Saturday 14 August 2021

Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice - Father Jeremy Davies - CTS Explanations

Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice
Father Jeremy Davies
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860825026
eISBN 9781784692582
CTS Booklet Ex 27

This is the first volume from the pen of Father Jeremy Davis that I have read, and I believe he only has three other books published. This is the eighth volume that I have read in the CTS Explanations series. In the last few years I have read over 200 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. Based on the CTS number books the highest in this series I have encountered is EX49 and the list at the back of the book there are at least 49 books in this series. 

Some have eBooks, some are out of print, and a few are still available both in print and digitally. This is a fascinating series, it tackles some hard questions. And they give clear and concise summary of Catholic Teachings on those topics. The description on the back of this book is:

“Both secularism and superstition have popularised some very distorted ideas about exorcism. This ebook, written by an experienced exorcist, looks at its origin in the Gospels and its practice in the Church today. Different kinds of demonic influence are discussed, including their relation to conversion and sin and mental illness. Above all the text gives the good news that in Christ the Devil is already defeated and that the Church carries this victory to those in need.”

The chapters in this volume are:

1. Introduction
2. Kinds of Demonic Influence
3. Causes of Demonic Influence
4. Degrees of Demonic Influence
5. Discernment and Diagnosis
6. Exorcism and Deliverance
7. Conclusion

This book is very well written. It is one of the shortest in the series, and yet it packs a great deal of information. It was easy to read an engage with. Some of the passages I highlighted during my read through are:

“When Christ the Light came into the world, the demonic spirits could no longer remain hidden. He challenged the Devil in the wilderness and there rejected all his temptations, thus constituting in himself a new humanity, confirmed in the power of loving God freely and selflessly.”

“The ministry of exorcism in the Church flourishes in proportion to the living faith of her members in the word of God.”

“However, we must beware of underestimating his ability to conceal himself. Fr Noldin strongly recommends minor exorcisms ‘over those who are vexed by vehement temptations and upon penitents who are experiencing difficulties in eliciting sorrow and amendment from sins and sincerity in manifesting sins’ – this hidden influence, lulling and distorting the conscience, impeding contrition and faith and honesty, is the most deadly of all the Devil’s works.”

We are told that the:

3. Causes of Demonic Influence

Rebellion against God
Sins against the Light 
The ‘natural religions’
Occult Practices/ Sorcery
New Revelations
Pride/ self-glorification 

We are also informed that there are degrees:

4. Degrees of Demonic Influence

Temptation and Sin

“Confirmation is the Sacrament of spiritual warfare, the grace that enables us to become adult members of the Church, soldiers of Christ, overcoming the world, the flesh and the Devil; and this grace is fulfilled and grows through union with Christ in the Eucharist.”

“In an imperative exorcism, the exorcist, in the name of Christ, commands the evil spirit( s) to leave the person, to harm no one and never to return.”

“In the Church’s tradition, a minor exorcism can be used by any priest in cases of obsession. ‘If it is morally certain or highly probably that there is diabolical obsession, the spiritual director may make use, in private, of the exorcisms contained in the Roman Ritual or of some shorter formulas.”

“Beware of seeking help from anyone except Christ and the Catholic Church. On the physical side of things, accept, as a general rule, your doctor’s advice. Don’t answer advertisements of healers or psychics or spiritualists, don’t go to sects or cults, don’t be tempted by universal energies or eastern religions or magic cures or alternative therapies or self-realisation courses or psychological breakthroughs – most of them are demonic and will only make you worse.”

“Prayer and fasting increase faith and the power of the Lord enters through the door of faith.”

In my own spiritual journal I went through deliverance ministry in an evangelical church before returning to the Catholic Faith. Much of what was done during that week of healing ministry was similar to some of the processes described here. This is a book that we need today. I am thankful the eBook edition is still available. It is a very valuable resource.

This book was a great read. It really does a great job countering beliefs by many within and outside the church. The book is grounded in Scriptures, and Church tradition. It is carefully written so as not to glamorize or create a sensationalized response. It is clear, concise, and just a very solid book.

This series covers a wide range of topics. But this one counters many myths and legends believed by many. It is very practical, and has a lot of available wisdom and advice. I highly recommend it. 

A great read in the CTS Explanations Series.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Explanations Series:
Marriage Annulment in the Catholic Church
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Does the Church oppress Women?
Organ Transplant – and the definition of Death
Be Yourself An Explanation of Humility - William Lawson SJ
Gene Therapy – and Human Genetic Engineering
Prenatal tests
Gift of life and Love
Cloning and Stem Cell Research
Contraception and Chastity
Freemasonry and the Christian Faith
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Spirits, Mediums & The Afterlife

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