This page is dedicated to all the lost souls entrapped by Satan's Pomp in Freemasonry - the authentic Temple, Church, and Synagogue of Satan.
By, John Cornwell
By, John Cornwell
A scholarly-looking man with silver hair met me at the porter's lodge. He wished to remain anonymous, so I shall call him Father Stephen. He was dressed in black and I guessed that he was in his sixties. He looked highly intelligent and alert; but he moved slowly, as if in delicate health.
He led me upstairs to a spacious room, bleak and bereft of creature comforts. There was a desk near the windows, which had been thrown wide open to the raw autumnal evening air. There was a black crucifix on the wall and an icon of Our Lady of Pity. The only cheerful feature was a bookcase filled with scholarly editions. His breviary lay open on the table.
The priest was a mild-mannered and quietly spoken. He asked me to sit down opposite him. He had agreed to answer my questions in a formal interview, but he warned me that he might not be able to talk about specific cases or persons.
He started by saying that there had been a renewed interest in possession and exorcism, partly as a result of a resurgence of Pentecostalism in the Churchs. 'People are rediscovering the long neglected gifts of the Holy Spirit. They are fascinated by the idea of being able to exercise the charism of discernment of good and evil; but most of them are out of their depth and they are hooked on the idea of the power that's involved'.
'But is Satan a reality, as a person?' I asked.
'Yes,' said the priest quietly. 'St Ignatius calls him "the enemy of human nature". Scripture presents him as a personal being, without a body, but with intelligence and freedom. But we mustn't make the mistake of thinking of him as someone capable of confronting God as an equal.'
'But don't the majority of Christians in the twentieth century play down the idea of Satan?' I said. 'People don't really believe in him any more than they believe in Santa Claus.' Even as I said it, I was conscious of being crass.
The priest was gazing patiently into his lap. 'It would be a great mistake to dismiss Satan,' he murmured. 'You should remember that Christ encountered him in the wilderness at the very beginning of his public life. We find it easy to accept the presence of evil in the world. We see it all around us. Evil phenomena are not entirely the work of Satan. There is the sense of natural evil we find everywhere in nature - genetic handicaps, cancer, droughts, earthquakes, pain - these are privations off good which are part of the mystery of God's creation. We recognize as Christians that nature is fallen, and we human beings have shared in that fall. But there is also the evil that is caused by deliberate acts of will, by individuals and groups of individuals. Satan was the first to establish injustice in creation, by his pride and disobedience, and we humans are similarly capable of evil by free and responsible acts of wickedness. Personal, responsible evil is an inward closing of our will against God, like a closed fist. It is saying no to God.'
'But do we ever sense Satan's presence? How do we tell whether Satan is actually present, in possession of a human being?' I asked.
The priest was leaning forward intently. He was silent for a few moments, as if trying to control my impatience.
One tends to gather confidence in one's diagnosis in retrospect, where ritual has succeeded after medical means have failed.'
'Tell me about that,' I said.
'There is exorcism, of course, and then there is deliverance. In exorcism we address the Devil in person so as to force him to leave a situation or release a person who is in his power. Exorcism often involves a direct address of Satan or an evil spirit, and the exorcist may even attempt to encourage the Devil to reveal his identity. In the rite of deviverance on the other hand we call upon Christ or God to order the Devil to depart. Deliverance is much more common; and although the presence of a priest is not necessarily required, it is better that it should be done with the knowledge of the local bishop and in the presence of a priest. Exorcism is very rare indeed, and ideally should involve two exorcists working together at the specific request of the bishop. There are certain dangers for exorcists.' As if by way of an afterthought he added: '... and also for those who are engaged in deliverance.'
'Is there a danger than an exorcist can become possessed himself?'
The priest smiled. 'You don't catch the Devil in the same way you catch flu,' he said. 'Possession is a state of affairs that develops in stages, and a person's will is involved. The possesed person had invited the evil spirit in. You have to distinguish between temptation, which can amount to an obsession with demonic interference, and demonic oppression, which often comes in the form of dreams. In both these latter cases a person should still be capable of praying on his own behalf for deliverance. But possession is different; this state is brought about by that person's deliberate courting of the powers of darkness, and the commmon circumstance in which this happens is membership of or contact with Satanist groups.'
'Can you describe, Father, some of the common characterics of possesson?'
'I have to repeat the reservations I made earlier,' he said evenly. 'Any of the symptoms of oppression or possession may just as well be the result of psychosis, depression or auto-suggestion, but the symptoms are cumulative. They would include a hatred of the sacred - including holy objects, or reading matter, prayers and even the mere presence of Christians. Constant fear, paranoia, restlessness, lying, foul language and obscene and murderous thoughts. Possessed people often give wway to cursing, violence, unbridled lust. They cannot go into church without vomiting and laughing and jeering out loud. They are prone to frightening grimaces, cramps and wasting of the body; raving, screaming, unnatural voices, the speaking of unknown languages, the display of incredible strength and rage in the presence of an exorcist; clairvoyance, psychic and poltergeist activity in the immediate vicinity; visions of abhorrent and threatening figures. When all these things come together in a unique circumstance, and when medical help has repeatedly failed, we would be advised to consider deliverance, and exorcism.'
'From what you say, Father, the practice of Satanism is to be taken seriously.'
'It's a bit like drugs,' said the priest. 'You start by experimenting, and in the end it controls you.
Before I left the priest handed me a prayer-card. 'Keep this by you,' he said. 'It's known as the breastplate of St Patrick.'
As I stood to go, he took me by the forearms and to my astonishment began to recite the prayer over me. As he did so my blood ran cold:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,John Cornwell
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friends and stranger.