Church and non Church: spiritualistic seances
The answers to the questions are prepared by the theologian Monsignor Costantino Di Bruno, Central Assistant of the Apostolic Movement.
Q. God created us free to choose whether or not to listen to his word, and therefore follow his commandments. What is the relationship between the freedom that Christ has given to man and temptation, and between freedom and demonic possession?
A. Our freedom is that of doing the good. We must not confuse freedom and will. Freedom is the answer of your nature that lives according to the truth of your nature. When you carry out the truth of your nature you are free. For example, a sparrow is free when he can fly and when he flies, because that is its nature. An airplane is free when it soars through the skies, it cannot walk in the sea, it is not meant to sail the sea. A train is free if it goes on the tracks, on the rails, it cannot go on land because that is its nature. What did the Lord make you for? So that you always listened to his word. This is your freedom. However, the Lord made you not conditioned, not predetermined. He made you with a will, he gave you the will to receive his word or not to accept it, but he also said a holy truth to you: “If you receive my word you live your freedom, if you do not welcome my word you will not live your freedom, you are a slave.” You can find this speech in an admirable way in chapter eight of the Gospel of John. “If you listen to my words you will become my disciples, you know the truth and the truth will make your free.” Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Then you realize that your freedom is this force that drags you to respect your nature. That is what man does not understand today, that freedom is one thing and the will is another thing. There is no freedom in sin, and there is no freedom except in God, there is no freedom except in his own word: “You know my word and my word shall make you free.” You may want freedom or want slavery. This is a choice that God has placed in your hands. At the beginning of creation it began thus: “I set before you good and evil, you stretch out your hand wherever you want, but know that if you commit the evil I can no longer give you life, I give you life if you repent and come back.” That is why repentance and conversion are necessary to be able to return in freedom, otherwise we die in that slavery which then becomes eternal slavery. Place this principle in your heart, do not confuse freedom with will, with the ability man has to choose good and evil.
Q. In the gospel we often find that Jesus casts demons out. What does it mean that one is possessed by an unclean spirit? Do these things exist today?
A. Possession is a sure fact. At the time of Jesus redemption had not still been done. The devil cannot enter into a body which is given to the Holy Spirit, a body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. With baptism you are consecrated living temple of the Holy Spirit of the Lord, you are the body of Christ, and Satan has no longer power over you. When does Satan have power over you? When through your will you abandon Christ and hand yourself over to evil. When you fall into temptation. Even today you can be possessed by Satan, and many are possessed by Satan. But not through the ancient form, but through the modern form. Satan invades your thoughts, governs your thoughts, darkens your mind. But this is a result of sin, it is a result of the abandonment of God, of the denial of the Lord. If you deny the Lord you are not a neutral being, but you line up with the evil. You do not have the opportunity to be in a neutral place, either with God or with evil. Already, the moment you deny the Lord you passed to the side of evil. You have denied your God and Satan takes possession of your thoughts and leads you, guides you, gets you where you would not want. And this does not take place through those striking evangelical forms, because Satan changes methodology, today. Today he took possession of the thought, heart, feelings of many people, who no longer think according to the truth of God, but think according to evil, think according to darkness. Who will deliver us? An act of repentance, a good confession, the approach to the Eucharist, the sanctity of life, the spiritual advancement and walking in the virtues. All this allows you to not fall into the temptation and diabolical possession. Today the world is under the power of the devil because it no longer thinks according to Christ, no longer thinks according to truth. It thinks according to evil and proposed evil as a law of life. This is true demonic possession. One must distinguish an act of weakness, that can exist and it is understandable, but it is immediately necessary to return to grace, otherwise one abandons himself to evil and thoughts are altered. Satan does not want your body, what does he need your body for? He wants your thoughts, and this is the diabolic possession. Judas is not possessed by the devil. Jesus calls him devil: “Yet one of you is a devil” because his thoughts were diabolical, they were thoughts of betrayal of the Word of life, they were thoughts of selling Christ. Jesus calls Peter Satan, because he was a tempter. In scripture, the devil is the perverted angel and Judah was perverted in his nature. Satan is a tempter who still has not arrived to the extreme form of thinking and conceiving only evil. That is why he is still salvageable. You too can be invaded in your thoughts. Eve was not possessed she was invaded, Satan changed her thoughts. From the thoughts of God he put his thought, convinced Eve to leave God to follow his word.
Q. The exorcism occurs when the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Christ that a person or an object is protected against the power of the evil one. In what way can a person, and especially a place or an object, be influenced by the evil one, and how do we realize it?
A. The Church has the power to cast Satan away. She can cast him away from a heart, can cast him away from a place, can cast him away from a person, but she has no power to remove him from the mind, because your conversion is necessary. Satan can manifest himself in any way and wherever the Church were to be manifested, through her canonical forms, she can do the exorcism. If you see in the Gospel, Jesus did the exorcism. He did it with a single word. The Church exorcises the holy water, and exorcises the man possessed by the devil. The bishop can do the exorcism, but not all priests can do it, because you have to be authorized by the bishop. You can exorcise a place, a creature and a person. What we cannot do is change the thoughts. Jesus exorcised all the possessed but failed to exorcise Judah. God cannot take your thought away. He can remove Satan from your body but cannot deprive you of your thinking. It is you that must get converted and must deprive yourself of the evil thought. That is why, even if I removed the spirit I cannot change your thoughts, because you are the one to have to change them. The gospel begins with an act of conversion: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” It takes an act of will, we must personally want the conversion of heart and thoughts. For this reason, the grace of God, the prayer, the communion with the brothers that help you change your thoughts and the preaching; are necessary. Everything can help to change thoughts. But until we do not change a single thought, we are always under the influence of the devil, because the devil wants our thoughts.
Q. we often hear speaking of ghosts, of souls of the dead who remain in their homes. Can the souls of the dead remain among us and communicate with us without being invoked? Are these good or bad souls?
A. The souls of the dead can do what they want, in their freedom and with the permission of God. they can appear in a dream, make their presence be felt, ask you for some grace. But this is their problem. Our problem is that we cannot summon them. You can also pray for the souls of the dead, because the souls in purgatory are souls of righteous ones. The saint is not the soul of a dead person? Soon John Paul II, who died will be beatified; his body is in the grave, but his soul is in heaven and we can pray to it. You can always pray for the souls of the dead, but you cannot evoke them. If they come, the way in which they manifest themselves, you can have a relationship with them. This is not forbidden. It is not forbidden for you to be devout to the soul of your mother, your father, your brother, your sister who died. Then, if he asks you for a prayer you can do it. But you cannot evoke them, make them go up, because this is prohibited. Saul has the palmist evoke the soul of Samuel, and Samuel comes out, appears, speaks and tells the truth. But this is not pleasing to God, because you cannot do these things. The souls of the righteous can do great things for us: they can protect us, they can keep us, they can pray for us, you can invoke them. You can do whatever you want, but in the invisible and not visible form.
Q. How do we know if a thought, an action, a dialogue comes from the devil?
A. The first commandment says, “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other god before me.” My life is placed in the hands of God, so that I cannot look at another orientation for my life. However, I can ask for some advice on how to live my life well, how to live it better, how to respect the will of God on me. The moment I take life in my hands and I want to give it a direction serving myself of the occult world, doing things that displease the Lord, in this case I am tempted. This is a temptation. Jesus was tempted directly by the devil. In the first temptation Christ was asked to abolish his humanity. But can a man abolish his humanity that is sweat, it is hardship, it is hunger, it is thirst, it is suffering and it is difficulty even in procuring yourself bread? We cannot eliminate these difficulties, but we must live them. We cannot abolish our humanity. We must live it with love, in solidarity, in reciprocal communion, in commitment and in responsibility. Whoever comes to say to you that you can abolish your humanity, you can abolish the sweat to get yourself bread, know that this is tempting you. You fall into temptation, and the temptation does not produce any good. For example, in these days a financial crash happened at the expense of many savers who lost their money. Someone had promised them a 16-17% interest on their savings. But you already know that this is a temptation, because honestly no one can give you a similar return. You already know that this cannot be. If you are not with God, you do not see the truth, and you fall into temptation, and then you lose everything. All have lost everything because they have fallen into this temptation of easy, very easy money, and this is not possible. You want to abolish the law of your humanity, that money is earned by the sweat of your face, a sad, painful and ugly sweat. My father told me: “I have worked all my life honestly and managed to live day by day. If I had tried else I could have done it, but that was not the way of my life.” In the second temptation Satan proposes Christ to abolish history and create a Christian movement of miracles, attraction, a movement without conversion. But you cannot build the kingdom of God this way, you cannot do it for enthusiasm, born only thanks to miracles. The kingdom of God is announced preaching the gospel. This way you know what the will of God is and you never fall into temptation. If you do not know the will of God, let yourself be helped, let yourself be advised. Satan knows well how to sneak in your mind, in your heart, in your feelings, and he leads you to fall into death. He never creates life but death, for who falls into the temptation always goes towards his death. Satan is the father of death. You see that all those who fall into temptation they then fall into death and sometimes even the physical one. You can always overcome temptation if you know the word of the Lord.
Q. The evocation of the dead is not possible, because it is not pleasing to God. Can you explain me the difference between the vision of S. Paul, when he was abducted to the third heaven and saw things that cannot be repeated, and the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, when he sees Moses and Elijah?
A. For the transfiguration it is Christ who went into their world. Christ as man is transfigured, he assumed his eternal form and entered into the world of Elijah and into the world Moses. There is the divine with the divine and the celestial with the celestial, there. Christ is in the glory of Heaven at that moment, for that is a true theophany, a manifestation. Christ, removes the veil of the flesh, takes its divine essence; he manifests you a piece of heaven, and in this piece of heaven there is Elijah and Moses that appear, sent by the Father. The appearance in the scripture is always possible. The appearance comes from God. For example, how many times in scripture, is mentioned the angel that appears? But you are not the one seeking him, He is the one that appears to you. Even the devil comes to look for us, but we must never look for him. St. Paul went into the third heaven, which is the house of God. He was kidnapped to the third heaven, but in ecstasy, as if for a moment he had abandoned the humanity of his body, and had entered into heaven with the spirit. This is called ecstasy-enjoyment. The body does not go to heaven, it remains on earth; it is the spirit who is kidnapped. The world of the afterlife can always manifest itself to you and this belongs to the mystery of God: Joseph receives the angel’s visit, Mary received the angel’s visit, Peter was liberated by the Angels when he was in prison. It is the will of God that allows and wants. Job was tried by the devil, because the Lord allowed it. What must not be done is the evocation, the consultation and the request. Not even to an Angel of God you can make the request because the relationship must remain the order of the invisible. You can pray in the invisibility: “Angel of God, who are my guardian….”. I always pray to the soul of my mother to help me, comfort me and give me strength. I even remember my father in the prayer, and sometimes I also pray other dead and to whom I ask for something. They can help , sustain and support me. But it should never be done in the form of evocation because this does not belong to us, this is forever denied us. Our future is in God’s hands and it is in prayer that is raised to all of heaven.
Q. The apocryphal gospels that are so loved and famous among the young generation for they are considered very intriguing and with almost fairy-tale events, what kind of reliability and truthfulness have they for us Christians? Is it opportune for us to read them both, the canonical and apocryphal, or they have no relevance?
A. You have to erase the apocryphal gospel from your mind and heart. The gospel begins on the day of Jesus’ messianic consecration and ends on the day of his glorious ascension into heaven. Before there is no gospel and after there is no gospel. Of his first thirty years, except for the first and the second chapter of Matthew that tell us how Jesus was born and the first two chapters of Luke that give us some news of his childhood, we have eighteen years of absolute silence. This time cannot be for us in any case the gospel for a strong theological reason, because Christ had not yet been anointed Messiah of the Lord. He was consecrated on the day of baptism. It is at that moment that he is the Messiah of God. Before He is born as the Son of the Most High, he is incarnated in the womb of the Virgin Mary, he is made man, comes to dwell among us, will be the future Messiah; but he still is not the Messiah. He is Messiah on the day of his baptism, when with a free act of his humanity, with all his consciousness, he says to the Father: “Behold, I am ready to do your will.” And in that moment, after having come out of the water, the Spirit rests on him and the gospel starts for us. The Apocryphal have a good part of the first thirty years of Jesus’ life. If you read them there is a philosophy that is called “gnosis”, in them. These Gospels are written precisely to destroy the person and the figure of Christ, beyond the facts that they tell. Do not let yourselves be fooled. Why did the Church consider them apocryphal, non-canonical, not written according to the truth? Because she did not find in them her faith. The Church’s faith is not in the apocryphal gospels, Christ is not in them; of a false Christ it is spoken in them. All the news that they say do not interest us, they are not gospel for us. They are fantasies, they are philosophies, they are curiosity, they are the result of minds that do not love Christ. Have a clear concept, do not let yourselves be fooled. Always read the four Gospels that the Church declared to be canonical and go on, because the Lord is with you.
Q. In a house where a seance was made, can a spirit remain and uncommon things happen? The spirits of the dead are free, however, if you did not want, can they have anything to do with us?
A. They do not have the freedom to do whatever they want because their freedom is only conditioned by the will of God. But not even Satan can do what he wants, because he is also conditioned to respect the will of God. he cannot do what wants with you, he cannot tempt you as he pleases. Satan is obedient to God because he cannot go against his will. In the Gospel, who is the most obedient to the Lord? Satan. While men contradict, contrast and do not believe in Jesus, as soon as Satan receives an order he goes out, he goes away and disappears. When Jesus tells Satan to shut he shuts and cannot speak. He falls heavily, makes noise, he wishes he could stay, but he must obey. When Jesus met that man who had two thousand devils inside him, these asked him: “Can we go into the pigs?” Jesus granted their wish, otherwise they could not have under any circumstances enter the pigs to make them drown into the sea. Satan must always obey God, he cannot do whatever he wants. The church fathers say that Satan can bark but not bite, because he is chained. He does not have an absolute power over the creature, his is a power of seduction, of temptation and of persuasion to evil. The whole world of the unseen cannot do what it wants. Sometimes God can allow something so that you get converted, so that you think, so that you want to return to him, so that you do something, so that you get convinced that you cannot live as if He did not exist. But this is in the permission of God for the greater spiritual good. Why did the Father allow Christ to be tempted? To show us that temptation can be overcome. If Christ has overcome the temptation, you too can overcome it. Why did the Lord allow Job to be tempted? To let the whole world see that it is possible to remain faithful to God even when you lose everything. Job lost everything in one day, but he remained faithful to God. Then, you can remain faithful to God. Why was David tempted? To teach us all that fragility is not of the common people but it is also of the people that counts, that rules. Every one must always be careful. The fragility is of the pope, it is of the bishops, priests, deacons, religious men and women, of all. There is not one person in a protected state, in a kind of secure garden. Through the example of David we understand that Satan is always on the search of whom to tempt and that can fall. He who comes after David must understand that he cannot stay safe on his throne. In fact, Solomon that thought he was safe on the throne then he fell and fell badly. I, too, might be tempted, tomorrow, to do something not permitted. But, if this happens it does so that I remain humble, so that I convince myself that I cannot have certainty, so that I believe that it is possible to fall every day. St. Paul makes that beautiful recommendation, “Let who is standing be careful not to fall.” The Lord sometimes allows these things so that we are convinced that there is another way through which one has to live his life.
Q. How do we know when we are tempted by evil or put to the test by God?
A. The test is never for evil. The temptation is an explicit invitation to abandon the Lord. If my son dies, this is a test. In this state, how much do I love the Lord? Do I blame him? Do I accuse him? Do I reproach him? How much do I love the Lord? If I say: “Lord, you allowed this, may your will be done, so on earth as it is in heaven,” I go through the test. In all this Job did not sin, Scripture says, here is the test of Job. Job was not tempted, he was put to the test because Satan did no make him any proposal of evil. You develop a disease, it is a test. How much do you love the Lord in health and how much do you love him in sickness? How much do you love him in suffering, how much do you love him on the cross? Let us think about Jesus. The cross is not a temptation it is a test, and how much did He love us on the cross? He loved us unto death on a cross. The temptation is instead in the proposal: “Come down from the cross.” But Jesus knew that the kingdom of God is built on the cross and not coming down from it. And therefore, he did not come down from the cross, but stayed there.
D. Concerning the prayers for healing the body, I found on the internet the existence of the holy oil of the Infant Jesus of Prague. In the Church we can find practices that include the use of oil or of holy water, and so on. How to avoid that in carrying out these practices one falls into superstition?
R. Superstition is to give an absolute, magic power to what you do. You walk with a croissant and you think your life is saved by that croissant. Or you put a horseshoe on your door and you think that it protects you from who knows what. This is superstition, when you give something an absolute value. We have the anointing of the sick which is done with the oil. St. James says that it is not the oil that saves the sick. “You anoint him with oil”, but to save him it is “the prayer done with faith.” The prayer is a request to God. You ask God to save your brother, your father, your mother; though in the prayer you ask that the Father’s will be done. Now the Father can make the grace in a visible way: healing the sick; or in an invisible way: saving his soul. When Jesus stood before the paralytic lowered from the roof with ropes, he said to him: “Your sins are forgiven you”, I am saving your soul. Then the Pharisees began to speak evil of Christ accusing him of blasphemy and Jesus made also the other healing as a sign, the healing of the body. For Jesus Christ is the first healing is that of the soul, for saved the soul the whole body is saved. The Lord always gives you the grace, but he gives it to you according to the greatest need which that soul or that body needs. When you pray you always do it with this faith in your heart: “Father, if it is possible let this cup away from me, but your will be done.” The oil, the holy water, the water of Lourdes, or other signs that they exist, are good if they are signs of faith. When we turn to the Lord with faith, you can ask for healing through water that he himself has left in his benevolence, but if healing does not come we must accept his will, sure that it is the Lord the one who saves.
Directions for the preparation of the meeting given by Monsignor Costantino Di Bruno:
– Catechism of the C. C. – Sacramentals – from no. 1667 to no. 1679
– Cong. Doctrine of Faith: Letter to the Bishops on the rules on exorcism 24/09/1985 (PDF attached).
– Cong. Doctrine of faith: education about prayers for healing from God (PDF attached)
– Definition of exorcist (PDF attached)
– Exorcism of Leo XIII (PDF attached).