and restore his Catholic faith. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


The book “Papal Magic: Occult Practices within the Catholic Church”


July 23, 2007

Recently, I was in a bookstore and came across this book entitled “Papal Magic: Occult Practices within The Catholic Church.” This bothered me to even see this title. I didn’t pick it up, but saw the spine of the book on the shelf. Here is a link to it on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Papal-Magic-Occult-Practices-Catholic/dp/0061240834. My guess is that these types of books are straight from Satan himself. Am I correct in my guess? –Matt

The guy who wrote that book is an occultist and an idiot. Ignore it. It is just another in the huge pile of manure that is out there that distorts Church history and Church teachings and practice in order to fit some ridiculous notion.

One of the things that occultist misinterpret about the Catholic Church is that prayer, the Eucharist, the Sacraments, etc. are not magic. Magic is man’s attempt to manipulate the gods (spirits) or nature for a desired effect and conform it to the will of the magician.

What the Catholic Church does is not an attempt to manipulate God or nature to subservience of our desires. Prayer and the Sacraments are cooperation with God according to God’s instructions and desire in a form of intimacy that is personal and always for His greater Glory and only according to His will, and not ours. This, by definition, is not magic. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Dan Brown’s book “Angels and Demons”


March 8, 2009

Can you give a brief review of the book, “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown? A Catholic friend asked me to read it and then tell her if she was a bad Catholic for reading it. I have no interest in reading Dan Browns anti-Catholic, anti-Christian books. If you cannot review it, can someone direct me to Catholic reviews of the book so I can point out its pitfalls without actually having to waste time reading it? –Mary

The Catholic League has prepared a detail booklet on exposing “Angels and Demons” for what it is — an anti-Catholic diatribe. It only costs $5.00: Angels & Demons: More Demonic Them Angelic. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



Ralph Sarchie’s book “Beware the Night”


August 7, 2004

I recently found a book titled “Beware the Night” by Ralph Sarchie. His is a Catholic New York cop who assists with exorcisms and investigations into demonic happenings in his spare time. The book is about the cases he has encountered and helped with, some of which are quite frightening.
He promotes the Sacraments, devotion to our Blessed Mother, and the Rosary, and in fact has a chapter on how to say the Rosary at the end of the book, as well as the St. Louis De Montfort prayer for Consecration to Mary.
A bishop he speaks highly of and whom he has assisted in exorcisms with, is Bishop Robert McKenna, who I believe is a Traditionalist. Mr. Sarchie was also very good friends with Fr. Malachi Martin and speaks very highly of him.
He is associated with the Warren couple however. They were an influence on him and he learned from them. One thing that bothers me that I’ve read in the book is the fact that sometimes he will bring a psychic seminarian with him on investigations. Mr. Sarchie seems to be a very devoted Catholic, and seems to do very good work with these investigations, but this part of it makes me uncomfortable.
The book is very interesting – these are real life cases, and a lot can be learned from it aside from the Warrens and the psychic seminarian. Have you read this book or heard of Mr. Sarchie? Is the book okay to read, if one knows Mr. Sarchie is making a big mistake with the psychic part of things? -Doug

I am very familiar with Mr. Sarchie’s book, “Beware the Night” and cannot recommend it for numerous reasons. In fact, one of the things on my “to do” list is to write a refutation of this book. I plan on titling the essay, “Beware the Book Beware the Night.” The book is full of anti-Catholic teachings and principles that are in direct contradiction to how we, as Catholics, should conduct Spiritual Warfare. The problems with the book are systemic and it is not salvageable under any conditions. 
Consider the following, but be prepared. My review of this book and of the sources of Mr. Sarchie’s training and endorsements is very hard-hitting and pulls no punches, and is not just mere opinion, but can be substantiated:
1. Beware the Night promotes disobedience to the authority of Rome and to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church by denouncing the disciplinary authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1985 ruling, INDE AB ALIQUOT ANNIS (On The Current Norms Governing Exorcisms).
2. Beware the Night implicitly promotes schism and heresy by its support of Sedevacantist and Ultra-Traditionalist groups and agenda. Sedevacantists do not recognize the authority of Rome and, by that fact, are either schismatic, or proximate to schism. Schism incurs an auto-excommunication. At the very least these people are no longer in communion with the Church. Mr. Sarchie, later on in the book, states that he too has converted and has become a “Traditionalist” (read schismatic).
3. Beware the Night  includes a worldview drawn heavily from New Age language and ideas in its teaching and philosophy (Chakra Points, Auras, “Magical Whisperings”, “Psychic Assessment,” “Telepathic Hypnosis,” “Psychic this” and “Psychic that” for anything that cannot be explained, etc.) and occasionally makes a poor attempt to marry such nonsense to Catholic teaching. For example, the “Chakra Points” are where your “Aura” flows. If your soul is in a state of grace, your “Aura” is strong and intact; if you are in a state of sin, your “Aura” is weak and blah, blah, blah…  I’m sorry, Mr. Sarchie, but from where in the 2000 year history of the Church does this doctrine and this phraseology come?
4. In Beware the Night, Mr. Sarchie implicitly presents as “fact” ideas and principles that are at best nothing more than conjecture and speculation. For example, Mr. Sarchie at one point in his book makes the statement, “When you are in a small or enclosed area during a house exorcism, psychic energy can build up and affect you in all sorts of extremely disagreeable ways” (p. 176), and “9:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. are considered the ‘Psychic Hours,’ because that’s when supernatural energy is at it’s peak” (p. 104).
Perhaps if he had said something like, “One theory is that…” or “My opinion is…” or “Some people believe that…” it may have made the book a little more readable and more credible. This approach is not a rare thing. Rather, Mr. Sarchie seems to be in the habit of pontificating such things as fact.
The list could go on and on….
A word should be made about Mr. Sarchie’s endorsements and training background:
1) Bishop Robert McKenna is reportedly a Sedevacantist (Sedevacantists believe that Pope John Paul II is an anti-pope). He was consecrated a bishop by the schismatic and sedevacantist archbishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc of Vietnam. Bishop McKenna is with the Orthodox Roman Catholic Movement, which is not in communion with Rome. To say the least Bishop McKenna is not in communion with the Church. Thus the fact that he works with Mr. Sarchie is hardly a feather of credibility in Mr. Sarchie’s cap.
2) Malachi Martin was a laicized priest who illegally said Mass and illegally performed exorcisms. He considered Pope John Paul II to be leading the Church into Hell (so to speak), though he couched his words so as to obscure this unless one listened to him in full context. Mr. Martin damaged the faith of millions due to his ultra-traditionalist views and the spreading of rumor and distrust of the Holy See. Thus his working relationship with Mr. Sarchie is also hardly a feather of credibility in Mr. Sarchie’s cap.
3) The Warrens is where Mr. Sarchie received some, but not all of, his “training”. The fact that Mr. Sarchie still holds the views of the Warrens and is a devotee of the Warrens is also not a feather of credibility in his cap. In their “investigations,” the Warrens, who profess Catholicism, have no problems using psychics, séances, and various other methodologies that are not in concert with Catholic teaching, and will utilize anyone who will help them, even schismatic clergy. In addition, some of the Warrens operational theories on paranormal phenomena are far-fetched and contaminated by an occultic and new age cosmology and demonology. Their teachings are the source of some, but not all of, the nonsense in Mr. Sarchie’s book.


Mr. Sarchie’s Intentions:
With all this said, I personally believe that Mr. Sarchie’s intentions are good and that his motive is truly to help those in need.  However, the ends do not justify the means and in this case, Mr. Sarchie’s intentions do not justify the irrefutable errors that are exposed not only by basic scientific method, phenomenology, and logic, but also by the light of the Truths of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. –Joe Meineke, Deliverance Counselor


M. Scott Peck’s book “Glimpses of the Devil”


January 25, 2005

I just found a review of a new book on demonic possession and exorcism by M. Scott Peck titled “Glimpses of the Devil”. A review of the book can be found here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/002/16.84.html.

Apparently, this Peck fellow once had an unfortunate though instructive run-in with that strange gentleman Malachi Martin. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on Peck’s book if and when you get the time to examine it. -John

I have not read the book but have read excerpts.

While there are some things that may be okay in Peck’s writings, overall, Mr. Peck is not qualified to speak on exorcism and spiritual warfare. From some of the things I have read he makes some erroneous conclusions about various things. His misunderstanding of spiritual warfare is likely influenced by the late Malachi Martin who was a laicized priest gone wacko. Mr. Martin’s notions of spiritual warfare also contained flaws.

In general, and provisionary since I have not actually read his book (but I have read other works from him), I would not recommend his book as an accurate source of information. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

Briefly, Morgan Scott Peck’s books are generally considered not suited for Christian reading -Michael


Malachi Martin’s book “Hostage to the Devil”


February 9, 2005

English is not my native tongue so please oblige me for possibly putting the question a bit awkward. I would like to know if the cases described in ‘Hostage to the Devil’ are true. For instance, were the people named in the book actual living persons? If so, the priests involved must have passed away, as must have some of the victims. But there could still be some relatives around that have been witness to the events. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to let them speak out? I know that you have been condemning the book of Malachi Martin as being the work of a heretic. But how much credence does such an opinion have if the parties involved didn’t have their say? It would be much appreciated if you were willing to answer this question. It has been on my mind for a long time. –Hildebrand

I do not recall calling Malachi Martin a heretic. Rather his views were divisive (which is sinful) and schismatic in nature.

The reason for this analysis has little to do with his book “Hostage to the Devil”. This assessment is based upon the totality of his writings, speeches, interviews, and actions.

As far as the book “Hostage to the Devil” there is some information in the book about the nature of exorcism which is not Catholic Teaching. As for the cases involved, I do not know if the cases are true or not, and if true, whether Martin was accurate in his reference to them. Given the show-biz nature of Martin’s actions and his less than truthfulness in many areas, I would not trust him, or his books, to be truly accurate. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Malachi Martin’s book “Hostage to the Devil”


June 20, 2007

I read the book “Hostage to the Devil” a few weeks ago, and I noticed in Martin’s writings that he stated there was a state of perfect possession. He explains it as a possessed state that does not shy away from religious sacraments. He states one that is perfectly possessed can talk openly about religion, can receive the sacraments, confession, communion, etc.

First off is this true? How would one know if one is so called perfectly possessed? It doesn’t make any sense to me. I must admit that even the thought of it makes me uneasy. Could you possibly explain this further? -Debbie

Let me first say that Malachi Martin is not a source of solid information on anything. His books are best used as door-stops.

The only place I can recall where the term “perfect possession” is used is in Martin’s book.

A more reliable source is Father Amorth, the exorcist for the diocese of Rome who observes:

“No matter what the origins, possession does not deprive us of freedom except during times of acute crisis, when we are not responsible for our words and actions. Freedom of the will, nevertheless, remains. We are still free to commit good or evil actions, to sanctify ourselves or to damn ourselves.”

As Father Amorth relates, a possessed person is not always under the control of the demon. During those times the possessed person can receive communion, attend Mass, pray, etc. It is only during those “times of acute crisis” when the demons take over the body and may react violently against the Eucharist, say blasphemous things, etc.

Thus, there is no such thing, in my view, as a “perfect” possession. There are various levels of intensity of possession; some are worse than others. I think the term “perfect possession” probably is referring to “total possession.” But then “total” is not a good word either. In fact, I do not think the word “possession” is an accurate term.

The Devil NEVER possesses the soul; he can only take over the body. Thus to “possess” implies a level of “ownership” that the devil does not have.


A better word, and more accurate, is “demonization.” Those to whom we would call “possessed” are demonized at the highest levels.

But, the idea that perfect possession is a level in which the possessed person may then be able to receive the sacraments, etc., is not true. As Father Amorth said, there are times when a possessed person is not under control of the demon and during those times he can act normally. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Malachi Martin


August 13, 2007

I was hoping that you could take a few minutes to provide some background on Malachi Martin. I understand that you do not believe him to be credible and I was wondering why. –Eric

I am not prepared to go into detail about Martin at this time, but I can give you a few points (which will not be backed up now but will be later, and I can back up each of the assertions below with documentary evidence mostly of his own words).

Malachi Martin, in my opinion, did more damage to the Church than any other single individual in the last twenty years of the 20th century. He was a grossly duplicitous person who exploited the fears of the Catholic public to sell books. He damaged many people’s faith with his alleged conspiracy theories, none of which he proved even a shred of proof.

He shamelessly wrote his criticisms of the Church in what he called “fact-ion” (part fact, part fiction). Of “Windswept House” he said that 80% of the book was fact, but he refused to tell which parts were in that 80%. This is an old trick in the publishing world to sell books.

When asked why he wrote a novel instead of a non-fiction book exposing the corruptions he claimed he responded that he could not write a non-fiction book because he wanted to protect the public. Give me a break!

He is already telling the “public” but telling them in a novel that he says is 80% fact leaving the public to speculate on which parts are true and which are not. This, of course, feeds controversy and imagination of the public leading them to think the Holy See is in the hands of the devil. Actually, it is a marketing technique to take a few actual facts, mix them with speculation called facts, mixed with fiction.

There are only two reasons to write a novel instead of a non-fiction book: 1) a non-fiction book requires footnotes and proof. He had none. 2) A shadowy novel that tantalizes the public with alleged “truth” and “conspiracies” sells books.

To quote from the EWTN Q&A FAQ on Martin concerning the claims of “Windswept House”:

Concerning the allegations about churchmen found in Windswept House under the guise of fiction, they would certainly be sad if true, and other sources have suggested the basic factualness of some of the accounts. However, even if they were based on fact the Church is in no more danger of being overcome by the gates of hell today than it was during any of the other crises of history. Jesus had his Judas and history shows that His Mystical Body has had its share, as well. To deny the past and present Judases within the Church would be wrong. However, to act as if it made any difference to our obligations of obedience would be to take scandal (called passive scandal) from those who are giving scandal. Jesus warns us about those who would give scandal to his little ones (Mt. 18:6) and thereby sought by that warning to provide an antidote for passive scandal, as well. In his Summa Theologiae St. Thomas Aquinas tells us,

Passive scandal implies that the mind of the person who takes scandal is unsettled in its adherence to good. Now no man can be unsettled, who adheres firmly to something immovable. The elders, i.e. the perfect, adhere to God alone, Whose goodness is unchangeable, for though they adhere to their superiors, they do so only in so far as these adhere to Christ, according to 1 Cor. 4:16: “Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ.” Wherefore, however much others may appear to them to conduct themselves ill in word or deed, they themselves do not stray from their righteousness, according to Ps. 124:1: “They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Sion: he shall not be moved for ever that dwelleth in Jerusalem.” Therefore scandal is not found in those who adhere to God perfectly by love, according to Ps. 118:165: “Much peace have they that love Thy law, and to them there is no stumbling-block [scandalum].” [ST II-II question 43, article 5, answer]

Perfect men sometimes fall into venial sins through the weakness of the flesh; but they are not scandalized (taking scandal in its true sense), by the words or deeds of others, although there can be an approach to scandal in them, according to Ps. 72:2: “My feet were almost moved.” [ibid., response to objection 3]

So even if the crimes alleged in Windswept House actually occurred they do no more than confirm what the Catholic striving to be perfect should already know, human beings, even priests and bishops, are potentially capable of the most heinous acts of insubordination to God. This knowledge, as we conclude from St. Thomas’ teaching, must not change our own unswerving fidelity to ecclesiastical authority in matters that fall under the competence of that authority.

He asserted that the direction of the Church today was satanically inspired. Then cleverly in a separate statement he identified Pope John Paul II as the architect of the Church today. Thus, he called Pope John Paul II in league with the devil but did it cleverly and with obfuscation. This is dishonorable and evil.

He became the leader of the wacko-jobs out there who think they know more than the Church, have lost their faith, and rebel against the Church — the ultra-traditionalist.

Although laicized, he continued to allow people to call him “Father” which is illegal and performed illegal exorcisms claiming he had some personal permission from the Pope to act independently. Yet he never produced a document to prove this extremely odd status that is normally contrary to Canon Law. An indult, if he had one, would have been in writing.

He was, in a word, a con man who caused dissension in the Church, caused many to doubt the Holy See, and damaged the faith of millions.

I had planned to do a full exposé on this con man when he died. After his death I thought it was moot. But, in true con-man fashion, his groupies continue on even after his death. Thus, an exposé is still probably in order.

I will do an exposé when I have the time someday, but it is not a priority. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM




M. Scott Peck


April 10, 2008

The pastor of my church loaned me the book “Glimpse of the Devil” by M. Scott Peck

I have personally admired his work in “The People of the Lie”. Can you give me your opinion on his work
a. identifying evil as a phenomena
b. if you have read the book he writing on possession and methodology of tackling the problem
c. please also say if you disagree with any of his standpoints and why
The reason why I ask is it would be of great comfort if I could get a greater understanding of the whole issue. –Alan

I do not recommend M. Scott Peck for at least two reasons:

1) He is really not qualified in Spiritual Warfare, though I am appreciative that as a psychiatrist that he recognized the demonic aspect.

2) His mentor and adviser in exorcism and Spiritual Warfare was Malachi Martin who is a person not to be recommended. Peck himself recognized that Martin was a liar, especially about his identity. Nevertheless Peck thought Martin was a leading expert on exorcism.

Rather than offer a critique of Peck’s work, which I do not have time to do, I would recommend instead, any of the books on our Recommended Books List. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Malachi Martin


June 9, 2010

Can an evil parent condemn a child to hell? In an interview with Art Bell, Malachi Martin says that this is possible.
I know nothing about exorcisms, covens, etc., but this doesn’t seem possible in the light of our Catholic faith. I was taught that even God Himself doesn’t interfere with our free will, but they are saying a parent can? Hearing this was deeply upsetting. Please tell me your thoughts. –Mary

Do not fear. Mr. Malachi Martin was a fraud and con artist. The four men who did more damage to the faith than any other individuals in the 20th Century, and perhaps since the rebellion of Martin Luther, in order of damage are: 1) Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who founded the schismatic group SSPX; 2) Father Gruner, who founded the wacko group Fatima Network and Fatima Crusader; 3) Father Feeney, who in the 1940s was excommunicated for proposing the heresy that one will go to hell unless he is a “card-carrying” Catholic; and 4) Mr. Malachi Martin, a laicized priest, without credentials, who purportedly did exorcisms illegally, lied about knowing the Third Secret of Fatima, proposed heterodox theologies on exorcism, and identified Pope John Paul II as responsible for bringing the Church down. I think Martin stop just barely short of being a sedevacantist (believing that every Pope since John XXIII in 1958 is a heretic and an anti-pope).

I have excised out the portion of the interview with Art Bell that you referenced. In this clip, linked below, Martin affirms that parents can “ensure” that their children will go to hell. If this is not heresy, it is certainly heterodox.

A parent can curse his child, dedicate his child to Satan, even facilitate his child to be possessed by demons. A case of a parent cursing his child in the most famous case of exorcism reported in the book Begone Satan! But, no one can “ensure” that anyone else goes to hell. Hell is a personal choice. No one can send anyone else to hell. Besides to “ensure” that someone else, like one’s child, goes to hell is usurping the sovereignty of God – one of the worse mortal sins a person can commit and Mr. Martin apparently committed this crime.

In this clip a Satanist mother claims to have seen to it that her seven year old daughter, murdered by her husband, will be with her in hell (which she readily admits is her destiny). This is nonsense. Mr. Martin supporting such nonsense harms the Faithful.

Martin died a decade ago. He stood before God to account for his crimes of lying, fraud, and scandalizing millions of people.

-Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Malachi Martin


March 12, 2012

You say Malachi Martin has given some false information concerning exorcism. I read his “Hostage to the Devil” and found it enlightening, but could you tell me what he has said that doesn’t hold true? –Joseph

It has been awhile since I dealt with this subject. Thus, I do not remember a lot of the information. In a discussion group post I was asked this question. My response:

The case histories in Hostage to the Devil may be real stories, but Mr. Martin’s interpretation of how to do an exorcism and his theories about it are highly flawed, such as what he called the Clash.

There is no mention of a “Clash” in the Rite of Exorcism.

The Clash, according to Martin, is where the priest personally butts heads with the demons in priest v. demon manner, in a “singular battle of wills between exorcist and Evil Spirit.” The whole point of the official Rite of Exorcism is that the weight of the “Church”, not the weight of the priest, is applied to the demon. The idea that the priest must press his will against the will of the demon is ridiculous. According to Martin the priest must actually “provoke” this clash and if the priest “cannot lock wills with the evil thing and force that thing to lock its will in opposition to his own, then again the exorcist is defeated.” What a load of hooey! Not only is this nonsense but it is very dangerous.



Through the additional hooey of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who took cues from Mr. Martin, the technique of this provocation is now practiced by nearly every so-called “ghost hunting” group. This is profoundly dangerous—even to the point of potentially life-threatening situations.
One “ghost hunter” went to the attic of a “haunted” house. He provoked the demon to manifest. As a result he was lifted up by an invisible force that took him toward the window to which awaited a three story drop. The thing dropped him in front of the window.  This happened because of a provocation to create a Clash.

Many years ago I almost lost my life, and I did lose my soul for about 4 years, because I was doing deliverance alone (without God’s permission). God had to show me a vision of my own soul, which was dead at the time, and a vision of the hell to which I was going. That woke me up and I became the prodigal coming home to God.

While these examples are outside a formal exorcism, it still shows the danger trying to directly butt heads with the devil in a contest of wills on personal level. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Malachi Martin


April 6, 2012

Just in case this is helpful to you, I think I recall a couple of Malachi Martin’s errors. One was an exorcism account that included a priest being mocked by a devil for certain past sins of his youth. This contradicts what real exorcists have said, which is that once sins are validly confessed, they are no longer known to the demons. This is partly why those who assist at exorcisms are advised to go to confession beforehand.
Also, Martin talks about the idea of ‘perfect possession’ where the victim no longer has any control of their body or will. These people are supposedly unable to be exorcised. However, demons can never possess the will; that is why any person can be freed by exorcism, even if they willingly sold their soul. Fr. Fortea mentions this specifically, that even if you sell your soul, you can simply renounce the sinful act, repent, and be freed.
Martin also had wacky ideas about John Paul, the Vatican, etc. It’s too bad Martin was such a good writer, his errors have become widely accepted. Even Fr. Euteneuer, while he was in good standing as an exorcist, fell for this erroneous idea and talked about it in his book.
It’s been over a decade since I’ve read the book, so I’m sorry I can’t recall any more. –Alex

Martin biggest mistake is in the concept of what he calls “The Clash”. He says this is the “singular battle of wills between exorcist and evil spirit. Painful as it will be for him, the priest must look for the Clash. He must provoke it. If he cannot lock wills with the evil thing and force that thing to lock its will in opposition to his own, then again the exorcist is defeated.

While I do not like using the term “perfect possession” because, frankly Martin coined the phrase, the state of what he called the “perfect possession” is a reality.  While Martin is a bad resource that does not mean that every word he utters is wrong. We must remember that even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day.

As for “perfect possession” you are misunderstanding what it is. The reason why a person has “perfect possession” and is unable to be freed is not because Satan has taken over the person’s will preventing the person from choosing to seek help. The reason he cannot be helped is because the possessed person freely chooses to remain possessed. One cannot be delivered without his consent of will. The perfectly possessed do not give that consent because they do not want to, not because Satan is forcing them.

This is like the unforgivable sin that is unforgivable because the person chooses to reject God’s grace all the way to his grave. This is what perfect possession is actually, the person cannot be helped because he does not want any help. He is committing the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (the unforgivable sin). In a similar manner that only God can know if a person has committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, we cannot really know if the possessed person is truly “perfectly possessed.” We might suspect it, but unless God reveals it to us, we must always presume hope.

Fr. Euteneuer, in his book, Exorcism and the Church Militant, speaks about this:

Malachi Martin’s description of “perfect possession” in Chapter 2, question 25 accurately describes the state. In essence, the term describes a person who has made the intentional decision subjugate his will to the devil and he lives in a state of total possession by a controlling spirit or spirits. Furthermore, he is a person who is perfectly aware of the eternal consequences of his decision and perseveres in that state with full knowledge and consent of the will. Perfectly possessed people look like “normal” human beings and may often be well-respected members of the community, often willing great power and influence, even if on a smaller scale. These individuals are the walking dammed, and they cannot be helped, nor will they come for help from the exorcist, except perhaps to test him or persecuting him.

By the way, Fr. Euteneuers book came out in the Fall of 2010, about one month before the scandal broke. The book was removed from sale immediately. Few people have a copy. That is unfortunate since this book is probably the best book that gives a survey of spiritual warfare. I have a copy, however, and use the book in our training of deliverance counselor. The next best book, by the way, is The Catholic Warrior by Robert Abel.

I do not believe that Fr. Fortea said that all one must do is to “simply renounce the sinful act, repent, and be freed.” That is utter nonsense. There are never any guarantees that a person will be freed for a variety of reasons. We have an example in the Bible in which St. Paul was being harassed by a demon. He asked God to take it away three times and God said no three times. We know why because the Scripture tells us. God said no in order to keep St. Paul humble.

There are cases in which a solemn exorcism has been performed daily on a person for weeks or even months with no effect. Repeated exorcisms often are needed, sometimes over a course of even years in some cases. There is nothing simple about it.



The deeper Satan gets into one’s life the harder it is to get him out. To “simply renounce the sinful act, repent, and be freed” normally works only on low-level and trivial bondage. I say trivial in comparison to the cases in which it is extremely hard to cast out the demons because of profoundly serious bondage.

I am not saying that everyone with a deep demonization has to receive multiple exorcisms or deliverance prayer over a long period of time, but it is something that happens often.

On demonizations that do not rise to the level of possession, and thereby not eligible for a solemn exorcism, deliverance counseling and prayer is the approach that can be taken. Freedom can take years depending on the severity of the demonization.

I suspect that you misread Fr. Fortea, misunderstood him, or are taking the statement out of context. I do not know a single experienced exorcist anywhere in the world that would agree with the statement you say comes from Fr. Fortea.

-Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Malachi Martin


April 9, 2012

Thanks for the clarification on the idea of perfect possession. The analogy of the unforgivable sin is a good way to explain it.
Regarding Fr. Fortea, I spend hours listening to his audio trying to find his exact words, but I couldn’t find them, so I must try to explain from memory. He was asked if a person who had willingly sold his soul could be exorcised. Fr. Fortea said yes, it was possible if the person repented of the sin. He did not imply anything beyond this. –Alex

That is more like it. Those who are possessed can be, and often are in State of Grace. Anything, even inviting Satan into one’s life, can be forgiven.  Those in “perfect possession” willingly and freely choose to remain with Satan. No matter how deeply demonized a person is, help is possible. But, the person must want to be delivered and healed. God will not intrude on our unimpaired free will choice.

I must reiterate that “perfect possession” is “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” (the unforgivable sin—a state in which a person’s heart is so hardened that he will die unrepentant, the state of final impenitence). The indwelling demon adds to the misery that the person fully choose to reject God. It is very sad that a person can outright choose Satan over God, but it does happen. Lucifer saw God directly and rejected him. Many humans do that too.

But, we can never know when a person has stepped over that line. Even if the person says he is doomed, we cannot take that as definitive. Only God knows for sure. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Ed and Lorraine Warren’s “ministry”


July 27, 2007

I was wondering if you’ve heard of this guy Lou Gentile who claims to be a Catholic paranormal researcher. www.lougentile.com. If so, what do you think of his work? I haven’t researched him myself, and wanted to bring it to your attention before investing any time into his stuff. –Omar

I actually started out in my ‘formal’ public ministry working with Lou. You see, way back then, I felt the calling to the ministry of Spiritual Warfare but really didn’t know who to turn to. As a result, I contacted Lou (who claims to be Catholic) in a chat room while listening to his internet broadcast. Lou taught me some things about paranormal investigation and demonology, and I worked my first case as a result of someone contacting Lou and then him putting me in touch with the client. It wasn’t long, however – maybe a year, I don’t remember – before I started to have some problems with the approach that Lou was taking. Lou was taught his methods by Ed & Lorraine Warren, and as I would later learn, Ed and Lorraine have done a tremendous amount of damage to the true field of Catholic demonology and deliverance ministry. 

To give a little background, Ed and Lorraine were the famous investigators in the controversial Amityville Horror case.  Ed & Lorraine worked with – and endorsed – dubious figures such as Malachi Martin (a laicized priest) and the schismatic Bishop Robert McKenna.  They were also known to use the dangerous practice of ‘religious provocation,’ séances and psychic mediums and channelers (Lorraine was/is a self-proclaimed psychic and light-trance medium). 

In addition to these types of occult practices and relationships with clergymen who were not in communion with Holy Mother Church, they were solely responsible for teaching many current and prominent investigators (Lou being one of them) a strange set of teachings and ideas that are nothing more than a marriage of Catholic Angelology and Demonology with New Age (and sometimes Eastern Religious) practices and beliefs such as, “all religions lead to God,” “Wicca is basically a good religion” (the ‘Old Religion,’ as Lorraine was in the habit of saying) and even belief in reincarnation.  All of these things are in direct contradiction to Catholic teaching, and all are condemned by the Church. So, with Ed and Lorraine as his teacher, Lou has set out to self-promote himself and his ‘ministry.’  Lou’s primary focus for at least the last several years has been to try to make a name for himself on the internet and on radio broadcasts. I learned recently that the FCC has fined Lou $10,000 dollars for illegally broadcasting on the FM band out of his home in Pennsylvania. I believe Lou started out in this ministry for the right reasons, but I am quite sure that I cannot say that about him now.  There used to be a time when his radio broadcasts were focused solely on giving out information that would help people who were experiencing violent hauntings and other types of demonic harassments.  However, later on in his push to make a name for himself and to try to achieve a career in radio, his broadcasts became, at best, less than helpful and at worst, outright damaging. Instead, his focus shifted toward being more entertaining in an ‘Art Bell’ type of way. –Joe Meineke





July 28, 2007

I noticed you labeled the Amityville Horror case as controversial. What, if I may ask, are yours and Brother Ignatius’ take on whether that case actually involved demonic activity, or if it was a hoax as some now believe? Did the Catholic Church ever investigate that case officially? If not, have any Catholic exorcists given any insight into the case? -Omar

I cannot speak for Brother Ignatius, but as for me I personally believe that Amityville was a true diabolical infestation (I will explain why later). However, I also believe that much controversy was born when the involved parties tried to turn a profit on the story. Once the motivation became money, all sorts of half-truths and fabrications were born to make the story more saleable. Author Jay Anson used much poetic license when he wrote the book. The controversy and debate over whether or not this was a real case arose from the deviations from fact in the book (and later, the subsequent movies) and continues to this day.

To further complicate the matter, there was a good deal of conflict between the two groups who originally investigated the home; namely, Ed and Lorraine Warren and Stephan Kaplan. The Warren’s explain it this way on their website: “As far as the Warrens can tell, he [Mr. Kaplan] hated them because Mr. Lutz, the owner of the Amityville Horror home called Mr. Kaplan prior to calling the Warrens, and asked him to investigate the situation. Mr. Kaplan came to the home to “investigate” with 6 witches and the Channel 7 news team, and Mr. Lutz threw Mr. Kaplan off the property—and then called the Warrens. This started a 20 year vendetta of Mr. Kaplan against the Warrens.”

As you can probably imagine, under these circumstances, ANY true diabolical infestation would, in all likelihood, quickly be labeled a hoax. I strongly believe that this is exactly what happened with Amityville.

As for your question, “Did the Catholic Church ever investigate that case officially?” No, they did not. The investigation of the home was carried out by Ed and Lorraine Warren. However, there was a priest who was alleged to have come out to bless the house. A reference on the internet claims that Newsday interviewed the priest, Father Ralph J. Pecoraro (now deceased), and that he allegedly stated that when he went to bless the house he heard something say, “Get out!” As for me ever hearing of any Catholic exorcists who have commented on the case, no, I have not.

Part II – Why I Believe

First, let me state that this is my subjective personal opinion based on observations and my own knowledge of demonic infestations.

Both George and Kathy, who sadly are both now deceased, went to their graves insisting that they experienced a demonic infestation. In fact, George Lutz has gone on record denying any dishonesty on his part. In a televised interview in October of 2000 with the History Channel, Mr. Lutz stated, “I have never said it was a hoax and I never will, because it is not a hoax. That doesn’t mean that everything that was ever said about it was true, but it is certainly not a hoax. I wish it was. It’s not.” Both have taken lie detector tests, both passed.

I would certainly not want to die with that on my conscience, nor can I imagine anyone else being able to go before their creator without setting the record straight on so serious a claim. Perhaps I am being a bit naive, but knowing that George and Kathy were Christians, I cannot imagine them perpetuating such a story with no thought of or concern for the eternal consequences of such a deception.

George and Kathy did not get rich off of Amityville, although many others did. They, and all members of their family, have consistently maintained their story – for the last 30 years – despite this fact. My question is Why wouldn’t they just come out and admit it was all a hoax and put a stop to others making money at their expense?

I have listened to many hours of taped interviews of both George and Kathy. Having dealt for many years now with people who have paranormal and demonic experiences, I think I have gained a good deal of knowledge about how to ‘sniff out’ fabrications. My experience tells me that George and Kathy genuinely experienced what they claimed; in my opinion, their sincerity is unquestionable. Hearing them in an interview, one cannot help but notice the calm, non sensational matter-of-fact demeanor that they both put forth. Listening to them reminds me of listening to war veterans relating stories that happened on a battlefield a long time ago; a recounting of memories and facts of something that can never be forgotten.

The types of activity that were described by Kathy and George (and here I am referring to the interviews, not the book or the movie) were 100% consistent with a case of serious diabolical infestation. Black shadow figures manifesting in the home, the appearance of flies (specifically in the dead of winter), foul smells, being touched by invisible hands, hearing doors slam, having a demonic entity ‘attaching’ itself to the daughter, Missy, under the guise of an imaginary friend, hearing footsteps and experiencing levitations of persons. –Joe Meineke



April 11, 2008

I have just read the book, “The Demonologist” and found Lorraine Warren’s ‘necromancy’ disturbing. On one hand she frowns on séances and yet if ‘she’ conducts them, they are okay. The Warrens also claim to be ‘accepted’ by the Catholic Church. This I find hard to believe! What is the Church’s official opinion on the Warren’s? -Doris

Your instincts about the Warrens are correct. I do not recommend them or their material. Not only do we not recommend them, but our ministry is in the process of documenting just how dangerous the Warrens were.

They are hardly Catholic in their approach. They use séances and psychics and schismatic bishops in their work. They propose stupid theories about how spirits manifest that are contrary to the basic theology on angels and demons. And, their errors and arrogance as be replicated into nearly every “ghost-busting” organization out there.

They need to be exposed and we are doing that.




The Church has no “official” opinion about the Warrens, nor would the Church issue any official opinion. The Church cannot issue opinions about every little thing that happens in our world or on every wacko out there. If it did the Church would get nothing else done.

Indeed, such an “official” statement is not needed as we already know that resorting to séances, psychics, and schismatic bishops is sinful.

The Warren’s claim to be “accepted” by the Catholic Church and to have the unique title from the Church of “Religious Demonologist” is a lie. Avoid the Warrens. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



August 17, 2008

I have a question about these two Catholic people who help people get demonic forces out of their houses, etc. Are Lorraine and Ed Warren a scam? I wonder about them a lot because they are always being called by people who had demonic problems. I also know that priests aren’t supposed to get involved with people like them. If they are good helpers to the church, then why is it so bad for people to ask them for help? I realized that a lot of priests in America don’t believe in demons, so who can people turn to? –Suzanne

First, I should point out that Ed Warren passed away on August 23, 2006. His wife, Lorraine, is still alive and is still active in her “ministry.” Lately, she has been featured on a popular TV series and continues to spread errors and questionable teachings.
The Warren’s indeed were very popular and have, over the years, been featured on many television and radio programs. Those interviews have given them a great deal of exposure and therefore, as you noted, they are “always called by people who have demonic problems.”
Popularity notwithstanding, I cannot in good conscience say that the Warrens are “good helpers of the Church.” As Brother Ignatius has already pointed out in an answer to another question, although they claim to be Catholic, “They are hardly Catholic in their approach. They use séances and psychics and schismatic bishops in their work. They propose stupid theories about how spirits manifest that [are] contrary to the basic theology on angels and demons. And, their errors and arrogance [have been] replicated into nearly every “ghost-busting” organization out there.” (From Lorraine and Ed Warren are they genuine?).
The Warren’s may have helped some people by intervening on their behalf in the sense that they brought clergy into the homes to do the actual cleansing, and for that I suppose they deserve credit. However, I would argue that, more importantly, they have done untold damage by promulgating a false Catholicism that has been blended with New Age and occultism. It is for these reasons that it is dangerous to seek the help of Lorraine’s organization.
As for your last statement and question, I am not sure that I agree that “a lot of priests don’t believe in demons.” I would say that the vast majority DO believe in them. They may not be trained specifically to deal with cases of extraordinary demonization, but that does not mean that people cannot turn to them for help. I’ve seen priests ‘rise to the occasion,’ so to speak (and do quite well, for that matter). Never underestimate the power of the priesthood and the power of the Holy Spirit to move within them. One should never be afraid to seek their help. –Joe Meineke


The documentary “Exorcist in the 21st century”


August 16, 2013

Have you seen this documentary, “Exorcist in the 21st Century?” If so what are your thoughts on the film? It is the only Vatican approved documentary on the subject if I’m not mistaken. Also, how do you like Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea’s book, “Interview with an Exorcist”, and do you know of anymore resources from him in English? –Joseph

I just today watch the documentary. It is very good. Fr. Fortea’s book is also excellent. I do not know of anything else by Fr. Fortea in English. He does have a website with information but it is password protected and open only to exorcists and deliverance ministers.

I have mixed feelings about this and similar material. Such material is great as textbooks for those in training to do this work, but at the same time the availability of the books and DVDs to the public can cause serious issues. Unfortunately, there are some people who think they can be exorcists or deliverance ministers merely by reading these books or seeing DVDs. No one, but no one, is qualified to do this work merely by reading books and watching DVDs.

The reason the Church has allowed this is that we live in a culture that denies the supernatural, angels, and the devil. It is thought that allowing cameras to come into an actual exorcism (which is normally unheard of), and the publications of books and DVDs like this one, will testify to the world that the devil is real and not a mere symbol. I submit to the wise judgment of my superiors and the Church on this, although I do have mixed feelings about it all being available to the general public. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Consecration to Our Lady [Robert Abel]
See pages 5, 11, 23


May 6, 2010

In looking for deliverance prayers I came across a site called Consecration Vows, which is apparently a loyal Catholic site.






What particularly concerned were the warnings about praying to saints etc with an unhealthy devotion and particularly warning heavily against Consecration to Our Lady (under various titles) as you are consecrating yourself to entities which could be deceptive, thereby consecrating your soul to evil spirits.

There were similar comments seemingly twisting some saints’ experiences such as St Louis de Montfort and St John Vianney to support these consecrations as being dangerous and encouraging demonic attacks.

This is concerning as I have consecrated all of my children to Our Lady at their birth, and my husband and I say the Consecration prayer together periodically. I have though, often felt a little uneasy about this (my devotion to Our Lady is something I have struggled with).

I have also found prayers on Catholic Deliverance site http://www.catholicwarriors.com by Loomis/Wickes Would you please comment on these sites and their prayers as recommended or not as alternatives to those in your catalogue? There seems to be lots of misleading advice on the internet even when looking at “Catholic Deliverance” sites. -B

There is no Catholic who understands Marian theology and devotion who would disparage Consecration to our Blessed Mother nor disparage one of the greatest Marian Saints in history such as St. Louis de Montfort. To disparage any saint in whom their experiences have been well documented and are not legend, such as St John Vianney is also a mark to consider.

This Consecration Vows website does not appear to be a loyal and orthodox site. At best the secret owner of this site is one very disturbed and ignorant Catholic. At worse, this site is run by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Liberal Catholics tend to disparage the devotional Church. Such rebels against the faith think that the “devotional” Church is a “throw-back” to a time they wish to eradicate from history. This is a hallmark of the progressive. Liberal Catholics (and Ultra-traditional Catholics) are essentially anti-Catholic in that they think their opinions outrank the official Church. The author of this website may be a liberal, who knows, since he keeps himself secret. He keeps his name secret even in the domain records database. But, in doing a background check on the domain name he is listed as living in Lakewood, Colorado.

It is also possible that the owner of that website is not Catholic at all, but just a covert anti-Catholic trying to subvert the Faith.

One of the very noticeable concerns about this site, besides the slander against great Saints and the misrepresentation of Church teaching, is the fact that the owner of the site apparently keeps his identity secret. This person even sells books but does not reveal the author’s name.

The secrecy of this website begs the question of its legitimacy. Hiding under the cloak of darkness (secrecy) is what wolves do to capture an unsuspecting prey.

My advice is to stay away from this site and his sister sites, and ignore what he says as it is very problematic and not even Catholic in some parts.

The Consecration of your children to our Blessed Mother is a great thing. The Catechism states about Marian devotion at 963-975, 2673-26782. Here are a few excerpts:

971All generations will call me blessed“: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion… differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

2679 Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.

2682 Because of Mary’s singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust supplications and praises to her.

As for the Catholic Warriors website, it is the website of a person who does identify himself, Robert Abel. The list of spiritual warfare prayers includes, I see in the footnotes, reference to prayers written by Loomis/Wickes. The names sound familiar, but without finding a source I cannot say who these two people are, and unfortunately Mr. Abel does not give a proper footnote.

The two prayers on the list written by Loomis/Wickes are “Prayer for a Spiritual Canopy” and “Prayer for Trafficking People”. The first prayer looks okay. The second prayer, however, is a little odd. I’d have to think about that one for awhile.

As to whether or not Mr. Abel is qualified to speak on spiritual warfare, I do not know. Much of the information on Spiritual Warfare is academic for which anyone can learn. The details and nuances, however, usually come from experience which cannot be found in the usual books.

I question Mr. Abel’s discernment and prudence in his linking to the Unhealthy Devotions website, which is run by the same secret person as the Consecration Vows mentioned in your question. Mr. Abel is not wise in doing this.

In general, the topic of Spiritual Warfare is a popular one. Everyone likes to think of themselves as an expert in this field. From my experience over the past thirty some years, first as a Protestant exorcist and now as a Catholic Deliverance counselor, that fewer than 10-20% of the people who write books, give speeches, or construct websites on the subject of Spiritual Warfare actually know what they are talking about, at least beyond the common academic material.



When it comes to the topic of Spiritual Warfare, buyer beware. By that I mean, be careful for there are lot of people who are not really qualified to speak on this subject beyond the standard academic material. Many are not even qualified to do that much.

For example, I know a Lutheran Deliverance Counselor in Des Moines who thinks that demons can be saved and he actually tries to do that when he is doing a deliverance. He says he feels sorry for the demons.

I know a Catholic Deliverance Counselor in Missouri who proposes the heresy that if one… well, let me quote him: “Little known fact, if you flat-line and die, you need to be re-baptized…” Such a statement coming from a Catholic is beyond ignorance, it is dangerous and idiotic.

Another common example is there are many so-called Deliverance Counselors who think that Christians cannot be possessed, or even demonized. This is nonsense. Christians most certainly can be demonized and even possessed. Another common error is that possessed people will go to hell. Not true. A possessed person can be in a state of grace.

And then we have all the contamination from the nonsense of Ed and Lorraine Warren. They purported to be Catholic yet used psychics, séances, and an excommunicated bishop to do their thing. Nearly every single “ghost hunting” group in the United States, and all of the ghost hunting groups on T.V. have learned errors from the Warrens and propagate those errors to others. A lot of the Deliverance Counselors, even if they do not “ghost hunt”, buy into some or all of the nonsense theories and approaches of the Warrens. The bottom line is that any deliverance counselor who uses the Warrens as a reference for their knowledge about spiritual warfare should be avoided like the plague.

Thus, you are correct, there are many misleading voices out there.


Unhealthy devotions


November 14, 2011

I read Robert Abel‘s book: “The Healing Power of Jesus” this week, and he utilizes visualization technique. In his chapter on salvation, he provides instruction to visualize being before Jesus during his crucifixion, and to look into his eyes to thank him and confess your sins.

I have done visualization in meditative prayer to The Blessed Mother since childhood, but I never thought of applying visualization in confession to Jesus. I do not know the controversies on the referenced on the referenced post. Is there anything improper to utilize Visualization of Jesus in the Confessional? –Marie

I cannot recommend Robert Abel. He seems to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as was discussed in previous posts and the original article on Abel here. I would not recommend any of his books or websites.

As for visualizations, this practice can be used in prayer as long as it is not of the New Age variety. The focus must always be on Jesus and/or our Blessed Mother.

A friend of mine, Deacon Frank O’Connell, has a healing ministry where he uses guided imagery (no New Age to it). Many people have been healed from emotional and spiritual afflictions through his ministry. He has a CD that can be obtained with the healing program on it (audio). His website is At the Waters Edge.

As for visualizations in the Confessional, I think you need to be attentive to your confessing of sins and to the advice of the Priest. It does not seem to me that the Confessional is a place to meditate. Rather, meditating on ones sins should be before entering the Confessional. Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/sw/viewanswer.asp?QID=1527, November 15, 2011

Visualizations can be very powerful, that is the reason we must be careful about what visualizations we accept. That which comes from the New Age, and that which may be advised by psychologists and doctors we must be vary wary. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Robert Abel


Why do you recommend Robert Abel? I read a book by Robert Abel telling Catholics to deconsecrate themselves to the blessed Mother. This book attacked the consecration of St Louis de Montfort. I promptly threw it out along with the other 9 I had bought to give away. You should Google Robert Abel’s anti=Catholic sites. Even if 99% of his work is good it is always the 1% that leads straight to hell. –Elizabeth

Thanks for the heads-up. Referencing Robert Abel was an oversight. I think I have changed the references to remove Abel from the recommended list. What was supposed to go in Second Place was Onward Catholic Warrior by John LaBriola.

Sorry about the confusion. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


“Trafficking people” [astral projection, bilocation]



December 18, 2012

I have seen the term “trafficking people” in different deliverance prayers. What are they?

Here is an example from http://www.catholicwarriors.com:

Prayer for a Spiritual Canopy



Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive me for all the times I have not submitted to your will in my life. Please forgive me for all my sinful actions, making agreements with the enemy, and for believing the devil’s lies. I now submit to you as my Lord, dear Jesus. Now I break every agreement that I have made with the enemy.
Lord Jesus, please have your warring angels remove and bind to the abyss all demons and their devices that had access to me because I believed their lies. I now ask you to establish a hedge of protection around me, over me and under me, and seal it with your blood, Lord Jesus Christ.
I now choose to put on the full armor of God and ask that you cleanse me and seal me, body, mind, soul and spirit, with your blood, Lord Jesus Christ. Please have your warring angels bind up and remove all demons, their devices, and all their power from within this protective hedge and have them sent to the abyss.

Please have your warriors destroy all demonic, occult or witchcraft assignments directed against me including all backups and replacements. Please have your warriors remove all trafficking people and send them back to their own bodies and seal them there with your blood, Lord Jesus Christ. Please have your angels stand guard over me and protect me from all the attacks of the enemy. -Chris

You are referencing Robert Abel‘s website. There is another prayer listed on his site that reveals more about what the term “trafficking people means.

I ask you to bring these people before your throne and bless them with a revelation of who you are and your love and plans of salvation for them. Please show them how they are being deceived by Satan. Please have your warriors send them back to their own bodies and seal them there with your blood, Lord Jesus. I thank you for establishing an impenetrable shield of protection all around me; in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer to Remove Trafficking People

Dear Lord Jesus, will you please send a special assignment of warring angels to remove all spiritually trespassing people from me. In the name, power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth who came in the flesh, I cancel all astral assignments over my life. I take dominion over all astral assignments of witchcraft sent against me, and I break their hold right now through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord Jesus, please have your warring angels strip these witches of their psychic powers, demonic powers and occult powers. Please strip them of psychic visions, powers of divination, and any other craft that allows them to interfere with me. Please have all their powers and devices destroyed and cast into the abyss.

Trafficking people refers to astral projection. This is a popular notion in the New Age and many people try to “astral project.” Astral Projection is when one’s spirit body leaves their physical body and travels wherever.

I imagine this term “trafficking people” came from Pentecostal sources, or maybe it is his own. The word does apply. One of the dictionary definitions of “trafficking” has to do with communication. If one decides not to talk to someone anymore, for example, that means that the person has stopped “trafficking” with that person. In this prayer it appears to be a petition to stop the communication coming from anyone who is astral projecting. 

When I was in the New Age I tried to astral project. One day I succeeded. I felt my spirit rise above my body for about a foot. Then I saw hordes of demons descending down upon my spirit body. It scared me big time and I never attempted to astral project again. The question, however, is whether or not I actually accomplished astral projection, or if this was imagination and perhaps hallucination.

At the moment, I do not recall any case where it was alleged that some live person’s spirit was involved. I am not aware of any evidence of this phenomenon. But, we do know that bi-location exists when God allows it. St. Padre Pio was reported to be seen in two places at once. What New Agers call Astral Projection may be the devil’s attempt to counterfeit God’s gift of bi-location.

It is possible that this term is referring to the spirits of dead people, but the theology concerning what happens after death would contraindicate that I believe. While there may exist “purgatorial ghosts”, these poor souls would not be, and should not be, part of a deliverance prayer (see the essay, Seven Kinds of Ghosts).

In any event, in my opinion, there are too many ambiguities about this term, thus I would not use it in out prayers. 

Although I do not know for sure, many of his prayers and comments may be influenced by the Charismatic Renewal. The Charismatic Renewal likes to think of themselves as experts in demonology and deliverance, but in reality most of them know very little. Even more sad is that while the Charismatic Renewal can be a great asset to the Church, much of the Renewal is contaminated with ideas that come from the Pentecostals. I recommend reading our essay on this entitled, Charism Gifts Building up the Church.

In this prayer that I posted above we see some possible evidence for Pentecost contamination in the sentence, “Please strip them of psychic visions, powers of divination.It depends on what the writer of this prayer means by “divination.”

There is no such thing as a person having the “power” of divination in the sense of knowing the future. Only God knows the future. Angels, demons, and humans have no power to divine the future. Thus, witches and psychics, and the like can only “attempt” to do this, but never accomplish it. God and God alone, and those to whom He might reveal it, knows the future.

The other definition of divination is to discover hidden information. When a witch or psychic or others attempt to access hidden information, that information comes from demons and not from God or any power they possess. Thus, a person can know your deepest darkest secret that no one knows because demons, who keep a watch on us, knows that information and reveals it to the witch or psychic.

Almost all alleged psychics, however, are con artists and use well-known techniques to make it appear they know things that they really do not know. If any witch or psychic actually knows some real hidden knowledge about someone that was not guessed using those techniques, then that information did not come from some “power of divination”, but by the devil.





There is, however, a divination demon. This demon is responsible for those rare times when a so-called psychic actually does come into knowledge of something hidden. This demon is also charged to try to seduce people into divination and the occult.

While I have not examined Mr. Abel‘s site line-by-line, I was disturbed by what he said about “Praying with Authority.” The information in-and-of-itself is accurate as we do have the authority from Jesus to do deliverance. But, like it is with Charismatics, he seems to suggest that we should all exercise that authority without restriction (except the Church’s restriction on major exorcisms). That is dangerous and foolhardy. Just because Jesus said we can do this, does not mean that we ought to.

St. Paul makes that point twice in the Bible:

(1 Cor 10:23) “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 

(1 Cor 6:12) “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful

While we can pray for deliverance for ourselves and our families, we ought not to go into a “deliverance apostolate” or otherwise try to deliver people unless we are called by God to do so and are specifically trained. Training is a lot more than learning a few prayers. In our Academy we train men and woman to be deliverance counselors. That program of training is not a few conferences, but is a three year curriculum plus Internship. This is issue is far more complex that just knowing a few prayers. I have had to pick up the pieces of poor souls who were harmed by Charismatics (even Charismatic priests) thinking they know what they are doing. This sort of apostolate is not for everyone.

Although I suppose I am biased in this matter, I think the better part would be to use our prayers found in the Spiritual Warfare Prayer Catalog. –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM


“The Secret”


June 16, 2011

Could I have your views on the book “The Secret” it was recommended by a colleague at work who is not strong in her faith so I did not read it, but when a priest friend also recommended it I went ahead and bought the book but was not comfortable after the first few chapters.

I was convinced it was wrong I made a confession and threw the book in the garbage. I feel good to have done that and feel it was God’s mercy that saved me from reading the book to the end. But I am concerned as many vulnerable Catholics would be exposed to it. –Agnes

The priest who recommended the book The Secret should be horse-whipped for incompetence and malpractice for potentially causing you spiritual damage.

Under no circumstance should The Secret be recommended.

In a Sunday Visitor article, Father Mitch Pacwa is asked about The Secret:

According to Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, who hosts EWTN Live and writes extensively on the New Age movement, The Secret, far from being some long-lost piece of ancient wisdom, is just the same old New Age nonsense dressed up for TV.
“It’s a standard New Age idea that all the world’s problems would go away if everyone would just be a little more positive,” said Father Pacwa. “This is an old scam. It’s like a nasty scene from Poltergeist: They’re ba-ack.”
The Secret, however, go further back than the New Age movement. In fact, said Father Pacwa, they go right back to Eden.
“What did the devil say to Eve? Eat this, and you’ll become like gods. That’s what The Secret really promises,” he said.
The promise of The Secret does seem to echo the promise of the serpent. It promises that without help from man or God you can control your destiny. It assures you neither grace nor suffering are necessary. It makes you your own god, and leaves no room for a messiah who hung on a cross.
Of course, the cost of believing those promises is as high as ever, which is why the best way for Catholics to respond to The Secret is not to think “lovely, wonderful thoughts” about the phenomenon coming to a quick demise. Rather, Father Pacwa advised, Catholics need to help the culture rediscover their dependence on God’s grace and the redemptive power of suffering. “Suffering isn’t easy, but it’s profound and powerful,” he said. “Our task is to help folks in the culture face their problems instead of looking for the easy way out. It doesn’t exist.”

The Holy Spirit was speaking to you when you felt uncomfortable with the book. You did the right thing in getting rid of this book. –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM


The film “The Secret”


September 8, 2008

My adult children are all excited about the film “The Secret” and asked me to view it and tell them what I thought. The video expounds on the idea of a universal force called personal magnetism which when understood and used properly can bring a person anything they want. I viewed the video and felt uncomfortable during the viewing but also felt that there was some validity to what they were saying. I don’t know how to answer them. Can you help me craft an answer within the framework of Catholic thinking? –George

Well, “The Secret” is a New Age concept. Any ideas that are contrary to the Catholic Teaching need to be avoided and condemned.

I cannot craft a specific answer for you as I have not seen this film or read the book, but here is a review from Our Sunday Visitor. Perhaps that can help you.



As to the Church’s response to New Age in general here are a couple of documents:

*Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the “New Age”

*Some Aspects of Christian MeditationBro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM


Malachi Martin


November 19, 2004

I understand and praise your zeal to fight evil, but I think your intentions, though good, are sadly spreading misinformation about Fr. Malachi Martin.
I agree that the ultra-traditionalist groups that have broken away from Rome are schismatic and have disobeyed the Pope. And that is wrong and their branch will eventually split and wither.
I have read your views on Malachi Martin and you mentioned that he was laicized. Can you document and back-up this claim? I understand he got permission to leave his Jesuit order from Pope Paul VI. As explained by Fr. Fiorio who knew Fr. Martin for over 20 years.
I would not have believed some of the things he said about those working evil within the Church unless I had experienced them and seen them with my own eyes.
Make no mistake: there is a spiritual battle going on and the fury of hell is slamming against the church trying to divide and destroy it.
Malachi Martin has shed the light on much of the nefarious and dark forces working against the church from within.
I have gone to Cathedrals and churches and searched in vain for a tabernacle. I have witnessed AGLO masses (Gay), I’ve seen “Clown Masses” (I have photos!), and we’ve all heard of the empty convents and about the majority of Catholics not believing in the Real Presence, or the Church’s teaching on contraception, or abortion. We’ve read about the dissenting theologians and the secularization of Catholic universities, the organized ring of homosexual clergy, and the pedophile issue…
But this is reality. The gates of hell are furiously slamming against the Church. Of course, we know the outcome, but there will be many casualties.
I would recommend that if you’re going to attack, dismiss and denigrate Fr Martin and use his books for a door-stop, you first you listen to what he says and writes.
A good start would be to read Fr. Martin’s obituary written by Fr. Fiorio, who knew Fr. Martin for many years. -Thomas

I am sorry, but I have not spread misinformation about Mr. Martin. He was a ultra-traditionalist who characterized our holy Pope John Paul of bringing down the Church. Mr. Martin caused scandal in creating fear and distrust of the Vatican. He did this with “National Enquirer” tactics in what he called “Faction” (meaning, Fact in fiction), though I think it is a neat coincidence that this term ends up being “faction”, which is precisely what Mr. Martin created — factions and divisiveness in the Church.
He said in an interview when asked the question about why he just didn’t write a non-fiction book exposing the things he wished to expose. His laughable response was that he wanted to protect the public because they couldn’t take it if he presented the information as a journalistic piece. Give me a break. There is a reason to make his accusations within the context of fiction. As a professional writer and former publisher I know this trick well. In docu-fiction one does not have to prove the allegations!
(I have some 50 hours of tape recordings of interviews with Mr. Martin to prove this and every other item that I have mentioned about him).
This man scandalized and harmed the faith of many people, maybe even millions. This is not to say that everything he said was wrong. Certainly there were and are problems and corruptions. But even if every dotted “i” of what Mr. Martin wrote were true it does not ultimately threaten the Church because God has promised that the hell shall never prevail against the Church.
In addition, the fact of corruptions and such does not dismiss our obligations to be obedience to the Church. Mr. Martin’s tabloid irresponsibility and conspiracy nut tactics influenced many to be disobedient.
Jesus Himself told his disciples that the “Pope and Magisterium” of the Old Testament, the Pharisees, were corrupt but when they sat in the “chair of Moses” they are to be obeyed. (Matt 23:2)
When the Pope sits in the Chair of Peter he is to be obeyed. When the Pope and/or the Magisterium in union with him teaches something, even if not an infallible teaching, we are to obey. We are NOT to form our own brand of orthodoxy. In fact, I have a copy of a letter from the Vatican that speaks to that issue concerning the SSPX. It says that if a group (or person) has formed its own brand of orthodoxy, then that group in no longer in communion with the Church, but in schism.
To make a direct or subtle implication that whatever problems or corruptions exist in the Church allows us to hedge or fail in our obligations of obedience is to create what is called “passive scandal.” Jesus warns us in Matt 18:6 about giving scandal to his little ones.
One of these days, when I have time, I will detail the evidence from the Mr. Martin’s own mouth as recorded on those tapes in an expose of the real nature of what Mr. Martin was teaching.
As for his laicization, the Vatican says, “In 1965, Mr. Martin received a dispensation from all privileges and obligations deriving from his vows as a Jesuit and from priestly ordination.” [Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 25 June 1997, Prot. N. 04300/65]


If you think I am making this up, please contact the Congregation and ask them referring to the above citation.
As a laicized priest Mr. Martin was no longer clergy. He was returned to the lay state, even though ontologically a priest is always a priest, but a priest is not always clergy.
Thus Mr. Martin could no longer be called “Father”, he could not convect the Sacraments except in an emergency danger of death situation of someone, and could not perform solemn exorcisms. To do any of these things would have been illicit and would have constituted rebellion on his part.
Also laicized priests are not to be in the public eye without specific permission. I do not know if Mr. Martin had that or not.
These things about what a laicized priest can or cannot do are not my opinion, but are outlined in Canon Law. –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM



November 22, 2004

(From the Obituary by Father Charles Fiore)

Father Malachi Brendan Martin, Roman Catholic priest, widely renowned theologian and best-selling author, died in New York City on Tuesday, July 27, 1999, following a stroke.

Father Martin was born in Kerry, Ireland on July 23. 1921. He was educated at Belvedere College, and entered the Society of Jesus in 1939. He studied at the National University where he took a bachelor’s degree in Semitic languages and Oriental history with parallel studies in Assyriology at Trinity College. He held degrees in Philosophy, Theology, Semitic Languages, Archeology and Oriental History from the University of Louvain, Belgium. He was ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1954.

Father Martin did parallel studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and at Oxford University, specializing in intertestamentary studies and knowledge of Jesus as transmitted in Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts. Additional subjects of intense study for him during his formal education included rational psychology, experimental psychology, physics and anthropology.

He did early and seminal work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and published some two dozen articles on Semitic paleography in learned journals. The first of his 16 books was the two-volume work, The Scribal Character of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
From 1958 until 1964 Malachi Martin served in Rome, where he was a close associate of, and carried out many sensitive missions for the renowned Jesuit Cardinal Augustin Bea, and for Pope John XXIII.

While in Rome he was also Professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute of the Vatican, where he taught Hebrew, Aramaic, Paleography and Scripture.

After twenty-five years as a Jesuit, Father Martin was released, at his own request by Paul VI from his vows of poverty and obedience in 1964. Following a brief stay in Paris, he moved to New York, where until his final illness and death, he continued his apostolic service as a priest. -Thomas

The Truth about Mr. Martin once-and-for-all is that he was laicized. Even one of the websites that was erected by Martin’s friends, supposedly with Martin’s permission, admitted this he was laicized. The Vatican has affirmed this and the statement from the Vatican trumps an Obituary (which is a kind of writing that always speaks in the most positive light of the deceased) written by a Martin friend or groupie.
I have produced the statement from the Vatican and even provided the code number for the letter. The burden of proof is now on you or any other Martin groupie to prove that the cited letter is a hoax or is somehow inaccurate and to do so with a statement from the Vatican. Statements of opinion from friends of Martin (who may not actually know the real scoop regardless of how close a friend they were) and groupies have all the value and weight of snail slime.
The controversy ends with the statement from the Vatican. To paraphrase a comment from St. Augustine, “Rome has spoken, the debate is ended.” –Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM


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EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

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