Archbishop tells student exorcists that humility defeats Satan
Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the Pope's vicar general for Vatican City said that priests performing exorcisms must use their power with great humility for it to effectively expel demons.
Zenit reports that Archbishp Comastri insisted that the power to exorcise is "real and must be taken seriously" and exorcists must avoid "hasty analyses or degenerating into magical arts of liberation".
The Archbishop was the key speaker at a four-month course titled "Exorcism and the Prayer of Deliverance", which was inaugurated last week.
"The devil exists, but omnipotent evil does not exist. There is only One who is infinite and he is infinitely good," said Archbishop Comastri.
"There can be no doubt of the devil's existence," he continued, addressing 120 students, priests and seminarians, as well as students from other cities worldwide via a teleconference link.
"More than in the lives of sinners, his existence is seen in the lives of saints," the prelate said. "Read the lives of the saints. All have had to combat the devil. Specifically, the devil's existence is seen in the life of Jesus Our Lord.
The vicar general explained that, although the work of salvation is a reality, the prince of this world "can still act because Christ's work of salvation has not yet been accomplished in our lives, called continually to decide for or against him."
"When freedom becomes a slave of Satan, man suffers grave wounds in his life," he added. That is why "Jesus gave his apostles the power to expel demons with the power of his redeeming blood, with the power of love that he introduced in history through his death on the cross."
In advocating humility, Archbishp Comastri referred to a dialogue that St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, said he had with the devil.
Vianney said: "I can do everything you do, I can also do your penances, I can imitate you in everything. There is one thing, however, that I cannot do, I cannot imitate you in humility."
The saint answered: "That's why I defeat you."
Humility Defeats Power of Devil, Says Vatican's Vicar (Zenit 16/10/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorium | Esorcismo e preghiera di liberazione: Corso teorico e pratico sul ministero dell'esorcistato per sacerdoti
Exorcists say real Satanic possession is rare (CathNews 18/2/05)
Rome's chief excorcist warns parents against Harry Potter (CathNews 4/1/02)
Pope has performed three exorcisms to ward off devil (CathNews 2/02)
19 Oct 2005