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For the Best Takes on Exorcism, Read the Catechism &/or Its Compendium,
This review is from: Interview With an Exorcist (Paperback)
The fact that this work contains a foreward by Bishop Sam Aquila is extremely high praise! Bishop Aquila warns that "Although all Catholics should have a basic understanding of the reality of evil, we should also avoid being overly preoccupied with the topic of the devil. The Evil One is capable of using such a fascination as a means to ensnare us - with despair, fear, or discouragement" (p. 3). Only God is All Powerful and absolutely victorious over the devil!!! In surrendering to God, who loves each of us without limit, we find absolute fulfillment and happiness. God is forever calling us back to him, with all our hearts. And as Father Fortea remind us, "confession is a divine gift much greater than exorcism....Frequent confession strengthens us in sanctifying grace and is a powerful force in helping us resist temptation" (CCC 1458).
I acknowledge that I have read Hostage to the Devil (or at least parts of it), Exorcism and the Church Militant, and Demonic Abortion. I have also read Exorcist: The Beginning, The Exorcist, Legion, and The Rite - as well as seen the respective movies (I have also seen the Exorcism of Emily Rose.)! In addition to Interview With an Exorcist, two of these works are head and shoulders above the others (The works of William Peter Blatty and their prequel are excellent for leveling furniture or propping open doors.). While they have limitations (and their author's acknowledgement of a minsterial abuse seems to have led to them being out of print), Exorcism and the Church Militant and Demonic Abortion - to their credit - will be unsatisfying to anyone looking for spinning heads or vomited pea soup.
In Interview With an Exorcist, Father Fortea reminds us that "the devil is the 'father of lies,' and he seeks to make evil appear good and good appear evil. At the heart of much evil is the rejection of human dignity; the demons want us to forget that we have been created in the image and likeness of God" (p. 38). Demonic Abortion offers a deeply disturbing and profound challenge: "it is only the united Christian church, expressed most completely in the authority of the Catholic Church, that has the spiritual resources to end the culture of death; a work which it could accomplish overnight if it were to fully 'consecrate itself' to the mission of driving out the demon of child sacrifice from our land. It is painfully evident to any objective observer that the Church has not yet fully taken up this mission. In fact, the lack of unity of Catholics in this country is largely responsible for the prolongation and intensification of the culture of death since the 70s....The Church at all levels, from the bishops to the people, has clearly failed to understand the demonic nature of the industry that practices its evil right down the street from many Catholic churches. It has also failed to marshall the spiritual resources at its disposal to stop it....The Medieval poet Dante Alleghieri (1265-1321), is supposed to have said that 'the hottest places of hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality" (pp. 4, 5).
I particularly appreciated Father Fortea's recognition of the spiritual powerhouses seen in so many parishes: "there are mothers and grandmothers who pray to God everyday for the spiritual protection of their children and grandchildren. As the mission of the Mother of God is to pray for the whole Church, these faithfull women do so for their families" (p. 68). There is an implicit wake-up call here. As per Brian Caulfield, there is "an astounding number of children growing up without their fathers or without their fathers having a significant role in their lives....the results are devastating to society....The problem of lay male participation has grown almost without comment, as studies indicate that markedly more women than men attend Sunday Mass....to address the health of marriage and the family, we need to pay special attention to men....we need a Catholic men's movement to focus on a few key issues that affect men especially, and recognize that renewal will not come within the Church without the full participation of laymen....Nothing less than the health of the Church, families and children depends on how seriously we pursue this mission for men" National Catholic Register, 5/27/11). As per Exorcism and the Church Militant, "Family life, despite all its problems, is the antidote to the devil's depradations and hopelessness....the failure of family life in any society creates a dangerous void and opening for demonic activity" (pp.54, 55).
Again, there are definite limitations to this book and the others. Readers would be best served by familiarizing themselves with the Catechism and/or the Compendium of the Catechism.