The Devil Is In the Details

Posted on 2023-10-26
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Golden, Colorado – Perhaps the nicest thing about the new reality following the butchery by Hamas in Israel is the moral clarity it brings. If someone openly supports Hamas, calls for a ceasefire (to give Hamas time to reload), or asks me to think about the children Hamas uses as human shields (with no comment about the children Hamas brutally butchered), I know they have joined the satanic hordes. If they talk about settlements, colonizers, or apartheid I know that, at best, they are utterly ignorant of the history of the conflict and choose to be self-righteously mouthy about it. They may find redemption, but it will be hard unless they eschew their arrogant self-regard and both learn something and repent. Most likely, they will be fully sucked into joining the satanic hordes. This has made it quite easy to discern who are among the devil’s troops in government, media, academia and all other institutions. The battle lines are pretty clear. It is bracing to see that the devil’s hordes are, indeed, legion.

But now we have them where we need them – nakedly exposed. Their fig leafs of compassion, care for others, and enlightenment are fully revealed as empty rhetoric. Man, how we have degenerated! The Nazis of the ‘30s and ‘40s tried to hide their atrocities – yet we knew they were evil. The modern Nazis broadcast their atrocities – and their apologists try to justify them, yet we quail at calling them what they are: evil. Pathetically, the modern Nazis call everyone who confronts them “Nazis,” apparently unaware or unconcerned that the original Nazis were deemed evil for the raw butchery they committed. Modern Nazis just use the word as a synonym for “bad” with a little extra emotional punch, while gleefully committing or supporting the very things that gave Nazis their malignant reputation.

It is ugly, but I do like entering the great spiritual battle with the allies of raw evil fully identified and exposed.

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The new Speaker of the House is Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana. I don’t know much about him, but I do know the New York Times and the establishment media hate him, while AOC and the Squad in Congress absolutely loathe him. That’s good enough for me.

I often say that there is no longer a political solution to the mess we are in – and I mean it. But it is better to have people who are steady and solid leading some things as we plunge headlong off the cliff. If the ship is going down, better to have a captain who knows how to deploy the lifeboats than one who runs around with his hair on fire.

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We had a very satisfying Marian Conference in Denver this last weekend. I am a bit ambivalent about conferences. I love the expression of faith they can generate, but I get disturbed when I hear a speaker who is so enthused about his subject he abandons his mooring in Scripture and the Magisterium. Frankly, most conferences have one or two of those. At this conference, every speaker was solidly grounded in Scripture and the Magisterium.

Fr. Daniel Rehill, an exorcist Priest from Nashville, celebrated the opening Mass of the conference. I was delighted to see him. I have now given talks in every state in the continental US except for Utah. The number is somewhere around 400. But Fr. Dan holds pride of place as host of the very first talk I ever gave in my now-extensive missionary journeys.

I was a little nervous. When I first met him, he was not an exorcist Priest. I am friends with a few such Priests, but most of those I know are very low-key. I have been dismayed over the years listening to publicly identified exorcist Priests. All too often they are obviously more familiar with the theory of the subject than the reality. All too often they succumb to the temptation to dismiss anything they don’t like as demonic. All too often they like to give laundry lists of things that are demonically inspired, lists that include a host of perfectly mundane items. The truth is the devil doesn’t care how you mischaracterize him. Whether you imagine him as so powerful that everything is satanic or as so mundane that nothing is satanic, the satan is pleased – for both mischaracterizations diminish your ability to discern his influence.

Most importantly, both mischaracterizations take your focus off of Christ and onto how you can deal with the devil. That is what he wants. The devil is utterly powerless before Christ. Those who are grounded in and hold fast to Christ at every moment have nothing whatsoever to fear from him BUT the devil is brilliant at finding ways to get you to take your focus off of Christ.

One of the most fruitful ways the devil has in these times of getting people to turn loose of Christ is to convince them that they are great demon-slayers. Oh, the malevolent mirth he gets from pretending to cower before fools who think he fears them as they exalt themselves in their own minds! I know of no one who has ever claimed to be able to handle a demon who was not shortly thereafter made a tool of the devil – but I know more than a few who have. It is why I am dubious about many spiritual warfare classes. The more people focus on details of how to fight demons, the more likely they are to rely on their own, rather than Christ’s, power. If they do, they are lost. So if an exorcist or spiritual deliverance minister does anything other than start, finish, and emphasize throughout that the only way to resist the devil is to stay focused on Christ and call on His power, I think they do far more damage than good. Trying to teach someone how to fight the devil is like trying to teach a mouse how to fight a tiger. That tiger is less than a mite to the majestic Christ, though – and He loves us. The only acceptable strategies are how to keep hold of Christ during the devil’s powerful attacks to trick us to let loose of Him.

One of my favorite sayings on the subject is from St. Josemaria Escriva. I have to paraphrase, as I don’t have the quote in front of me: “Do not be such a coward as to fight the devil; have the courage to flee from him.”

I occasionally get asked about the late Fr. Malachi Martin, an exorcist who I much admired. Fr. Malachi had both deep, powerful insight about the faith – and occasionally wandered off into some eccentric, paranoid fantasies of analysis. Spend as long dealing as intensely with the devil as Fr. Malachi did and you will bear the scars of battle attesting to it. But only a fool would fail to seriously contemplate Fr. Malachi’s teachings just because of his more than occasional flights of fancy. Even the holiest of men will bear damage from dealing with the devil regularly.

I was delighted that Fr. Dan was measured, solid, and steady, without the unseemly enthusiasm that make so many suspect to me. This is what I had hoped – and prayerfully expected – for Fr. Dan is a straightforward man of plain sense. My favorite moment came when he answered a question from a lady asking how a Priest discerns a vocation to be an exorcist. He replied that that was simple: “if you want to be an exorcist, you shouldn’t be one.” That call comes from the Bishop – and a wise Bishop seeks men who are deeply grounded in the faith, the Magisterium and a deep pastoral love for the people of God.

There are now two public exorcist Priests I have much regard for. There is Fr. Dan Rehill who has been a friend for eight years. And, though I once was dismissive of him, I have a steadily growing regard for Fr. Chad Ripperger of the Archdiocese of Denver. Fr. Chad is an amazing fellow to me because, at a time when many otherwise reliable voices are growing more panicky and unsettled, he gets more solid and steady every year. There are probably some others: I tend to shy away from exorcists just as as I shy away from mystics, not wanting to lose my focus or get caught up in useless disputes.

Fr. Dan has a regular podcast on Radio Maria every week in which he discusses a variety of timely topics, bringing his plain, candid sense to bear.

Fr. Dan Rehill speaks at Denver Marian Conference

Another mass shooting, this time in Lewiston, Maine. It isn’t going to stop. In a post-Christian world this is one of the symptoms of the instability and despair that comes from elites declaring that life has no meaning, save the quest for power, and that there is no God but government. A nihilistic, predatory philosophy bears nihilistic, predatory fruit as the powerless and despairing seize it in the only way our dark culture cannot stop.

I do not believe these shooting are false flags, but I have come to believe that they are not a top priority for government and elitists who decry them, but use them as an excuse to call for disarming more victims. The suspect in this shooting, Robert Card, was known to law enforcement, had made threats of mass shooting before, and had been held in mental institutions. If the guns were legally obtained, why had they not been seized? That IS the law in the case of people who have made credible threats and been held in mental hospitals. Whether they were legally obtained or not, why would the elites who have taken over the American system seek to disarm ordinary people who are the victims that the same elites regularly unleash on us and do not take seriously in the first place? We have God with us if we call on Him, but when it comes to the help of the formal social institutions we once built while honoring God, we are on our own. At best, those institutions don’t notice us. When they do, they usually prey on us.

Don’t be bitter, but by all means cling to your guns and religion, for in this brave new world wrought by the vision of the anointed, that is all you have.

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Our global ZOOM meeting has been moved from this Sunday to next Sunday, Nov. 5, at 4 pm ET, 3 pm CT, 2 PM MT, and 1 pm PT. Sorry, but I contracted a nasty little virus the latter part of this week and I am not confident that I will be all there Sunday…so I push back a week. We will get you a link to the revised meeting within a few days.

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim

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