Does the Devil Exist?

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

Does the devil exist? — That’s the question posed by Fr. N. Schwizer (Vivicat, August 3, 2010):

In the Gospel, we often hear of Jesus expelling demons. Perhaps this fact seems somewhat strange to us because being possessed by a demon seems to us as something exclusive to those times. However, it also happens today even though it may be less frequent.

But the ultimate question for mankind today isā€¦..does the devil exist as a person or not? As it is, modern man and inclusively the modern Christian man hardly even believes in the devil. The devil has been able to succeed today with his best maneuver: to put his existence in doubt. [more]

Christ expelling the devil

To illustrate the point, Fr. Richard McBrien (National Catholic Reporter) mocks a certain Bishop Thomas Paprocki for announcing a special Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism, to be held in Baltimore in early November, just before the bishops’ semiannual meeting.

That the conference would focus on “not only the theological and scriptural foundations of the rite of exorcism” but “the necessary, practical insights into the many liturgical, canonical and pastoral issues associated with exorcisms and the church’s battle against the demonic presence in the world” is, to McBrien, a subject of ridicule:

The priest who sent me a copy of this letter wrote across the top, in capital letters, “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? IN 2010.”

His question was rhetorical, of course.

Paprocki was recently appointed Bishop of Springfield, IL by Pope Benedict XVI, who has been known to take the existence of the devil — and exorcism — rather seriously himself.

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8 Responses to Does the Devil Exist?

  • I just just had a conversation about this the other day with a friend – she is of the opinion (I used to hold this view) that all “demonic” possession is simply mental illness and I pointed out that some folk exhibited no mental illness before their possession or after their exorcism and that scores of witnesses have testified to the supernatural events that take place during the rite…and that even rabbis at times have had to call upon Catholic priests to help their afflicted members throw off the demon…and frankly to not believe there is a devil is to deny the experience of Christ with Satan in the desert…I”ll take Christ’s word on this issue..

  • Of course the devil exists. He’s probably on the 9th Circuit.

  • Was there supposed to be a link to information about the conference? Because it’s not working when I click on it, it just sends me back to this article here.

    I cannot think of a better endorsement of my new bishop than to discover that Richard McBrien doesn’t like him! šŸ™‚

  • Yes, she does; I used to date her.

  • j. christian, that was awesome!

  • Wow! Thank you for the link! I really appreciate it!


  • Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

  • Yup, the Devil exists! It is the politicians like Palin and Obama and their type!

Pope Leo and Saint Michael the Archangel

Sunday, January 24, AD 2010

In 1947 Father Domenico Pechenino related what he had witnessed over six decades before.

“I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”

Cardinal Giovanni Batista NassalliĀ Rocca di Corneiliano wrote in his Pastoral Letters on Lent:Ā  “the sentence ‘The evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls’ has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Monsignor Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the Eternal City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with strong, powerful voice: we heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is includedĀ in the Roman Ritual. He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day.”

The Prayer written by the Pope is of course the famous prayer to Saint Michael:

SancteĀ Michael Archangele,
defendeĀ nos in proelio;
contra nequitiamĀ et insidiasĀ diaboliĀ estoĀ praesidium.
ImperetĀ illiĀ Deus, supplicesĀ deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiaeĀ Caelestis,
satanamĀ aliosqueĀ spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionemĀ animarumĀ pervaganturĀ in mundo,
divinaĀ virtuteĀ in infernumĀ detrude.

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26 Responses to Pope Leo and Saint Michael the Archangel

  • A few weeks ago, Father Wade asked us to offer an extra prayer or do some more spiritual reading during Ordinary Time. For some time, I had been feeling urges to pray the Leonine Prayers and Father’s request sealed the deal. I pray them now every day sometimes more than once a day. I think we need them.

  • It is a common prayer in my house, too.

    My boy loves to say it in Latin, loves the sound of it – he says it has sounds to scare the devil.

    God bless PBXVI and God prosper the reform of the reform!

    ex oribus infantium…

  • I’ve said the prayer at the Traditional Latin Mass, but I didn’t know the background of it. Fascinating.

  • I was taught:
    St Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
    Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray and thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan, all the other evil spirits; who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.(3times)

    I have said it every morning for years, with the ending of the regular Mass, as per V2, a lot of things was omitted that should have stayed.

    That doesn’t stop us from saying this prayer daily I sometimes think its the one prayer that keeps chaos from overtaking the world.

  • Yes, this is a great story. And a good soundtrack.

    If you want to see Pope Leo XIII in a video as well, there is a great one from 1896:

    By the way, in 1994 Pope John Paul II recommended to pray this prayer to St Michael the Archangel from Pope Leo XIII: “Though this prayer is no longer prayed at the end of the eucharistic celebration, I invite you all to not forget it, and to pray it, to obtain help in the bttle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of the world.”

    Of course the prayer is always included after all Masses in Latin.

  • God used Pope Leo to make true the prophecy of St.Michael in Daniel and Revelation.

    C calling
    A all
    T to
    H holy
    O obedient
    L life
    I in

  • Why was this prayer removed? Was it the influence of Satan?

  • Huh.

    So not every parish does this at the end of Mass every Sunday? (Or at least most Sundays?)

    I have limited experience with different parishes, but the parish where I attend in the Atlanta area does this prayer after nearly every Mass. (I say nearly every because I think I remember a couple of occasions when the prayer was not included. But my memory is vague on it; it may have been when we were between pastors, and therefore had a lot of Masses being done by visiting celebrants.)

  • After each mass I attend, I pray the “Prayers after low mass” (Three hail Marys, the Hail Holy Queen, O God our refuge…, the St. Michael Prayer, and Most Sacred heart of Jesus… Just because it’s not required doesn’t mean we can no longer use it. I encourage everyone to take two-and-a-half minutes and say these prayers privately for the return of reverence to our Church, and the conversion of Russia.

  • Our parish is publicly praying the St. Michael Prayer at the end of our daily Masses for the Protection and Defense of the Unborn. Any parish can pray the St. Michael publicly at the end of daily Mass for any intention all you need to do is ask your pastor for permission to do it. He can not lead it but a parishioner can lead the prayer at the end of the closing song at daily mass pray.

  • Karen:

    Whoa! The pastor “may not lead it?”

    Now that I think of it, it’s always the deacon who leads off whenever it’s done at my parish. I guess that’s why.

    I wonder why it’s okay for the deacon, not the priest?

  • Practic in the Diocese of Orange (Calif,) varies from parish to parish. Some say the St. Michael prayer after most masses, usually led by the presider; some do not.
    If the Mass includes congregational singing (most Sunday & Holy Day masses), the St. Michael prayer does not get said by the congregation (although nothing prevents individuals from praying it.)

  • Karen,

    The Mass ends with “Ita Missa est”. Therefore, the priest can lead the prayers, for Mass is over. In fact, in my parish, daily Mass ends with the priest and congregation reciting the prayer together, facing the altar.

    I just visited a parish that did the same thing after a Sunday Mass.

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  • Pope Leo XIII carried a flask on his person containing Vin Mariani, a wine that was 10 percent alcohol and laced with 8.5 percent cocaine. In fact, Pope Leo XIII enjoyed the wine so much that he awarded a gold medal to Mariani for being a ā€œbenefactor of humanity.ā€ Cocaine is known to induce terrifying hallucinations. Just sayinā€™.

  • I go to a Latin Mass parish run by the Fraternity of St. Peter and the prayer is said after each Mass with the exception of a High Mass.

    RE: Moe, that is an odd “fact” I’ve never heard before.

  • Moe, where did you get this information? I just love how people make accusations out of the blue with no reference to where they dug them up.

  • At the request of several parishioners, we began, on the First Sunday of Advent 2008, reciting the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after the close of every Mass. I usually start the prayer after I kiss the altar at the conclusion of daily Mass and after the last note of the recessional hymn at the end of Sunday Mass. Presently, during the Year for Priests, we have in the pews 2-by-3-inch sheets of paper with a prayer for priests (prayed before the conclusion of the General Intercessions) on one side and the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel on the other side. We plan to have nice lamented cards of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel in place for post-Year for Priests use.

  • That should LAMINATED cards. The cards, with the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, should not be LAMENTED. LOL

  • Allan and Susanne,
    Apparently, His Holiness didnā€™t get a kick from champagne, and mere alcohol didnā€™t thrill him at all, but a little Charlie in his Vin Mariani did the trick! Seriously, my previous post was ill-advised, so please accept my apologies. It really wasnā€™t my intention to malign Pope Leo XIII. I recite Prayer to St. Michael every morning before I enter the battleground.

  • i try to say this prayer every day. never have we needed it so much. people should also look up the chaplet of saint michael the archangel. our church is being truly rocked by scandal. in my church it’s not said i will make an effort to say it myself after each mass from now on.

  • I also say this prayer to Saint Michael.
    It is also a prayer in my rosary leaflet as one of the optional prayers to say after the Holy Rosary. The other optional prayer is;

    ‘The Memorare’
    Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was is known thay any one who fled to Thy protection,
    implored Thy help or sort Thy intercession, was left unaided.
    Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother;
    to Thee do we come, before Thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful;
    O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in Thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen’

  • ā€˜The Memorareā€™
    Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to Thy protection,
    implored Thy help or sort Thy intercession, was left unaided.
    Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother;
    to Thee do we come, before Thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful;
    O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in Thy clemency hear and answer me. Amenā€™

    (amended version as some spelling error)

  • As a fellow Catholic, I must ask all of you whether you agree with this observation: According to those things defined as “sin” by Church doctrine, are we not in a time where the occassion of sin attacks each of us ceaselessly? Television, radio, internet and print vomit out images and sounds of sexual immorality, violence, hatred, drug abuse, abusive language, and most offensively to me, the cursing of the name of God. In our schools, people are using science to destroy the faith of children…do you remember what the gospels say about making a little one lose faith? We are in more need than at any other time in our history for intercessory relief from the Sainted Archangel Michael. Please, please remember to beg Jesus for absolution and mercy, but also please pray to the Heart of Divine Mercy for expiation of souls in purgatory for a few minutes at 3 p.m. to commemorate the scarifice made for our sins by our most loving father, Jesus Christ.

  • I just wanted to comment on my ealier post that a Pastor can not lead the St. Michael Prayer at the end of Mass. I said that because my Pastor said that his understanding of the rubrics is that he can not lead it and so has a parishioner do it.

    Maybe it is because he remains by the Presidental chair after the dismissal for the congregation to recite the prayer and then at the end of prayer he steps down to process out of the church during the closing song.

    I will let him know that he can lead it after the dismissal.

  • MOE: I clicked on the ural you posted to support your charge that the late Pope Leo XIII was an addict of Vin Mariani ( the purpose I guess was to suggest his
    vision of the deporable state of the future Church was hallucinatory) and was amazed at what you consider evidence….This was nothing but a chronology of sorts of advertisements of said product! Since when does the world of advertising present credible evidence of Truth? It is an area where the work of the Father of Lies is rampant….Your attempt to discredit the Pope along with this most efficacious prayer fall flat and are ludicrous. For evidence of the
    truthfulness of this vision one has only to look at the current state of affairs our Church is in….the horrific state of affairs brought about since the cessation of this powerful prayer at the end of all masses….a vision also shared by the prophet Ezekiel ( 10,11) before the destruction of the Temple (586 BC) when
    the glory of God physically left the Temple to settle on Mt of Olives ( see Matthew ).