A highlight from IP#502 Adam Blai The History of Exorcism, Part 2 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Discerning Hearts podcasts


Discerninghearts .com presents inside the pages insights from today's most compelling authors I'm your host Chris McGregor and I am delighted to be joined by Adam Bly who is a church to create expert on religious demonology and exorcism for the Pittsburgh Diocese he's helped train exorcists for over 15 years and has attended hundreds of solemn exorcisms his journey started in brainwave research and psychology and is now focused on the spiritual realities of miracles angels demons and possessions he's also the author of several books including the exorcism files with Adam Bly we go inside the pages of the history of exorcism published by Sophia Institute press we now continue with part two of our conversation a lot of times we look at those things that the action of the enemy that is what 90 % is temptation the our father lead us not into temptation but also as we just said the oppression and obsession those are things that can be dealt with especially in the sacramental life that we have within the mass within confession isn't it been said Adam that one good confession could be worth of a hundred exorcisms these are all just kind of turns a phrase but essentially yes for the average person the average Catholic who has access to the sacraments deliverance comes primarily through the sacramental graces and that means baptism confirmation confession and the mass those are the the mechanisms that sanctifying grace comes into your life for the average person and then of course matrimony for some people people underestimate the importance and power of the sacramental graces and they want the drama of the exciting prayer thinking you know you'll do this kind of magical incantation and make these problems go away versus the person doing the the work of conversion in themselves of making it to mass of having a good confession of doing the work of building a daily prayer life all of those things are actually what lead to deliverance primarily it's not just the exciting prayers if a person is unwilling to make any changes in their life is an unwilling to walk away from sin is essentially unwilling to have conversion in their life usually the prayers don't work because Jesus is looking for conversion and change so if somebody has done something to get into trouble spiritually they can't just come to the church and say well wave the magic wand and make the suffering go away I don't like it but I'm not gonna change my life because Jesus knows our hearts and so I've seen this over the years that even in the case is a full -blown possession he wants to see spiritual growth in the person he wants to see a movement towards him and trust and love and a turning away from sin in addition to coming to the church for prayers and so the sacramental grace is for the person that isn't possessed actually that is the engine that drives deliverance it's so important that in your book you have a section called Jesus as exorcist and that ultimately that's the lesson is the turning towards him right summately and that's what the team in their particular response to the individual is helping that individual to turn towards them it's not so much it is the actions of what they're doing during the liturgy that's what it is exorcism is a liturgy but it's that reception of that person to a life of faith is that a fair way of saying it yes that's that's a big part of it they also are repenting of their sins through sacramental confession if they're Catholic and then another important piece that most people don't think about is they're forgiving the sins of others and so a demon can hold on to or it gets traction from our sins that we're unwilling to let go of or keep trying to let go of and get away from but they can also hold on to when we are unforgiving of the sins of others that have hurt us and so as we know from the our father forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us we know that God wants us to forgive as he forgives us you know the parable of the king who forgives the debt of the one slave and then that slave goes and beats up another slave and says give me you know the little bit you owe me and then when the the king finds out about this he throws the first guy who he had forgiven who's now being mean in turn in jail so we see this played out time and time again God expects us to be merciful and that that is part of it and then you know in an interesting twist sometimes the unforgiveness towards yourself becomes a stumbling block to total freedom because if a person feels they deserve to be punished and suffer and they're not forgiving themselves even though they know they've been sacramentally forgiven they even understand and believe Jesus has forgiven them but if they feel that they can't forgive themselves and that they deserve this that also gives the demon traction to hold on so there's kind of a pastoral process that is woven through exorcism over time working with the person outside of the sessions before and after and chatting with them and you know basically spiritual direction and that's the part that's missing in the movies oh yeah that's an incredible part of it because as I alluded to earlier you know it's the opening of doors I mean we can for example I have priests come through our house and bless our homes place Benedictine metals at windows go through the whole ritual as family but then we go downstairs and put on a television screen or open up online and allow something that's evil in character into our house or to do actions what was the point of the of the prior blessing I don't think we appreciate the fact that there is a need for repentance and a conversion of action not just of words and correct yeah and again Jesus knows our hearts so we can't just give lip service to these ideas because he knows what's going on with us for real and he's looking for real conversion and so you know it's just so important because ultimately he doesn't allow this stuff just because he wants to allow it you know he doesn't enjoy the fact that we're suffering but he allows it as a corrective experience so we realize the thing that we're embracing and we turn and run back to it so ultimately he's looking for closeness with us and possession is something that happens to people that generally are running away from Jesus and are far from him and specifically are embracing demonic spirits in some way and so he's not allowing this to be mean he's saying I'm gonna let you see the monster that you've chosen hoping that the person will then turn away and come back to him no I thought it was really important in that particular section in closing from the exorcisms by Jesus that you point out that he does Commission the 12 but in the 72 as well to go out but it's important that it's not only the priests and the bishops who have the authority to cast out demons and that would be revealed over time but it took centuries in a way for the church to find the need to limit the exercise of the use of exorcism and you really broke that open I thought that was so fascinating the research you did on that well it was a journey the church went through and you know one thing we have to remember in the very early church it was just apostles and followers you would have the equivalent of a bishop in your city or your region who would be you know the current apostle but there wasn't this whole hierarchy of you know deacons and priests and formal offices within the church because we're you know for the first 300 years the church was under terrible persecution it wasn't this big wealthy institution with buildings and schools and everything else it was it was a struggling little movement and so we have to remember in those very early centuries there weren't priest exorcists because there weren't priests in the very beginning it quickly came about but again with the persecution in the early church things just weren't that organized and then as the church spread around the world communication wasn't there we didn't have an internet letters could take weeks months or never arrive you know sending information around the world at that time and so it was a very different world it took centuries for the church to figure out this ministry and then through hard experience and seeing how difficult the ministry is and how it can chew people up and how it can lead to pride which leads to destroying people and causing heresies to develop and all kinds of other problems the church wisely said we need to regulate this so that qualified people are doing it it's not just you know somebody deciding they're gonna pick it up because they'd like to the church wanted to make sure people were qualified and then had kind of a proper context to keep them safe and effective essentially yeah it isn't a game and there isn't something that you oh I'm fascinated I'm curious about this I want to explore more yes reading your book is the great way to do that if you have that inkling but the actual ministry of it there is so much involved and you go into the different types of exorcism and how they developed for anybody who wants to understand more about the free masonry dynamics that are addressed by exorcism that's fascinating but also it's a very real issue isn't it yeah so the minor exorcism what's sometimes called the Leonine exorcism because Pope Leo the 13th wrote it in 1890 was originally explicitly directed against Freemasonry it wasn't a general exorcism against the devil it was it was against Freemasonry and Freemasonry since it's you know within 20 years of it coming into existence in the world in the early 1700s the church was identifying it as the church's greatest enemy in the world and there's been you know papal statements I think there's at least seven different popes have made formal bulls and statements about Freemasonry condemning it reminding Catholics that their ex communicated if they become Freemasons which is still the case by the way and so yeah the the minor exorcism actually was all about Freemasonry and that's why I took that kind of a side in the book to explain the history of Freemasonry and where it came from so that we could see it kind of from the church's perspective and imagine you know how they were seeing Freemasonry and why that may have led to this prayer being written we'll return to inside the pages in just a moment did you know that discerning hearts has a free app where you can find all your favorite discerning hearts programming father Timothy Gallagher dr. 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