What an Italian bishop saw at his first exorcism

Rome, Italy, Dec 22, 2017 / 03:25 am (CNA).- Archbishop Erio Castellucci has a response to those who think the devil is not real: “they’re mistaken.”

“All you have to do is witness an exorcism to understand that evil is a specific entity, as well as a reality,” he told the Italian daily Il Resto del Carlino.  

The Archbishop of Modena-Nonantola had seen possessed persons throughout his life, but he had never witnessed an exorcism. Then one of the two priest exorcists in his archdiocese called him. The priest had a “difficult case.”

The exorcist visited the archbishop and invited him to witness the rite.

“‘Come,’ he said to me, ‘because this man has been possessed for a long time, he comes to me once a week and your presence, as a bishop, may have an influence’,” the archbishop recounted.

Archbishop Castellucci said he understood the urgency of the case when he saw how the possessed person reacted to the exorcism.

On July 3, 2015, Archbishop Castellucci went to a parish church in Modena where exorcisms are performed. The exorcist and the possessed person, a middle aged man, were there. He had barely entered when the demon-possessed man started to shout, “Get out, get out of here, you will have a bad death.”

The man then fell into a trance.

“Then it seemed as if he had woken up and in an instant drove his fingernails into the back of my hands,” Archbishop Castellucci continued. “He had a diabolical look on his face and he uttered unrepeatable insults and curses.”

The possessed man “told me I would die in a traffic accident and while he was saying it he looked pleased.”

Archbishop Castellucci reflected on the claim, saying, “My life is in the hands of the Lord Jesus and certainly not in that demon’s. I wasn’t worried at all. The word of God teaches that the curses are ineffective.”

After this experience, the archbishop said that he does not rule out the possibility of participating in other exorcisms. The Italian exorcists themselves lament that they are few in number.

Archbishop Castellucci said discernment was important regarding alleged cases of possession. Many cases belong more to “the competence of a psychiatrist than an exorcist.”

He also stressed the importance of prayers of deliverance to help disturbed persons heal.


This article was originally published on CNA Jan. 8, 2017.


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1 Comment

  1. Archbishop Castellucci is of course right evil is a reality. He is incorrect that it is an entity. The being of Lucifer or any Demon is not in itself evil. It is a good that God gave to both angels and men, an immortal being or “entity” made in his own image by the gift of intellect. It is the freedom of will as a faculty of created being made in God’s as one of three faculties Mind [intellect], memory, and will. It took St Augustine years to shake off the error of Zarathustra who taught good and evil are eternal beings in conflict with each other, that in the end reconcile. Augustine could conceive how an infinitely good God could have created a universe with evil. It must be a thing or entity opposed to God. The error persists today with believers and non believers the former attributing evil to something other than themselves, the major sin of many who attribute their evil deeds to something other than themselves that caused them to react with malevolence. Falsely accusing others and absolving their actions. And for the latter a figment of childish imagination. Augustine finally acknowledged evil is in the will. Of Man. That essential knowledge tells us evil can only be overcome by good. And each of us has the collective capacity to destroy evil in our world.

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