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January 17th, 2011
Interview With the Exorcist: Father Gary Thomas
 
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therite-flash

Fr. Gary Thomas is a Vatican-certified practicing exorcist whose experience is the subject of the new movie The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins, scheduled for release on January 28. That movie is based on a 2009 book about Fr. Gary by journalist Matt Baglio, The Rite: The Making of A Modern Exorcist.

[Read our review of the movie The Rite here.]

We interviewed Fr. Gary on the heels of the book’s release, about what is and isn’t true concerning exorcisms and demonic possession, and what this means in terms of our faith life. The book and upcoming movie chronicle Father Gary’s own Vatican training to become an exorcist, and give an inside look of the church’s use of the rite of exorcism and its role in contemporary life.

I’d you’d prefer to listen to the interview, you can play it here:

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or download the mp3.

Fr. Dave Dwyer: Father Gary, many of our listeners might be surprised to know that having a priest on staff at a diocese in the role of an exorcist is still something that we do. They may think, “Oh, well gee, isn’t that a thing of the past,” or, “Didn’t we get rid of that? ” or something like that. But it actually not only is common, but you went over to the Vatican for training. Is that about right?

Fr. Gary Thomas: I did. I finished my 12-year term as pastor of my previous parish, and was granted a one-year sabbatical. I laid out the things I had hoped to do on it. However, at the time, when I was going through the process of getting ready for the sabbatical, exorcism was not part of the equation. Exorcism became part of the equation toward just before the end of my term as a pastor, in which the bishop appointed me, and then said, “Oh, by the way, there’s a course in Rome, when you’re there, on exorcism.” But, halfway through the course — which is when I met Baglio [journalist Matt Baglio, author of The Rite: The Making of A Modern Exorcist] — halfway through the course, it became really apparent to me that I needed to tutor under an exorcist, that the course itself was good, but the course was not based itself on any practical training and so…

FD: I would imagine that it would be hard to be appointed by your bishop to fulfill that role without some sort of training. I mean, if they asked me to do that I’d be, “Well, okay, what should I do?”

FG: Well, most bishops, and this is not to knock the bishops, very few bishops really understand what’s involved in the ministry of exorcism, and I can say that, including my own bishop, who appointed me. And I think I, a number of times, tried to explain a variety of things to him, and he does very much believe in the reality of Satan, but I think that, even when I went over to take this course that I had no idea what was really going to be expected of me. It all kind of unfolded and evolved as time went on. And so, I think once I was training under Father Carmine De Filippis — whose name is in the book, who is one of the nine exorcists in Rome — it became very apparent to me not only that is this very serious, which I didn’t deny that it was, but the variety of situations and peoples’ experiences that were coming to Father Carmine and what really was required. And the course, I think, provided actually a lot of very important insight and information that really kind of helped supplement the actual practical teaching.

In my three years as an exorcist, I’ve exorcised five people, and I would say that there was one particular situation that would probably be pretty similar to [the portrayal in The Exorcist.]

FD: Well, let’s talk about some basics for our listeners out there. And, we have a lot of Catholic listeners, even many non-Catholic listeners, and maybe the basics of the Church’s teaching that has to do with this, as in evil, as in Satan, as in being possessed by demons. We certainly see it in the Gospels and maybe some people relegate it to, “Well, there was a lot of stuff that happened in Jesus’ time that doesn’t happen anymore.” What is our real belief about this stuff as Catholics?

FG: Well, I think you simply have to begin with Scripture and then it really reaches an apex in the Paschal Mystery — the death and resurrection of Christ. In the very first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, there’s the first reference in the temptation of Adam and Eve by the serpent, which really constitutes what we say is the Fall of Man. It is out of the tensions which you find in the rhythms of the Old Testament that lead up to Jesus’ coming, where it’s very clear that that Christ’s mission is to conquer Satan, sin, death, and create the bridge for us to reach eternal life through the grace of the Son in the Father. And so, you know, the gospels of Matthew and Mark, in particular, are fraught with many, many clear examples of demonic possession, and Jesus as the exorcist who comes and delivers people from the throes of Satan and demons.

FD: Certainly there are those accounts in Scripture. In addition to healing somebody from blindness, or from some other sickness, it very clearly does say that somebody was possessed by a demon or he drove a whole bunch of them into the pigs and all that.

FG: Right. Right. We went through a phase, though, I think, in the post-Vatican II Church until somewhat recently, where I think a lot of biblical scholars saw exorcisms as really a metaphor for evil that really was unexplainable, and sometimes would think of possessions or the manifestations of possessions as being related to diseases that had yet to be discovered per se. But now, there’s a much sounder grounding that, no, Christ, in fact, was performing real-life exorcisms. And so, I encounter lots of Catholics who will say, “Oh, the Church is still doing those things?” or, “We still believe in Satan?” Satan hasn’t go away. He is relevant in and out of season.

FD: …You’re in the Diocese of San Jose? Is that right?

FG: That is correct.

FD: Even in California, where people think life is sort of relaxed and casual, sunny and pleasant, you in the course of your duties have been a part of — you have performed exorcisms, right?

FG: I have. I have.

FD: Well, tell us what that’s like, I mean, what would people not expect it to be. I suppose what many people bring to the table is Hollywood’s version of that. So, many people would have seen somewhere back in the day the film with Linda Blair, The Exorcist, so I guess, in terms of our recollection, is it like this…?

[Plays sound clip from the movie The Exorcist.]

“I command you by the judge of the living and the dead to depart from this servant of God. It’s the power… (Holy Water!)

The power of Christ compels you
The power of Christ compels you
The power of Christ compels you”

FD: So very familiar in our pop culture, and people even called in earlier in the show, Father Gary, with other movies like The Exorcism of Emily Rose that are certainly based on true accounts, so people go, “Are the Hollywood directors just kind of juicing that up or is that kind of what you experience?”

FG: Sometimes that’s what I experience.

I think as long as people have a relationship with God and stay close to God, they really don’t have anything to fear.

FD: Wow. Okay.

FG: And, what’s fascinating about that movie, just as a quick aside, it is amazing to me that that movie was made in about 1972, so that is about a 37-year-old movie. That movie is still inscribed in an icon kind of way in the minds of people when they think of exorcism. I cannot tell you how many times people have even cited that movie, “Oh, I saw the movie The Exorcist, is that what you do?” Not The Exorcism of Emily Rose but The Exorcist. It is just amazing that after all these years that movie still has an embedded memory in the minds of so many people. Yes, to answer your question, I have exorcised in my three years as an exorcist, I’ve exorcised five people, and I would say that there was one particular situation that would probably be pretty similar to what you just played in terms of the movie. I don’t use the word “compel” but I do certainly say, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I demand you to leave,” and I will say that repeatedly in the midst of the prayers of exorcism from the Solemn Rite that I pray over the people.

FD: So essentially this is us saying, as a church, that is not just Hollywood lights and bells. We believe that some sort of demon, whether it is Satan himself and his minions can take over a human person.

FG: In a rare full possession, yes, but not every situation a full possession. In fact full possessions are very, very rare. However, less than full possessions are not quite as rare although they are not normative — what we would call an oppression or an obsession that sometimes does exist with people where they’re able on the one level to function but on another level they have opened a door or someone else has opened a door for them where a demon does have some serious influence. I would like to stress, though, you really have to invite the demon in. Or, someone else has to invite the demon in. Lots of times, though, people, out of fear, go, “What do we have to do to protect ourselves?” What I say back is largely, “Continue having a relationship with the Lord. Stay close to God in prayer, and refrain from being involved in things that would be considered to be the New Age — rituals of the New Age, rituals of the occult, things such as Wicca, or tarot cards, Ouija boards, superstitious practices, black magic, white magic, anything that would really be idolatrous. I think as long as people have a relationship with God and stay close to God, they really don’t have anything to fear in the sense of any of the kinds of things that we’re specifically talking about.

FD: So, is it part of your training that you can distinguish someone with, as you call it, a partial possession from something that is genuinely a psychological issue and/or do you hear people kind of critiquing the practice of exorcism, saying, “These days, don’t we just believe that all of that is schizophrenia or something else?”

Fr. Gary Thomas

Fr. Gary Thomas

FG: Right. And those are legitimate points. I have a team. And on my team, my exorcism team, I have a trained clinical psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a physician, all of whom are practicing Catholics, and all of whom believe in the possibility of Satan’s existence, but they’re not people who says there’s a demon under every rock or chair. And I have two clergy, two priests, who are on the team as well. So, as a person, as a priest, who’s not a therapist, much of what I do involves what we would call discernment. So, how do we discern the spirit? Well, we discern the spirit by, first of all, asking a lot of probing questions, and then, you know, some of those questions involve not just their own personal spiritual life but the things they’ve been exposed to. And then you simply pray prayers of deliverance, really as a starting point, and you encourage people if they don’t have a sacramental life to return to the sacramental life, and then you pray with them over the course of time.

Sometimes it’s very clear when people come in that there really isn’t any particular diabolical doorway that they’ve opened, but sometimes you’re drawn to conclude that, because nothing else seems to make any sense or explain away their problems. So that’s why you have therapists. Sometimes I use a therapist. Sometimes I don’t. When it’s very, very clear that — sometimes people will say that they feel that they’ve had a curse put on them and then you ask them questions in which they can’t give you any definitive answers, either the person who put the curse on them, any reason why someone would have put the curse on them, any evidence that a curse has been put on them. Then you simply conclude, “Well, no curse has been put on you. You simply have chosen to believe that.”

There are things that happen that we can’t explain. When people, though, show signs of some kind of demoniacal manifestation such as foaming at the mouth or rolling of the eyes or taking on the appearance of a serpent sometimes or speaking in a language that they have no competency in but all of a sudden do, those are the classical signs. But again, that doesn’t always come in the first go-around. You have to ask all kinds of questions. You pray over people. You get them to go back to the sacraments if they’re not already, and then, you know, you say to them after you’ve prayed over them a couple of times and there’s no manifestation, nothing whatsoever — you simply encourage them to continue in their own prayer life. What I try not to do — I try not to give people, a) false hope, and b) share things with them that I just want them to go away. So if someone really doesn’t have what appears to be any kind of diabolical intrusion, I have no problem telling them that. It isn’t that I’m looking for more people to come and see me. You’re there to try to help people, and sometimes they’re just reassured that what they thought was, wasn’t.

FD: In the way you go, perhaps, to an oncologist and he says, “No, you don’t have cancer.”

FG: That’s correct.

On my team, my exorcism team, I have a trained clinical psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a physician, all of whom are practicing Catholics, and all of whom believe in the possibility of Satan’s existence, but they’re not people who says there’s a demon under every rock or chair.

FD: … I’m just wondering about how much of your time as a priest is devoted to this. Are people knocking on your door every day? Or, do you do this once a month or something?

FG: I would say probably 15 percent of my day, although not every day, but probably on average, at least 15 percent of my week is spent on this. So probably 15 percent of a 40-hour week, probably six hours of my week some weeks, maybe not so much other weeks. I just finished ministering to a person just before I came over here to wait for your phone call. And I exorcised a man on Monday and exorcised somebody else on Friday, and they were long sessions.

FD: Now, tell us about you as a priest, you as a believer. When you’re talking about something like that, is there some sort of prayer for yourself after you’ve been in contact with such evil? Is there part of the ritual or some sort of after words, or do you just run to hang out in the Blessed Sacrament or something? [Laughs.]

FG: Well, there’s protection. There’s a protection prayer that I pray — and then an authority prayer that I pray over the person — but the protection prayer is for the person, anyone else who is in the room and myself. And then the authority prayer is to take authority in the name of Christ over the demons and then you begin — and again, whether it’s the formal right or whether it is just deliverance prayers, this is just standard operating for me. So at the very beginning you pray protection prayers.

FD: So, how has this affected your faith, let’s say?

FG: Well, I mean, before I took on this role I certainly believed in the reality of Satan. I think, now that I’ve been in this ministry, I’ve been — I’ve never had a doubt — but anybody who has a doubt can simply come and see what I’ve seen at times and then maybe they won’t have doubts either. But, I think one thing it has done — it is a profoundly healing type of ministry. The people who come to me, in one way or another they all have — whether it’s something diabolical or whether it’s psychological, these are mostly people who are enduring great suffering.

FD: And I would imagine, thanks to your ministry you have been part of some success stories, some people who are really genuinely freer?

FG: Yes, I would say, at times. But, it’s really Christ who’s the exorcist. It’s really Christ who’s the exorcist and I’m the vessel through whom Christ works. It’s incredibly important that in my role — and I learned this when I was in the course in Rome — that the exorcist always remain a truly humble prayerful person, because when you begin to see how the prayers you use agitate demons and sometimes deliver people from them, human nature being what it is can sometimes bloat — and Satan is also part of that in the bloating of — the exorcist’s ego in ways that can sometimes really assist the exorcist in losing his own effectiveness, cause he thinks that he’s the one responsible, but it’s really Christ.

FD: And, then they right a book about you, and that doesn’t help the ego.

FG: Well, again, I haven’t let any of this get bigger than it is…

It is a profoundly healing type of ministry. The people who come to me… whether it’s something diabolical or whether it’s psychological, these are mostly people who are enduring great suffering.

FD: God bless you. [Laughs.]

FG: Even the movie that’s hopefully going to come out. The book — again, Matt wrote the book to really help educate the average Catholic and the average person about what the Roman Catholic Church is trying to do in this area, and I think he actually — and I’m not saying this to toot my own horn — I do think it’s a good read, and it is very informative, and kind of has a textbook feel, told in a story form. And I think there’s a lot of really good information in there. The book was sent to every bishop in the United States by my request with a letter from me, and every rector of every seminary in the U.S. with a letter from me. So I communicated with every rector and every bishop in the U.S., encouraging them, a) to train an exorcist, which is what John Paul II asked us before he died, and b) to help the seminary rectors begin to take this on in formation because there’s very, very few priests who have any exposure to this.

FD: …It sounds like you are a happy, healthy priest, and you’ve got just a new role in your life.

FG: I hope I’m happy and healthy. I think of myself as. The happiness is just a fleeting moment but more and more I find this more satisfying and meaningful.

FD: So, it’s a ministry that you would recommend to priests?

FG: Well, I think, to the right priests. I got into it providentially. I think a lot of guys today have the inclination to do this but sometimes it’s a matter of a) having the confidence, and b) recognizing that you don’t have to be afraid of the demons. You have to respect them but you don’t have to be afraid.

FD: And have you been scared?

FG: No, I’ve never been afraid.

FD: Really?

FG: No. Never.

FD: Interesting.

FG: And, the exorcist gets attacked, but I’m not afraid. And it’s got to be a grace, because most people I know, and most priests I know, want nothing to do with it.

FD: Well, Father Gary, God bless you. This is a needed service in the church, because as you have pointed out earlier, there’s plenty of evil out there, we don’t have to look too far to find it, and hopefully your book, in the hands of all the bishops and the seminaries, will maybe get it a little more well known.

FG: I hope so.

FD: Well, thanks for joining us on the Busted Halo Show.

FG: Thanks, Father.

(Originally aired: 10/29/09)



 
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Laura

    I totally agree with what Chris said. Something similar happened to me. Lots of blessings to everyone, ; D.

  • chris

    I wont go into the details because my story is too long.
    That said…
    I have had a personal experience that convinced me this is real.
    This experience turned an atheist (me) into a believer.
    There is evidence, it comes to individuals that open themselves to it.

  • Adam

    Rubadubadoobag makes a VERY important observation in his post. If demonic possessions, and for that matter ghosts, witchcraft etc. really exist then why has there not ever been one single, solid irrefutable shred of evidence to prove this? Why do we have dozens of “ghost hunter” shows that claim to put the participants into the most haunted locations yet produce absolutely no tangible results?

    I know if I witnessed half the phenomenon possessions are supposed to induce I would be running for the nearest recording device. Additionally I will take one of Rubadubadoobag’s comments further I would consider it wrong, or sinful if you prefer, to have some sort of evidence for the devil’s existence and not share it with the world. What would be the motivation for such action (or inaction?) That would be like you telling me there was a dangerous lunatic in my house and then refusing to tell me where he is located. Those of us who question are not “lost” “damned” or any other such thing, we are rational people who would like solid evidence for things before we engage in actions or inactions that have the potential to harm others.

  • Rubadubadoobag

    I do often believe in God, but Im not a Christian by any means. I do try to be open-minded and admit that they may be right about God, Jesus and even demonic possession.

    But that said, I suspect that if – as Father Thomas claims – possessed people are really ‘taking on the appearance of a serpent’ at the drop of a hat, the natural response would be to film this right away and putting it on YouTube so as to show people the reality of the Devil, and therefore of God. After all, realising that the Devil exists through the inexplicable powers of the demonically possessed is exactly how the protaganist in the movie based on Father Thomas comes to have faith himself. If the Devil’s greatest trick was convincing mankind he didnt exist, it should pretty much be a true priest’s moral duty to undo this deception if he can. That should be a much greater imperative than ‘preaching to the choir’ here, so to speak.

    I wont cast any aspersions on Father Thomas’s integrity or what he may or may not have seen, but I would urge him (and I think anyone who might know him should to) to film and release footage of people ‘taking on the appearance of serpents’ if he sees this on a regular basis. I think there’s little doubt that he would save a lot of people’s souls if he did so.

  • Jim

    I just watched this movie and thought it was decent. Being a Christain I have no doubt about the devils existience.I do feel sorry for and pray for people like Judith or Wiccians for the devil’s work has been completed in them. They will be lost for eternity because of their nonbelief. Atheism or worship towards earth or other Gods is nothing new. The bible is full of stories of nonbelievers ,the bible says, “The fool hath said in his heart,There is no God.”

  • Sue

    For those of us who believe, no explanation is necessary. For us, God created the heavens and earth, the angels and mankind. Satan chose to rebel against God and was thrown down to earth, NOT hell. (He get’s a one-way-ticket to Fire Island when Christ comes again someday to clean house!) I agree with Father Gary’s advice to keep your eyes on the skies and live in God’s light and love.
    For those who don’t believe, or have a different belief, that’s cool too. We just ALL need to treat each other with love, respect, compassion and honesty!

  • Leslie

    Hello:)
    I just finished watching the film and found it to be extremely moving and important. I want to thank Anthony Hopkins for taking the role and bringing his huge fanbase to the film, as many more people, thinking it is a horror film, vrs a religous film will learn many things from it. I hope the most important one is EMBRACE GOD and keep him close to your heart and in your thoughts and deeds. Believe that satan is waiting to create evil and sin and so steer clear of his temptations. I am a new catholic, only six years, but I adore my new faith and the respect and reverence you find in the catholic mass.
    I am sad for Judith, as I feel her fate was formed by her father’s profession,and faith. I hope she will open her mind and heart some day to the possibility that God does exist, as does Jesus and the saints and apostles. Honestly, do you really think they all, especially Paul, would have the same story and have suffered soooo much to spread the word of Jesus, if they were not entirely convinced? They still were not convinced, after all of the miraculous healings jesus performed prior to crucifixion, UNTIL he visited them and hundreds of others, after he was resurrected. The new testament gives you the good the bad and the ugly truth about what happened.
    Well, I’m gonna close now, but I liked the film and am grateful for Father Gary, who is clearly a very blessed man and an earth angel. What he does to help those who are suffering cannot be fun or easy. I do not think the church is making a $ dime off this film BTW. You do not have to be a catholic to be a Christian. None of them have ever said you did. Just keep your heart and mind open to God and pray for his love and guidance.
    Peace be with all of you and god Bless!

  • Jeff

    Recently saw the movie, which was intriguing enough that I decided to research Father Gary, which led me here. Very interesting discussions, particularly between Steve and Judith. Personally, I was raised Catholic. However, due to some disagreements with with some of the Church’s views and how they handle certain things, I’ve broken away. I would not say, however, that I have necessarily lost faith.

    Judith, I am sorry to say, however, that I am in total agreement with Steve on this one. It is sad when science is used to dissuade the faithful. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, I would agree that most “possessions” are medical in nature. But to say that science has proven this is going a bit to far. Especially when you openly admit that you had many occurrences where the final solution was to institutionalize the individual. Institutionalization is not a cure, it is simply dealing with what you consider to be a lost cause.

    There is no science that can prove faith wrong. Science may prove certain beliefs wrong, but certainly not faith. Science may prove that certain parts of the Bible were driven from natural causes, but that does not mean there is no God. Let’s take Darwin for instance. How is evolution proof that God does not exist? It may mean that our world is older than 6,000 years, but it certainly does not prove there is no God. Regardless of when or how we came, we came. So we evolved, well who created the amoeba? So there was a big bang, well who lit it? No science will explain the inception of all. From every found end, there will always be a preceding beginning.

    Personally, I don’t take every word of the Bible as fact. But that does not mean I do not have faith.

    Now Judith, Science without a doubt is necessary for we as a people to survive and advance. And perhaps faith does not belong in your profession. I would almost agree that it does not for the most part. But to claim proof of a Godless existence through science is impossible, and just as much based on your faith that God does not exist as the faith others have that God does exist.

  • James V.

    Judith,

    I would like to point out that according to Fr. Gabriele Amorth, “An Exorcist Tells His Story”, and other exorcist accounts that, as rare as full possession is, it often results in the victim spitting up various objects including nails, glass, and pieces of wire among other things. It also has resulted in levitation. Demons produce these phenomena in direct response to the prayers of the formal exorcism rite, of which Fr. Amorth only uses the pre-Vatican II Latin form. These phenomena are certainly not produced by mere psychiatric illness. Moreover, in cases where someone is possessed, but treated by heavy medications, the less dramatic demonic physical effects are often suppressed. I would not expect medical treatment to produce extraordinary effects because it does not cause pain to the demons.

    From personal experience i can tell you I am a devout Traditionalist Catholic who studied to be a priest for 4 years. Previous to a conversion I was once very immersed in music subculture. I had contact with witches and warlocks and I can tell you that I witnessed many things from these people that cannot be explained, including objects moving. I thank God I removed myself from that world and never participated in occult practices.

    Pax Sapientiae. Sit nomen Domini benedictum.

  • Frank D.

    Thanks for your great words. Great job kicking the devil butt !!!God bless …Pary for all the lost people out in the world..

  • I’m not Rob

    Hi, It’s me again good old alias Rob. Okay, fine, so the site moderator sleuthed me out. But you’re no Sherlock Holmes by a long shot. I’m back because I’ve been pondering the idea that the catholic church and Fr. Gary profited handsomely with this exorcism farce. I know how deceitful the catholic church is, as all organized religions are. To conclude my latest rant, I’d like to know why there isn’t a shred of credible evidence on the internet or in print that supports the validity of exorcisms and the paranormal. It’s merely a subject matter that only a mere fringe of purported researchers cherry pick so-called scientific data to place a valid assumption upon. Over and out.

  • Sergio

    I’m Sergio, from Chile. I just watched the movie (haven’t read the book yet), and i wanted to congratulate Father Thomas for his testimony. Chile is a very catholic country, and if i’m not wrong, i was Cardinal Medina (a chilean cardinal) that wrote the new (1999) “Rite of excorcism”, the guide to practice this ministry. You really can feel proud that there are good men as father Thomas protecting us from the evil one.
    Nice interview, greetings from Chile.

  • Steve

    Are you being hyperbolic when you say you “never knew a psychologist or psychiatrist that had any religious or spiritual belief whatsoever”? Unless you are self-selecting your acquaintances, I’d say that is highly unlikely if you have talked to more than a handful of them. While religious beliefs in those professions are much lower than the general population, even according to secular humanist websites, public opinion research has never shown that even a majority of psychologist profess no religion (it is usually reported as about 40 percent).

    As I said before, I don’t doubt that mental illness is a major factor in all but a few possession cases. However, there are still instances that are unresolved. Assuming that someday we’ll just advance as a species and figure everything out is just as much a statement of faith as the belief in the immaterial. To me it all comes down to creation: I just cannot imagine how something is made from nothing and how movement comes from non-movement.

    I guess I am in no way understanding how religion, or even just the belief in the immaterial, is somehow anti-science (particularly with regards to the mental health profession). I’ve always approached any presumed conflict between the two as either the scientific knowledge or one’s religious beliefs as being incomplete, keeping in mind that perfection in either is impossible.

  • Phil Fox Rose

    “Rob”, we welcome a healthy discussion with widely differing opinions. I do not know what comments you are referring to, but I’m assuming you are the person who posted several recently using a different name and different email address than this one. It is true that we recently blocked someone because their comments contained vulgar and aggressive remarks, not because of the view they expressed.

  • Rob

    I see that my posts have been deleted. Just goes to show you what a bias blog this one is! If you can’t take the heat then get out of the kitchen!

  • Judith

    Hello Steve, My contention is strictly based on logic and reason. The supernatural contradicts all aspects of rationality. As I stated in my post, my father was a clinical psychologist for nearly 50 years. He and his colleagues witnessed a plethora of cases of people with severe psychological disorders. Those cases that would’ve been deemed “demonic possessions” by individuals lacking education and understanding of the mentally afflicted. And my personal experiences as a psychiatric nurse were exhausting to say the least. I’ve dealt with many patients, as I stated in my prior posting, that were almost inhuman in character. Many of those patients had severe mood disorders, delusions, and paranoia. I was proud of the fact that many of my patients were able to be treated successfully. Some had to be institutionalized for the remained of their lives. But by no account were any of my patients nor my father’s patients possessed. I never knew a psychologist or psychiatrist that had any religious or spiritual belief whatsoever. That sort of belief completely goes against the fundamentals of psychology. Freud was a major opponent in the belief of God, spiritualism and the paranormal. It’s all a matter of choice of what we chose to believe in. But speaking from a scientific standpoint the very premise of religious/spiritual belief is a rancid component to the scientific community. Science may not have answers to “the unexplainable” right away, but that is what modern innovation and progress affords us to eventually provide answers to those once believed “mysteries.” I will stand my ground and remain a skeptical atheist and only allow my mind to be receptive to logic and reason.

  • Steve

    Judith,

    Your post is the precise reason why, before the Church attempt an exorcism, extensive psychological testing and examination should, and is, done. However, to rule out the possibility of possession all together is wrong from a Christian perspective. It is true that science has not proven possession – I don’t expect it to. However, it has not proven possession impossible either because the belief in the immaterial is not a question of science, but of faith. “Demonic possession exists” is not a testable hypothesis because all that can be tested is whether a particular instance of supposed possession can be explained by natural means.

    Reason can take us to the very edge of belief, but faith is needed for the final step.

  • Judith

    I was a psychiatric nurse for 26 years. My father was a clinical psychologist for almost 50 years. I merely want to explain away any mysteries surrounding demonic possessions. I personally witnessed numerous patients who exhibited all of the classic architecture and expressions that many would classify as demonic possession. I’ve aided patients who’ve foamed at the mouth, hissed, female patients who spoke in a deep baritone voice with droning profanities, patients who claimed they were the spawn of Satan, spit at me, urinated on me and even threw feces at me. My dedication as a rational thinking nurse knew these people were in need of serious psychiatric help. My father was an atheist. A very loving and devout family man and professional. He knew that people who exhibited “demonic” behavior were undiagnosed with serious psychiatric disorders. One of the greatest challenges as a nurse was with a patient I was caring for. It was in 1966 when this young lady, “Sallie” was admitted into the ER for an attempted suicide. “Sallie” was violent, spoke intermittently in a deep bass voice, foamed at the mouth; “Sallie” claimed she could converse with the dead and knew what the future held for all. “Sallie” is what many would’ve deemed as being demonically possessed. To make a long story short, “Sallie” endured many years of intense therapy. At the time EVC (electro-convelsive therapy) was a common practice, and the use of MAIO’s a category of psychiatric medications rarely used anymore. “Sallie” responded well to the therapy. She eventually was no longer delusional or violent. She suffered from a serious psychotic disorder. “Sallie” eventually became a productive member of society, though, she had to remain on her med’s and continue with her therapy. My father being a psychologist and an atheist, as virtually all men and women in his field are, was appalled at the notion of there being any sort of supernatural intervention to affect a human being. It just doesn’t happen and science has proven that.

  • Brian Bilinski

    The people posting on these boards have nobody and no one to get help from. Maybe some of you can make suggestions.

    God Bless All! Keep the Faith and “Fight the Good Fight”

  • Brian Bilinski

    Dan-
    I support and believe with 100% certainty that possession occurs. I have several personal issues have made me question what is happening, or what could be happening to me. No doctor has any explanation or can provide any help. At any rate, I would like to put out there a key notion of what I think, other Paganism or the occult, can lead to such sin (possession) occuring – the sins of the flesh. This, above all else, appears to be the easiest doorway that can be opened. This comes from personal research, but I may be wrong.

    The spiritual world is real, whether demons, telepaths, or others are haunting people, there is no doubt they are. I have recently discovered a webite: ExperienceProject.com – people on this site are posting all types of scary experiences, ranging from being telepathically stalked to others. Most if not all of these victims are crying out for help, yet nobody, no medicine or anyone can seem to help. I continue to advise seeing a priest to most and staying religious. Some are giving up. Take a look at the site, not for those who are easily scared though…

    Dan–But it‚Äôs very rare that a person is able to be on the same electromagnetic wavelength as a spirit.

    What do you mean by this? Rare? I assume so. Are you stating that you believe a human can communicate with a demonic, or a telepath? Elaborate.

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