I can imagine the eyerolls this piece will be getting:
Having just read Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuers's new book, Exorcism and the Church Militant, one of the first things I asked him was whether he was afraid of demons. I shivered more than once reading through its short chapters, arranged as basic questions about the devil, demons, possession, and the rite of exorcism.
"Not at all," Father answered with a smile. "God has given me the grace to remain unafraid."
When I expressed my surprise, he explained, "Demons are basically handcuffed, and they know it."
Father Euteneuer does not speak as a theorist. Since 2003 he's had extensive experience ministering to those possessed by demons. His introduction to the demonic world happened when a family asked him for help for one of their members, and he eventually asked for permission to perform the rite of exorcism. He has been doing them ever since.
Exorcism and the Church Militant is intended, in part, as a warning to parents who allow their children to be desensitized to "the dark world" by books and films like the Harry Potter series and the vampire books of Stephanie Meyer. Father Euteneuer told me possession is almost always a result of someone getting involved in some sort of occult practices, such as witchcraft, Wicca, tarot cards, and Ouiji boards.
"Harry Potter and these Twilight vampires glamorize the power of evil," Father Eutenener explained, "and this has lead to many, many cases of possession among young people." It may begin with a child or teenager simply "playing around" with the occult, but that seemingly harmless act is "opening a window" to possession.
By the end of my interview with Father Euteneuer, I realized my initial question about being frightened of demons had betrayed my misunderstanding of the limits of demonic power. Exorcism and the Church Militant is a book that should provide guidance to many for years to come, especially for parents who need a reminder that the occult is not innocent entertainment.
Read the whole thing and ponder this. Are we too sophisticated to believe in demons and demonic possession? Have we no intellectual capacity for these things?
Would love to read your answers.
As an aside, Father Euteneuer is no quack:
Father Thomas J. Euteneuer was president of the pro-life organization Human Life International (HLI) from December 2000 until August 2010, when he was asked by his bishop to return to the Diocese of Palm Beach.
Euteneuer was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1962, the fourth of seven children born to Joseph and Mariann Euteneuer. He has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana as well as a Licentiate degree in Biblical Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He is fluent in Spanish.
While in college, Euteneuer participated in the Marine Corps Officer Candidate Program, attended boot camp at Quantico, Virginia, and graduated at the top of his company. Believing that the Lord was calling him to the priesthood rather than the military, he entered the seminary. After his ordination in 1988, Euteneuer served as a parish priest in five parishes of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, secretary to the diocesan bishop, director of vocations, and spiritual moderator for the diocesan Respect Life Office.
His pro-life activity began in the early years of his priesthood with prayer vigils, pilgrimages, pickets at abortion clinics, sidewalk counseling and the establishment of a crisis pregnancy center across the street from an abortion clinic in 1999.
Since taking office at HLI, Euteneuer has made many appearances on EWTN and other local, national and international media. He has been featured in Human Events and National Catholic Register and has recently been awarded the John Cardinal O'Connor Award for Life from Legatus.