LEITE, Leonardo Delatorre 
LEITE, Leonardo Delatorre. Demonology analyzed from the perspective of the writings of Father Gabriele Amorth. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 05, Ed. 08, Vol. 05, pp. 119-145. August 2020. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access Link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/theology-en/demonology
Demonological studies are gaining increasing prominence in the field of catholic dogmatics, especially by the need for a theological knowledge closer to a worldview centered on the Sovereignty of God, Christology, and the foundations of Jesus’ redemptive work as savior. Father Amorth represents one of the leading authors of demonology, whose writings maintain a line of thought in line with the Sacred Scriptures and the tradition of the Church, always stressing the connection of demonological studies with the Redemptive work of Christ. Thus, the reflections left by Amorth represent an excellent introduction to the main themes concerning the various aspects and peculiarities of demonic actions, as well as the central problem referring to the relationship of demonology with spiritual theology. The main objective of the respective academic work was to establish a direct relationship of studies concerning the precepts of demonology with Christian spirituality through a bibliographic review of Father Amorth’s vast work. Moreover, it was emphasized the realization of a comparative approach of the priest’s writings with the main ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church and also with the systematic theology of St Thomas Aquina. The final lesson left by the established analyses is an important statement: There is no way to understand the Christian Redemption essentially without a basic knowledge of the vocation of the Church and of the faithful in the spiritual battle against the reality of demonic activities.
Keywords: Demonology, Christology, Redemption, Spirituality, Spiritual Battle.
The existence of the devil is seen as a truth and dogma of faith in Christian doctrine. Since the beginning of the development of systematic theology, discussions about angels and the spiritual world have been extremely eminent, contributing to the evolution of religious knowledge closer to the gospel message, the sacred scriptures and the Special Revelation of God.
Despite the theological importance of the subject in question, many christian thinkers are increasingly moving away from the established tradition of the existence of the devil and his ordinary and extraordinary actions. Thus, it is extremely necessary to rescue the elementary doctrines on the above-mentioned subject, and to this end, the Tomist perspective demonstrates a strategic character, because its content represents a true apologetics of the values and dogmas of Christianity.
In addition to the rescue of Tomist writings, contemporary demonology has as its great exponent Father Gabriele Amorth (1925-2016), whose works present a synthetic and concise explanation, in accordance with the systematic Catholic theology and the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquino, about the demonic nature. Father Amorth was a great priest of the Pia Sociedade de São Paulo, ordained in 1954 and appointed in 1986 as an exorcist of the Diocese of Rome. He is best known for being founder and honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists, and has been a noted member of the Pontifical International Marian Academy.
Father Gabriele has as its starting point the assumptions contained in the Theological Summa to promote an explanation about angels and demons. For this reason, the demonological writings of the priest in question represent a sure source of study for those seeking introductory contact with the theme, for the lessons left by him are supported by the Tomist philosophy and in the main ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church, such as: 4th Lateran Council, Council of Trent and First Vatican Council.
Amorth has always emphasized the study of demonology as an instrument not only aimed at the knowledge of the evil, but, above all, to nourish a spirit of perseverance and fortitude against evil. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that a better clarification about the nature of the evil one enables a deep understanding of Christ’s redentive work as well as of his offices as King, prophet, and priest.
2. THE EXISTENCE OF THE DEVIL
Now, based on the very clear witness of scripture, read in the light of Tradition, the Church has always believed in the existence of angels, spiritual creatures inferior to God, but superior to men. It is a truth of faith, explicitly defined by at least two ecumenical Councils: the IV of Lateran (DH 800), whose words were later repeated by Vatican I (DH 3002).
The existence of demons has always been a dogma attenuated and confirmed in the main ecumenical councils of the Church. Therefore, historical dogmatic theology is categorical in the statement that the devil exists and acts continuously in the world. Father José Antonio Sayés Bermejo, one of today’s great theologians, develops apologetic positions to support the aforementioned statement, establishing three criteria: a) multiple attestation; b) the question of discontinuity: the people of Israel had a burning desire for a political Messiah, who would deliver him from the tyranny of the Roman Empire, but breaking this expectation, Jesus preaches the Kingdom of Heaven, and c) the identity of Jesus. The multiple attestation consists of the numerous references in the Gospels that present a narrative of Jesus’ clashes with the Devil as well as many passages from the New Testament about Satan.
The term Satan occurs thirty-four times in the New Testament. Half of these terms are found in the Gospels and Acts, and half in the Epistles and in Revelation. All references, except six, are “Satan.” Satan’s other names in the New Testament include the accuser (Ap 12.10); the opponent (1 Peter 5.8); Apoliom (Ap 9.11); Beelzebub (Mt 12.24); Belial (2 Co 6.15); the dragon (…); the god of this century (2 Co 4.4); the prince of the air powers (Eph 2.2); the prince of this world (John 12:31); the serpent (Rev 20:2) and the tempter (Mt. 4:3). (BEEKE, 2018, p.27-28)
The criterion of discontinuity is related to Jesus’ concern for the Kingdom of Heaven and not with properly political and ideological issues. Thus, Christ demonstrated that his enemy was not Caesar, but Satan and the demons. Joachim Jeremiah, a Protestant exegete, is incisive in stating that Jesus’ temptations in the desert tended to political messianism, that is, in reducing the redemptive and saving sphere of the work of the Son of God to the aspect of social and power disputes existing at the time.
The first, which proposes to turn stones into loaves, can be interpreted as an attempt to induce the Lord Jesus to be the “new Moses”, freeing the people as Moses freed the people of Egypt; the second, how to receive the kingdoms of the world to rule; the third, how to become a kind of “superman”, performing something fantastic and then be followed by everyone. All political temptations. This kind of seduction purred Jesus throughout his ministry, but He always resisted, presenting the Kingdom of Heaven as a spiritual reality. Therefore, his enemy was Satan and his demons, not Caesar. 
The criterion of Jesus’ identity consists in the recognition of his redemptive work. God’s reign is intrinsically related to the fight against the Devil, for Christ came into the world to break the slavery caused by sin. This reality is so clear in the New Testament that if withdrawn, the classical theological conception of Christology itself loses meaning and dogmas related to justification are impaired. For this reason, the so-called “demythologization” of the Gospel promoted by Rudolf Bultmann is a true denial of the Christian faith. The Christian worldview is categorical in stating that Jesus fought Satan and his demons. As Father Mazzali (2017, p.19) points out, the New Testament constantly tells us about the reality of the Devil and demons and seeks to show how Christ’s redemptive work has as its finalistic aspect the destruction of demonic works. Therefore, it is not possible to understand the saving work of Jesus Christ without considering the existence of the Devil and his demons.
Christian theology understands that the meaning of teaching about the existence of the devil is to reveal that humanity is in a history of salvation and condemnation. The presence of the figure of Satan, while tempting, is a constant warning and warning that sin is a possibility and that eternal damnation is not merely a distant hypothesis. Understanding the assumptions of demonology implies a more structural knowledge about historical theology as well as the relationship between God’s providence and human freedom. On the subject, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger comments:
The spiritual struggle against the enslaving powers, the exorcism of a demon-deluded world, belongs inseparably to the spiritual path of Jesus and to the centre of his mission and his disciples’ mission. The figure of Jesus, his spiritual physiognomy, does not change, whether the sun rotates around the earth, whether the earth around the sun, whether the world has formed by evolution or not; but it changes decisively if we remove the struggle with the tried power of the demon kingdom. (RATZINGER, 1981, p.160)
“It is not possible to understand the work of redemption (for which Jesus Christ redeemed humanity) unless he recognizes satan’s work of disaggregation” (AMORTH, 2013, p.19). Therefore, the existence of the devil has a central aspect for structuring the Christian worldview, especially for a correct understanding of the assumptions and nuances of Christology.
3. THE NATURE OF SATAN AND DEMONS
According to Christian theological doctrine, Satan is an angel and therefore a purely spiritual being. It was created by God and possessed a great splendor, occupying a high position in the angelic hierarchy. This position is affirmed by St. Thomas Aquina and taken up by Gabriele Amorth.
Satan is a good created angel, but who rebelled against God and turned away from Him … In a sense, the devil became an Anti-God, the one who fights the Lord’s plans because he rebelled first, repudiated the obedience and design God had upon him. As has been said, Satan is a fallen angel and therefore, like angels, is pure spirit. Therefore, without having a body, if they want to present themselves, they need to assume a visible and sensitive form, appropriate to the perception of man (…). (AMORTH, 2013. p.16-17).
The teachings of Father Gabriele Amorth are in accordance with the determinations of the Fourth Lateran Council and the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, the content of which states ” As purely spiritual creatures, they are endowed with intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures. They perfectly overcome all visible creatures.” (330). According to St. Thomas, these spiritual beings are not limited by time or space, but their actions are restricted to a place or person. Thus “it is by applying angelic power to a place, in a way, that it is said that the angel is in a corporeal place” (cf. q. 52, a. 1) (TOMAS DE AQUINO, 2005, p. 263).
St Thomas points out that God created the angels, but they did not contemplate Him directly. Later, God revealed himself indirectly and gave them a choice of perfect love and unity. Some chose loving union with the Creator and were eventually admitted to the presence of the Most Omnipotent. From then on, they began to contemplate the beatific and sanctifying vision of God and lost their freedom, since they were irrevocably drawn to Him, the High Good, Creator of all things.
Although it is not possible to fully know what the proof of angels was, it is certain that some of them refused obedience to God, transgressing their orders and consuming essentially spiritual sins, that is, they gave themselves to the sins of pride and envy. Pride is the main sin, the essence of which consists in wanting to be equal to God, not by nature, but by similarity, that is, Satan desired to be God from his own nature, without the support and dependence of the gift of supernatural grace, longing for self-satisfaction and turning his back on the true High Good, God.
St Thomas stresses that the number of angels who fell was smaller than those who remained faithful to the Creator. Therefore, the beatific angelic reality is much greater than the diabolical one. For this reason, Christian hope must not show terror and dread in the face of the evil one. Tomist theology also highlights the existence of a hierarchy of importance among demons. On this subject, Father Amorth (2013, p.21-22) states that demons are true servants of the Evil One: angels who followed him in his fall from paradise and subjected themselves to his designs. Thus, it is possible to glimpse a certain hierarchy between them, however this hierarchical structure is based on fear and oppression, and not by love, as is the case in the angels who remained in paradise.
In question number 64, article 1 of the Theological Suma, St Thomas discusses Satan’s intellect. The author will state that the intelligence of the evil one is obscured, being able to know things in a natural way, since the knowledge of the revealed truths was denied to the demon. Moreover, the diabolical legion is deprived of God’s effective and sanctifying grace. ” [satanás]he does not see God face to face, and therefore the access he possesses is restricted only to what was revealed to him before sin or to what he received from the angels .”.
It is worth mentioning that, according to Christian spirituality, Satan is intelligent, but not wise, since he is not intellectually obsessed in the full sense of the word, that is, he does not make a commitment to the contemplation of truth, but only to the degradation of Christian witness. Despite the full mercy of the Most Holy Creator, Satan’s will is obstinate in evil, and therefore there is no repentance for him. For St Thomas, Origen’s perspective on the universal restoration is completely misguided and far removed from the elementary doctrines of the Gospel. “to God’s mercy frees penitents from sin. But to those unable to do penance, who adher to evil in an immutable way, divine mercy does not set them free.” (TOMÁS DE AQUINO, 2005, p.262)
Article 3 of question number 64 of Theological Suma comments on the pain that exists in demons. Basically, the devil suffers when he has his will contradicted. On the subject, Aquino comments:
While passions, fear, joy, pain and similar acts cannot exist in demons, for they are proper to sensory appetite, which is a faculty that supposes a bodily organ (…) It is known that demons would want many things that exist not to exist, and that there were many things that do not exist, because, envious, they would want the condemnation of those who have been saved. Hence it must be said that they have pain, because it is the reason of the penalty to be contrary to the will. Moreover, if demons are deprived of the natural happiness they may desire, and in many of them, their sinful will is inhibited. (TOMÁS DE AQUINO, 2005, p.263)
The invocation of the Holy Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the liberating blood of Christ and the name of the Blessed Virgin are unbearable ideas to the devil, as St Thomas, Father Amorth and venerable Fulton Sheen point out.
The observations pointed out in this chapter correspond to a theoretical description of the general aspects of demonic nature, mainly according to the writings of St Thomas Aquino and Father Gabriele Amorth. The next topics will deal properly with the action of demons on men.
4. THE NATURE OF DEMONIC ACTION
Demonic action, according to the common understanding of systematic theology, is classified as ordinary and extraordinary action. However, before discussing this subject properly, a better explanation and understanding of the preliminary questions about the action of the devil is necessary, such as: “What is the nature of the action of Satan and his servants?”, “Why is the action of the devil so strong against men?” and “What should be done to be spiritually ready to fight the devil every day?”.
Father Gabriele Amorth was categorical in the statement that before understanding Satan’s action it is necessary to have in mind that the devil presents an immense force. The immensity of this power is attested even in the Holy Scriptures, when Christ calls him the “prince of this world” and St. Paul “the god of this world.” St. John says, “The whole world lies under the power of the evil one.”
Thus, everyone suffers from diabolical actions. Not even Jesus Christ was immune to Satan’s action. However, the human being is free to resist the demonic insidias and God, in His merciful providence, never allows us to be affected by temptations greater than our strengths.
Man possesses the sense of good and evil, and has the strength to resist the seductions of Satan, who always uses a very sneaky method; as St. Peter says, in fact, walks around all creatures trying to devour them, seeking their weak point which, in general, is one of three fundamental vices: pride, which is the desire to win, to become great and powerful; wealth, the seat of money, for with money one can reach everywhere; vice, in its multiple forms, since the human being has the tendency to seek pleasure, especially the forbidden, who are against the Father. (AMORTH, 2018, p. 15)
In addition to the spiritual remedies for combating the Evil One that will be mentioned later, man has a support based on the General Revelation of God, that is, human beings present the discernment of good and evil printed in their hearts. Saint Thomas uses the term “natural law” to designate himself to this impression. For the Doctor of the Church, the natural law would be the “participation of eternal law in the rational creature”, the content of which allows man to discern the natural good of what is explicitly reprehensible in the moral sphere.
Satan’s action is so strong against man for it is grounded in the pride of the demon amalgamated with the power and greatness preserved by the fallen angels. Satan has become the created being who most manifests and feeds a nefarious hatred toward God; “he puts all his intelligence, his strength and his power in this anger to tell the Lord and tempts man to push him to do evil. He wants to take us from the Father (….)” (AMORTH, 2018, p.16).
The goal of the devil is to make man depart from his greater purpose and primordial vocation: affective union with God. Thus, such importance of demonology that in a speech by Paul VI in 1972, on the occasion of Wednesday’s Audience, when the popes seek to transmit their teachings to the faithful, began his great discourse in this way: “Do not marvel if I say to you that one of the greatest needs of the Church is to warn against that terrible danger represented by Satan.” However, still, many theologians seek to mitigate and even disregard demonic action on men. Certainly, the dangers of modernity favor satan’s works and the expansion of his bookie reign. Father Amorth explains that the postmodern worldview facilitates diabolical action in its task of fomenting lies and shaking the primordial and basic truths of the Gospel. Occultism, materialism, naturalism, nihilism and idolatry are structural postures of postmodernism that ultimately drive man away from God and trivialize the existence of the devil and his activities.
Nowadays, we come to the paradox of people who do not believe, or who claim not to believe in God, but pursue the astral references or useless illusions and also seek to fight evil influences. The percentage of people who depend on irrationality is increasing and one could say paralyzing. Providence no, the horoscope yes; not the Church, the witch does. Satan’s first victory is to convince with perhaps pseudocultural pretexts that he does not exist or, at most, is just a agitated puppet to cause fear in evil children; but on the other hand, it would be too comfortable to unload all evil on the Devil, as to present ourselves, almost without any effort, with a very clean conscience. (MAZZALI, 2017, p.21)
Father Amorth will claim that unbelief is a source of superstition and idolatry. Hence the reason for the paradox presented by the above-mentioned quotation. As much as the modern world has stated its commitment to the precepts of scientificism and pure rationality, superstition is growing more and more. St Augustine already pointed out that the “infinite existential emptiness” of the human heart cannot be filled with finite things and pleasures, but only with loving union with Christ, whose infinity of mercy and goodness sustains all created reality. If we are not in a relationship of intimacy with God, idolatry occupies the center of the heart and will, subjecting man to a “false notion of happiness.” This is the great asset of the devil, since from idolatry, the practices of occultism and superstition gain strength. “Behold, when one no longer believes in the Almighty, one falls into superstition, idolatry” (AMORTH, 2018, p.35).
As already noted, it is worth noting that another misguided stance of postmodernism consists in underestimating or denying the presence of Satan’s action in the general and personal history of men. This mentality is the result of materialism and a worldview based on moral relativism. “We cannot deny the reality of Hell and the devil. Those who do not believe in the existence of the evil one fall into the traps prepared by him’ (AMORTH, 2018, p.46).
After discussing the nature of demonic action in general, Father Amorth briefly explains about the methods and means to win the spiritual battle. Basically, three are the main methods: prayer, instruction, sacraments. “This is the power that makes us overcome Satan and the temptations that come from the world: fidelity to prayer, the sacraments, to Christian education . . ” (AMORTH, 2018, p.31). Another necessary aspect to be taken into consideration in the defense against the devil is intercession and three are the major intercessors: the Holy Spirit, the name of Jesus and Mary Most Holy. In the dogmatic conception, Mary’s importance in the fight against the devil stems not only from the fact that she is mother of the Redeemer, but also a collaborator in Her Redemptive work, being popularly represented in the act of crushing the head of the serpent.
The invocation of St Michael the Archangel, St Benedict, St Anthony, St Mary of Jesus Crucified, St Catherine of Siena and St Gemma Galgani is also extremely useful. All these saints faced the devil. St. Benedict was a monk who showed great strength against the Devil. Saint Anthony the Hermit was one of the great Fathers of the Desert and suffered strong pressures from diabolical obsessions.
It should be noted, however, that the greatest fear should not be in relation to the devil. At this point, the central idea of J’s “The Hobbit”.R.R Tolkien summarizes, in a synthetic and enlightening way, what is indeed necessary to fight the evil. In the film adaptation of the book, the character Galadriel asks the magician Gandalf why he chose such a simple and common individual for a decisive adventure against the reign and oppression of evil forces. He replies, “Saruman believes that only a great power can keep evil in control, but it’s not what I’ve discovered. I have found that it is the little things, the daily tasks of ordinary people that keep evil away, simple actions of kindness and love.” Continuing this line of thought, it is important to draw a parallel with the thoughts of St Teresa of Lisieux: “Do not miss an opportunity to make a small sacrifice. A smile here; a kind word there. Always doing small acts of kindness; and always doing everything for love.”
I understand now that perfect charity consists in enduring the faults of others, not to be surprised by their weaknesses, to build up to the smallest acts of virtue that they practice, but above all I have understood that charity should not be closed in the depths of my heart. No one, Jesus said, lights a lamp to put it under the table, but on the chandelier, so that it may enlighten all who are at home. It seems to me that this lamp represents the charity that should illuminate, rejoice, not only those who are most dear to me, but all those who are at home.
Victory against the devil consists of charity, in brotherly love. Performing small acts of virtue in view of the High Good is true practical piety. Humility amalgamated with magnanimity is the way to holiness. Therefore, anyone who thinks that spiritual battle is only won with power, pride, or even great deeds follows a misguided line about what would be authentic spiritual life and victory over Satan. An example of charity and humility in this constant struggle is St Michael the Archangel.
In fact, it is commonly accepted doctrine that angels are distributed in three hierarchies: supreme, medium and tiny, each of which is divided into three orders, thus totaling nine angelic choirs, whose names are clearly mentioned in Scripture. They are, in descending order: serafins, cherubim and thrones; dominations, virtues and powers, principalities, archangels and angels. In the heavenly hierarchy, therefore, St Michael belongs to the choir of archangels, the second class of the lower order, for being the farthest from God and, at the same time, the closest to men (…).
St. Michael the Archangel, even though he belonged to one of the lowest orders in the angelic hierarchy, managed to defeat Satan and his demons, as informed in biblical tradition. “God resists the proud, but gives his grace to the humble” (Pr 3:34; cf. Tg 4, 6). The main greatness of St. Michael lies, therefore, in his smallness, in his humility, in his submission the will of God, in his obedience. Therefore, we must imitate these characteristics so that we are not deceived by the insidias of the devil, the flesh, and the world.
Finally, after a brief introductory exposition on the nature of demonic action, it is necessary to address in more depth the types and categories of this action as well as the peculiarities of each one. Basically, the devil’s actions are: temptation, vexation, infestation, obsession, and possession.
Temptation is the ordinary action of the devil. Although possession is popularly considered one of the most harmful demonic activities, temptation is the most dangerous and most important and, for this reason, needs further explanation. St. Thomas Aquina in section I, question 114, Article 2 of the Theological Suma states that Satan “always tries to harm, impelling to sin.” So it’s proper for the Devil to try man, it’s his job.
The fight against temptation is daily, daily. St Thomas seeks to emphasize this important lesson by quoting two verses from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians:
Put on the armor of God so that you may resist the wickedness of the devil. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities, the Powers, against the dominators of this dark world, against the evil spirits scattered in the air. (6, 11-12).
It is worth noting that not all temptations come from the devil. Catholic spiritual theology lists two other enemies of the Christian, besides the devil, they are: the world and the flesh. The Council of Trent already emphasized this truth by stating “knowing that they have been regenerated in the hope of glory, they must fear for the battle that remains against the flesh, against the world, against the devil, from which winners cannot come out, unless they obey, with the grace of God, the words of the Apostle.” (DH 1541).
In biblical theology, the flesh, man’s first enemy, refers to the internal disorder that exists in every human being due to original sin. It is the tendency to depravity and transgression of God’s Law. It originates from original sin and gains strength from the personal sins of everyday life. On the subject, St. Thomas (AQUINO, 2002, p.263) comments that the devil is not the immediate cause of all sin, since some transgressions are committed by the freedom of man’s agency and by the corruption of the flesh.
The second enemy of the Christian is the world, understood as the worldview of rejection of the elementary dogmas of faith, whose purpose is to make man distance himself from God. Materialism, naturalism, nihilism, hedonism and individualism are some of the central mentalities that form the worldview of the “world” in the biblical sense. The third enemy, finally, is the devil.
It is important to emphasize that the temptation that comes from the devil presents a psychology, a way of happening with stages and progressions. If the person does not present the natural law well developed and does not count on the help of divine grace, it falls very easily into the insidias of the evil one, and often the stages of temptation do not occur, for the evil one does not need much effort and invested to induce it to error. For virtuous individuals, the Devil follows a whole cautious and meticulous “procedure”.
According to Father Antônio Royo Marín, the first stage is the approach of the devil. The second is the demon’s attack. It is important to say that Satan is a great observer and uses the information gained through observation to consummate temptation. Although they do not have direct access to men’s thoughts, diabolical beings analyze people’s daily lives and attitudes, and then attack them in their weaknesses. Having information about the individual’s life, the demon insinuates the person to begin the dialogue in his mind about the idea presented to him.
The third step corresponds to the person’s response to the suggestion received. The Devil wants to establish a conversation with the person and aims to make him/her show doubts about his moral convictions. The fourth phase, the proposal of sin, always comes followed by a lie, a fallacy related to spiritual life, the character of God and the happiness that comes from virtuous life, that is, the devil presents a false proposal of happiness.
The fifth stage, the wavering, is a venial sin, because the person already sees himself committing sin and contemplates this hypothesis, tasting it mentally. Next comes consent, that is, the consummation of the sinful act. Finally, the stage of repentance, which is not at all evil, reveals to the sinful man that he has broken with his vocation to holiness and affective union with God; reinforcing the immediate need for contrition and forgiveness.
Father Gabriele Amorth stresses all the above-mentioned aspects. According to him, temptation is Satan’s most used method of diverting man from his noble vocation.
What interests the devil most is undoubtedly to make man fall into sin, and distance him from God; he wants instead of to go to Paradise, he will go down with him to Hell. That’s what drives him in the first place. The other things, for him, are secondary; however, as we said before, it tries, taking into account the weaknesses of each one, attacking precisely there, in the weak points. It starts with the little things, makes evil seem like a good, as a gain, as a way of acquiring knowledge that we did not have before (…) happens often. People feel invited to do evil as if it were good; perhaps it is a very common action that, little by little, gives in and then becomes an addiction, a habit. So you seek a thousand justifications, but you no longer think about the essentials, that is, that thing is contrary to the law of the Lord. One completely loses the sense of God and no longer believes in Him. (AMORTH, 2018, p. 54-55)
Father Amorth also points out that resisting temptation is a great achievement on the road to holiness and that, in the midst of the arduous context of trials, we must never lose confidence in God’s mercy. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, Satan’s power is not infinite, since he is nothing but a creature. Thus, although his performance in the world is strong and based on an immense hatred against God, Satan is not able to prevent the building of the Kingdom of God. Another important point lies in the fact that divine permission from diabolical activity is a mystery, but the faithful must never lose hope, since everything contributes to the good of those who love God.
In this sense, St Thomas Aquinos writes: “It is to make our merits greater, our virtues are purer and higher, the faster our way to him, that God allows the devil to tempt us and put us to the test” (BAMONTE, 2007, p. 35) (cf. Commento alla lettera agli abrei). St. John Chrysostom summarizes in a synthetic, accurate and enlightening way on the subject:
If you are asked why God let the Devil survive after his rebellion, answer: God has let him subsist so that, far from doing evil to attentive and vigilant men, the Devil may become useful to them. Not certainly because of his will, which is perverse, but thanks to the courageous resistance of those who make his malice become to his advantage. (BAMONTE, 2007, p.35)
Padre Fortea (2010, p.45) stresses the importance of will in the hard fight against temptations. The determination of the will and its direction towards the High Well amalgamated with the help of divine grace represent the secret to victory over the evil one. The devil may even try to introduce harmful thoughts, images or memories, but he cannot get into the heart of human will. Therefore, although the temptation of demonic origin may afflict men, it is not able to force one to commit even the least of the venomous sins.
Theologian Joel Beeke lists several of Satan’s tricks to destroy the faith, faithfulness, and testimony of Christians. The main ones are:
Satan is a master in suggesting that we believe what we want to believe, rather than believing in the truth … Satan offers the bait of pleasure that hides the hook from sin … Satan presents sin as if it were a virtue. It minimizes sin to keep the sinner prisoner. Pride becomes self-esteem, greed becomes ambition, and drinking becomes communion (…) Satan encourages us to make friends with worldly people. He knows that association generates assimilation and thus seduces us to sin through friendship with ungodly people (…) Satan presents unconverted people as people who have many external advantages and few sorrows, and believers as possessors of few external mercies and many sorrows. In this way, Satan tries to convince us that serving God is in vain … Satan minimizes the seriousness of sin, and then leads us to even greater sins. Sin plagues us, moving from thoughts to eyes … Satan makes us focus on how difficult it is to practice spiritual disciplines … Satan afflicts our minds with vain thoughts to distract us from seeking God through spiritual disciplines (….) (BEEKE, 2018, p.103-112).
The important thing to stand out is that combat takes place in the field of ideas, since evil angels act in order to tilt the human will towards sin, since they are not able to coerce the will of men. Father Amorth is categorical in stating that one of the greatest temptations is to foster the human heart to nurture a mistrust of God’s mercy. We must keep in mind that God is willing to forgive sins as long as we truly seek repentance and contrition.
The fight against temptation consists of three phases: before, during and after. In the first phase, the remedy is simple “Vigilance and prayer”. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught, “Watch and pray that ye will not enter into temptation.” (Mt 26, 41). Vigilance is an attitude of constant attention to the victory achieved on the Cross by the Immolated Lamb for his elected children. The blood of Christ has an effect of deliverance from the bonds and bondage of sin. However, Satan does his best to allow souls to lose perseverance and to depart from what was conquered on the Cross by Christ.
Vigilance is always attentive to the occasions of sin, alerting our awareness of the most opportune moments for demonic attacks. On this subject, Father Amorth (2018, p. 59) comments that it is necessary to be very careful and prudent, especially in the daily choices concerning the habits of company, shows we watch, the use of television and the internet, among others.
The fight against idleness is one of the great manifestations of a vigilant posture. Another necessary point is prayer, for it is a posture of those who truly nourish fraternal love. Sin harms man in his physical and spiritual life, nourishing in the human heart a disordered love of himself, that is, it ends up promoting pure selfishness. Prayer, on the other hand, is a way of recognizing the dependence on God and his blessings, recognizing personal weaknesses and the need for a subjection to the perfection, glory, and Holiness of Christ. For this reason, prayer is necessary, for no one can fully overcome temptations without the help of divine effective grace.
Father Amorth stresses that God has given two great aid in the battle against demonic insidias and sin: the Virgin Mary and the Guardian Angel. The Virgin Mary, symbol of great humility, is completely opposed to the sins of pride and pride so striking in demons. Already, the Guardian Angels move and incline the human will to truly want God, potentiating our own understanding; often excite in our souls holy thoughts and increasing the current graces.
(…) Even if no one helps us, Our Lord and Our Lady follow us and are close and it is to them that we must turn. No one is alone, because we all have God. (…) Then we must pray. In this way we will feel the Creator who speaks to us … we must turn to the Lord, who never leaves us. He is always present and accompanied by Mary, our Guardian Angel and the saints, especially our onomástico. (AMORTH, 2018, p.57-58)
During temptation, there are two forms of resistance: direct and indirect. Direct resistance is nothing more than acting against, that is, when you realize that you are being tempted to act in a certain way, you turn in the opposite direction. Therefore, if a person is being tempted by avarice, he must give a handout and quickly become fond of the virtue of liberality. However, lust and unbelief are sins, whose temptations should not be resisted directly, but indirectly. The Holy Fathers explain that in the fight against lust, demons present a strong ally: the body, which has a tendency to lust. Therefore, the best way to fight in this case is simply by running away from carnaus seductions.
The demonic temptation of lust occurs when the person is suddenly assaulted by sexual and carnaus thoughts. In a concrete way, the ideal is always to use the very faculties of memory and imagination to escape from lustful thoughts, taking thought to practical, everyday and work aspects. The anxiety generated by temptation can lead to discouragement, despair, and forsay from pursuing holiness. However, we should never give in to anxiety, but only to rest in the hands of Divine Providence.
The temptation won, as St Thomas Aquina emphasizes, is an occasion of merit before God, for it represents a true proof of love. The third stage of temptation presents three possibilities: one has overcome temptation, fallen into it, or was in doubt whether or not he has fallen. If he won, he must always thank God and never fall into the sin of boasting that he was victorious only by his own strength. When one has fallen into temptation, he must make sin a true lesson of holiness, humble himself and be ashamed of the lack practiced. If sin was mortal, it must quickly realize an effective confession and repentance. If failure represents a venial sin, one can do an act of perfect contrition, nurturing effective resolutions of no longer transgressing God’s law.
If it was in doubt whether it fell into temptation, the important thing is to perform a meditation and an examination of conscience, it is better to wait until you recover from the attack to assess categorically whether the fault actually occurred.
As already pointed out, not all temptations come from the devil. Some come from the flesh and the world, however, if we know how to overcome the most varied temptations, we will surely emerge victorious in the most diverse spiritual battles, because everything that defends us from sin protects us from the invisible enemy. Therefore, it is important to mention practical tips to overcome the temptations coming from the flesh and the world. They are:
- To be mortified in the lawful things;
- To be fond of the Cross and suffering;
- Fervently combat idleness;
- To flee from the occasions of sin;
- Meditate on the dignity of the Christian and the vocation to holiness;
- Remember hell and the possibility of eternal punishment;
- Continually remember the Passion of Christ;
- Pray with perseverance and true humility;
- Frequency in the Sacraments;
- True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
Despite the variety of demonic temptations and insidias and flesh, the most dangerous are to make God secondary and superfluous in man’s life. On the subject, Joseph Ratzinger (2007, p. 41-42) comments that the central aspect of all temptation consists in the attempt and the attacks to put God aside, that is, to promote a marginalization of spiritual practices. The constant desire to build the autonomous world without God is the greatest temptation and therefore one of the most serious.
In addition to contempt for the spiritual world, another great temptation is the non-recognition of one’s own faults. The non-recognition of one’s own sin prevents the feeling of guilt from which real repentance proceeds. Venerable Fulton Sheen establishes that this lack of knowledge about himself and his limitations is a cause of great satisfaction for the devil. Therefore, great attention is needed for the above-mentioned aspects.
To conclude the considerations about temptation, it is worth mentioning the phrases of Winston Churchill in his renowned speeches, which although they do not directly reconsider the spiritual battle, contain precious lessons for The School of Holiness: “The lesson is this: never give up, never, never, never, never. Nothing at all. Big or small, important or not. Never give up. Never surrender by force, never surrender to the seemingly overwhelming power of the enemy”/ “All great things are simple. And many can be expressed in one word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; pity; hope.” As Venerable Fulton Sheen points out, it is the small daily struggles that reveal the moral character of the person, his willingness to constantly practice the virtues as well as the intensity of his charity. Therefore, the small day-to-day battles are the most important and should never be underestimated in the fight against temptations.
4.2 INFESTATION AND VEXATION
Infestation or whistling is an extraordinary action of the devil that basically consists in the use of inanimate or animal nature to plague and oppress man, subjecting him to fear, emotional instability and even despair. According to Father José António Sayés, “diabolical infestation is a disease that the Devil develops in inanimate nature (or animal) to harm man with it” (SAYÉS, 1999, p.153). On the subject, Father Amorth writes:
The burning, on the other hand, is another term I use, reserving it exclusively to houses, objects and animals. We have examples since the days of patristic, with Origen, of exorcisms effected not only to free man, but also places, objects and animals. The Gospel presents us with the example of that possessed of Gerasa; through his mouth, the devil asks the Lord to transfer to a herd of pigs and effectively enters these animals, which certainly, at that moment, are demonised. (AMORTH, 2013, p.29)
The infestation can be of two types: local – when the diabolical action affects places or houses- and personal- when demons seek to systematically exert a disease, physical and even psychic harm to man. Father Amorth is categorical in saying that most of the cases he has attended are not of possession, but of personal infestation. There are several signs of infestation, such as:
(…) rumors or blows on the ceiling or at home on the floor or on the walls, on the doors, or on windows or furniture, hail of stones, which fall like nothing on the ceiling or also in the house; rumors of invisible steps; sounds such as gunshots or explosions or ribombos; great rumor of chains and hardware; mysterious voices or else howls, laughter, noises; very strange sounds and songs, day and/or night; disappearance of objects that are either no longer found, or are found in the most unthinkable points of the house; improvised and very extensive odors of burning or dung, or sulphur, or carnal, or incense; unforeseen blows in environments completely free of air current; doors and windows that open and close simultaneously, windows that also break all at the same time; (…) unexplained expenses in the appliances, lighting and repayment of lamps without having touched the switches (…) various appearances of shadows or of deformed persons or beings (…) other objects of the house are hurled violently through the room, as a concrete sign of threat to the residents. (BAMONTE, 2007, p.72-74)
Father Amorth points out that it is very laborious to resolve cases of infestation, as it requires great efforts. Blessing all the places of the property with holy water and incense, prayers of deliverance and exorcism, as well as the use of sacraments (blessing of oil, salt and holy water) are great tools for combating infestations.
(…) I must say that to free a house infested by the devil takes time and work; it is necessary to go often, repeat the ritual and bless all the places with holy water and incense – also the latter is very effective. With these elements and with prayer of exorcism adapted to the house, different from that reserved for people, it is possible to obtain good results (…) Then he goes on like this: “Lord, we ask thy mercy to bless and sanctify; that all those who drink it have the health of the mind and body, and that any evil influence that is upon them be cast out.” (AMORTH, 2018, p.82-84)
On the subject, Father Fortea (2010, p. 2019) comments on the priest’s obligation to encourage the family to pray constantly, pray the rosary, read the Bible united and gather before a sacred image and perform pleas of protection and prayers of deliverance.
Infestation often happens from objects that, in a way, can cause “malaise”. Most often, non-sacred objects, funestos and even “idols” are liable to greater harm. Ideally, you always get rid of these suspicious objects as soon as possible.
Father Amorth stresses that infestations are rare phenomena and, for this reason, exorcists need the support of psychiatrists to ascertain whether the person suffering from the supposed “infestation” is affected by pathological disorders or psychological ills.
Vexation is one of the devil’s other extraordinary actions and consists of physical aggression snares on the initiative of demonic angels, such as cuts, burns, scratches, bites, blows that leave large marks, swellings and, at worst, fractures. “Vexations can also be considered those incarcerated, insistent and inexplicable persecutions under the human profile, which demons raise against a correct person on behalf of others” (BAMONTE, 2007, p.80).
Vexation also affects a person’s affections through constant humiliation, as Father Amorth points out. A remarkable biblical character who suffered from the extraordinary action in question was Job. About this, Amorth discusses:
He is already wounded in his affections: he receives the news of the sudden death of all ten of his children; he is wounded in his possessions: very rich, he suddenly becomes pauperrimo; is wounded in health: it was healthy and is covered with wounds, from head to toe; however, it is not demonic, there is no presence of the Devil in him. (…) I know many cases of people who are injured in affections: they do not find a wife or husband, they break up marriages and engagements for no reason; or even, people struck in their goods: for example, industrialists who suddenly make huge mistakes, of such a size that fall into misery, or who without reason stay on the street, as well as many cases of merchants and artisans, whose very well-routed establishments are no longer visited by anyone (…). (AMORTH, 2013, p. 27-28)
In addition, several saints were affected by diabolical vexations. Certainly, Santa Gemma Galgani was the saint, whose intense experiences with vexations most caused sequelae and illnesses.
It is worth mentioning that it is only possible to unequivocally attest that this is a vexation through exorcism. For the liberation of this harm, Amorth stresses the need for collaboration, since the affected person must abstain and move away from dangerous practices. It is then necessary to evaluate the spiritual aspect, such as evaluations concerning prayer practices, participation in the sacraments, virtuous life and the exercise of charity. Confession is therefore recommended, going to Mass, comdonting and celebrating Eucharistic Adoration, praying the rosary, holding prayers like the Lord’s Prayer and constantly meditating on the truths of the Gospel. Most people suffering from vexation disorders just need to re-find faith.
However, when we see devout people and even saints suffering from such disturbances, it is feasible to hold exorcism sessions. However, some saints are affected by vexations by Divine Providence, but offer, in a great act of love, their sufferings to God, for the conversion of sinners. Amorth (2018, p.76) comments that sometimes the Lord allows someone to be afflicted pro demonic direct vexations of the Devil without there being any serious failure or mortal sin on the part of the affected person.
Finally, three are the causes of vexations and infestations: divine permission, the evil understood as an act of doing harm to a person using a demonic being and an explicit request that manifests itself from the covenant with Satan, which leads to demonic dependence.
4.3 OBSESSION AND POSSESSION
Obsession refers to an extraordinary action of the devil, whose primordial aspect consists in subjecting the person to obsessive, harmful, funes and content that desist from holiness and infusas virtues. Father Amorth defines this extraordinary action:
Obsession occurs when a person is affected by obsessive, invincible thoughts, from which he cannot, at all, free himself or deviate and which lead him to despair and, in extreme cases, suicide. Unfortunately, the latter is one of the results that the devil proposes to obtain as a destroyer, also in other forms, but especially in cases of obsession, in which the person is often driven to despair and, therefore, to the desire or attempt to take his own life. (AMORTH, 2013, p. 29)
Obsession is not confused with temptation, because the former is stronger, more sensitive, clear and unambiguous than the second. In temptation, one is never sure that he is facing an action of the devil, yet the same does not occur in obsession, whose demonic action is perceptible, with no room for doubt. Obsessions generally affect more holy people.
The difference between temptation and obsession consists in the fact that the second is clearer than the first. Therefore, comparatively, it is possible to say that the nature of obsession is closer to temptation than to possession, because both aim to lead the person to sin, but he remains free. (…) Obsession is something typical of the Saints (…) Obsessions that these great saints have suffered – with divine permission – but that somehow help to show their great worth and merit.
Obsession can be internal or external. The first type affects the higher powers, especially the imagination. The demon does not have direct access to will and intelligence, but seeks to reach them through the most peripheral faculties of the soul that are in contact with the body, such as fantasy and memory. Thus, attacks often involve obscene images, foolish sexual temptations, and disgust for divine things. The external obsession consists in the insidias of the evil one in promoting terror to the external senses. In it, the person can be attacked by pleasant diabolical visions and apparitions (in the sense of attracting the will to sin) or repugnant (with the intention of frightening the soul). Santa Gemma Galgani, Santo Antão, Santa Catarina de Sena and São João Maria Vianney suffered immensely from this type of satanic onslaught.
Divine permission, the devil’s envy towards the children of God, and the recklessness of the obsessed person are some explanatory causes about this extraordinary action.
The origin of obsession, in the first place, as has been said, is divine permission, since Satan possesses no power ordinarily. As in the Book of Job, in which the devil asks God’s permission to test it and God grants it. Second, it is the fact that the devil is jealous of God’s children. And demonic psychology teaches that they will never see God, as a man he is called, called by God to his presence. That’s intolerable to him. Likewise, the Hail Mary is a terrible weapon against satanic action because it does not bear to know that Mary, little creature is “full of grace”, while he, angel of light, is in disgrace. Envy is manifest and unquenchable. The third cause may be the recklessness of the obsessed person. She may have provoked or underestimated satanic action, which a humble person would never do.
The natural predisposition of the obsessed is another major factor, that is, extremely sensitive and prone to hallucinations tend to suffer the impacts of temptations as obsessions. Thus, ordinary attacks are felt as if they were extraordinary, since the person already presented psychological frailties. However, much caution and prudence are necessary to distinguish cases of obsession from hysteria and psychoses.
Holy water, St. Benedict’s medals, medals from Our Lady, exorcised salt and water and bentos are excellent instruments in combating obsessions. Small exorcisms and prayers of deliverance are also of great help, however, they must be done discreetly, with devotion and humility.
Finally, the last extraordinary action consists of possession. Father Fortea defines it as follows:
Possession is the phenomenon by which an evil spirit resides in a body and at certain times can speak and move through that same body, without the person being able to avoid it. The spirit of evil does not reside in the soul, remaining free and incapable of being possessed. Only the body is susceptible to possession. (FORTEA, 2010, p.145)
Therefore, possession does not completely exclude human freedom, which is preserved by God, nor does it represent the most effective means of the devil to drive away the souls of the Creator, since temptation means man’s consent in the practice of sin. Father António Royo Marín teaches, in his work “Teología de la Perfección Cristiana”, that there are four points necessary to clarify the phenomenon of possession. They are:
- Existence of possession: There are a remarkable amount of reports in Scripture about the cases of possession and deliverance by Christ. Moreover, there are several descriptions of the saints who faced this phenomenon. Considering that Jesus would never err on matters as serious as the action of the devil and also bearing in mind the inerrancy of scripture in spiritual content, possession is a reality in Christian spiritual theology.
- Nature of possession: In it, the Demon has an act from within, that is, concentrates its action on the victim’s body. Therefore, one should not think that Satan and his angels are trapped in a place, since they are purely spiritual, and only their actions boil down to one place. They are characteristic of this extraordinary phenomenon: the presence of the devil in the victim’s body and his despotic empire on it.
- Signs of demonic possession: Father Antonio Marin lists some signs that evidence the phenomenon in question, such as- speaking strange languages, knowledge of unknown facts, sansonism and strength over human. However, none of the evidence mentioned here does not constitute concrete evidence, as they can occur merely by natural phenomena. It takes a lot of prudence to determine decisively the occurrence of possession. Therefore, prudence should guide discernment, and the first explanations should take into account natural factors as well as clarifications and scientific hypotheses. Father Amorth (2004, p.98-99) stresses the need to require a medical opinion so that the priest can conduct a careful reading of clinical reports.
- The cause of diabolical possessions: They are – a request of the victim himself, a sin of the victim and divine providence. Ultimately, all causes refer to The Sovereignty of God. Demons can’t do everything they want, they’re overwhelmed by divine power.
Father Amorth, in addition to stressing all the above elements, emphasizes another striking feature of possession, namely: the temporary loss of personal identity. In cases of possession, exorcism is necessary. Exorcism is nothing more than a sacramental, a prayer that has as a teleological aspect to call on the devil to be expelled from a possessed person. The code of canon law states that no one can legitimately exorcise the possessed, except with the express license of the Ordinary of the place, that is, such license must be delegated and granted to a pious, humble, prudent and devout priest. The exorcism is final proof to ascertain possession.
Father Amorth stresses some central points to be taken into consideration about exorcism, such as: the exorcist acts in the name of Jesus Christ; the strength of the exorcist is united with the authority he has received from the Church; the invocation of the name of John Paul II is of great help in the realization of exorcisms and, finally, the need for the person affected by possessions to ask god’s forgiveness was shown to be involved with occultism, witchcraft and esotterism.
The primary conclusion of the demonological writings is the fact that the exercises of practical piety and charity are the true remedies against demonic action. As Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out:
The mystery of iniquity is inserted in the fundamental Christian perspective, that is, from the perspective of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and victory over the power of evil. In this perspective, the Christian’s freedom and his quiet confidence that rejects fear takes its full dimension: truth excludes fear, thus allowing him to know the power of the Evil One. (RATZINGER, 1981, p. 160)
Finally, Amorth stresses that the central means of fighting and overcoming possessions lie in four practices: prayer, fasting, faith and full trust in Christ’s mercy. “For if this Lord is mighty, as I see and know he is, and if demons are his slaves (and of this there is no doubt, for he is of faith), being I the serva of this Lord and King, what harm can they do unto me?” (TERESA DE JESUS, 1986, p.2005).
Trust in God’s Providence, humility, and perseverance in the exercise of Christ’s commandments and counsel are indispensable for a spiritual life centered on holiness, understood as a true remedy against the influence of the demon’s temptations and extraordinary actions. A virtuous life close to God’s effective grace categorically drives away demonic actions.
5. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS
The study of diabolical actions is extremely necessary for the promotion of a Christian worldview closer to the primordial and founding elements of the Sacred Scriptures, as well as to the presuppositions of the Church’s tradition. A correct understanding of the nature of the devil and his actions favors a broader view of dogmatic theology, especially Christology. Recognizing the role and purpose of Christ’s work implies recognizing his struggle against Satan. Thus, demonology is of great value to the strengthening of Christian hope by fostering a correct understanding of Christ’s redemptive work and his victory over and slavery of sin.
In this sense, Father Amorth contributed immensely to the spirituality of Christianity, stressing the eminence of demonological studies and synthesizing the content derived from his experiences with releases of vexations, obsessions and possessions. Amorth’s writings follow the doctrinal line of patristics, the studies of St Thomas Aquina and the ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church, such as: 4th Lateran Council, Council of Trent, First Vatican Council and Second Vatican Council. Moreover, the works developed by the Italian exorcist and priest are of great value to all those who seek a panoramic introduction on demonology, diabolical actions, possessions and liberation.
Father Amorth was always categorical in affirming the importance of a Christological worldview in spiritual battles. In the end, the study of demons should strengthen hope in Christ’s victory and in his redemptive work, whose content and effectiveness have dismembered Satan’s power.
Therefore, the dogmas of faith concerning the existence of demons and their actions on men must be interpreted from the redemptive work of Jesus, so that the faith of the faithful in The Providence of God and in his infinite mercy may be renewed and strengthened by the hope of eternal life and the consolations of the merits of Christ. This is the great purpose of Father Amorth’s writings on demonology.
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AQUINO, Tomás de. Suma Teológica. São Paulo: Ed. Loyola, 2005. Volume 2.
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AZEVEDO JÚNIOR, Paulo Ricardo. A existência do demônio. Disponível: https://padrepauloricardo.org/aulas/a-existencia-do-demonio.
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FORTEA, Jose Antonio. Summa Daemoniaca. São Paulo: Palavra & Prece, 2010.
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RATZINGER, Joseph. “Despedida do Diabo?” In: Revista de Cultura Bíblica. São Paulo: Loyola, 1981. Ano 24, v.5, n.17 e 18, p.160.
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APPENDIX – FOOTNOTE REFERENCES
2. AZEVEDO JÚNIOR, Paulo Ricardo. São Miguel, príncipe da humildade. Disponível em: https://padrepauloricardo.org/aulas/sao-miguel-principe-da-humildade. Acessado em 07/06/2020.
3. AZEVEDO JÚNIOR, Paulo Ricardo. A existência do demônio. Disponível: https://padrepauloricardo.org/aulas/a-existencia-do-demonio. Acessado em 07/06/2020.
4. Catecismo da Igreja Católica, Edição revisada de acordo com o texto oficial em latim, 9ª edição.
5. AZEVEDO JÚNIOR, Paulo Ricardo. A reflexão de Santo Tomás de Aquino sobre a ação demoníaca. Disponível em: https://padrepauloricardo.org/aulas/o-doutor-angelico-e-sua-importante-reflexao-sobre-a-acao-demoniaca. Acessado em 08/06/2020.
6. SANTA TERESINHA DO MENINO JESUS. História de uma alma: Manuscritos autobiográficos. São Paulo: Editora Loyola, 1996.
7. AZEVEDO JÚNIOR, Paulo Ricardo. São Miguel, príncipe da humildade. Disponível em: https://padrepauloricardo.org/aulas/sao-miguel-principe-da-humildade. Acessado em: 11/06/2020.
8. Catecismo da Igreja Católica, Edição revisada de acordo com o texto oficial em latim, 9ª edição. São Paulo: Editora Loyola
9. AZEVEDO JÚNIOR, Paulo Ricardo. A obsessão demoníaca e suas formas. Disponível em: https://padrepauloricardo.org/aulas/a-obsessao-e-suas-formas. Acessado em: 16/06/2020
Graduated in Law and History from Mackenzie Presbyterian University. PIBIC-CNPq Scholarship Holder. Member of the research group “Religion, Memory and Culture” of CEFT (Center for Education, Philosophy and Theology) of Mackenzie University/SP.
Sent: June, 2020.
Approved: August, 2020.