MADRID, Spain, MAY 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- God is greater than “Satan’s vehement irruption,” said Benedict XVI in his general audience, something of which exorcists are well aware.
In the following interview with Father José Antonio Fortea, priest of the Diocese of Alcala de Henares in Madrid, an experienced exorcist comments on the reality of the devil in modern life. Father Fortea recently wrote a book entitled “Summa Daemoniaca.”
Q: What is Satan’s greatest triumph?
Father Fortea: To make us believe that he doesn’t exist. Indeed, after the 60s, many theologians said he was a symbol, and this has been a great success because, of course, all the ministry of exorcism disappeared from Europe almost totally. Only in Rome did it remain in a continuous, and even daily, manner.
Q: What has this attitude caused?
Father Fortea: It has done us much harm. People no longer trust in the Word of God as perfect authority in which there is no room for error. They are saying: “We don’t know what is symbol and what is reality.” But the topic of the devil, who was the first to be swept away by the most modernist theology, is one of the ones recovering the most because the reality prevails.
Q: Does the tempter always tempt?
Father Fortea: The devil tempts, but not always, only sometimes. He is not always by our side, although he can tempt to very evil and demonic things. For example, in the flesh. In it we see symbolized many sins that come from our own person. Above all, what are most striking are the sins of lust, as they are the one’s the human being falls into most easily and are the ones with the least malice; they are, rather, of weakness. This type of sin opens the door to worse sins, and so we go descending step by step if we don’t change our ways.
Q: Do the faithful of your parish know about exorcisms?
Father Fortea: It is one of my greatest joys. I think it is the only parish in the world in which very many of the faithful, from 18 to 70 years old, take part weekly in exorcisms. It is perhaps the only one in the world in which they are known both by the mayor and the police. If they hear shouting they don’t come in because they know what is going on there.
Q: However, generally speaking, in the rest of the world exorcism continues to be a spectacle.
Father Fortea: The lack of information is the taboo that has been created around this. The devil knows it well. The less that is know about him, or of the work of the Church against him, the better. But, of course, it is what interests him. What I am interested in is that his plans be uncovered. Above all, an exorcist must know that the devil exists and that the possibility of exorcism exists.