|February 29, 2016 • VOL. 54, NO. 4 • Oakland, CA|
Influence of intelligent evil
growing in our culture
"Satan is a living creature," warns Rev. Gary Thomas. "Satan is the real deal, a liar, a deceiver."
In an exorcism "I'm always listening for that doorway." When Father Thomas finds the doorway, he usually can find a way to expel the demon.
Father Thomas is better known than most exorcists because he is the central figure in a book "The Rite: the Making of a Modern Exorcist." The book in turn became a major movie "The Rite" starring Anthony Hopkins.
Most bishops in California have designated an exorcist for their diocese. The Diocese of Oakland exorcist is Rev. Kenneth Nobrega.
Father Thomas spoke to the February Catholics@Work breakfast in Danville.
He warns that Satan is a real being, who has much greater intellect than any human.
"Once the greatest of God's angels, Lucifer rebelled against God's plan to release the Incarnate Son upon the human race. Lucifer's envy and jealousy led him to be the great tempter, the great deceiver, and liar."
As an exorcist Father Thomas cautions that discerning a troubled person's core problem is like a puzzle, because people suffer from a very wide range of problems.
"We are dealing with suffering people; there are an awful lot of desperate people."
So Father Thomas works with a diverse team of health care professionals, including a medical doctor and a clinical psychiatrist. He sometimes concludes that the root cause of a person's suffering is not possession by a demon and thus directs them to other solutions.
Father Thomas had been a priest 22 years when, planning a sabbatical in Rome, Bishop Joseph McGrath asked him to consider attending a program on exorcism. There he met author Matt Baglio who wrote the book, which was then made into the movie.
"The takeaway message is that it is very important to have a faith life, and if you have that faith life, it will only lead to good," concludes Father Thomas.
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