• Msgr. Stephen Rossetti

Exorcist Diary #71: The Young Man with the Demon Tattoo

Astaroth illustration from the Dictionnaire Infernal (1818)

Some time ago, a distressed father brought in his son. The son admitted a regular habit of smoking marijuana and delving into demonology. He was developing a relationship with some demons, including one he specifically named, "Astaroth." He admitted to having a tattoo of Astaroth on his chest. When I asked him why he did that, he responded, "I thought it would make me a better person."

I probably do not get as upset as I should be about the upside down depictions of God, angels and demons in the television and movie industry. Most of us older people think that it is obvious that God is good and Satan is bad. We instinctively know that Satan is evil and out to destroy us. We know God wants what is best for us, even if we do not go to Church or worship as we should.

Unfortunately, the younger generation, in their absence of having had any basic catechesis, are easy prey for those who promote the world of Satan and his demons. Today, some fashion themselves as "good witches;" others espouse pagan deities and wiccan; still others believe Satan is misunderstood and is our advocate; others believe casting spells, so regularly depicted on television, is a good thing.

Unfortunately, the young man with the demon tattoo was becoming increasingly dark, resentful, and sullen. He had no intention of stopping marijuana smoking and was searching for a new age "Church" that promoted it. He didn't realize that tattooing a demon's likeness on one's body was tantamount to branding oneself to his service.

We can "decommission" tattoos through the power of Jesus. However, the young man needed a long course in theology and a conversion of his life, which he resisted. Exorcisms are not magic and they are ineffective when the person will not desist from evil. I do not know where he is today but, barring a powerful grace from God, I am not optimistic.


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