Category: Church

A Letter To The Parents Who Keep Bringing Their Disruptive Kids To Mass Every Week 

A Letter To The Parents Who Keep Bringing Their Disruptive Kids To Mass Every Week 

 

Christ had something pretty important to say about people like us.

Dear exhausted, discouraged parents,

So your kids are just terrible in Mass. Chaotic, disobedient, and disruptive, week after week. It’s like a big old spotlight is shining on you the whole time, you and your apparently sub-par parenting.

I’m right there with you. I’ve started to dread Sundays. I mean, we’ve tried everything. Going to the early Mass, going to the evening Mass, Mass books, whispered explanations, whispered threats, sitting in the front, sitting in the back, marching straight to the cry room … and maybe a few of the tricks have helped, but the bottom line is that we’re not getting out of that building without somebody screaming, making a mad dash for the altar, or God knows what.

But in spite of it all, every week, I and my loud, chaotic family are going to be there (in the back!) wiggling around and distracting everyone, and subjecting ourselves to the judgment of a large number of people who might not understand how hard it actually is to teach a toddler to sit quietly for 45 minutes. It looks insane. Still, we button up our wrinkled Sunday clothes anyway, and get our bodies under that roof, just like Mother Church asks us to.

I want you to know that if this is you too, that’s okay. It’s better than okay. Christ had something pretty important to say about people like us:

When [Jesus] looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21:1-4)

Isn’t this exactly what we are doing? We are giving it literally all we’ve got, in obeying the Church’s request to make it to Sunday Mass. (Sheer embarrassment, unfortunately, isn’t a good enough reason to stay home.) To the outside world, it looks like we’ve done the bare minimum. We’ve gotten into the building, sure, but are we concentrating? Are we having a spiritual experience? Did we even hear a word of the Gospel, for heaven’s sake? It doesn’t look like much. We are the only ones who know how much we are really giving. But Christ knows, too.

Just like the woman’s two small coins into the collection box look like nothing in comparison with the rich man’s gigantic bag of gold, our contribution looks so small a person might wonder why we even bother. Why even come to Mass, if you’re just going to spend the whole time doing toddler damage control? But Christ is there to remind us that he doesn’t see what the rest of the world sees.

Pretty often, I leave Mass feeling like the whole thing was a bust. I didn’t even manage to follow along, and I left so fast I forgot to genuflect. What kind of a Catholic am I? If that’s how you feel too, don’t forget — having little kids, or kids with special needs, or whatever situation you’re in that makes it impossible to kneel quietly and listen carefully, this is a unique kind of poverty. And we, in our poverty, really do give all we have, just by doing our best. Even if our best is just showing up.

So don’t stop. And please don’t worry too much about how your family looks. Even if it never gets easier, keep doing what you are doing, and know that even when the world doesn’t, God sees how valuable your sacrifice is.

*This Post originally written by Anna O’Neil for Aleteia.

‘Why Make Your Children Appear Horrible’? Filipino Exorcist Warns That Halloween Costumes Can Cause Demonic Possession 

‘Why Make Your Children Appear Horrible’? Filipino Exorcist Warns That Halloween Costumes Can Cause Demonic Possession 

Filipino exorcist warns that Halloween costumes can cause demonic possession

Father Marius Roque, a Filipino exorcist for the Archdiocese of San Fernando, has warned that dressing up for Halloween could lead to demonic possession.

Father Marius, said he had performed exorcism rites involving two young people who had donned spooky clothing.

“One was the case of a teenage girl who wore a black lady costume for a Halloween party. After a few weeks, it became obvious she was possessed by evil spirits,” he said. 

The priest claimed that when the girl was taken to see him, he found her mouth and belly button emitting froth.

He also described the case of a teenage boy from Angeles City who was possessed by spirits after ghost hunting with friends at the abandoned American hospital at the old Clark air base.

The hospital, which had a morgue to store the remains of American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War, is often cited as a hotspot for paranormal activity.

The priest said: “At least 11 spirits seemed to have attached themselves to the boy after the ghost hunting episode at the abandoned hospital.

“It took only one exorcism session to free him from the intervention of the spirits. He vomited 11 times which indicated the departure of each of the 11 spirits.”

He also urged parents to stop their children from wearing spooky costumes. “Why make your children appear horrible?” He asked. “If they have to be costumed, it is better to make them wear costumes of saints or angels.

“November 1st and 2nd are days to remember the loving memories of departed relatives who had loved us, not terrified us. It is the day to pray for them to make sure they have reached heaven. There should be no room for evil on such holy days.”

Last month, the chief exorcist of the Philippines, Father Ambrosio Nonato Legaspi, caused a stir by claiming that “Illuminati Satanists” were distributing “cursed rosaries”. He warned that the plastic trinkets also had the power to cause demonic possession, and general misfortune.

‘The Holy Eucharist Cannot Be Shared With Protestants… We Cannot Be More Merciful Than Christ’ – Cardinal Arinze

‘The Holy Eucharist Cannot Be Shared With Protestants… We Cannot Be More Merciful Than Christ’ – Cardinal Arinze


Cardinal Arinze weighs in on the Communion debate – and recalls the saint who inspired his vocation

Cardinal Francis Arinze was baptised into the Catholic Church on November 1, 1941, his ninth birthday. He was a child eager to convert to Christianity from a traditional African religion, not because of the wishes of adults or others around him, but of his own volition and by the grace of God.

The man who received him into the faith was Blessed Cyprian Tansi, at the time a parish priest whose example of great holiness left an impression on the boy that has endured for a lifetime. This was the priest who, perhaps most significantly, helped to teach Arinze to recognise and love Our Lord present in the Eucharist.

“He was the first priest I ever knew,” recalls Cardinal Arinze, now 85. “He gave me the first sacraments – baptism, then penance and Holy Communion. He prepared me for Confirmation and I was his Mass-server in 1945.

“He was what you would like to see in a parish priest – zealous, sincere. When he celebrated Mass you saw that he believed what he was celebrating, so his life was attractive in itself. It was no surprise that wherever he worked there were many seminarians and women going into religious life.”

Among them was Arinze himself. He entered the All Hallows seminary of the Archdiocese of Onitsha at 15 and proved to be an outstanding student. He passed the Cambridge School Certificate in 1950, the year that Blessed Cyprian left Nigeria to join the Cistercians at Mount St. Bernard in Leicestershire. In 1955, Arinze moved to Rome where he attained a doctorate in Sacred Theology summa cum laude from the Pontifical Urban University. He was ordained in 1958.

He attended the funeral of Blessed Cyprian in England in 1964, and has actively promoted his Cause for canonisation ever since, admitting that he fought to control his enthusiasm when it was first opened.

It was a year after Blessed Cyprian’s death that Fr Arinze became the youngest bishop in the world, when at the age of 32 he was consecrated as coadjutor of Onitsha. Within two years he succeeded as archbishop, becoming the first native African to lead the archdiocese, and in 1979 he became President of the Nigerian bishops’ conference.

Pope John Paul II elevated Arinze to the College of Cardinals in 1985 and in 2002 he was made Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

His tenure as Prefect was a productive one, corresponding with the publication of Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II’s 2003 encyclical on the relationship of the Church to the Holy Eucharist, and with Sacramentum Caritatis, Benedict XVI’s 2007 exhortation on the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission.

Given Cardinal Arinze’s credentials, he cannot be ignored when he chooses to speak about the sacraments. One such moment came recently at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, at a time when the German bishops had become so publicly divided over moves to allow Lutheran spouses of Catholics to receive Communion at Mass on Sundays that the Vatican was asked to intervene.

“What does the Church do that is as great as the Mass?” asked Cardinal Arinze. “The Church has only one possession equal to the Mass and that is another Mass. Nothing else.

“It is very important to look at the doctrine,” he added. “The Eucharistic celebration of the Mass is not an ecumenical service. It is not a gathering of those who believe in Christ and who invent a prayer for the occasion. It is a celebration of the mysteries of Christ who died for us on the Cross, who made bread into His body and wine into His blood and told the Apostles ‘do this in memory of me’.

“So the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass is the celebration of the faith community, those who believe in Christ. They are communicating in the faith, and in the sacraments, and in ecclesiastical communion, not now Holy Communion but ecclesiastical unity with their pastor, their bishop and the Pope. It is the community that celebrates the Holy Eucharist. Anybody who is not a member of that community does not fit in at all.

“It isn’t just that we wish one another well. After Mass, you can have a cup of tea and even a glass of beer and a bit of cake. That’s OK. But the Mass is not like that.

“But we wish other Christians well. The Holy Eucharist is not our private possession which we can share with our friends. Our tea is such and also our bottle of beer. We can share those with our friends.”

He said that if Protestants wished to receive Communion in Catholic churches they should become Catholics. “Come, be received into the Church and then you can receive Holy Communion seven times a week. Otherwise, no.”

Furthermore, Catholics who have committed mortal sins must receive absolution before they can receive the Eucharist, he said.

If a person is not in a state of grace, even if he receives Holy Communion five times a day he doesn’t get grace at all but he commits five sacrileges because he wasn’t well prepared,” he says. “It means that the Holy Eucharist is for those in the Catholic faith and fold who hold on to that faith and who are well disposed. For the same reason you can see if a person is divorced and remarried then there is a problem. Christ said [that] he who drives away his wife or husband and marries another… Christ has one word: adultery. It is not we who made that. It is not a Vatican law. It is Christ who said it.

We cannot be more merciful than Christ. If any of us says he has permission from Christ to change one of the major points Christ gave us in the Gospel we would like to see that permission and also the signature. You can see that it is not possible. Not even if all of the bishops agree, it doesn’t become so.”

Senior Vatican officials soon afterwards instructed the German bishops to withdraw their document on shared Communion, although the majority of them supported its publication.

But it wasn’t the end of the matter. Pope Francis later explained to reporters that the bishops had erred because canonically such matters must be decided at a local rather than national level, in a way achieved perhaps by One Bread, One Body, the 1998 norms of the bishops of England and Wales for shared communion between Catholic and Anglican spouses.

Within days the German bishops published the guide, saying they felt “obliged to stride forward in this matter courageously”.

Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker of Paderborn has said he would approve of Communion for Protestant spouses “in individual cases” after a period of discernment, while Bishop Franz Jung of Würzburg invited Lutheran spouses to receive the Eucharist during jubilee marriage Masses celebrated in his cathedral.

Whether this represents a shift in Eucharistic theology, as well ecumenical practice, will be a matter of debate for years to come.

But certainly change is in the wind and before too long it will, without doubt, descend upon English-speaking countries. This is perhaps evident in the statement by the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission published this month on authority and ecclesial communion.

In one paragraph it expresses traditional Catholic teaching on the Eucharist, held with such conviction by figures like Cardinal Arinze, while in another it gently nudges open the door to novelty.

The Catholic Church might “fruitfully learn from the Anglican practice of provincial diversity and the associated recognition that on some matters different parts of the Communion can appropriately make different discernments influenced by cultural and contextual appropriateness”, the document declares.

Such innovations might well hold out the prospect of closer unity with other Christian communities, but they surely carry within them a counter-productive risk of grave division within the universal Church.

This would not only upset Cardinal Arinze and those like him, but would arguably be contrary to the unity for which Jesus Christ himself prayed.

This article first appeared in the July 13 2018 issue of the Catholic Herald.

Swiss Exorcist – ‘The Devil Exists, But He Is Not Everywhere’, Don’t Go Looking For Him!   

Swiss Exorcist – ‘The Devil Exists, But He Is Not Everywhere’, Don’t Go Looking For Him!   

Why Do Exorcists Ask Demons To Reveal Their Names?

In this Mind blowing interview with an exorcist from Switzerland, we’re told the devil isn’t everywhere—but don’t go looking for him either, just in case.

With our modern mentality, the subjects of exorcism and demonic possession generally inspire a reaction somewhere between fascination and open incredulity. This is the stuff of movies, but it also makes you think.

For the Catholic Church, though, exorcism is something governed with a book of ritual, De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam (Rite of exorcism and prayers for particular circumstances, adopted in 1998 to replace the previous, older version, which may still be used), and it is subject to certain conditions and prescriptions.


The motivations for these strict rules are rooted in Holy Scripture and in theology. It’s a delicate subject that must be handled prudently by priests who are suitably prepared and well balanced (“pious, knowledgeable, prudent, and with personal integrity”), with the express authorization of their bishop.

Aleteia spoke with Padre César Truqui, who is an exorcist of the Diocese of Chur, Switzerland, and who was a speaker at the 11th course on “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation” at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome (the course which inspired the Anthony Hopkins movie The Rite).


Chiara Santomiero: What kind of evil is confronted in an exorcism?

Fr Truqui: Evil personified. Paul VI spoke of “the smoke of Satan.” Not a simpleprivatio bonis,” the privation of good as described by philosophy, but rather an evil that is effective and operative. We are talking here about the presence of an evil being. Only faith, not science, can tell us what this evil being is. The Christian faith tells us of the existence of spiritual beings: the good ones are angels, and the bad ones are demons.

Isn’t it a bit hard to accept the existence of evil as a being that physically possesses a person?

Yes, that’s true, because normally in our daily lives we don’t have any experiences of this kind. But because of the ministry that I’ve been carrying out for so many years, I’ve had the opportunity of meeting these people, and for me it is easier to believe that certain phenomena exist.

How did you start?

It was divine providence. When I was ordained to the priesthood 12 years ago, I participated in a course with priests who were exorcists, such as Fathers Bamonte and Amorth. As it happened, the case of a 40-year-old French man was presented. He was possessed by Satan and needed an exorcist, but Bamonte spoke neither English nor French. So, they asked me to help with the preliminary dialogue.

How does it feel to find yourself facing the manifestation of evil?

Your feelings change over time. During the first exorcism sessions in which I participated, what struck me most was the tangible confirmation that the Gospel which I had read and meditated on was true. In the Gospel, Jesus fought against demons that called themselves by various names: “My name is Legion,” “My name is Satan.” In the Old Testament, in the Book of Tobit, there is a demon named Asmodeus. I’ve heard demons pronounce these names in various exorcism sessions.

On a spiritual level, it has been a very rich experience, because it has allowed me to experience in my own flesh, through my senses, the reality that Jesus spoke of.

Tangibly?

In the case of the French man in the first exorcism I participated in, I remember that, when the demon manifested itself, I had the impression of being surrounded by pride, as if it were smoke or fog. It’s hard to explain, but pride seemed like something you could touch; it filled the room. The exorcist asked him for his name, and he responded, “I am rex.” There is no demon named rex, king. The exorcist insisted, “Tell me your name,” and finally he responded, “I am Satan, the prince of this world”.

Why do you ask for the demon’s name?

The Ritual requires it, for a specific purpose. Naming something, or knowing its name, means having power over that thing. In fact, God gives Adam the power to name things. At the instant that the demon reveals his name, it shows that he has been weakened; if he doesn’t say it, he is still strong.

Are there typical signs of possession?

Those listed in the Ritual. There are four: aversion towards sacred things; speaking in unknown or dead languages; having extraordinary strength that goes beyond the person’s nature; knowledge of concealed or hidden things.

Can people put themselves in danger?

Yes. By getting involved with anything that has to do with magic, the occult, witchcraft, or cartomancy. If it helps us to grow in sanctity when we go to Mass, pray, go to confession, or draw near to God, in the same way, black masses, satanic rites, movies and music of that kind have the effect of bringing us closer to the devil.

I dealt with the case of a woman who began reading Tarot cards, as many do, for fun. Except that in her case, she truly divined people’s past and present, and in some cases, their future. And naturally, she was a great success. At a certain moment, she understood on whom her success depended, and she stopped doing it, but it was too late: she was possessed.

How is it possible to curse someone?

Just as I could give someone the task of killing someone, I could ask a demon to do harm. But keep in mind: the great majority of rites realized by supposed witches or warlocks are fraudulent, without any effect.

Is one exorcism enough to free a possessed person?

It’s extremely difficult. Usually, many exorcisms are needed.

Does it work like therapy?

Yes. Exorcism is a sacramental, not a sacrament. A sacrament is effective in and of itself. If I give someone absolution in confession, at that moment, truly, his or her sins are forgiven. Exorcism, on the contrary, is efficient to the extent of the holiness of the priest, of the faith of the person being exorcised, and that of the whole Church.


What is the difference between exorcism and prayers of liberation?

Both have the same objective: they seek the liberation of the person from the influence of evil or from possession. Exorcism is actually a ministry within the Church which the bishop confers on some priests. It can only be exercised by priests, not by lay people, and only by those who have the explicit permission of the bishop. A prayer of liberation, on the contrary, can be done by anyone, man or woman, layman or priest, by virtue of being Christian, because Christ said, “Anyone who believes in me shall cast out demons.”

An exorcism is also a direct order given to the devil, whereas a prayer of liberation is a supplication to God or the Virgin Mary for them to intervene.

How many of the people who have turned to you were really possessed?

Very, very few.

So why are people so afraid?

Among the people who come to me, I can distinguish three kinds of cases: those truly possessed, those not possessed, and problematic cases. The first and the second are the easiest: you know that you are dealing with someone who is truly possessed because they manifest the four signs, and because when you say the prayers the person goes into a trance and reacts in a way that the exorcist recognizes. This can be faked, but it is very difficult.

In the second case, with experience as a priest and confessor, you understand when there are spiritual or psychological problems, and when you can exclude demonic influence.

The problem is when you find someone who seems truly possessed—because of deep traumas accompanied by risky behaviors, such as spiritualistic sessions or going to a tarot card reader—but isn’t actually possessed.

I met a young woman who was raped by a supposed Latin American warlock whose eye she had caught. One day he gave her a drugged cup of coffee and raped her; she was conscious, but unable to react. This terrible trauma made her think she was possessed by the devil through the drugs and the violence she had suffered.

I believed that she was truly possessed. However, when I prayed and imposed my hands on her during the exorcism, she never went into a trance, and there was no sign of other phenomena. I understood, therefore, that the cause lay elsewhere. This is why some of the medical and and psychological profiles that could be in play in these situations are explained during the course for exorcists.

How do people who are truly possessed live?

Actually, they live normal lives. The devil doesn’t act through them all the time. Allow me to use a paradoxical comparison to try to explain it: If a person buys a car, that car is at that person’s disposition to use whenever he or she wants to. They may use it to go to the office, and then have to park it. The same thing happens with a possessed person. There are moments when the demon acts: he gets in the car and drives as he likes; at other times, he doesn’t. The car has an owner, but the owner doesn’t always use it.

When is it necessary to go to an exorcist?

When what happens to you goes beyond what is normal. There was a woman I met in Rome who was an atheist: a Catholic who had only been baptized, who didn’t believe in anything. She ended up possessed, although I don’t remember the circumstances. She began to hear voices constantly, which tried to convince her to kill her husband and her son and commit suicide.

She thought she was mentally ill, and went to a psychiatrist, but the doctor found her to be a very intelligent and coherent person with very clear ideas. The psychiatrist couldn’t cure her. One day, moths ate all the woman’s clothes, without touching her husband’s things — which were in the same closet — nor those of her son. And there were no moths in the house. It was inexplicable.

One of her friends recommended that she go to Fr. Amorth, and he discovered that she was possessed. And yet, she didn’t believe in angels or in demons. Now, she has become a practicing Christian. Why does God allow things like this? For the person’s own good.


Have you been able to ask any of them what they felt during the exorcism?

I asked that French gentleman that we’ve been talking about what he felt during the exorcism, and he explained to me that he had felt as if there were a battleground inside him. On one hand, he felt the demons running around desperately and talking among themselves; on the other, when the priest prayed, he felt that God’s light cast them out, only for them to come back.

What story has impressed you the most?

The experience of a mute demon. Jesus talks about that in the Gospel, and says that they are the most difficult to cast out, and that they only leave with prayer and fasting. A mute demon is very rare. In 12 years of exorcisms, I’ve only come across it once.

Are you ever afraid?

I was at first, but then you get used to certain manifestations and it doesn’t surprise you anymore to hear someone’s voice change: a woman starts to talk with a weak voice, which then changes to a cavernous tone. You have to be attentive not to become obsessed with the evil one. An exorcist knows that the devil exists, but he’s not everywhere.

Above all, I’ve come to understand that exorcism is a ministry of mercy: an act of love for a person who is suffering. That is all.

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