Catholic Questions and Answers -
Angels & Demons
This section covers some of most frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we receive here at The Crossroads Initiative about Angels and Demons. If you have any questions you can check this page frequently for more Catholic Q & A. We are adding new Questions and Answers every week. Please select the topic that you have questions about. If you don't find an answer to your question, feel free to contact us and Dr. D'Ambrosio will try to answer.
Main Q & A Page
Q - Great article on Halloween. Even with what you shared, I thought that Satan worshippers and such celebrated their "high" day on Halloween. Is that correct? I also still feel it is wrong to dress as a goul, witch or goblin. Thanks - Todd A.
A - I'm really not sure what Satan worshippers or devotees of "Wicca" do on Halloween. I really don't know who if anyone speaks officially for these groups of people and I doubt if they have any official calendar such as the official calendar of feasts found in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Regarding dressing up as ghouls, I personally tried to emphasize All Saints day when my kids were small, encouraging them to dress up each as a favorite Saint.
However, even if we are not comfortable doing so, I think it important not to judge Christians who dress up as pirates, witches, and ghouls. Most likely they are doing so for fun.
Faithfully in Christ,
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
Q - A woman that I know was sexually abused by her father for years as approximately 8-15 years of age. She had about 7 years of counseling due to it.
She is extremely angry, yells, is abusive, confusing, confounding, confrontational, she loves those she shouldnít and dislikes those she should love. I have seen her body go rigid while she screams at me, and black snot run from her nose. Unlike anyone Iíve every met or heard of. She claims to have spirit guides and to have been approached by lost spirits that need help finding there way. People who know her are basically terrified of her.
She is like a bull in a china shop. Could she be demon possessed?
Thanks - FP
A - Dear FP,
The simple but disturbing answer is yes. But this is something to refer to the priest exorcist of the diocese which she lives in. If she wants help, I would suggest contacting the diocese and making an appointment.
Of course, it is not always easy to discern to what degree her behavior and suffering is a result of psychological scars from her trauma (natural causes) and how much is due to demonic infestation (preternatural). But the kind of trauma she suffered creates a wound that can be "infected" by the evil spirits that prompted the abusive behavior in the first place, and the symptoms you describe have been seen in cases of demonic possession or obsession. So hopefully you can pursue it, but only with someone authorized and qualified.
Faithfully in Christ,
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
Q - Does the story of the possession in this weekís article (Interview with an Exorcist) on this site have the full backing of the Vatican as being true?
Also is there no hope for these 'demons' from Hell - will they, can they repent? Should I pray to God for their conversion as it must be awful to have no hope? If offered forgiveness would they change?
A - Hi David,
The basic doctrine that the exorcist in the article assumes as the basis of his ministry is Catholic doctrine, but the Church officially does not vouch for any experiences or phenomena recounted by exorcists, or has no official, binding teaching on the nature and causes of demonic possession.
One thing firmly established in Catholic doctrinal tradition is that, due to the superior nature of angelic intelligence which foresees much better than we do the consequences of choices made, it is impossible for demons to change their minds regarding their decision to rebel against God.
Therefore, we do not pray for their conversion or forgiveness -- we simply do our best to battle against their temptation and avoid their fate of eternal separation from God.
Q - I don't know if you ever answer questions but if you do, I immediately read Dr. D'Ambrosio's most recent article "Casting out Demons" in OSV and would like to ask what would be the explanation of the apparently forced demonic possession in the movie "The Exorcism of Emily Rose". Thank you for your wonderful internet site! In Christ, Kathy
A - Hi Kathy,
Iíve heard about the movie, but not seen it. So I canít comment on it specifically. One thing Iíd say, however, is that even if it based on a true story, donít trust Hollywood ever to produce a film that is faithful to what actually happened.
Regarding possession or obsession (serious demonic infestation but not taking control of the person entirely), there is no official church teaching on the subject. Iíve spoken with people involved in the deliverance ministry, however, and here are some ways it appears such things happen:
1. The person engages in serious sin, which automatically put people outside Godís protection and implicitly grant permission to evil spirits to ďcome on over.Ē
2. the person is involved in alcohol or drug abuse which compromise the personís freedom
3. involvement in the occult
4. the experience of serious trauma
Hope that gives you at least a little food for thought! The point of my article was to stay close to God and you donít have to worry about such things. The real demonic danger is temptation, not so much possession. In my opinion, the best book to read about the way the Enemy operates is CS Lewisí Screwtape Letters.
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Interview with an Exorcist
In todayís culture of scientific enlightenment, many consider belief in demonic possession and exorcism to be superstitious remnants of the Dark Ages. Even many Christians, contrary to the clear words of Jesus in the Gospel, scoff at the notion that the Devil and demons really exist. Is demonic possession real? Are believers really in any danger from Satan and his crafty minions? What is the truth about exorcism?
Way of a Pilgrim
This classic work of Russian spirituality has charmed countless readers with its tale of a nineteenth-century peasant seeking the truth with simple humility, finding joy and plenty everywhere in life.