ROME, OCT. 16, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The devil exists, but his power is not equal to God’s, assured the opening speaker of a course on exorcism and Satanism.
Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the Pope’s vicar general for Vatican City, inaugurated on Thursday the course “Exorcism and the Prayer of Deliverance,” offered by the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University and the Socioreligious Research and Information Group. The course runs until Feb. 9.
“The devil exists, but omnipotent evil does not exist. There is only One who is infinite and he is infinitely good,” stated 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 devil is a creature who was created good by God, but has become evil by rebelling against God. It is essential to remember this truth, not to trivialize the devil but to place him in the right context.”
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.”
According to the archbishop, “we make use of this power to expel the demons. This power is real and must be taken seriously, but it must be exercised with great humility, avoiding hasty analyses or degenerating into magical arts of liberation, remembering always that it is Jesus who liberates, through the power of prayer that arises from faith, and through the power of the sacraments of faith.”
The prelate referred to a dialogue that St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, said he had with the devil.
The latter 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,” continued the archbishop, “is the best bulwark against the devil and humility always ends in prayer and adoration. …
“[It is] a power that is obtained continuously from the cross, because the whole of salvation stems from that event of infinite love with which Jesus entered history as Savior.”
On the first day of the course, the doors were opened to journalists. One of them asked why evil exists.
Archbishop Comastri answered: “Pride is the root of all evil because pride separates [one] from God and, when one separates from God, all the other consequences ensue.
“On the cross, Jesus expressed an act opposed to Satan’s: an act of humility, of love.”