Large St. Benedict Cross, not the ordinary medal, but for our time, a larger seven-inch, well-made cross from Archbishop Philip Hannan's group, made in Italy, with a very substantial and holy feel as no piece of jewelry but a real tool of defense in your home! Bigger than the palm of your hand, it is nonetheless the official and sanctioned medal. Do we recommend it? We have them for our personal use, and hope everyone does the same at a time when sacramentals are so crucial as a household shield. CLICK HERE
NEW BOOK ON EXORCISM ASSERTS THAT POPE AND SEVERAL SAINTS APPEARED AT A RITUAL
A major new book describes an exorcism during which a number of holy figures -- including John Paul II -- allegedly appeared in apparition to assist in the deliverance.
The book, written by reporter Matt Baglio, of Rome, who has worked for the Associated Press, and published by Doubleday, asserts that in November of 2006 during the exorcism of a woman named Anna, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Gemma Galgani, and the late pontiff all came to help the priest in a particularly violent case apparently caused, according to another priest, by a satanic curse levied four generations before on the woman's family.
We submit it for your determination. It was an authorized exorcism and at one point, says Baglio, the woman suddenly turned, her eyes fixating on a wall. It was at this point that the evil spirit dwelling within her suddenly cried out, "No! The one in black is here, the jinx!" It was the demon's code word for St. Gemma. "And the little one from Albania!" roared the spirit in reference to Mother Teresa as the woman thrashed, resisting the rite.
"The demon let fly a string of blasphemies in a rage, then his voice took on a mocking childlike tone," writes Baglio. "To [Anna], lying on the table, the two figures appeared as if in a dream. Saint Gemma was dressed in her traditional black, and looked very much as she had in her twenties. Oddly, Mother Teresa also looked very young -- perhaps only twenty-five."
But the biggest stir came when the demon spotted another holy personage, this time a man, and cried, "Send him away, send him away!" With that, says Baglio, the woman suddenly sat upright, her arms extended in front of her as if pulled by an invisible force.
When the demon was commanded to say who it was who had just entered, it replied "Noooooo. Totus tuuuuuuus!" -- the expression made famous by John Paul II in reference to Mary and meaning that he was "totally" hers.
Knowing now who it was, the priest smiled and thanked the holy father as the demon shrieked ("Damn you! Get away from me!") at the Pope, who has also been cited by many who claim miraculous healings since his death in 2005.
Anna later testified that she watched in a dreamlike state as the great pontiff approached to thrice bless her forehead. He too appeared to be young -- no more than thirty -- and was dressed "all in white."
It is one of the accounts in The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, which details how a priest named Father Gary Thomas from Los Altos, California, took a new course on exorcism in Rome and was led to practice the rite of deliverance.
While the accounts of exorcism (which means to "bind with an oath" or "demand insistently") are gripping, the most important aspect of this book is what it points out about the rite itself -- and the desperate need for it in a Church that has largely and shockingly halted its use.
In fact, points out the book, there are dioceses that don't have a single priest assigned to exorcism, or where the bishop opposes its use, despite directives from Rome -- which sent a letter to every diocese in the autumn of 2004 -- starting with the U.S. -- asking each to appoint an official exorcist.
Unlike in the American Catholic Church, where exorcism is only talked about in hushed tones, exorcism is more accepted in Italy, says the book. There are now an estimated 500,000 people who see priests for deliverance each year in Italy (according to the Association of Italian Catholic Psychiatrists and Psychologists), while the rite of exorcism remains relatively rare in America (at least in Catholic settings) despite an upsurge in occult practices such as witchcraft, which is estimated to have increased from 8,000 members in 1990 to 800,000 in 2006, in part due to TV shows that glamorize witchery and the Harry Potter episodes, which exorcists say are demonic.
"For three centuries, the Latin Church has almost entirely abandoned the ministry of exorcism," the famous Rome exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, once complained.
There are countries -- Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, to name several -- without a single exorcist. Meanwhile, when a priest is assigned this duty, the cleric is often skeptical of possession or under the direction of psychologists (the majority of whom don't believe in demonic influence).
"Our brother priests who are charged with this delicate task are treated as though they are crazy, as fanatic," said Father Amorth. "Generally speaking they are scarcely even tolerated by the bishops who have appointed them." In the South, a bishop recently denied permission to a priest who wanted to exorcise a Jewish man, and has forbidden healing Masses -- becoming visibly angry when the exorcism request was made.
Such times! A crisis. The book even cites a case in which a nun was strongly taken over by an evil spirit -- screaming and flailing so fiercely that she threw herself to the floor, growling.
Fortunately, we have the Blessed Mother, and the sacraments. Many exorcists invoke Mary, and when they do, notes Baglio, "the demon is so terrified of her that he will never pronounce her name. He'll say 'that woman' or 'she destroys me.'" "The Marian prayer, especially the Rosary, is a very powerful weapon in the fight against Satan," explained one exorcist, Father Francesco Bamonte. "That is why Mary insists so much that we pray the Rosary; the Rosary is a prayer that really whips the demon into a frenzy."
As for the Host: when it was brought into one exorcism, the subject tried to throw herself out a window.
According to Baglio, the Blessed Mother also appeared in vision during that exorcism of Anna in 2006.
"All at once, the woman felt awash in an incredible feeling of love as the veiled figure of Mary appeared before her, wrapped in a gold-and-white veil that covered half her face," writes the author. "Watching in amazement as the figure approached, the woman [Anna] was even more surprised to see that Mary was gazing at her tearfully."
That caused the demon to erupt into a fit. For a moment, Anna snapped out of her trance. "A tear from Mary is all it took," she said, before lapsing back.
[resources: The Rite, Onward Catholic Soldier, and Catholic Warrior]
[see also: Michael Brown June retreat, Toronto: deliverance, spiritual protection]
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