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By Fr Jim Cogley

From reading the Gospels it is very clear that much of Christ’s public ministry was spent exorcising evil spirits and this was usually followed by some dramatic physical healings. Most whom he delivered became his followers. Mary Magdalene, his closest female companion, from whom he cast out seven demons, is a good example In the context of the time, long before psychology as we know it came into being, the root cause of many, if not most, physical ailments was thought to be demonic in origin. So conditions like deafness, dumbness, epilepsy and enfeeblement would have been understood in that light. Today our understanding would have moved a long way from that position. However the question still remains; is there such a reality as demonic possession, and if not, why is there still a Rite of Exorcism in the Catholic Church and why do we say in the Lord’s Prayer ‘Deliver us from evil?’

We know that there are so many troubled souls for whom Psychology has no answers and for whom medication only acts as a modern day straight jacket. Listening to such an individual’s story, it often becomes clear that such disturbance was preceded by some level of Occult involvement. This could have been attending séances, going to a fortune-teller or Ouija Board activity. Many would say that since that time, and it may have been decades earlier, they have never felt right, or able to be fully themselves. It seemed as if at that time a portal to darkness had opened and some very destructive energies continued to have free access into their lives. A formal renunciation of evil is really an invitation for that person to finally close that door and command to go to the Light any forces, energies or entities that may have entered through that portal. The effects of this are usually quite immediate and there is a real sense of that person finally coming back home to themselves after a long absence.


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