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  • Msgr. Stephen Rossetti

Exorcist Diary #89: The Stench of Evil


In a full exorcism session, we typically have at least two priests, sometimes three, in addition to lay team members. We have found that it simply goes better with more than one priest.

One of our priests was detained and arrived late. He leaned over and said, "I smell an awful stench." We did not smell it. It was a "grace" for him to sense the presence of evil, albeit a rather ugly grace, which I am happy not to have.

Some time ago, one of our possessed souls had a vision of hell and he told us, "Fire engulfed all of the bodies of the souls, the smell of rotting flesh and melting skin was atrocious, so much it made me want to throw up." He was struck by the stench of hell and it made him want to vomit.

In her famous book the Dialogues, St. Catherine of Siena relayed what God told her, "The stain of Adam's sin...corrupted the whole human race and gave out a stench." Sin and evil have the horrible stench of death.

On the other hand, whenever the saints appear to souls, there is often a beautiful smell. Whenever Padre Pio appeared, in his earthly life or later from heaven, people often described the sweet scent of roses, violets or lilies. The presence of St. Therese of Lisieux is associated with the scent of roses. Such is the odor of sanctity or more technically osmogenesia.

Heaven will be a feast both for the soul and the resurrected body, including the beautiful scents of holiness. Hell is so vile souls will want to retch.

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