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"Satan is the propagator of sin, the deceiver of the whole world, and the father of lies. Jesus said of the devil, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44)."
SELECTED CATECHISM'S OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH
JOHN PAUL, BISHOP
To my Venerable Brothers the Cardinals, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, and to all the People of GodThe Fall of the Angels
391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. [Cf. Gen 3:1-5; Wis 2:24] Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil". [Cf Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9] The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing." [Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800] 
392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. [Cf. 2 Pt 2:4] This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God." [Gen 3:5] The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies". [1 Jn 3:8; Jn 8:44] [1850, 2482]
393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death." [St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 2, 4: PG 94, 877] [1033-1037, 1022]
394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. [Jn 8:44; cf. Mt 4:1-11] "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." [1 Jn 3:8] In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God. [538-540, 550, 2846-2849]
395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him." [Rom 8:28] [309, 1673, 412, 2850-2854]
The Church - instituted by Christ Jesus
763 It was the Son's task to accomplish the Father's plan of salvation in the fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being sent. [Cf. LG 3; AG 3] "The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures." [LG 5] To fulfill the Father's will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church "is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery." [LG 3] 
764 "This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ." [LG 5] To welcome Jesus' word is to welcome "the Kingdom itself." [LG 5] The seed and beginning of the Kingdom are the "little flock" of those whom Jesus came to gather around him, the flock whose shepherd he is. [Lk 12:32; cf. Mt 10:16; 26:31; Jn 10:1-21] They form Jesus' true family. [Cf. Mt 12:49] To those whom he thus gathered around him, he taught a new "way of acting" and a prayer of their own. [Cf. Mt 5-6] [543, 1691, 2558]
765 The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head. [Cf. Mk 3:14-15] Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem. [Cf. Mt 19:28; Lk 22:30; Rev 21:12-14] The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's mission and his power, but also in his lot. [Cf. Mk 6:7; Lk 10:1-2; Mt 10:25; Jn 15:20] By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his Church. [610, 551]
766 The Church is born primarily of Christ's total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. "The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus." [LG 3; cf. Jn 19:34] "For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the 'wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.'" [SC 5] As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam's side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the cross. [Cf. St. Ambrose, In Luc. 2, 85-89 PL 15,1666-1668] [813, 860, 1340, 617, 478]
The Episcopal College and its head, the Pope
880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, "he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them." [LG 19; cf. Lk 6:13; Jn 21:15-17] Just as "by the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another." [LG 22; cf. CIC, can. 330] [552, 862]
881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. [Cf. Mt 16:18-19; Jn 21:15-17] "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." [LG 22 § 2] This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope. [553, 642]
882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." [LG 23] "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." [LG 22; cf. CD 2, 9] [834, 1369, 837]
883 "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff." [LG 22; cf. CIC, can 336]
884 "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council." [CIC, can. 337 § 1] But "there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor." [LG 22]
885 "This college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the People of God; and of the unity of the flock of Christ, in so far as it is assembled under one head." [LG 22]
886 "The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches." [LG 23] As such, they "exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them," [LG 23] assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the Churches. [Cf. CD 3] The bishops exercise this care first "by ruling well their own Churches as portions of the universal Church," and so contributing "to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches." [LG 23] They extend it especially to the poor, [Cf. Gal 2:10] to those persecuted for the faith, as well as to missionaries who are working throughout the world. [1560, 833, 2448]
887 Neighboring particular Churches who share the same culture form ecclesiastical provinces or larger groupings called patriarchates or regions. [Cf. Apostolic Constitutions 34] The bishops of these groupings can meet in synods or provincial councils. "In a like fashion, the episcopal conferences at the present time are in a position to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegiate spirit." [LG 23 § 3
"You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me"
2110 The first commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people. It proscribes superstition and irreligion. Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion; irreligion is the vice contrary by defect to the virtue of religion.
2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition. [Cf. Mt 23:16-22]
2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them." [Ps 115:4-5, 8; cf. Isa 44:9-20; Jer 10:1-16; Dan 14:1-30; Bar 6; Wis 13: 1-15:19] God, however, is the "living God" [Josh 3:10; Ps 42:3; etc.] who gives life and intervenes in history. 
2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon." [Mt 6:24] Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast" [Cf. Rev 13-14] refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God. [Cf. Gal 5:20; Eph 5:5] [398, 2534, 2289, 2473]
2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God." [Origen, Contra Celsum 2, 40: PG 11, 861]
Divination and magic
2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility. 
2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. [Cf. Deut 18:10; Jer 29:8] Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.
2118 God's first commandment condemns the main sins of irreligion: tempting God, in words or deeds, sacrilege, and simony.
2119 Tempting God consists in putting his goodness and almighty power to the test by word or deed. Thus Satan tried to induce Jesus to throw himself down from the Temple and, by this gesture, force God to act. [Cf. Lk 4:9] Jesus opposed Satan with the word of God: "You shall not put the LORD your God to the test." [Deut 6:16] The challenge contained in such tempting of God wounds the respect and trust we owe our Creator and Lord. It always harbors doubt about his love, his providence, and his power. [Cf. 1 Cor 10:9; Ex 17:2-7; Ps 95:9] [394, 2088]
2120 Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us. [Cf. CIC, cann. 1367; 1376] 
2121 Simony is defined as the buying or selling of spiritual things. [Cf. Acts 8:9-24] To Simon the magician, who wanted to buy the spiritual power he saw at work in the apostles, St. Peter responded: "Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God's gift with money!" [Acts 8:20] Peter thus held to the words of Jesus: "You received without pay, give without pay." [Mt 10:8; cf. already Isa 55:1] It is impossible to appropriate to oneself spiritual goods and behave toward them as their owner or master, for they have their source in God. One can receive them only from him, without payment. 
2122 The minister should ask nothing for the administration of the sacraments beyond the offerings defined by the competent authority, always being careful that the needy are not deprived of the help of the sacraments because of their poverty." [CIC, can. 848] The competent authority determines these "offerings" in accordance with the principle that the Christian people ought to contribute to the support of the Church's ministers. "The laborer deserves his food." [Mt 10:10; cf. Lk 10:7; 2 Cor 9:5-18; 1 Tim 5:17-1857]
2123 "Many... of our contemporaries either do not at all perceive, or explicitly reject, this intimate and vital bond of man to God. Atheism must therefore be regarded as one of the most serious problems of our time." [GS 19 § 1] 
2124 The name "atheism" covers many very different phenomena. One common form is the practical materialism which restricts its needs and aspirations to space and time. Atheistic humanism falsely considers man to be "an end to himself, and the sole maker, with supreme control, of his own history." [GS 20 § 2] Another form of contemporary atheism looks for the liberation of man through economic and social liberation. "It holds that religion, of its very nature, thwarts such emancipation by raising man's hopes in a future life, thus both deceiving him and discouraging him from working for a better form of life on earth." [GS 20 § 2]
2125 Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion. [Cf. Rom 1:18] The imputability of this offense can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the circumstances. "Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion." [GS 19 § 3] 
2126 Atheism is often based on a false conception of human autonomy, exaggerated to the point of refusing any dependence on God. [Cf. GS 20 § 1] Yet, "to acknowledge God is in no way to oppose the dignity of man, since such dignity is grounded and brought to perfection in God...." [GS 21 § 3] "For the Church knows full well that her message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human heart." [GS 21 § 7] [396, 154]
2127 Agnosticism assumes a number of forms. In certain cases the agnostic refrains from denying God; instead he postulates the existence of a transcendent being which is incapable of revealing itself, and about which nothing can be said. In other cases, the agnostic makes no judgment about God's existence, declaring it impossible to prove, or even to affirm or deny. 
2128 Agnosticism can sometimes include a certain search for God, but it can equally express indifferentism, a flight from the ultimate question of existence, and a sluggish moral conscience. Agnosticism is all too often equivalent to practical atheism. 
"But Deliver Us From Evil"
2850 The last petition to our Father is also included in Jesus' prayer: "I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one." [Jn 17:15] It touches each of us personally, but it is always "we" who pray, in communion with the whole Church, for the deliverance of the whole human family. The Lord's Prayer continually opens us to the range of God's economy of salvation. Our interdependence in the drama of sin and death is turned into solidarity in the Body of Christ, the "communion of saints." [Cf. RP 16] 
2851 In this petition, evil is not an abstraction, but refers to a person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who "throws himself across" God's plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ. 
2852 "A murderer from the beginning,... a liar and the father of lies," Satan is "the deceiver of the whole world." [Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9] Through him sin and death entered the world and by his definitive defeat all creation will be "freed from the corruption of sin and death." [Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 125] Now "we know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one." [1 Jn 5:18-19]
The Lord who has taken away your sin and pardoned your faults also protects you and keeps you from the wiles of your adversary the devil, so that the enemy, who is accustomed to leading into sin, may not surprise you. One who entrusts himself to God does not dread the devil. "If God is for us, who is against us?" [St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 5, 4, 30: PL 16, 454; cf. Rom 8:31]
2853 Victory over the "prince of this world" [Jn 14:30] was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out." [Jn 12:31; Rev 12:10] "He pursued the woman" [Rev 12:13-16] but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring." [Rev 12:17] Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus," [Rev 22:17,20] since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One. [677, 490, 972]
2854 When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ's return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades," who "is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." [Rev 1:8,18; cf. Rev 1:4; Eph 1:10] 
Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. [Roman Missal, Embolism after the Lord's Prayer, 126: Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris, ut, ope misericordiae tuae adiuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi: expectantes beatam spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi] 
ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome
Satan's Strategy of Confusion (Part 1)
Interview With Father Mendoza Pantoja of Archdiocese of Mexico
MEXICO CITY, SEPT. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Satan exists and his strategy is to confuse, says the exorcist of the Archdiocese of Mexico.
Father Pedro Mendoza Pantoja was one of the organizers of Mexico's first National Meeting of Exorcists and Auxiliaries of Liberation, held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at the headquarters of the bishops' conference. The meeting drew 500 participants.
Father Mendoza Pantoja coordinates the work of eight exorcists, one for each of the territorial vicariates of that diocese. He spoke of his work with ZENIT. Part of this interview appears Friday.
Q: Who is an exorcist?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: He can be a bishop or a priest designated by him, who by the mandate of Jesus Christ and in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit recites a prayer in which, in an imperative way, in the case of diabolic possession, orders Satan to depart from the one possessed and leave him in total freedom, or in a deprecating form, that is, of intercession or supplication, asking that, by the precious blood of Christ and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, a person, place, house or object be liberated from every demonic influence, be it infestation, obsession or oppression.
Q: Can anyone be an exorcist?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: No. According to the Gospel, Christ enriched his apostles with charismatic gifts when he sent them to evangelize.
In Matthew 10:1 it says: "And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity." See also Matthew 16:17-18.
With that authority, it corresponds to bishops, successors of the apostles, to exercise this ministry of expelling demons. But, according to Canon 1172, they can designate, to exercise this ministry in a stable manner or for a special case, a "pious, learned, prudent priest with integrity of life." This is true for diabolic possessions and, therefore, for exorcism itself, also called solemn exorcism.
But every priest through his ordination participates in the priesthood of Christ and, with him, has the mission to liberate the faithful from all obsessions, oppressions or demonic influences, with deprecating prayers of intercession and supplication, with evangelization and administration of the sacraments, primarily penance and the Eucharist.
Similarly, all priests are exorcists in regard to the pastoral endeavor of liberation within their mission to evangelize, and this is true, by the command of Christ; he does not need to be designated to carry out so-called minor exorcism. Lay people cannot be exorcists.
Q: The meeting you organized also gathered "Auxiliaries of Liberation." Who are these persons and what do they do?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: Auxiliaries of Liberation are: priests who do not have the character of official exorcists; doctors; psychiatrists; religious; and lay people who help the exorcist priest in discernment or in the exercise of his ministry, either with prayer of intercession or in different eventualities.
Priests help with prayer of liberation and the laity with prayer of intercession. A priest who is not an official exorcist can carry out a minor exorcism, also called prayer of liberation, helped in turn by all the laity who support him in discernment and with prayers of intercession. The laity cannot recite prayers of liberation.
Q: If I am not mistaken, this was Mexico's first meeting of exorcists and one of the first of these characteristics in the world. It seems that in the last 40 years the figure of the exorcist was disappearing. Is this an impression that corresponds with reality?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: Indeed, it is. The causes are varied, but we could say that they are included in the great challenge that the second half of the last century presented to the Church in her task of evangelization.
In the first half, Satan attacked humanity in the field of ideas and thought: rationalism, materialism, Gnosticism, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, sectarianism, Socialism, Marxism-Leninism, etc., which separate man from God. On one hand, the negation of a personal God and also the negation of the existence of Satan as a personal being, exchanging the true God for an impersonal god that identifies itself with this material world and reducing Satan to a mere symbol.
Such an influence also infected our theologians, who in recent times no longer spoke of the devil or the angels.
But as a counterbalance, man felt nostalgia for God. His search for the supernatural, as a solution to the problems afflicting him because of his separation from God, made him fall into the clutches of the New Age, which with its deceitful spiritualities and fictitious magical and esoteric solutions has opened the doors to the manifestations of the devil in many persons who have fallen into New Age esoteric and magical practices.
For this reason, in the permanent mission of the New Evangelization the Church has found it necessary to revive something that she felt was of the past, but which is urgent in our times: to proclaim to those who have fallen away the redemption of Christ who came to liberate us from Satan's threats.
Q: It is said that in some countries the progress of Satanic sects has not been addressed adequately by the Church for lack of exorcists. Do you think there is some truth in this?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: The answer to this question is related to the previous one.
Indeed, our faithful and priests themselves have been engulfed in the sea of confusions to which the New Age leads us with its mixture of ideas, deceits and lies, manipulating Eastern spiritualities mixed with pantheism, as well as traditional medicines, which in themselves are a gift from God and have nothing diabolical, but whose efficacy is used by promoters of the New Age to give themselves credit and make one believe that everything they say is true.
It also took us bishops and priests by surprise, without knowing what to do or how to act in this sea of confusions. And some were filled with fear by the phenomenology presented in those affected by the devil. Or it led them to protect themselves in a crass skepticism in the face of these realities, attributing them to psychological problems or illnesses that are difficult to cure and so did not attend to them.
Moreover, seminaries have not given preparation to address these problems. For all these reasons, through meetings and congresses both at the national as well as the international level, we are seeking formation both for ourselves, the official exorcists, as well as for all priests and for the laity involved in the pastoral endeavor of liberation.
[Friday: Distinguishing real cases of possession]
Satan's Strategy of Confusion (Part 2)
Interview With Father Mendoza Pantoja of Archdiocese of Mexico
MEXICO CITY, SEPT. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Evaluating what are real cases of Satanic possession take serious discernment, says the exorcist of the Archdiocese of Mexico.
Father Pedro Mendoza Pantoja was one of the organizers of Mexico's first National Meeting of Exorcists and Auxiliaries of Liberation, held recently at the headquarters of the bishops' conference.
Father Mendoza Pantoja coordinates the work of eight exorcists in his archdiocese. He spoke of his work with ZENIT. Part 1 of this interview appeared Thursday.
Q: Many, perhaps even believers, deny that there can be people who are possessed by the devil. They think, rather, that it is a question of psychological or psychiatric problems. How does an exorcist distinguish between cases of possession and disturbances of another nature?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: Canon law and the new exorcisms ritual itself, as well as the Catechism of the universal Church, establish that, before carrying out a major exorcism, there must be discernment: whether it is a question of a real possession or a simple diabolical obsession or oppression, making use also of the previous advice of doctors and psychiatrists so that they can give their diagnosis, the priest always being the one who must ultimately decide because, in addition, the ritual of exorcisms indicates which are the signs that can tell us or lead us to suspect a real diabolical possession: to speak or understand unknown languages as if they were one's own; to reveal hidden or distant things; to manifest strength beyond one's age or physical condition, to vehemently separate oneself from God, aversion to the most holy name of Jesus, of the Virgin Mary, and of the saints, to sacred images, places and objects.
Q: For many people, however, these cases of diabolical possession seem rather like Hollywood film stories. It seems that the devil's strategy is to make one believe he does not exist. As an exorcist, do you think this is true?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: In fact, as I see it, Satan uses several strategies to separate us from God.
What the devil is interested in is to confuse us, either by making us believe that he does not exist and that, as he doesn't exist, neither do hell and heaven and so we need not be afraid of being far from God.
Moreover, he manifests himself instead with oppressions and obsessions to torment terribly those who have opened the doors to him, so that they will be afraid of him and not try to close the doors to him and trust him.
This is how we can explain Satanic worship and holy death to obtain power, his favor and protection. Satan is the father of lies and deceit.
Q: All ministries in the Church are a grace of God and a service to brothers. Do you yourself perceive the ministry of exorcist as a grace for your life?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: My whole life is a grace from God: my baptism the gift that makes me a child of God, member of the Church, and co-heir with Christ of his glory; the priestly ministry, the gift that enables me to participate in his redemption and his work of salvation and service to my brothers.
The ministry of exorcist is also a gift of his grace and mercy, which in my littleness, insignificance and limitations, enables me to experience, as his instrument, his liberating and salvific power in the service of my brothers, which encourages me and impels me to adhere to him ever more to participate in his victory and, with it, in his glory.
Q: What is the service of the exorcist to the Church and to your brothers like? In other words, is there a case you can tell us about in which your ministry of exorcist enabled you to experience in fullness your vocation as man and priest?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: There are many cases in which, practicing the prayer of liberation -- over the past 24 years, also when I was not yet an exorcist -- I have seen the power in which God makes us priests participants in the service of our suffering brothers. The therapy of faith with the prayer of healing, liberation, and forgiveness, with which one succeeds in something that is impossible and not within the reach of medical and psychological science.
Now, as an exorcist for the past six years, I have attended several cases of diabolical oppressions and obsessions. Tormented and already despairing people, who after having gone to all kinds of specialists, quacks and medicine men, have worsened their situation.
They think they are diabolically possessed and ask anxiously for exorcism. In some cases, there have been signs that have led me to suspect a diabolical presence or possession and, even without being certain, to carry out the so-called diagnostic exorcism, that is, imperative prayer, to succeed in making them enter a peace and tranquility without going so far as to have a full solemn exorcism, it being enough to continue with the prayer of liberation.
It has been a great satisfaction to succeed in the liberation of my brothers, through the service of my humble ministry, by the power of the prayer of intercession and to see the growth of their faith, thanks to an evangelization and catechesis that leads to their conversion, the renewal of their faith, and their fuller adherence to the Lord, and to see them continue their lives full of love and confidence in God.
Q: What should a person do who thinks he is a victim of diabolical possession or who knows someone who might be in that situation?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: He must go to his parish priest and make a good confession so that, in the first instance, that priest can take care of him.
If his parish priest discovers that there is a demonic influence but no signs of diabolical possession, he must pray with him supported by a liberation team and insert him in a group of evangelization or growth in the faith or in some parish ministry.
If the parish priest perceives signs that make him suspect a diabolical possession or does not feel able to address the problem, he must then be directed to the exorcist of his diocese or the nearest exorcist. He must never go to medicine men or make use of magical cures.