Book emphasizes reality of spiritual warfare, need for vigilance and forgiveness

Our culture does not pay enough attention to demonic influence, and especially to the way demons divide families, Kathleen Beckman stresses in this interview about her book, A Family Guide to Spiritual Warfare: Strategies for Deliverance and Healing.

Kathleen Beckman is an evangelist, speaker, and author living in the Diocese of Orange, California. She has played an active role in promoting Catholic spirituality for nearly 30 years. Among her apostolates are Magnificat, a ministry to Catholic women; the Foundation of Prayer for Priests, an apostolate of prayer for the holiness of priests which she co-founded; and the Pope Leo XIII Institute, which trains clergy in exorcism and deliverance. She also has served on an exorcist’s team for a dozen years.

Beckman is the author of several books, most recently A Family Guide to Spiritual Warfare: Strategies for Deliverance and Healing. She is also a featured speaker at an in-person spiritual warfare conference in the Diocese of Orange, California on March 20, along with Norbertine Father Charbel Grbavac and Deacon Steve Greco.

Deacon Greco, who interviewed Beckman for his Relevant Radio program Empowered by the Spirit, said, “The material Kathleen presents in her new book is an absolute must for Catholics who want to grow in their faith. She offers practical guidance on ways we can defend our families from the attacks of the Enemy.”

Catholic World Report: Why did you write A Family Guide to Spiritual Warfare?

Kathleen Beckman: I have participated in missionary conferences in 13 countries over the past 20 years, and I’ve seen a real demand for such a book. People are carrying a deep burden for their families and what is happening in the domestic church. There are many good books on spiritual warfare, but very few focused on the domestic church, exploring how the devil works in the mix of marriage and the raising of children. I have been moved by listening to many tragic family stories, and I thought such a book would be of help. I have received a lot of formation in spiritual warfare, and I’ve taken many courses.  For six years I’ve been on the faculty of the Pope Leo XIII Institute. I have listened to leading exorcists, and I have information I thought would be helpful to share.

CWR: What is your background? How did you get into speaking and writing on Catholic spirituality?

Beckman: I was invited into ministry in the early 1990s by Fr. Ray Skonezny, a priest in the Diocese of Orange who wanted to begin a Magnificat ministry to women. I was diocesan coordinator for 20 or more years, and that helped me develop contacts with priests of the diocese.

Fifteen years ago, a group of Claretian priests in Los Angeles County asked for help with a woman manifesting the demonic who knocked on their rectory door. They observed in her such things as demonstrations of super-human strength, contortions of the face and body and a guttural, demonic voice. They believed it was not prudent for them to minister to her at length, so I participated in a team that prayed for her. We lost track of her over time, as she didn’t follow through with our efforts to help her. That’s actually common in this area; people want the devil off them at a particular moment, but in the long term are unwilling to do the hard work of conversion and amendment of life and heart.

CWR: What will you be sharing at the March 20th Be Not Afraid/Spiritual Warfare in the Family and World conference?

Beckman: Since I finished my spiritual warfare books, I’ve done many Catholic media interviews and participated in events where I’ve talked to people one-on-one. I did a book signing recently and spent four hours talking to people. They were asking about their own personal family situations. One couple, for example, was only civilly married and wanted to know how to get their marriage blessed and receive that protection. I talked to a young girl who said Jesus was not answering her prayers, so she decided to turn to Satan. She believed he helped her more than Jesus.

I want to participate in this conference to connect to more people such as these, to empower them with the spiritual tools they need. Too many think of themselves as victims, giving too much credit to the evil spirit. What we need to see most is the victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the praying Church, the Lord always wins.

I plan to share my own testimony from my book. One story I relate was how my father-in-law was beaten to death at his place of business, which led to an explosion of darkness in my family tree. The story was featured on the television program America’s Most Wanted. It was a nightmare, and a great crisis for my family. I was tempted to believe I’d married into the wrong family. I struggled with the Lord about forgiving the murderer, who has not yet been apprehended. In my book I share about how forgiveness is key; I was transformed by forgiveness.

I was fearful. I was worried the murderer would come after my husband or children. I was only able to work out my anxiety and distrust by many hours of daily Adoration.

CWR: You have served on an exorcist’s team for 12 years. What do you do on this team?

Beckman: Diocesan exorcists are assisted by a team of people during the rite of exorcism. It would be difficult for them to carry out this ministry without this assistance. There are six to eight people, including a medical professional. They might answer the prayer responses during the rite. They can pray the Rosary or Chaplet. They may be asked to read the beginning of the Gospel of St. John, which is powerful against the demons. We are intercessors, there representing the broader church, the praying Catholic family.

We also assist in a practical way with logistics. The evil spirits often try to physically attack the priest. The possessed can manifest a super-human strength, so we may help restrain them.

CWR: How often do you participate in exorcisms, and where are they held?

Beckman: I participate in about 15 to 20 annually. They are performed in a consecrated place where the Blessed Sacrament is present, although I cannot reveal the specific location.

CWR: What are some of the behaviors of the possessed besides super-human strength?

Beckman: They can demonstrate knowledge of unknown information, such as something in the background of the exorcist, or they may speak in languages the person never learned. They speak in a guttural voice. I’ve seen people foaming at the mouth, or vomiting up cursed objects that have been ingested.

When we are dealing with infestations of homes, we’ve observed the spontaneous catching on fire of people’s clothing, the sudden appearance of nails and other manifestations of the preternatural.

CWR: Do you find this troubling to observe?

Beckman: My faith has grown so much during these years, and I’ve seen many people liberated through the ministry of the Church, that it does not disturb me. I am, in fact, left with a sense of awe, seeing firsthand a great spiritual battle played out before our eyes. The devil will do anything to torment us; the exorcist will do anything to bring people back to God.

I would add that I did not volunteer for this ministry. It is a calling. I was minding my own business, and priests began to call me asking for help. I never sought involvement in exorcisms; it was always an invitation that came to my door.

CWR: What are some manifestations of the demonic you have observed in our culture today?

Beckman: There are many. There is a complete lack of faith, a hypersexuality, and a hyper-egoism. There is a turning away from Jesus, a resistance to the Gospel message and the prevalence of the New Age and the Occult. There are even people who undergo a “de-baptism,” a ceremony in which they renounce the Christian baptism they received as children.

There can be a manifestation of the diabolic in video games, and I also warn about involvement in the energy arts, such as Reiki, Chakra, and even Yoga. There is the evil eye jewelry worn by Hollywood types. And, of course, gender ideology, and confusion about what is a man and what is a woman. It is all an attack on the family.

I should also mention abortion, and also pornography, one of the most frequent doorways to demonic obsession and possession. There is violence in society, and the hatred and polarization we see between groups in society. I see the hand of the enemy in it.

Once the family has broken down, we will see the breakdown of society. We need to protect marriage and our loved ones. We need to be vigilant and courageous. We might have to engage in hard conversations, such as with a spouse who is looking at porn.

CWR: What, in your experience, are the most effective tools Catholics have to keep the devil at bay?

Beckman: We need to live the Catholic faith. We need to live a sacramental life, and frequent the sacraments as often as possible. We need to imprint the Word of God on our minds and hearts.

We need to live in a state of grace, living the Gospel and the Beatitudes. We need to pray as families and go through the liturgical seasons of the Church together.

Fathers need to bless their children and spouse with the Sign of the Cross. We need to make use of holy water, crucifixes, and blessed objects. All these things are a torment to the devil, and make it uncomfortable for the demon to be in our presence.

Having participated in exorcisms, I have seen the devil’s revulsion to holy water and blessed salt. He doesn’t want to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or the Blessed Mother. He doesn’t like the crucifix. Lay Catholics have access to all these things, with the exception of the rite of exorcism itself.

CWR: There have been many publicized cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the news in recent years, the best known being the case of the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Besides the family, do you believe the devil especially targets priests?

Beckman: Absolutely. There is no question about it. A well-known exorcist has stressed to me the importance of praying for priests. He told me that during the rite of exorcism, the evil spirits have been manifesting more in a sexual way, trying to seduce the priest.

Priests are the first target. Take out the shepherd, and you get the whole flock. The McCarrick case led to many Catholics abandoning their faith. No doubt priests are on the front line. Every priest is part of the ministry of healing and deliverance.

CWR: You wrote When Women Pray: Eleven Catholic Women on the Power of Prayer. From a Catholic perspective, what is wrong with the secular feminist movement of recent decades?

Beckman: The secular feminist movement has hurt women. Those who have bought into it have bought into a lie. We have wonderful Catholic women, such as Carrie Gress and Johnnette Benkovic, who are helping more and more women realize that God’s plan for them through the teaching of the Church is the way of beauty and truth. Many women have given into the practices of the Sexual Revolution, and have put their careers first before their true roles. They end up very unhappy. I have seen many come to us for deliverance.

CWR: You have also written a book on forgiveness. Why do you think this is an important message to stress?

Beckman: Without forgiveness, we cannot be reconciled to one another. When we hurt one another, especially in the confines of the domestic church, if we do not quickly forgive, there will be strife and division. We will not have peace and joy.

The Lord showed us from the Cross the great extent to which we must go to forgive when he said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

When we don’t let go of our anger, the devil can manipulate us. He uses it to divide us; fomenting envy and jealousy is his world, his game.

CWR: Any other thoughts?

Beckman: I receive many emails from people asking questions related to spiritual warfare, which are answered in my book. I invite people to read it, as they will find a great number of resources there.

I also invite anyone in Southern California to the March 20 Be Not Afraid conference to hear me, Deacon Steve and Father Charbel. We each want to minister to families, and help them to receive light, hope, encouragement and the tools they need to engage successfully in spiritual warfare.

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About Jim Graves 233 Articles
Jim Graves is a Catholic writer living in Newport Beach, California.


  1. I need to see some verifiable miraculous victories of God before I buy into this “spiritual warfare” fad. Seems over the past five years Ripperger, Burke and this woman have been talking about spiritual warfare to get clicks. Never heard the phrase before five years ago. It’s just old-time temptation and sin repackaged for book sales and conference registrations.

    • I absolutely disagree. Open your eyes and mind. Don’t judge. Weak faith is on par with no faith, I believe. I’m buying the book, and not on Amazon.

    • Dear, dear Don!

      Like about 2,000 years of spiritual warfare if you believe Saint Peter (1 Peter 5:8-9) and Saint Paul (Ephesians 6:10-18). Saint Luke’s testimony of Jesus Christ’s words in Luke 10:17-20 would surely convince the most hardened.

      As Saint James instructs us, Don: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

      Sadly, many Catholics today (including some clergy) do the exact opposite and embrace the devil when they submit to the occult ceremonies and vows of Freemasonry and Witchcraft. It’s sad to see them lose the priceless gift of single-hearted devotion to King Jesus Christ that characterizes a true Catholic Christian.

      As Saint Matthew reports, Jesus Christ warns: “What use to gain the whole world and lose your soul!” (Matthew 8:36). No one can say we haven’t been warned.

    • This Evangelical website has some background on the origin of the term “spiritual warfare” in English.

      From What Is Spiritual Warfare?:

      The origin of the term spiritual warfare seems to date to the 1970s. Some scholars have attributed its first usage to Michael Harper (1931–2010), who used the term as the title of his book on the Christian’s struggle with Satan in daily life.1 However, the general concept that God and the Devil struggle over the world and human souls in particular has been expressed in warfare terminology in English as early as John Bunyan’s Holy War (1682). In Christian fiction, the concept is found as early as Prudentius’s Psychomania (AD 384). Even Origen uses the terminology (AD 180). Of course, the Bible also uses warfare terminology to describe the struggle of the Christian life throughout the New Testament (see Eph. 6:10; 1 Tim. 6:12; Heb. 4:12).

  2. Don, you are embarrassing yourself sir. If you have heard of the phrase “spiritual warfare” in only the last 5 years you have much catching up to do.

  3. Thank you -esp. liked the suggestion to read the beginning of the Gospel of St.John ;
    just having read at another site how Homer had invoked a pagan goddess for his writing of the Iliad , ? possibility that such could be portals for the reverse , including much of the media that damage faith , for which The Church gets accused .

    Interesting how the race issue in the culture might thus serve some good , to help bring more focus and balance , the bible and related revelations which now abound being given primary focus .

    Being new to the Divine Will revelations , said to make practice of virtue easier
    wondering if exorcism programs that incorporate same as well as the ‘Unbound ‘ format of verbally renouncing the spirits are methods that can be included in the curriculum in even schools and C.C. D programs and such .

    God bless and may your labor in the vineyard be ever more pleasing and fruitful for The Lord and His Church .

  4. Don, I don’t know about “Ripperger, Burke and this woman” to whom you refer, I do know that as children we learned that there are:
    -Church Triumphant, meaning those in heaven
    -Church Militant, we being still on earth
    -Church Suffering, holy souls in purgatory

    When we prepared to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, we were told that by this sacrament we would become soldiers of Christ. We would receive the seven
    Gifts of the Holy Spirit, namely wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and awe (fear) of the Lord. During the 1970s and onward, catechists “poo, pooed” parents who mentioned the words soldiers of Christ, as well as, using the word sin. I believe it was the early 1970s that the book Whatever Became of Sin? by Karl Menninger was written. So you see with these words being dismissed from catechetical teachings, parents had a struggle on there hands as children were not permitted to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation unless they participated in classes. In short it was a nightmare. Menninger’s book might still be available. Anyway “spiritual warfare” does have a meaningful history, as we are in a battle for our own souls, as well as, we are responsible to help others in their struggles and we pray for the Church Suffering.

  5. To understand the workings of evil in the present day we look to The ‘Sign of the times’ that is reflected in the Halloween festival which today represents the body of Frankenstein.

    The Frankenstein’s Wedding Event, Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds – 19th March 2011.
    This Live drama event produced by the BBC was the most amazing setting, especially lit up the way that it was and with the ‘larger-than-life full moon overhead.
    Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery It was founded in c.1152. It was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII.

    As Christians we speak of ourselves as the Body of Christ but make no mistake there is another body (Frankenstein / Religion) and its body is made up of foul and diabolical parts (as reflected In the Halloween festival). This body is held together by a ..V.. which I believe signifies ‘one’ of the five points of the Pentagram that transforms itself into a Circle of Worldly Power. All circles of worldly power rely on secrecy, this gives an advantage based on deception and serves the Evil One. He cannot be beaten at his own game, the early Christians used signs and gestures, but these can be duplicated, then we have duplicity and confusion at play; for those on the outside, like myself, friend or foe you no longer know.

    It was put to me many years ago, “it’s a bit like the game of tag, you pass the lurgy (British slang) to someone else” Conclusion you then become part of Groupthink (The Body). While also been told jovially “the new holder of the lurgy always has the option to get rid of his load (Worldly troubles) by passing it on”

    While the V (Two finger sign often used covertly) is used widely within society which often promotes advantage or the expectation of advantage in commerce, education, healthcare, publishing, media, etc, and all organized community activities including those within the religious sphere which enables corruption to flourish.

    I personally have witnessed the use of this V by some of the laity within the church often in collusion with the hierarchy and this creates a hidden (occult) church within church one which enables all types of injustice to flourish while mirroring the reality of the corruption in society at large. While I do not think ‘all’ of those within this circle of secrecy see themselves as evil or serving the Evil One, as it has been implied on another site that it is a form of self-protection for the fellowship of established (Privileged) churchgoers. (Which from the outside looks to be elitist)

    The unseen innocent within the flock, have paid the price, as it could be said, self-protection is what the Church/leadership/elite sort, dereliction is what it bought.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • I’ve seen the peace symbol used to represent peace, as in the sign of peace we give to one another during the mass. It originally was a symbol of nuclear disarmament, and its creator wanted to use the cross but disliked it’s association with the Crusades (which is dumb, but that’s another conversation).

      Maybe it’s used the way you suggest – you say you’ve seen it and I have no reason to doubt you – but I suspect that overly paranoiac obsession over the occult can serve the devil as well as embracing it, as someone who is looking for the devil’s work in every shadow and symbol is likely not paying enough attention to God. Even priests in exorcisms ignore overt demonic manifestations in front of them and instead focus on Christ’s action.

      I’m not saying it’s never used with that association (how would I know?), but I suspect it’s used with no ill intent the majority of the time, and we should not be quick to assume that our fellows are in league with the devil when they use the peace sign, anymore than we should assume that Mario or the entire nation of Japan are satanists because the symbol is common when taking pictures in that culture.

      • Thank you for your comment A R
        “someone who is looking for the devil’s work in every shadow and symbol is likely not paying enough attention to God.”

        “Stay awake” The symbol of the body of Frankenstein and its implication cannot be misunderstood by those who pay attention to God. As stated, the ‘Sign of the time’ is reflected in the Halloween festival which today represents the body of Frankenstein. Which is in direct opposition to the body of Christ while His body the Church is been torn apart from without and ‘within’ while the flock in the West is been decimated.

        So, ‘The sign of the times’ asks us reflect deeply on the events unfolding before our eyes and to respond to them “Don’t think that I have come to bring peace to the world. I have come to bring a sword.” with the spiritual weapon of Truth.

        The laity (Body of Christ) have been lulled/led by those who collude with evil ..V.. (For some possibly thinking they are doing good (avoidance of scandal, etc) into passivity by a Hierarchical Church within a church rather than actively encourage the laity to be involved in critical thinking about the faith and their responsibility to serve the truth in all situations.

        ‘One of the apocalyptic signs mentioned in the Gospel is the “dismay of nations.” This is certainly evident today, and unlike many times in the past, we are all personally affected by it’.

        Jesus directs us: “When these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

        While many who bore witness to the Truth in the past and now many again will raise their heads above the safety of the Parapet, so to say, are reflected in Revelation 7:14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me,

        “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white”

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

  6. I’m not sure if this is a subcategory of New Age and Occult, but I’ve heard that the paranormal is something that can cause problems for people involved in this field, and should be avoided.

    • That is a very wise caution, GregB.

      Many not called by God get into strife by trying to be ‘spiritual warriors’.
      They often end up involved in ‘spiritism’, ‘divination’, ‘Gnosticism’, and personal power-mongering. All of those are forbidden to us by The Word of God.

      You can end up in the enemy’s camp before you know what’s happening. Don’t get caught that way!

      Some, very few, are called by God to discern when spiritual evil is active. As in Luke 10:17-20, their God-given Anointing will enable them to drive out evil, when and if God directs.

      For most of us, Jesus Christ has appointed another way: in John 10:27-30, Jesus tells us to LISTEN TO HIS TEACHINGS and to CLOSELY FOLLOW HIS WAY OF LIFE. That is our stronghold against all evil.

      If we do that nothing will be able to snatch us out of God’s Hand. For the majority of Catholics that is the sure & certain way to Heaven; with no need to try and get special spiritual knowledge or fight dramatic spiritual battles. Just follow Jesus!

      Driving out demons and warring against spiritual evil is a calling for very few.

      Most of us will find total security in relying completely on The Holy Trinity, who is well able to surround us and protect us from all harm and safely bring us home.

      God has abundantly provided for all we need in our King, Jesus Christ. If we really love Christ and do our best to obey Him, The Holy Spirit will teach us all things and remind us of who we are and anything we need to do, each day. No dramas!

      Ever in the grace and mercy of Jesus; love & blessings from Marty

  7. GregB, New Age and Occult are, I submit, derivations of the demonic. Demonic possession (arguably paranormal) is very real and has been recorded as early as in Jesus’ earthly time. I do appreciate your admonishion that we should avoid the paranormal but I also thank God that Excorcists do not eschew the paranormal or to use your term “avoid” it.

  8. A book by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D. He is the editor of TAN Books, a major Catholic publisher. As an orthodox Catholic scholar, Mr. Thigpen neither diminishes nor exaggerates the power of the adversary, and conveys helpful information without encouraging unhealthy preoccupation with the topic:

    Manual For Spiritual Warfare

    • Thank you for providing this very helpful information. The subject of spiritual warfare seems, at least in our times, vulnerable to use by the very enemy it seeks to conquer. It can be used to confuse right thinking. I look forward to reading, “Manual For Spiritual Warfare”.

  9. My comments on the paranormal were based on a video that I saw. On the EWTN show “On Location” Demonologist Adam Blai gave a presentation about exorcism. It is available on YouTube and is titled: “Exorcism in the Modern Church and How to Keep the Doors to the Demonic Closed.” The URL is:
    Adam Blai has a mental health background. He stated that the spiritual world is legalistic. That the demons are bound by rules. That our actions can give demons rights to us. In light of the current debate about legalism, I find the legalism of the spiritual world to be very interesting. He went into other areas as well. He went into the paranormal with things like the ghost hunting and paranormal investigation shows that popularize the paranormal. He said that people in this area have personal problems related to their involvement in this area. He advises caution about involvement in the field of exorcism. Only the priest exorcist has the power of the Church to back him when performing solemn exorcism. A lay person doesn’t have this benefit. They are on their own if they involve themselves in this area. He gives a very interesting presentation.

  10. I believe St augustine said “there is a spiritual battle going on all around us and u better be aware of it, because how this battle ends will determine where u spend eternity.”

    • Hi Dear Jim,

      Augustine may or may not have thought along those lines.

      There is, of course, no battle between God and evil. God is totally unshakeable, unbreakable, and absolutely unbeatable.

      Apart from all the other amazing works God creates and sustains, God also created and continues to sustain the fallen angels. It’s obvious the devils (or, indeed, people who engage in evil) can not actually be warring with God when their own existence, moment by moment, depends upon God!

      Why then, does our omnicompetent and omnibenevolent God continue to hold evil things in existence (until Judgment Day)? We might turn to Matthew 18:7 and Luke 17:1, where Jesus instructs that evils MUST happen (but, not through us, His friends). The same theology applies to why God permitted there to be a satanic serpent in the Garden of Eden.

      In short, our universe has been given a degree of free-choice, including the options of evil and meaninglessness, so we human may genuinely and freely chose to love and obey God’s commands and the New Commandment of loving others as ourselves; or not.

      We are the apex of an ancient universe and are its Ethical-Choosing Organisms (EChOs), fully in the image of God, who is the ultimately holy and perfect, Freely Ethically-Choosing Being.

      Under God, our job is not to win battles. Christ Jesus, God-With-Us, has done that fully & finally.

      Our job is to witness to the holy righteousness of God by obeying the commandments and courageously telling everyone the Good News of Jesus Christ (even at the cost of our natural lives).

      Over the last 2,000 years or more, ‘Warfare Theology’ has had the most terrible outcomes; causing the very name of ‘religion’ to stink.

      It’s surely time we pivoted, to follow Jesus Christ in devoting ourselves to His ‘Ethical Encounter Theology’,d that will speed “Thy Kingdom Come” (2 Peter 3:9-14).

      For more about: ‘Ethical Encounter Theology’ see:
      “Ethical Ontology Harmonizes Science, Revelation, and Human Lives” – free on the Web.

      Always in the love of Jesus; blessings from Marty

      • While the Holy Spirit prompts us to cry out Father! With His beloved Son as His Holy Spirit inspired/gave His Beloved Son the pray which glorifies His Name as we are taught to say in Unity of Purpose.

        “Our Father, who art in heaven
        Hallowed be thy name
        thy kingdom (Grace via The Holy Spirit) come (Then)
        thy will, (Will) be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven….etc

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

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