Saturday, June 1, 2013

Learning Prayers in Latin

by Mike Chapman, M.M.

Today I learned something that validated a practice that I began almost two years ago. I knew at the time...somehow...that it was for a purpose, and had real meaning and power behind it. The practice? Learning prayers in the original Latin language.

Father Chad Ripperger, in one of his homilies, advised that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI once urged all Catholics around the world to learn the most common Catholic prayers in the Latin language. The reason he cited, was that learning these prayers in Latin, as well as one’s own language, would help the Christian faithful of different languages to be able to pray together, especially when we gather in special circumstances.

However, Father Ripperger adds another reason why Catholics should learn these prayers in Latin, and I agree with him completely: “It (Latin) is also more efficacious than any profane language because of the fact that it is a sacred language. And by virtue of it being sacred, it is in the eyes of God, more precious and therefore more meritorious. Therefore, Catholics should know the more common prayers—for instance, all of those prayers that go into making up the Rosary. They should know the prayers for those. I would suggest that you do this so that your prayers are more efficacious.”

Efficacious means “having the power to produce a desired effect.” So, he is saying that Latin can help bring about what it is you are praying for, more so than prayers in your local language. The language itself is more powerful and compelling, because Latin is a sacred language. Think about it. There is a reason why the Church uses Latin. It is not just an “accident.” (By the way, I also believe this would be true for Greek in the Christian East. I have had two years of Koine Greek in seminary.)

About two years ago, I was moved in my own spirit to begin memorizing and learning the most common prayers—especially those associated with the Rosary. So, I diligently learned the Latin Signum Crucis, the Our Father (Pater Noster), the Hail Mary (Ave Maria) and the Glory Be. I also learned the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel in Latin, because he is my patron saint.

Additionally, I began to study ecclesial Latin, mainly focusing on vocabulary rather than grammar rules. I have practiced reading longer prayers and texts in Latin, and have listened to online lessons in pronunciation and so forth. As someone who also prays minor prayers of exorcism in homes and on paranormal cases, I somehow instinctively knew in my spirit that these prayers in Latin were simply more powerful than those in the vernacular. Now I know why. I have friends in Georgia and Connecticut who do exactly the same practice.

Latin has been used so long by the Church that the evil powers fear it. I know that Father Gary Thomas, mandated exorcist in the Diocese of San Jose, even told me that he does NOT use the old 1614 Rite of Exorcism in English because he was told by the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments that the English translation of that older Rite has not been officially approved. Instead, he prays the new 1998 Rite in Latin because it is of course, official. He further advised me that the U.S. Conference of Bishops is supposed to be working on an official, Vatican approved translation of the Rite in English. I say all of this to point out how important the Latin is, in maintaining the authority and veracity (efficaciousness) of the prayers and Rites. Even the Mass in America, though now said in English, has been translated carefully from the Latin and has been submitted to and approved by the Vatican for use. The same is true around the world.

Knowing the above and now armed with the information from (now) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Father Ripperger, I am going to additionally learn the Latin: Nicene Creed, the Gloria, the Fatima Prayer, and the ending prayers of the Rosary; as well as the Sanctus and a few others. I will also redouble my overall Latin studies.

I encourage you to do the same, at least one.

The Ave Maria is very short, and is in the top left corner of this blog post. There are plenty of online places you can go for the correct pronunciation.

See this YouTube video for all the prayers of the Rosary in the Latin Language:

See Father Chad Ripperger, F.S.S.P., at his website:
I recommend this website, and its teachings wholeheartedly.

By the way, since you need to be learning Latin, “Sensus Traditionis” – the name of Father’s website, translates as: “The Sense of Tradition” – conveying the idea that traditional Catholic orthodoxy makes the most rational and reasonable sense. I agree.

From the About page of the site:
”This website is dedicated to the defense of the orthodox Catholic faith as well as a promotion of serious academic thought in the areas of Catholic theology and philosophy. One of the tragedies of modern Catholic thought is that it lacks the depth given by previous generations of the same issues. It is for this reason that this website was started, i.e. to aid the Church in recapturing the intellectual rigor it once had. The heresy of modernism has begun affecting the members of the Church by making them content with a superficial approach to and an explanation of their religion. One of the ways to combat this problem in the Church is to promote studies that draw the students into the depth and richness which Catholic thought can provide. However, none of that is possible without a deep sense of our indebtedness to tradition as well as a strong developed sense of the value of those traditions.” 

Review of Manual of Minor Exorcisms by Bishop Porteous

This is a review of the small but extremely useful and helpful Manual of Minor Exorcisms, compiled by Bishop Julian Porteous, published by the Catholic Truth Society, Publishers to the Holy See, June 2010. Bishop Porteous is the Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney.

Review by Mike Chapman

As someone who is a practicing and active Roman Catholic, and is involved in leading a team that regularly is called in to homes to help individuals and families deal with demonic influence - either real or perceived - this Manual of Minor Exorcisms has been sorely needed. Thank you, Bishop Julian Porteous, for compiling these prayers. I am not a part of the Charismatic Renewal; I simply have been called by God into a ministry of helping people with these problems. This is likely due to my life experiences and education.

As one reviewer said, this manual was compiled "For the use of priests" - as it says on the front cover. This is true. However, the Bishop does include an entire range of prayers toward the back of the Manual, starting with the Prayer of St. Basil on page 55, that laity can use with complete confidence that one is not violating canon or liturgical law. As someone who strictly adheres to the Code of Canon Law (c.1172), the Praenotanda (norms) of the new 1998 Rite of Exorcism, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as documents and letters put out by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship that regulates such matters, this Manual by Bishop Porteous is very much appreciated. He covers all of these issues sufficiently in this little manual. He makes it very clear what is allowed by laity and what is not. He is also very up-to-date with what is going on with the liturgical rite of exorcism and deliverance prayer issues. That is reflected in the Manual.

I have no doubt that this Manual will become a very useful tool in the hands of the faithful who wish to pray and intercede on behalf of those suffering and in need, yet who definitely desire to stay humble and true to their rightful role that God has placed them in, and not usurp the role of others and go beyond what they authoritatively should do. So many ordinary people are embarrassed or would never go to their priest or pastor, but they do phone and contact people such as myself and my team. Laity such as ourselves (and perhaps you too) are a non-intimidating facet of the Church, and have an important role to play in presenting the gospel and reaching a world lost in darkness. However, this must be done wisely, correctly and in accordance with ecclesial law. This Manual aids us tremendously in that desire and effort. I think this is extremely important, because if we as faithful laity submit to our rightful role, our prayers are all the more efficacious because of our humility and faithfulness to follow the Magisterium of the Church. I recommend this Manual whole-heartedly.
One can purchase it for around $20 plus shipping.

Here is a link to Amazon's page for the Manual:

Summary on the Catholic Rite of Exorcism

by Mike Chapman
This article is for those who may be interested in learning a bit about the Roman Ritual - the Roman Catholic Rite of Exorcism. This practice of formal exorcism goes back to the earliest days of the Church, and is centered on Christ's own exorcisms and the authority He gave to the Apostles to cast out demons and devils. The rite and prayers that were practiced for centuries evolved over time and was standardized for the first time in 1614. This Rite of Exorcism is now widely referred to as the 1614 Rite of Exorcism. This particular exorcism rite was part of the overall Roman Ritual of that year, as the Roman Ritual itself contains many Rites of the Church, not just the Rite of Exorcism.

This 1614 version of the Rite of Exorcism consists of two parts - Part 1 consists of a series of introductory notes that explain how an exorcist is to undertake the exorcism. It also includes notes on what the realities are of demonic possession, and other such things - such as the qualifications of the priest or bishop who is conducting such a solemn rite. Part 2 is the exorcism rite itself, which starts with the Litany of the Saints. 

To this version (the 1614 version), a Part 3 was added in 1890, which was written by Pope Leo XIII, who personally wrote the longer prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Many of you know and pray the shorter version of this prayer. The story of Pope Leo's vision and immediate writing of that St. Michael prayer is extremely interesting, and readers should research that story. The 1614 Rite underwent minor revisions in both 1925 and in 1952. Of course, the original version is in Latin. 

A very nicely done English version is widely available (which I have and have studied intensely) and was first published by the Bruce Publishing Company. It was subsequently published by Preserving Christian Publications, Inc. of Booneville, NY, and was translated and edited by the Rev. Philip T. Weller. If interested in getting your own copy, the volume you want is Volume II (2) of the Roman Ritual, and contains Christian Burial rites, Reserved Blessings, as well as the Rite of Exorcism. It IS indeed the 1614 version, as of 1952 - thus it contains the added Part 3 of 1890, and the slight revisions of 1925 and 1952. What is nice about this version is that the Latin is included on the left side of the page, and the English on the right.

In 1998, the Rite underwent complete revision in both text and format, as a result of Vatican II. It in fact, was the very last of the Roman Ritual revisions that occurred as a result of Vatican II. It was slightly revised again in 2000. The new 1998 Rite (De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam - editio typica 1999) has been criticized by some exorcists and demonologists as being weaker than its earlier 1614 counterpart. However, upon studying the new Rite itself, as well as reading one exorcist's analysis of it and corresponding to another to get his take, I am convinced the criticism is not warranted. Although there are a couple of substantive criticisms that have to do with the Rite itself, the beef has more to do with how the new Rite came about, than anything else. It IS effective, according to one exorcist that wrote me. For American exorcists, it currently must be spoken in Latin, because no official English translation has been promulgated. That is now said to be in the works.

Interestingly, a statement put out by the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith the day after the new Rite was promulgated stipulated that the 1614 Rite of Exorcism may continue to be used, with one qualification. This means an exorcist is not bound to the 1998 (new) version, he can choose to use the earlier 1614 version. However, he must have his Bishop request permission to do this from the Vatican Congregation that oversees liturgical rites. Also, of course, the rule for conducting the exorcism itself still holds - that it must only be done with permission of the diocesan Bishop or local ordinary - and only after proper investigation.

By the way, all of this refers to what is called a "public" or "formal" exorcism - called a "solemn" exorcism. These are only done in the most serious cases. Praying over someone or some place, is called a minor or private exorcism, and permission is not needed by the local ordinary or Bishop to do these. Protestants also have a term for exorcisms - called "deliverances." It should be made clear that a public or solemn exorcism is only properly done by a Catholic priest or Bishop with permission, and using the Rite of Exorcism - either the 1614 version or the 1998 version. All other "exorcisms" (broad term) are properly called deliverances or minor exorcisms. The word "exorcism" itself means to "adjure" or "to put under oath" - or to bind to an oath. An exorcism puts Satan - or the demons - under oath in a formal way, and binds them.

I hope this has been informative, and if you are interested in learning more, consult the sources below.

Roman Ritual (1952) of the 1614 version - Weller
New Rite of Exorcism, 1998 De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam - editio typica 1999
Exorcism and the Church Militant, by Rev. T. Euteneuer
Correspondence with a mandated Exorcist in the U.S.

Demonology: #2 on Our Top Ten Demons List: Asmodeus


Described as “the king of demons,” Asmodeus appears in many ancient books and writings. He is one of the chief demons involved in a cases of possession. Throughout history, he has been regarded as one of the most evil of Satan’s infernal demons. He is usually portrayed as having three heads: those of an ogre, a ram, and a bull—all sexually licentious creatures; he is also portrayed as having the feet of a cock, another sexually aggressive creature; having the wings and tail of a serpent; he rides on a dragon and breathes fire.

                Asmodeus has roots in ancient Persia. The name Asmodeus is derived from Aeshma, one of the seven archangels, or amarahspands, of Persian mythology. The Hebrews absorbed him into their mythology, where he attained the highest status and most power of all his legends. Prior to his fall from heaven, he was part of the seraphim—the highest order of angels [but this a contradiction—how could he be a seraph when he was the also said to be the offspring of a demon and a human?].

                In other Hebrew legends, he is either associated with or the husband of Lilith, the demon queen of lust. Sometimes he is said to be the offspring of Lilith and Adam.

In the Book of Tobit  [also sometimes known as the Book of Tobias], the demon Asmodeus fell in love with the beautiful human female Sarah, daughter of Raguel. Asmodeus wanted Sarah for himself, and he refused to allow her to be married to any human male. So, every time Sarah was married, the demon came to the marriage bed and took the life of her new husband. Seven men fell to the predations of this jealous demon, until Tobias received a visit from the angel Raphael, who instructed him on how to handle Asmodeus (by burning the gall of a certain fish). Tobias subsequently married Sarah and drove the demon away with the technique Raphael had told him. Asmodeus reportedly fled to the furthest reaches of Egypt, where he was then tracked down and bound by the angel Raphael.

In the pseudepigraphical Testament of Solomon, Asmodeus lives in the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and is called up by King Solomon. Asmodeus is taken into the presence of the King by Beelzebub, and King Solomon demands to know his names and functions. Sullen, arrogant and defiant, he tells the king he was born of a human mother and an angel father. He also says that Solomon will have only a temporary hold over the demons; his kingdom will eventually be divided, and demons will go out again among men and will be worshipped as gods because humans will not know the names of the angels who thwart the demons. He admits that he is afraid of water. He is said to be in charge of “the destruction of fidelity (faithfulness in marriage), either by separating man and wife through calamities or by causing husbands to be led astray. One of his main objectives is to prevent intercourse between spouses, wreck new marriages, and entice husbands to commit adultery.  He is also said to commit murders and to attack the beauty of virgins, causing them to waste away. He has knowledge of the future. In one passage from the Testament, which is similar to the Book of Tobit, Asmodeus admits that the angel Raphael holds power over him.

                Further in the Testament of Solomon, Asmodeus claims to have been “born an angel’s seed by a daughter of man,” which connects him firmly with the tradition of the Watcher Angels of Genesis  chapter six in the story of Noah, and also the First Book of Enoch as well as the Second Book of Enoch.

                This statement about Asmodeus being the offspring of a fallen watcher Angel and a human female is also reflected in the portion of the Jewish Haggadah  concerned with the life of Noah. Here, he is said to have been born of the union between the fallen angel Shamdon and the lustful maiden Naamah. He was reputedly bound by King Solomon with iron, a metal that was often presented as an anathema to demons.

[Strictly speaking, this would make Asmodeus an Evil Spirit, and not a demon – if one defines a demon as strictly a fallen angel. This is the subject of debate and discussion among even Christian demonologists—whether there is such a thing as evil spirits as being the spirits of the now dead offspring of demons (fallen angels) with human females (one explanation of the identity of the Nephilim of Genesis 6).]

                The Grimoire of Armadel  mentions Asmodeus in conjunction with leviathan, claiming that the two demons can teach about the malice of other devils. This same text cautions against summoning them, citing the fact that they lie.

                Francis Barret’s The Magus  depicts an image of Asmodeus, associating him with the sin of wrath.

                In Arthur Edward Waite’s 1910 Book of Black Magic and Pacts,  he is listed as the superintendent of hell’s casinos. This demonic hierarchy stems from the writings of the nineteenth century demonologist Charles Berbiguier.        

                In Mather’s translation of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, he is called Asmodee, and is identified as one of eight sub-princes ruling over all the other demons. In this text, he has the power to produce food—typically in the form of huge banquets; he can know the secrets of any person; has the power to transmute metals and transmogrify (to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect) people and animals, changing their shapes at will.

                In the Goetia,  he appears as the thirty-second demon under the name Asmoday.

                Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s encyclopedia lists him as a demon of lust (the third of the seven deadly sins), and of jealousy (which is born out in his jealousy of Tobias.)

                Asmodeus was absorbed into Christian lore, becoming one of the Devil’s leading agents of provocation. Witches were said to worship him, and magicians and sorcerers attempted to conjure him to strike out at enemies. Grimoires of magical instruction sternly admonish anyone seeking an audience with Asmodeus to summon him bareheaded out of respect. Johann Weyer said Asmodeus rules gambling houses.

                According to the Lemegton, a major grimoire, Asmodeus is the “first and chiefest” under Amaymon and goes before all other demons. He gives the ring of virtues and teaches arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and all handicrafts. When properly summoned, he gives full and true answers to all questions. He can make a person invisible and will reveal all treasures under the guard of Amaymon. He was also one of the infernal agents blamed for the obscene sexual possession of the Louviers nuns in 17th century France.

Variations of his name include: Asmodeus, Asmodius, Hasmoday, Sydonay, Asmoday, Aeshma, Ashmedai, Asmodee, and Asmodai.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Entire 1614 Rite of Exorcism - OUTLINE, Lesson 3


My Notes: In this Lesson I am providing you with the overall outline of the 1614 Rite itself (1952 Revised Version) - Translation by Weller. It was the last 1614 Rite of Exorcism that was in effect before the new 1998 Rite of Exorcism replaced it. I will be putting Rite online soon. 

First, are introductory Comments to the Rite of Exorcism by the translator [(Weller, pp. 160 – 167].

                  ACTUAL RITE OF EXORCISM (OF 1614) 

[Begins on page 168 of Weller – with original Latin on left page, English translation on the right page]

PART 1 – “Exorcism of the Possessed” [pp. 168 – 175]
This Part 1 includes twenty-one paragraphs, which cover such things as the necessary qualities and qualifications of the Priest, and what he should be looking for and on his guard against, while dealing with the demons. It even advises what items he should have on hand (such as crucifixes, holy water, etc.), things he should avoid saying and doing; words, prayers and phrases he should employ, and even advise on where the exorcism should be conducted, among other things. It covers such topics as how the exorcist should prepare both himself, those helping him and the person being exorcised; naming of the demon; deceptive strategies of demons; the medical concerns of the patient, and the after-care of the exorcised person after the exorcism is over.

                                        PART 2 – “The Rite of Exorcism” [pp. 175 – 223]
The Rite begins on page 175 with a short paragraph on the immediate preparations the exorcist should have gone through just prior to the beginning of the exorcism itself. This paragraph suggests what he should be wearing, and the initial acts of sprinkling those helping him and the subject to be exorcised, with holy water and other such things such as the sign of the Cross. Then, it suggests the praying of the Litany of Saints. The, is listed the prayers that cover the Rite:

Part of the Rite: Page reference in Weller’s Translation:
Many of the following contain various actions and responses by the exorcist and helpers:

Antiphon p. 175

Psalm 53 pp. 175 – 177 

Prayer pp. 177 – 179

This prayer begins with a prayer over the afflicted person, then gives a command to the evil spirit(s) to give the exorcist some sign or other their name and the day and the hour of their departure out of the afflicted person.

The exorcist may read all or just one of the following Gospel readings:

Reading from the Gospel of St. John 1:1—14 pp. 179 – 181

Reading from the Gospel of St. Mark 16:15—18 p. 181

Reading from the Gospel of St. Luke 10:17—20 p. 181

Reading from the Gospel of St. Luke 11:14—22 pp. 181 – 183 

Prayer p. 183
This prayer includes this action of the exorcist: with the sign of the Cross, taking his purple stole and placing it on the neck of the possessed, and with his right hand laid on the person’s head, he prays the given prayer.

Prayer p. 185
This prayer includes tracing of the sign of the Cross several times upon the brow and breast of the afflicted. 

EXORCISM (The First – very short) pp. 185 – 187 

Prayer p. 187

EXORCISM (The Second – longer) pp. 187 – 191

Prayer pp. 191 – 193 

EXORCISM (The Third – fairly short) pp. 193 – 195 

[A note in the Rite here states that all of what has come to this point may be repeated over and over as need be until the possessed one is fully liberated. In addition, it suggests that it will be helpful, to say devoutly over and over again, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Creed, as well as all that follows, which are the canticles Magnificat and Benedictus, concluding with Glory Be to the Father.]  

The Athanasian Creed pp. 195 – 199

Psalm 90 p. 201 [This Psalm has been a part of the Exorcism Rite since the earliest of times]

Psalm 67 pp. 203 – 207

Psalm 69 p. 207

Psalm 117 pp. 207 – 209

Psalm 34 pp. 211 – 213

Psalm 30 pp. 213 – 217 

Psalm 21 pp. 217 – 219

Psalm 3 p. 221

Psalm 10 p. 221

Psalm 12 p. 223

Prayer Following Deliverance p. 223

PART 3 – “Exorcism against Satan and the Fallen Angels” [pp. 223 – 229]

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son…. p. 223

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel p. 225

EXORCISM (first paragraph) p. 225

Psalm 67 p. 225 

 EXORCISM (continues) pp. 225 – 229 

 Closing Prayer p. 229

The surroundings are sprinkled with holy water, and the Rite is over.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The 1614 Roman Ritual Rite of Exorcism: Lesson 2

                                    LESSON 2

Before resuming the Rite where I left off in Lesson 1A, I want to go back to items 6 and 7 in that Lesson, and discuss their importance, which is not insignificant.

I want to do this because I want people to understand the profound meaning (authority and power) of that simple but profound act of The Sign of the Cross (Item 6). It is extremely powerful and demons hate it.

Likewise, I also want to give some background and meaning to the power of Holy Water (Item 7), and why demons are repelled by it as well.

The Sign of the Cross
Edward Sri has an excellent section in his book A Biblical Walk through the Mass about the Sign of the Cross. In that chapter, Sri tells us that the sign of the cross is a sacred tradition that goes back to the earliest centuries of Christianity, “when this ritual was understood to be a source of divine power and protection. In making this sign, we invoke God’s presence and invite him to bless us, assist us, and guard us from all harm. It is not surprising then that the early Christians made the sign of the cross quite often, desiring to tap into the power that lay therein.” Sri also points out two principal aspects of the sign of the cross: 1) the actual tracing of the cross over our bodies; and, 2) the words we recite while doing this: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The sign has roots in sacred scripture going back to the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, where a mysterious mark on the forehead was used as:

          1) A sign of divine protection
          2) A mark distinguishing the righteous from the wicked

In the story, told in Ezekiel chapters 8-9, the righteous ones would receive a mysterious mark: the Hebrew letter tahv – or “tav” which had the shape of an X or a cross – which would be placed on the foreheads. This mark on their foreheads (just like the blood on the doorposts protected Israelite families from God’s punishment on Egypt at the first Passover), as we learn from Ezekiel 9, would protect the faithful ones in Jerusalem when judgment fell on the city. The mark had a twofold aspect, as noted above. It set them apart, and it served as a sign of protection.

Sri says that when we make the sign of the cross, we are doing these same two things. First, we are expressing our desire to be set apart from the corrupt ways of the world in our own day. Making the sign of the cross is our strong statement that expresses our firm commitment to live according to Christ’s standards, not the world’s.

Second, when we sign ourselves with the cross, we are invoking God’s protection for our lives. We are asking him to guard us from all harm and evil. St. Cyril of Jerusalem noted these two aspects of the sign of the cross – the distinguishing and protective aspects—calling the ritual both “a badge of the faithful” and “a terror to the devils.” Little wonder then, why an exorcist would make this sign at the beginning of an exorcism! It will be repeated many times throughout the rite. But, the sign itself is not all, the words we speak while making the sign of the cross are powerful in and of their own right, and coupled with the sign, weaken and dismay the demons.

While we sign ourselves, we call on God’s name, saying, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In scripture, calling upon the Lord’s name denotes worship and is often associated with prayer and sacrifice. To call upon God’s name is to invoke his presence and his power.

            Invoke: a transitive verb; to petition for help or support; to appeal to or cite as authority; to call forth by incantation; to make an earnest request for ; to put into effect or operation

Invoking or calling upon the name of the Lord for his help, power and support is done all throughout the Bible (for a mere handful of examples, see Gen. 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 21:33; 26:25; Ps. 54:1; 80:18; 105:1; 124:8; 148:13; Phil. 2:9; 2:10-11; Mk. 16:17-18; Acts 3:6; Luke 24:47; Acts 10:43; Luke 10:17; Jn. 14:13; 15:16, 26-27; Mt. 18:20; 28:19). Calling upon the triune personhood of the Holy Trinity is especially powerful. God has indeed promised that those who gather in His name will receive the blessing of his presence among them: “For where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). So, given the above, is there now any wonder why an exorcist at the beginning of an exorcism would make the sign of the cross and utter those words? Hardly! After all, St. Mark ends his Gospel with the words that Jesus himself used to grant the power to cast out demons to all who believe in him: “In my name they will cast out demons (Mark 16:17).

By the way, this type of invoking is different than the invoking done by those practicing magick (Neo-Pagan, Wicca, witchcraft, etc.). The Christian invoking is done in humility, recognizing the proper authority is God in Christ Jesus alone, and in the case of this Rite, is done in order to help an afflicted person. Magick, in sharp contrast, is done by a human with no thought whatsoever of invoking the true and living God, but is done in a motivation rooted in SELF, in desire to get what that particular person has deemed he or she wants. It’s an appeal based and centered in humanism, and invokes the mystical god and goddess who in fact are less-than-God, and more likely to be demons. Neo-pagans throw up their hands and protest that we always think they are invoking demons and becry foul, that they are not. Yet, we insist they are being shadow-ruled, and duped. Thus the argument goes on. 

Holy Water
From the excellent chapter in The How-To Book of Sacramentals, Ann Ball writes:

“Water is used many ways liturgically…Holy Water is simply ordinary water sanctified [set apart for special use by God in and by the power of the Holy Spirit] by the blessing of the Church. The blessing once consisted of exorcisms of water and salt; the salt was added to the water in the form of a cross [see above] to signify that the water was preserved from corruption. The practice of putting salt into the water came from the incident of the miraculous cure of the poisoned water, when the prophet Elisha used salt to purify water form a spring (2 Kings 2:19-22).

In the Roman Ritual, the priest prays, “May this creature of yours, when used in your mysteries and endowed with your grace, serve to cast out demons and to banish disease. May everything that this water sprinkles in the homes and gatherings of the faithful be delivered form all that is unclean and hurtful; let no breath of contagion hover there, no taint of corruption; let all the wiles of the lurking enemy come to nothing. By the sprinkling of this water may everything opposed to the safety and peace of the occupants  of these homes be banished, so that in calling on your holy name they may know the well-being they desire, and be protected from every peril; through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Christ’s faithful are permitted to take holy water home with them to sprinkle the sick, their homes, fields, etc. it is recommended that they put it in fonts in the rooms of their homes and use it to bless themselves daily and frequently.” (Ball, pp 77-78)

It is no wonder that with such as powerful blessing of the water, why it is so effective – so long as it is not used as a talismanic “magic fairy dust” and is matched with faith and holy living by those who use it. I personally have many bottles of holy water that I receive from my priest during the Easter season when the blessing of the water takes place.

Thus one can see how these sacramentals are intermingled and interdependent upon one another (the use of the sign of the Cross in blessing the water, for example.] By the way, you might be interested to note that the difference between a Sacrament (of which there are seven in the Roman Catholic Church – such as Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, etc) and a sacramental is that the seven Sacraments were instituted by Christ himself, while the sacramentals were instituted by the Holy Church. It is the source of the Sacrament or sacramental that is the difference. Naturally, the Sacraments are more important, but that does not mean that sacramentals are not effective or powerful, because they certainly are. Their power and effectiveness are also ultimately in Jesus Christ in and by the Holy Spirit, because the Church is the Body of Christ, and He gave authority (right and might) to his apostles in order that the work of God might go on after he ascended into heaven.

The Rite Begins In Earnest
After the above preparations and actions and after praying the Liturgy of the Saints (if chosen to) the Rite begins in earnest with the following prayer:

“Remember not, O Lord, our offenses, nor those of our parents: neither take retribution on our sins. Our Father…(he continues the prayer inaudibly at this point until) …and lead us not into temptation.”

Assistant(s) say(s): “But deliver us from evil.”

It is interesting to notice that the prayer petitions the Lord for forgiveness of the sins (offenses) of the exorcist and all of those present, including the possessed (note the pronoun “our” in “our offenses”), but also adds “nor those of our parents.”  Why would an exorcist begin an exorcism which would ask for the forgiveness of offenses and sins of those present including the sins of the parents of those present, who are not even there? I believe this is a direct pre-emptive strike against familial sins due to curses that may be generational. This is one of the brilliances of the Roman Rite of Exorcism, is that it is the product of literally centuries of experience in dealing with 1) Diabolism; 2) Demonology, and 3) Warfarology (Spiritual Warfare). Much has been learned through dealing with demons and knowledge gained in understanding the nature and potency of curses—including generational ones that, for unknown reasons, seem to pass from parents to child. (Does anyone deny that the children of alcoholic parents are more prone to become alcoholics themselves…etc). All of this experience and knowledge has obviously been poured into the Rite, and you can be assured that every word has been carefully chosen. That is the confidence we can have in the Rite’s efficacy.

Also, you should note that while the Rite says “deliver is from evil,” that what is meant is literally deliver us from the evil One. That is the correct translation from the original Greek text –and clearly points to and addresses the evil caused by the personified diabolical evil of Satan, whose person and kingdom is being encountered in this very Rite.

Psalm 53
Reading this Psalm comes next, if chosen.

“Save me, O God, by your name, and vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
For insolent men have risen against me, ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before them.

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will repay my enemies with evil; in your faithfulness put an end to them.
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name O LORD, for it is good.

For you have delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Glory be to the Father.

It should be noted by the reader that the “insolent men have risen against me ” mentioned above can include fallen angels (demons), and that the “seek my life” –in this context—means the spiritual death of those involved.

End of Lesson 2 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The 1614 Roman Ritual Rite of Exorcism: Lesson 1

What I am endeavoring to do in this series of Lessons is to present the actual Rite of Exorcism, as contained within the 1614 Roman Ritual 1952 version, in its various components (instructions, prayers, rites, invocations, and scriptures, etc.) in the order that they come in. My purpose in doing so is simply; first, so that in doing so I may gain - as a demonologist who is a Roman Catholic - a greater understanding and appreciation for the Rite (one of the best ways I personally learn and study is to break down, in written form, such a subject. Be aware that this Rite, though it still may be used upon gaining special permission by the local Bishop, is NOT the current Rite of Exorcism. The official Rite of Exorcism now in place is the 1998 Rite. I will be placing the Lessons on it online in the near future. There are some changes in form and style, but I think it is still very effective - according to what I am hearing from a mandated exorcist I am in contact with in the United States.
Something happens in this process that time has proven works for me, and I am able to retain much of it later. Such a practice is an excellent learning tool, at least for me); and secondly, that the reader will gain the benefit of this breakdown and the comments I make on whatever I am led to make comments on. Part of this process, as I work through the Rite line by line, involves being prompted (perhaps by the Holy Spirit or my own curiosity) to pause and do research on a particular thing. Such "chasing down side avenues and alleys" is indeed time consuming, but isn't that what private study is for, and indeed what makes for such a rich learning experience? One can go wherever the winds of the adventure of learning take you! I have no idea, at this outset, of how many separate lessons it will take for me to get through the entire Rite, but, that's part of the fun and mystery of it all. Below is Lesson One.

The 1614 Roman Ritual: Official Rite of Exorcism of the Roman Catholic Church
- A Summary What the Rite Contains -
Lesson 1A
First, comes eight pages of Introduction, which is a historical, theological and biblical summary of the Roman Catholic Church’s position on exorcism and its causes, and Christ’s power over Satan. These eight pages are remarkable reading for the Christian, especially a Roman Catholic demonologist, and should be studied copiously. I would even suggest that these eight pages be broken down by the discerning and humble demonologist in such a way that helps him completely understand every aspect of these pages, including the theological, Christological, and historical aspects of the Church’s position on exorcism. This section also includes practical considerations and covers such items as the piety and characteristics of the priest who should be selected to conduct such a rite. This introduction is a very rich section of the Roman Ritual, and the importance for the demonologist to be very familiar with it cannot be overstated. [At some point I will do a Lesson on this Introduction, and it will be entitled Lesson 1B.]

These are twenty-one “norms” or rules which must be followed and much attention given to by the priest when he conducts the exorcism. [At some point I will do a Lesson on these norms or rules, and it will be entitled Lesson 1C.]

The rite of exorcism begins, but first states what the Priest is supposed to do in preparation for the rite. I have placed a summary (paraphrase) of what the Rite lists in bold, and then give my personal remarks, notes, and commentary - in standard non-bold font - on whatever I have listed:

1. Go to Confession; or, at least elicit an act of contrition
2. Offer the holy Sacrifice of the Mass if it is convenient to do so

At first glance, these two things seem a bit strange or odd. However, upon reflection they make a lot of sense. What I find very interesting in these first two preparatory acts is that the Church seems to call upon the priest to act in his priestly role just before he conducts an exorcism. This alludes to the fact that all of the weight of the universal Church’s authority is bestowed upon the priest while he is conducting this rite. So, acting as a confessor and providing the Sacrifice of the Mass – the Eucharist – are both extremely powerful. There is no doubt that the freshness of having been involved in these sacraments strengthens and further validates the priest, in many ways, for what he is about to do in the exorcism. In effect, these acts bring him freshly up-to-date, if you will, with his priestly office – both in right (authority) and might (power). In conducting both, the priest also asks for forgiveness of his own sins and partakes of the Eucharist – the body and blood of Christ. Freshly forgiven and fed, if you will, he has properly prepared for that which will sustain him in battle. In short, these two acts of preparation reinforce the Priests authority and power in his office as a priest - a mediator.

3. To implore God’s help in devout prayer
4. Wear the surplice and purple stole

A word of commentary on these two items: these taken together, are the source of the priest’s authority and power (might and right) – the Church and our triune God. In prayer, the priest invokes God and petitions Him for His help in this matter. It is God who will act in power in this matter if Satan is to be driven away. Likewise, in donning the surplice and purple stole – the vestments of his priestly office – the priest is acting as a rightful representative of Christ in conducting the rite. The surplice and purple stole cover the clothes of the priest in a symbolic way that says the priest himself, as a mere man, is not doing this in and of his own authority and power (rite and might). It should also be noted that while the rules (norms) above as well as the introduction both made clear that the priest chosen for such work should be pious, humble and prudent and have displayed a truly and genuine holy life, that he is still not acting in and of himself. This is called ex opera operato, meaning that the exorcism, just as with the ministry of the sacraments, operates independently of the worthiness of the minister. The holiness of the priest is helpful but is not necessary. Having said this, the worst of it may be that in the case of a priest who is not pious or holy, the exorcism may take longer. So, ideally, the representative of Christ chosen for this rite would indeed be virtuous and holy, and would indeed make for a more potent authority and power during the exorcism. A “bad” cop may still properly arrest a perpetrator of a crime, but of course how much better it is if the man in the uniform and with the badge who is representing society, law, and order, is truly a “good” cop. To add to what I said in concluding the section on 1 and 2 above: In short, these two acts of preparation reinforce the Priests authority and power in his office as a priest - a mediator - and display and reinforce the source of his authority and power - which are Christ and the Church.

5. He places the person possessed before him, in bonds if it is deemed necessary for the safety of both the person possessed (to keep him or her from harming themselves or others who are present.)

This is simply a practical measure no doubt learned from centuries of practical experience in dealing with such individuals.

6. The Priest traces the sign of the cross over the possessed, over himself, and over any bystanders.

7. He next sprinkles them with Holy Water.

8. Kneeling down, the priest prays the Litany of the Saints.

[The Litany of the Saints may be skipped, and often is. Remember, the priest has great latitude in choosing the various parts contained within the Rite itself, with the most important being the actual exorcism itself – commanding the demon or demons to leave the possessed, which is “the oath of binding” (what "exorcism" literally means) that the Priest possesses through the succession of Apostolic authority given the Apostles by Christ – the binding and loosing that is such a central part of Roman Catholic doctrine. This doctrine, and the corresponding authority and power it gives the bishops and the priests, deserves a Lesson in and of itself as it is, as I mentioned, a cornerstone doctrine of the Catholic Church.]

This is where this first teaching will end, and I will pick up the components of the Ritual with the next lesson. In the next lesson however, I want to expound a bit on numbers 6 and 7 above. I want to do this because I want people to understand the profound meaning and importance (and authority and power) of that simple act of The Sign of the Cross. It is extremely powerful and demons hate it. Likewise, I also want to give some background and meaning to the power of Holy Water, and why demons are repelled by it as well.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Angels: Lesson 1

VOCABULARY - A couple of terms to become familiar with:

Angelophany: the actual appearance of an angel to man; the appearance to man, in visible form, of angels.

Theophany: the visible manifestation of a deity to a human, a divine manifestation.


Angels were created by a divine act of God.

Both the existence and the creation of the angels are dogmas of faith of the Roman Catholic Church. We believe them to be the first creatures (created beings) ever in the universe, and as such, the Angels were the first revelation of the supreme goodness of God and of his transcendent beauty. Even though they are part of the created order of the universe, they really constitute a world unto themselves – a middle realm, which we will discuss a bit further down.

That Angels exist and were created by God is an article of faith which was firmly established in Scripture and Tradition, and clearly expressed in Christian doctrine from the beginning and affirmed throughout. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 stated that God “by his almighty power created together in the beginning of time both creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, namely the angelic and the earthly…”

The specific Person of the Godhead who created the angels was the Second Person of the Holy Trinity – the Son. Speaking of Christ Colossians 1:15-17 reads, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

So, we believe God created two orders of rational, created beings:
            1) Heavenly “purely” spiritual beings – angels.
            2) Earthly, partly material, partly spiritual beings – man.


We do not know the exact time when the angels were created. There are a couple of different schools of thought on when they came into being.

School 1:
Many of the Church fathers believe as very probable they were created long before the material world. Their reasoning is as follows:
            1) They were already distinguished as good angels and fallen angels on man’s first appearance on Earth (Genesis 3:1; 3:24).
            2) It does not seem likely that God, who created this world for His own glory, would have no created intelligences to witness the awe-inspiring act of its making.
            3) Indeed recall God asks Job in 38:4, 7, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth…when all the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

This opinion is expressed in the Constitutions of the Apostles, in the Liturgy of the Mass, called Clementina: “By Him [Thy only begotten Son] didst Thou make, before all things, the Cherubim and the Seraphim, the Aeons and the Hosts, the Powers and Authorities, Principalities and Thrones, the Archangels and Angels. And after all these, didst Thou make the visible world by Him, and all the things that are therein.” And in St. Ambrose: “Even though the Angels, the Dominations and the Powers had a beginning, they were already there when this world was made.” Hexaemeron, I, 5, 19. The same opinion is defended by St. Jerome (Super Epist. Ad Titum, I), St. John Damascene (De Fide Orthodoxa, III, 3) and others.

So, in summary, the angels were created into existence by God, and there was a time when angels did not exist – like all the other creatures. We don’t know exactly when they were created, but we do know it was before mankind (Adam and Eve) – we just don’t know how long before our ancestral parents the angels were created.


We do not know exactly how many angels were created, but we do know that the number is staggering…billions and billions of them. Although we do not know the exact number, the number is finite. Since they were created, there has not been any added nor taken away. There are no more angels today than there was when they were first created at the beginning of time. They filled the heavens from the start, and their number was complete from the beginning. Their spiritual nature, just like our human soul, cannot be produced except by the divine act of creation, with the difference that the human soul is created only in the course of time, when it is needed to inform a human body at the time of generation.

As for the number of fallen angels, we also do not have a precise count. We only have a ratio, or proportion, which is one of every three. The scriptures state that, “Behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his head seven diadems; and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth.” Apocalypse 12:3ff.

Where Do Souls Go When They Die: 53 Miles West of Venus?

The infamous B52’s (no, not the bomber) had a song on one of their first albums entitled, “53 Miles West of Venus.” Frankly, it’s not much of a song, even though I liked it. As a tune, it is raw but simple rock-n-roll, a very basic example of the early B52's punk genre. It is mainly an instrumental, and the only lyric in the song is that of the title, “fifty-three miles west of Venus.”  Interestingly, I often think of that song when I hear people talking about human spirits – the spirits of the human dead. I’ve even begun to use that concept - of being fifty-three miles west of Venus - in my lectures and teaching on the subject of the afterlife, as an object lesson for the mistake that I believe many make: that of mistaking “state” with “place.”
As human beings born of and into a material-physical world, we find it very difficult to get away from thinking of things in terms of physicality. When it comes to thinking about spirits of the human dead, so often we think that their soul leaves their body and goes “some place.” Most often, in the culture I grew up and now reside in once again (after many travels to far off places), people think grandma died and “went to heaven” and is walking around there with others. They may think of the unblessed dead (say, perhaps Hitler and Stalin), as having died and now are in hell, burning away. Most, not being Catholic, only have a two-tiered conception of the afterlife, and do not include within their view, the “place” of purgatory - the third rail of the afterlife. This was how I grew up thinking.

I no longer believe in such a concept.

I also have come to understand such a concept is NOT rooted in scripture or Christianity, and is especially not rooted or sourced in Catholic (orthodox) Christianity. It is rather a concept concocted from a variety of sources and mixed together. But, that is an entirely different post for another day (the influences of hyper-science, materialism, the Enlightenment, Greek Classical philosophy, and simplistic, cultural Christianity). Stay with me as I explain what I mean by all of this; and, breathe easily. Of course I believe in heaven and's just that I believe in the biblical concepts of those places, not a cultural, secular, pagan, or humanistic one. You see, the Bible teaches that upon death, the human soul is separated from the physical body. The old physical body is left behind to corrupt and decay. However, the soul and spirit live on as the part of us that is immortal.

As a side-note:
Notice that I said “soul and spirit.” There should be no big confusion here, because, as the Bible was mainly written in Hebrew and Greek, both cultures had their own conception of the view of the immortal aspect of humans. The Hebrew concept was that man was bi-partite (existed in two parts): the physical body and the soul/spirit. In other words, the Hebrew concept combined the “invisible” aspect of humankind – his soul and his spirit. In contrast, the Greek conception was to be a little more detailed – that humans consisted of a body, a soul, and a spirit. Thus, the Greek conception was that humans are tri-partite beings (three-part). It really doesn’t matter, because the Christian concept simply separates, upon death, the physical body as the visible from the other part (or parts) as the invisible. The Hebrew concept of soul-spirit is the same as the Greek concept of spirit and the soul. I personally prefer the Greek concept, because I like the aspect of explaining the human spirit as consisting of conscience, intuition and the capacity/need for worship, and the human soul as containing our mind (intellect), emotion (feeling) and volition (will).    

So, whether it is the Hebrew or the biblical Greek concept (not to be confused with the classical Greek concept) that human beings are either three-part or two-part, the fact remains that the visible (the body) dies and is left behind to decay, and the invisible (the soul – spirit) moves on.

Obviously then, as a disembodied soul the human now exists in a “state,” not in a place. It is a physical body that occupies space or place - as it indeed does in this world in the here and now. A spiritual "body" (better said to be "an entity"), such as an angel, demon, or the spirit of a dead person, exists rather in a state. These entities do not occupy space. As exorcist and hagiographer Father Jose Antonio Fortea has said, it also does not mean that they are in some other physical dimension. Fortea says, “They are not anywhere. They exist, but they are not “here” or “there” in a physical sense.”

I agree. I further agree with Fortea’s conception that spirits (angels and demons) are properly said to be in a place when it acts in that place. If a human spirit manifests over by the door, then that is where that human spirit is at that point, in the state of being that it happens to be in – a deceased human soul/spirit who has left its physical body and exists in a non-material state and happens to be over by the door in that particular moment in time and space. It also, in the case of a deceased human spirit, is either in a blessed state (bound for heaven) or in an unblessed state and bound for hell. Another way of putting it, in a Roman Catholic sense, is that the soul is either in a state of grace when it dies or it is not (the particular judgment - Catholics will know what I am talking about here). The Catholic Church teaches, and I believe, that one day, Christ will return again and the blessed in Christ (those that died in a state of grace) will receive a new body – a resurrected body at the Last Judgment– and at that point will once again be united with a material - physical human body. Then, at that time, those persons who receive such a body, will exist in the new heaven and the new earth and have geographical locality in a “concrete place.” In other words, they will occupy a place. But, that is then, in the meantime, they exist in a state of being - not in a place of being.

The catechism of the Church states that heaven, hell, and purgatory exist now only as states of being (see CCC 650, 1005). In the eschaton, after the Last Judgment, heaven and hell will be physical, material realities, but not until then. This fact escapes even many Christians, and thus, we fall into error when trying to understand or explain the afterlife (and manifestation of the afterlife into our present physical - material reality). As it is, the dead are all around us, in the state of being alive, but not in a physical sense. I love what one Church Father once said (I’m sorry but I can’t recall his name): “All who ever lived, are still alive.” We die physically, but we live on, just not like before. So, these humans live on in either a state of grace or not. Also, as a Catholic who believes in purgatory, I believe that some exist in a third state, a purgatorial state. Technically, purgatory is a part of that group of people who have died in a state of grace, just not in the fullness of grace. This is because they, while not evil, are not yet perfected in the sense that they can immediately enjoy God's closeness upon death. Their souls have to be refined more - perfected - before they can enjoy His close presence. Those in this state of purgation are people who will one day end up in heaven but first have some work to do in their spirit/souls in order to be holy enough to enter into the very presence of God. In other words, they are in the state of purgatory.

Such a concept helps to explain the amount of spiritual activity that surrounds us, both in the human spirit sense and the sense of angels and demons (evil spirits). Human beings do not die and go off to a place located fifty-three miles west of Venus, never to be seen or heard from again. [Can you see now how people who believe in such a place for the dead have such a difficulty believing in ghost or spirit manifestations?] That is why, I believe, the bible speaks of "this great cloud of witnesses that surround us" (Hebrews 12:1). Why else would the Bible say that those who have passed on still surround us, if indeed they go off somewhere, as if they were sent to a "colony" or "holding area?" 

So, when a person dies in a state of grace and is blessed (like Grandma, for example) she exists in the "state" of paradise. That is "where" Grandma is right now - in a state, not a place. Later, after Christ's return, she will have a resurrected physical body and exist in and on a new earth and a new heaven. If Uncle Bill believed in God but really didn't live quite right - had committed no mortal sin but plenty of venial ones - he exists in a "state" of purgatory right now, but one day like Grandma will be in heaven with a resurrected body. Stalin and Hitler will one day be "in" hell (assuming they died without conversion). Right now they are said to be in a "state" of sheol, or hades.

Heaven and hell, biblically, are much more relational concepts than geographical or locational ones. Again, we have traded a state of relationship for a cheaper, reductive place of gaudy physicality. How tragic and absurd. For an example of what I am talking about, read Christ's prayer to the Father in John 17, which includes, "...this is eternal life: that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." Notice he did NOT say that eternal life was Graceland times 1000 - a place with gold faucets and an awesome jungle room and streets of, rather than some gaudy place or location, he describes eternal life as knowing the Father and the a close, intimate relationship with Himself and the Father. In the Greek, the word for "knowing" that he uses here is genosko - to know experientially and closely, not just a head knowing. There is another word for knowing in the sense of knowing data, such as "I know the Great Wall of China exists because I was told that." In contrast, genosko is a knowing like you grew up right beside it, played on it every day and crawled all over it or even help build it, so you know every nook and cranny of it - you don't just "know" it as a piece of information in your head as truly know it. To know Christ and the Father that way, and them to know you that way, is truly relational, intimate and "paradise." That is what eternal life is.

The bottom line, as human beings our physical bodies die and what is left - our spirit and soul - enters a state of existence wherein we are still "alive" - just not in the physical sense. The dead are simply wherever they are, and that can be anywhere. This does not mean that those who are dead in Christ are not happy, or in a state of grace with Christ - they are - they are just not located and tied down to some specific location. The same is true for those in purgatory or hades. Sometimes, they are very close by and we catch “glimpses” and “evidences” of them – whether it is a sound, a slight touch, a smell, an intuitive impression that cuts through the chatter of the mundane…or for those of us who are most lucky and blessed, it is allowed for us to actually see them.

So, upon describing or thinking about souls of the human dead, do not confuse place of existence with what should be understood as a state of existence. If you stubbornly refuse to do so, just do not say you got your concept from the Christian Bible, because you simply did not.

Grandma is not “53 miles west of Venus”...she may be right beside you.

Suggested Reading:
The Holy Bible, RSV Catholic Version
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Interview with an Exorcist, by Jose Antonio Fortea