St. Peter's Basilica at dusk. Photo by Msgr. Rossetti
A family of four with symptoms of a demonic oppression came for help. Trying to find out the cause, I finally asked, "Did you or any member of your family ever belong to the Masons?" They had some symptoms which were typical of Masonic-related curses. "Yes," the father said, "I joined but it was just for social purposes."
In another situation, a woman started practicing Reiki, and then began summoning the spirit of her deceased father, whom she loved and missed. However, she ended up in relationship with a demon instead, who taunted and tormented her. She was terrified and seeking our help.
Another family came with common symptoms of a demonic oppression. Things had gotten so bad that the wife, feeling desperate, had asked a local bruja (a witch) for help. The woman did her magic rituals over the family, trying to rid them of their problems. Immediately after, their symptoms became much worse.
In each of these cases, and many others, the people were well-intentioned. Yet all of them made their situations worse by engaging in forbidden practices. Regarding these, the Catholic Church has given explicit public warnings:
*The Holy See has forbidden membership in the Masonic associations and, as recent as 1983, went so far as to state: "The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin."
*The USCCB published a document denouncing Reiki and warned against invoking "universal life energies."
*The Catechism (#2117) also warns against all forms of "magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others -- even if this were for the sake of restoring their health -- are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion."
While some might view these documents as examples of ecclesiastical heavy-handedness and/or an over-reaction, our direct experience suggests that they are timely warnings for our protection. At root, the commandments of God and the teachings of the Church are designed to keep us safe and are guideposts for a successful journey to the Kingdom.
Our team is very careful to conduct our ministry in complete obedience to the teachings of the Church, not straying to the right or to the left. We know of exorcists who have not, with predictably disastrous results.
Humble obedience is a great protection and a powerful weapon in casting out evil.