Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Have No Fear: The Life Of Pope John Paul II

The plot of the film begins with the pope's visit to Jerusalem, a stop on his 91st trip abroad, which occurred between 20 March and 26 March, 2000.

At the Western Wall, he asked God to forgive the sins of the church, before retreating alone to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

At an early age, he lost his mother and his brother Edmund. Pope John Paul lived through the Nazi occupation of his homeland, Poland during World War II. Through all these hardships, he maintained his love for Jesus of Nazareth and the virgin Mary.

He became an ordained priest, and eventually the archbishop of Cracow, where he began his fight against Communism and oppression. On 16 October, 1978 Karol Wojtyla became the 264th pope of the Roman Catholic Church, and now called himself John Paul II.

The "Polish Pope" himself made history with the second longest papacy in history. He survived the assassination attempt by Ali Agca and used his influence to help bring communism to its knees.

On 2 April 2005 Pope John Paul II died.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Related post: Pope John Paul The Great

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Power Of The Sacraments

Book by Sr Briege McKenna, O.S.C. - The Power of the Sacraments

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Benedict - Trials Of A Pope

This BBC Theology Documentary, recorded in 02.10.2010 by Award-winning film-maker Mark Dowd, looks at the life of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The journey takes Mark from Bavaria to the heart of the Vatican itself.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

David Currie's Testimony

David Currie - Former Bible Church Missionary's conversion to Catholicism.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

A Catholic Mass

A Catholic Mass at Duke Catholic Center on 11/27/2011 (First Sunday of Advent). Fr. Michael Martin, OFM, presiding.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

How I Became A Catholic Convert

This is what this convert says about her video:

"The long story of how I ended up converting to Catholicism. My apologies that it ended up so long, I tried to shorten it as much as I could, I could probably talk about this for hours! My story involves growing up Evangelical, struggling with Calvinism and evolution, reading Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn, and finally finding my way home to the Catholic Church."

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mark Mazza's Testimony

Mark Mazza - From Non-Denominational Christian to Catholicism.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chartres Cathedral: Sacred Geometry

This extraordinary documentary film explores one of the most beautiful and mysterious cathedrals in the world, the famous Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

A True Story: The “Hail Mary” Is A Powerful Prayer

A little six-year-old Protestant boy had often heard his Catholic companion reciting the prayer ‘Hail Mary.’ He liked it so much that he copied it, memorized it and would recite it every day. ‘Look, Mummy, what a beautiful prayer,’ he said to his mother one day. ‘Never again say it,’ answered the mother.’ it is a superstitious prayer of Catholics who adore idols and think Mary a goddess. After all, she is a woman like any other. Come on, take this Bible and read it. It contains everything that we are bound to do and have to do.’

rosary02From that day on the little boy discontinued his daily ‘Hail Mary’ and gave himself more time to reading the Bible instead. One day, while reading the Gospel, he came across the passage about the Annunciation of the Angel to Our Lady. Full of joy, the little boy ran to his mother and said: ‘Mummy, I have found the ‘Hail Mary’ in the Bible which says: ‘Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women. ‘ Why do you call it a superstitious prayer?’

On another occasion he found that beautiful Salutation of St. Elizabeth to The Virgin Mary and the wonderful canticle. MAGNIFICAT in which Mary foretold that ‘the generations would call her blessed.’ He said no more about it to his mother but started to recite the ‘Hail Mary’ every day as before. He felt pleasure in addressing those charming words to the Mother of Jesus, our Savior.

When he was fourteen, he one day heard a discussion on Our Lady among the members of his family. Every one said that Mary was a common woman like any other woman. The boy, after listening to their erroneous reasoning, could not bear it any longer, and full of indignation, he interrupted them, saying: ‘Mary is not like any other children of Adam, stained with sin. No! The Angel called her FULL OF GRACE AND BLESSED AMONGST WOMEN. Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ and consequently Mother of God. There is no higher dignity to which a creature can be raised.

The Gospel says that the generations will proclaim her blessed and you are trying to despise her and look down on her. Your spirit is not the Spirit Of the Gospel or of the Bible which you proclaim to be the foundation of the Christian religion.’ So deep was the impression which the boy’s talk had made that his mother many times cried out sorrowfully: ‘Oh my God! I fear that this son of mine will one day join the Catholic religion, the religion of Popes!’ And indeed, not very long afterwards, having made a serious study of both Protestantism and Catholicism, the boy found the latter to be the only true religion and embraced it and became one of its most ardent apostles.

Some time after his conversion, he met his married sister who rebuked his and said indignantly: ‘You little know how much I love my children. Should any one of them desire to become a Catholic, I would sooner pierce his heart with a dagger than allow him to embrace the religion of the Popes!’ Her anger and temper were as furious as those of St. Paul before his conversion. However, she would change her ways, just as St. Paul did on his way to Damascus.

26-128-01It so happened that one of her sons fell dangerously ill and the doctors gave up hope of recovery. Her brother then approached, her and spoke to her affectionately, saying: ‘My dear sister, you naturally wish to have your child cured. Very well, then, do what I ask you to do. Follow me, let us pray one ‘Hail Mary’ and promise God that, if your son recovers his health, you would seriously study the Catholic doctrine, and should you come to the conclusion that Catholicism is the only true religion, you would embrace it no matter what the sacrifices may be.’

His sister was somewhat reluctant at the beginning but as she wished for her son’s recovery. She accepted her brother’s proposal and recited the ‘Hail Mary’ together with him. The next day her son was completely cured! The mother fulfilled her promise and she studied the Catholic doctrine. After long preparation she received Baptism together with her family, thanking her brother for being an apostle to her.

*The story was related during a sermon given by the Rev. Father Tuckwell. ‘Brethren, he went on and said, ‘The boy who became a Catholic and converted his sister to Catholicism dedicated his whole life to the service of God. He is the priest who is speaking to you now!

What I am I owe to Our Lady. You, too, my dear brethren, be entirely dedicated also to Our Lady and never let a day pass without saying the beautiful prayer, ‘Hail Mary’, and your Rosary. Ask her to enlighten the minds of Protestants who are separated from the true Church of Christ founded on the Rock (Peter) and ‘against whom the gates of hell shall never prevail.’

Source: Defenders of the Catholic Faith

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The celebrated composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was raised Roman Catholic and remained a loyal member of the Catholic Church throughout his life.

Mozart's parents (Leopold Mozart and Anna Maria Mozart) were Catholics and raised their children in this religion, insisting upon strict obedience to the requirements of the Church. They encouraged family prayer, fasting, the veneration of saints, regular attendance at Mass, and frequent confession.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christianity: A History - "Reformation"

The Reformation.

The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to ("protested") the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led to the creation of new national Protestant churches.

This BBC documentary is presented by Ann Widdecombe, a former British Conservative Party politician and has been a novelist since 2000. She is a Privy Councillor and was the Member of Parliament for Maidstone from 1987 to 1997 and for Maidstone and The Weald from 1997 to 2010. She is a convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism.

Ann Widdecombe personal view of the reformation, a moment in time she describes as one of the saddest periods in Christian History.

Nearly five centuries ago, the Reformation split the medieval Church into competing Catholic and Protestant factions. Ancient customs were abolished, the Pope was declared the Antichrist and Christian killed Christian in the name of their faith as religious wars and massacres raged.

Ann was brought up as a Protestant in the Church of England but later in life converted to Catholicism. In her search for the causes of the Reformation, Ann sets out to learn more about the turbulent years that saw merciless intolerance drive a bitter divide between Catholics and Protestants.

Beyond the battles of kings, popes and theologians Ann explores how the Reformation came to affect the common people and why it led to many religious breakthroughs: from attacks on church corruption to the translation of the Bible into English.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Amazing Christian Testimonies

A compilation of amazing stories from different Christians. #1 Kamal, a Muslim fighting Jihad against America is Changed by Jesus Christ. #2 The Salvation of Guy Iannello, from Drug dealer to Christ. #3 Jeff Harshbarger, from satanism to salvation. #4 The Reality of Hell. #5 The man from George Street. #6 Escaping Demonic Oppression, by Shawn Williams. #7 A man who survived a plane crash, severely burnt, goes to heaven and sees Jesus Christ. Mickey Robinson. #8 Artic Fire, how A northern arctic village was transformed by a visitation by Jesus. #9 The Revival Video, the state of the Christian Church. #10 The Passion of the Christ Video

More Christian testimonies

If you need assistance in wanting to learn more about Jesus Christ visit this page or contact a group in your area listed in this worldwide directory.

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Confession & The Examination Of Concience


Examine your conscience - what sins have you committed since your last good confession.

Be sincerely sorry for your sins. Confess your sins to the priest.

Make certain that you confess all your mortal sins and the number of them.

After your confession, do the penance the priest gives to you.

Pray daily for the strength to avoid the occasion of sin, especially for those sins you were just absolved from.


O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.


"I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me." (Ex 20:2,3)
Did I doubt or deny that God exists?
Did I refuse to believe what God as revealed to us?
Did I believe in fortune telling, horoscopes, dreams, the occult, good-luck charms, tarot cards, palmistry, Ouija boards, seances, reincarnation?
Did I deny that I was Catholic?
Did I leave the Catholic Faith?
Did I give time to God each day in prayer?
Did I love God with my whole heart?
Did I despair of or presume on God's mercy?
Did I have false gods in my life that I gave greater attention to than God, like money, profession, drugs, TV, fame, pleasure, property, etc.?


"You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain." (Ex 20:7)
Did I blaspheme or insult God?
Did I take God's name carelessly or uselessly?
Did I curse, or break an oath or vow?
Did I get angry with God?


"Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath Day." (Ex 20:8)
Did I miss Mass Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation through my own fault?
Did I come to Mass on time? Leave early?
Did I do work on Sunday that was not necessary?
Did I set aside Sunday as a day of rest and a family day?
Did I show reverence in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament?


"Honor your father and your mother." (Ex 20:12)
Did I disobey or disrespect my parents or legitimate superiors?
Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents?
Did I neglect to give good religious example to my family?
Did I fail to actively take an interest in the religious education and formation of my children?
Did I fail to educate myself on the true teachings of the Church?
Did I give scandal by what I said or did, especially to the young?
Did I cause anyone to leave the faith?
Did I cause tension and fights in my family?
Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives?
Did I give a full day's work for a full day's pay?
Did I give a fair wage to my employees?


"You shall not kill." (Ex 20:13)
Did I kill or physically injure anyone?
Did I have an abortion, or advise someone else to have an abortion? (One who procures and abortion is automatically excommunicated, as is anyone who is involved in an abortion, Canon 1398. The excommunication will be lifted in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.)
Did I use or cause my spouse to use birth control pills (whether or not realizing that birth control pills do abort the fetus if and when conceived)?
Did I attempt suicide?
Did I take part in or approve of "mercy killing" (euthanasia)?
Did I get angry, impatient, envious, unkind, proud, revengeful, jealous, hateful toward another, lazy?
Did I give bad example by drug abuse, drinking alcohol to excess, fighting, quarreling?
Did I abuse my children?


"You shall not commit adultery." (Ex 20:14) "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife." (Ex 20:17)

Note: In the area of deliberate sexual sins listed below, all are mortal sins if there is sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. "No fornicators, idolaters, or adulterers, no sodomites,... will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 6:9-10) "Anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts." (Mt 5:28)
Did I willfully entertain impure thoughts or desires?
Did I use impure or suggestive words? Tell impure stories? Listen to them?
Did I deliberately look at impure TV, videos, plays, pictures or movies? Or deliberately read impure materials?
Did I commit impure acts by myself (masturbation)?
Did I commit impure acts with another - fornication (premarital sex), adultery (sex with a married person)?
Did I practice artificial birth control (by pills, device, withdrawal)?
Did I marry or advise anyone to marry outside the Church?
Did I avoid the occasions of impurity?
Did I try to control my thoughts?
Did I engage in homosexual activity?
Did I respect all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
Did I or my spouse have sterilization done?
Did I abuse my marriage rights?


"You shall not steal." (Ex 20:15) "You shall not covet your neighbor's goods." (Ex 20:17)
Did I steal, cheat, help or encourage others to steal or keep stolen goods? Have I made restitution for stolen goods?
Did I fulfill my contracts; give or accept bribes; pay my bills; rashly gamble or speculate; deprive my family of the necessities of life?
Did I waste time at work, school or at home?
Did I envy other people's families or possessions?
Did I make material possessions the purpose of my life?


"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Ex 20:16)
Did I lie?
Did I deliberately deceive others, or injure others by lies?
Did I commit perjury?
Did I gossip or reveal others' faults or sins?
Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?


Did I fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?
Did I eat meat on the Fridays of Lent or Ash Wednesday?
Did I fail to receive Holy Communion during Eastertime?
Did I go to Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Without fasting (water and medicine permitted) for one hour from food and drink?
Did I make a bad confession?
Did I fail to contribute to the support of the Church?

"Whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the Body and Blood of the Lord. ... He who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body eats and drinks judgement on himself." (1 Cor 11:27-29)

So, to receive Holy Communion while in the state of mortal sin (having committed a mortal sin which has not been confessed and forgiven in the Sacrament of Confession) is itself a mortal sin - a mortal sin of sacrilege.

"O God, be merciful to me, a sinner." (Lk 18:13)

"Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven..." (Jn 20:23)

"Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall become white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall become white as wool." (Is 1:18)

"If we confess our sins, He who is upright can be depended upon to forgive sins, and to cleanse us from every wrong." (1 Jn 1:9)

"Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing." (Lk 23:24)

"Forgive us our sins, for we too forgive all who do us wrong." (Lk 11:4)


Read also Fr. Dwight Longenecker's post on A Good Examination of Conscience.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan was brought up in a Roman Catholic family and educated in a local school run by the Christian Brothers while serving as an altar boy. Brosnan still attends Mass, but adheres to his own spiritual beliefs.

Below is his interview with Irish Voice:

Pierce Brosnan admits that he might not have learned all he needed to know about math from the Christian Brothers in Ireland, but the teachers imparted one thing that has stayed with him to this day – his Catholic faith.

In an interesting new interview with RTE.ie to promote his patronage of the new Irish dramatic art academy The Lir, which will debut this fall at Trinity College in Dublin, Brosnan credits the power of prayer with guiding him through life’s ups and downs.

"(Prayer) helped me with the loss of my wife to cancer and with a child who had fallen on tough times. Now prayer helps me to be a father, to be an actor and to be a man,” Brosnan told the Irish website.

“It always helps to have a bit of prayer in your back pocket. At the end of the day, you have to have something and for me that is God, Jesus, my Catholic upbringing, my faith.”

Pierce’s first wife, Cassandra Harris, died of ovarian cancer 20 years ago. The son they had together, Sean, was in a serious car crash a few years back in California, but luckily he survived and is thriving again.

Brosnan and his mother left his hometown of Navan, Co. Meath in 1964, when he was 12 years old, for greener pastures in London. His father left the family when he was only two, so times were tough.

"In a way (my life) all leads back to a little boy in Navan, my home town on the banks of the Boyne.

Sometimes, it has been painted in melodramatic tones but it was a fantastic way to be brought up. The Catholicism and the Christian brothers, those are deep-rooted images and the foundation for a person of some acting skill,” he says.

"God has been good to me. My faith has been good to me in the moments of deepest suffering, doubt and fear. It is a constant, the language of prayer … I might not have got my sums right from the Christian Brothers or might not have got the greatest learning of literature from them but I certainly got a strapping amount of faith."

Brosnan also feels that faith will help the Irish people escape the gloom and doom of recession.

"But there is one thing that the people of Ireland know how to do and that is to survive. You have to keep your faith and stay optimistic,” he feels.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

On The Myopia Of Low Self Esteem – Coming To Accept Ourselves As God Has Made Us

Most of us have certain things about our physical appearance that we hate, and can even obsess about. When I was in high school I was extremely skinny (130 lbs at 6 feet tall). My knees and elbows protruded, and I was embarrassed to be seen in shorts, or even short sleeved shirts. Generally I stayed covered up even when I ran or played sports. I used to wear tall socks to hide my boney legs and protruding knees.

Today I have the opposite problem, and it is my belly that protrudes, and I’m always looking for over sized shirts to hide the excess. The cassock also helps to hide a lot.

Another obsession, that I have largely been freed from, is the gap between my two front teeth. I used to be so embarrassed by it that I would tie them together with floss and try to get them to move together. But once I removed the floss they’d always move apart again.

I got both of these things from my father. He was stocky also had a gap between his teeth. He too was always trying to get the gap to go away and always trying to lose weight. But the fact is, he looked just like his father, as I look like just like my father; almost an exact replica. I can even wear the last set of eyeglasses my father wore before he died.

Pardon my personal reminiscences but it’s just a way of saying we all have things about our appearances that we wish we’re different.

I know that women generally have a lot more crosses in this area since there are so many expectations about what a woman should look like. The video at the bottom of the page says a lot about that. I have often been surprised how unhappy about their appearance some women I know are. These are women who I consider quite attractive.

But even as I puzzle over them feeling that way, I remember me and my obsession about the gap in my teeth. I remember a girl once told me she thought it was cute. And though I heard the words she said, they had no impact on me. I was just absolutely sure I looked goofy, and that everyone laughed at me behind my back. One friend told me he’d never really noticed the gap before, until I mentioned it. But still it remained my obsession for many years. It seemed no amount of contrary data would sway me from my conviction that the gap between my two front teeth, not even that big, really, made be look like a total goof.

Somewhere we lose touch with the fact that God knows us, loves us and has made us a certain way. Apparently God likes tall people, because he made a lot of them. He also likes short people, thin and fat people, Black, white brown, and everything in between, he’s made a lot of them all.

People talk today about self-esteem and the phrase, while not wrong, misses a step. For as the old saying reminds, “No one can give what he does not have. Hence self esteem requires that we have first experience esteem from others, and most ideally from God. Until and unless we have learned to experience God’s appreciation for us, and appreciation from others, it is pretty hard to to esteem ourselves properly. Either we go to the one extreme of obsessing on certain aspects, or we go to the other extreme of puffing our self up with phony pride and silly ostentation.

In a sense low self esteem about our physical appearance is usually a form of myopia, i.e. being “near” or “shortsighted.” For in it, we obsess on a few details but miss the whole picture. A false cure for low self esteem tries over look our flaws or insist they are not there. But the fact is, we all do have flaws, both physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual. But the key is to see something bigger.

Consider the painting at the upper right. It hangs in my rectory, and is of the Blessed Mother. Looking at the painting, many have said, she is beautiful. And so she is. But on closer inspection many of the details are amiss. The hands are out of proportion, almost grotesquely large. The eyes are “bugged out” and the ear is misplaced and underdeveloped by the painter. Yet, these details cannot spoil the fact that this is a beautiful painting of a beautiful woman, Mary, the Mother of God. When I point to the “flaws” most people tell me they didn’t notice.

Exactly! It is the near sightedness, the myopia of low self esteem to magnify the flaws we all have and miss the big picture which is most often quite acceptable, even beautiful. Truth be told, we’re all a mixed bag and there are flaws in us all.

Of course Satan would prefer us to sweat the small stuff of our physical appearance, and our flesh, cooperates quite nicely. And Satan gets double payment. For, in focusing on our physical, in a myopic way, we are not thinking as much of spiritual matters. And secondly, because we feel so lousy when comparing ourselves to the perfect standards of the usually computer enhanced, if not surgically altered, models and actors, we don’t feel as capable of any physical value, worth or excellence, let alone spiritual excellence.

Somewhere God is saying, I like you the way I made you. Become the man or woman I made you to be. Watch your health but don’t obsess with physical perfection. I didn’t make any two of you exactly alike and there’s a reason for that.

And to me I can hear God saying, You’ve become rotund alright, but it’s a sign that you have become more spiritually “well rounded.” Besides it keeps you humble, and pride is your worst enemy. And as for that gap in your teeth? I put it there. It is a sign of intelligence. You’re smart like your father was.

So, be of good cheer and don’t sweat the small stuff. Look to the bigger picture, count your gifts and blessings.

Here is a remarkable video of a young lady singing both parts of the same song in split screen. The words are a poignant expression of the pressure many women face to look beautiful and perfect. Consider some of the words:

I wish I could tie you up in my shoes, Make you feel unpretty too. I was told I was beautiful, but what does that mean to you…. My outsides are cool, my insides are blue. Every time I think I’m through, it’s because of you…

You can buy your hair if it won’t grow, You can fix your nose if he says so. You can buy all the make-up that mac can make, but if you can’t look inside you, find out who am I to be, in a position to make me feel so damn unpretty…

At the end of the day, I have myself to blame, Keep on trippin….

I feel pretty….but unpretty

Source: Archdiocese Of Washington

Please post your comments.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Patient Is The Exorcist

An interview with M. Scott Peck

Breaking a decades-long silence, the author of 'The Road Less Traveled' describes the exorcisms he conducted on two women.

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck is known for his best-sellers "The Road Less Traveled" and "People of the Lie." While most readers are familiar with the spiritual bent of Peck's works and his struggle to come to terms with human evil, few realize that Peck himself conducted exorcisms in the 1980s.

After twenty years, Peck describes these exorcisms in his book "Glimpses of the Devil." In this Beliefnet interview, Peck discusses why he thinks demonic possession needs to be recognized--and grappled with--as a reality.

Can you talk a little bit about your own beliefs? Religiously speaking, how were you raised?

I was raised in a pretty profoundly secular home. Only after her death did I realize my mother was what I came to call a crypto-Christian. In some ways, I am grateful that I was raised in a secular home, because that meant that I didn't have any old religious baggage to carry with me. I was free to go and think what I wanted.

Even though it was a secular home, as I look back on it, I was a freakily religious kid. From the age of three on, as far back as I remember, I just knew there was a God behind everything.

My first contact with religion was taking a world religions course my senior year in high school. I immediately gravitated toward the mystical writings of Hinduism and Buddhism and the Upanishads and then Zen Buddhism. I kind of stayed with that until my late twenties.

I was what you might call a mystic, but definitely not a Christian. Christianity made no sense to me. I didn't believe Christ was divine, I didn't know where all this stuff in the Bible came from.

I found myself thirsting for something a little more solid and gravitated somewhat from Zen to Sufism and got interested in the Muslim mystics, the explosion of Muslim mystics in the 13th century in Persia.

I had been led into Sufism by Idris Shaw, who was a mentor of mine. One of the things that put the clinch on my moving toward Christianity was at a lecture, somebody asked him what book would he refer somebody to about mysticism. He instantly replied, "Mysticism" by Evelyn Underhill. It was the first time I realized that there was a huge, rich tradition of Christian mysticism.

That was not the only thing that converted me. I started to be converted way back before when I first saw "Jesus Christ Superstar," about 1971. That was one of the first things that made Jesus really come alive for me as a human. Another was reading the gospels seriously for the first time at age 40 or 39, after I'd written the first draft of "The Road Less Traveled." Having quoted Jesus a couple of times, it seemed incumbent upon me to check the references. So I used the time in between drafts to read the gospels. I was thunderstuck by the reality of the man in there. Gradually I moved into Christianity through the back door of Christian mysticism, or maybe it's the front door...

I hope it's the front door.

Or the top door or whatnot. So I was finally baptized at the age of 43 in 1980. I was deliberately non-denominationally baptized, and I've very jealously guarded my non-denominational status ever since. I am very Eucharistic, which means I celebrate communion or the Eucharist. I never thought I would ever be middle of the road anything, much less a middle of the road Christian, but it actually ended up I'm extremely middle of the road.

It was right around the time of your baptism that you came to consider the possibility that people might be demonically possessed. You sort of struggled with this, because you're a scientist and a psychiatrist as well as a spiritual person. Could you talk about that struggle?

I had come to believe in the reality of benign spirit or God, as well as the reality of human goodness. I'd come to believe distinctly in the reality of human evil, and that left me an obvious hole in my thinking. Namely was there such a thing as evil spirit, or the devil specifically? In common with 99.99 percent of psychiatrists and with 80 percent of Catholic priests--as confidentially polled back in 1960, the figure would be much higher now--I did not believe in the devil.

But I was a scientist, and it didn't seem to me I should conclude there was no devil until I examined the evidence. It occurred to me if I could see one good old-fashioned case of possession, that might change my mind. I did not think that I would see one, but if you believe that something doesn't exist, you can walk right over it without seeing it.

What was it about these two "possessed" women you describe in your book that helped you to rule out psychiatric causes like schizophrenia, and caused you to settle on demonic possession as what was wrong with them?

These cases, in a whole number of ways--the more I studied them, the more they did not fit in a typical psychiatric picture. The second case [Becca], for instance. As she should have been getting better, she got worse.

And this is what's called diagnoses by exclusion. I'd go through the whole range of psychiatric conditions, whether they could explain the patient's condition. In both of my two cases, they were unexplainable by any kind of traditional psychiatric terms.

The first case [came through a] referral from Malachi Martin, who was my mentor and to whom the book is dedicated. A very extraordinary man, without question the world's greatest authority on the subject [of exorcism]. Some people criticize me as if I followed Malachi Martin as if he hypnotized me and I believed everything he said. In fact, Malachi often was a liar.

But you think there was a method to his madness.

Oh, without question. But he lied about other things. He lied about his own identity a great deal.

And he seemed to think there were a lot of Satanists in the Vatican--he seemed to have a lot of conspiracy theories.

Right. That was in later years somewhat. He was not always right, but boy as far as my case, he batted a 1000.

We often think of exorcisms as a man in a room for a few hours with a lot of drama, based on media portrayals and movies. But in your book the two exorcisms--and especially the "deliverances" that preceded them--were often pretty low-key.

Since the early 1960s, since what's been called the Charismatic movement within the Christian church, a significant number of Christians believe that virtually every problem a human can have is of demonic origin. These Charismatics developed a kind of mini-exorcism technique--which they called a deliverance--to deliver people from evil spirits: a demon of alcoholism, a demon of lust, a demon of masturbation, a demon of overeating and so forth.

They developed this very mild procedure where you just sit with the patient in prayer for a period up to about 6 hours. You can often discern if there is some demonic influence and you can cast it out, as occurred in the second of my cases, which was temporary successful.

I'm not against deliverance. I wouldn't even diagnose a case of possession or try to do an exorcism without doing a deliverance first.

Like trying a milder medicine before you go for the hard stuff.


Some Charismatics, including a man named Francis MacNutt, held that there are four levels of demonic involvement. The first they simply call temptation, which I myself doubt as most of the time as demonic. I think we're just tempted all the time by all kinds of things.

The second is what's called demonic attack. Oddly enough, I think both my patients after their exorcism remained under demonic attack.

You mentioned that they would still hear voices.

The third stage Francis MacNutt called oppression, where Francis compared it to a city where the enemy has gained control of a few suburbs.

Then there's full-scale possession where Francis said is where the enemy basically gets the center of the city, as well as the suburbs, and has control over the communications. There are just a few pockets of resistance left.

You said with some people there's complete possession. People you describe as "People of the Lie" just cooperate with evil out of laziness or greed.

Almost completely.

But Jersey and Becca, the women you describe exorcising in the book, were different-they did have pockets of resistance.

Right. As Malachi Martin pointed out, if they 100 percent cooperated, then there would be no sign of any stress of strain within them.

So people who are possessed are not what I would call evil people. I pointed out in my book "People of the Lie" that I think that evil people are much more common.

Possession is still a very rare condition. Less rare than a great many people might think. And much less common than the Charismatics might believe.

So your team gathered with the woman in a room and conducted an exorcism for several hours over the course of several days. I know that at least in Jersey's case, that one was videotaped. What would people see if they watched the video tape?

Both cases were videotaped. With one we have close to 40 hours of tape. The other, close to 30. One of the most extraordinary things for me was the facial expression of these patients. In the first case, none of these facial expressions were captured on the video tape. The patient did not show any facial changes which were paranormal, except on one occasion when she had actually been trying to hide her face from the camera. It was just a few seconds long, when her face underwent a profound change. The second patient had this snake-like appearance which was evident to everybody on the team, but again, not picked up by the video camera. Now in following up that patient there were moments where I also saw in her--and maybe this is translated into some kind of intuitive kind of vision--but flashes of her looking like an amphibian or a lizard.

This process took many days of your team praying together, invoking God and Jesus to cast out the demon, but also trying to talk to the demon--to have the demon speak or reveal itself. Could you talk about that process?

Because I was a scientist I was perhaps more stringent than most people would be in diagnosing these two cases. I wasn't going to try to deal with something I wasn't sure was possession. Particularly as a psychiatrist, I was really sticking my neck out.

But if you decide you have a genuine case of possession, then it's kind of full-scale war. An exorcism is a way of doing massive battle against one's demons, or if you wanted to say, one's mental illness.

This is one of the sort of dangers of it, because it's potentially like a kind of gang rape, much like in the old days with cults, there was de-programming. An exorcism is much like de-programming.

What you just said about mental illness-were you equating "demons" with mental illness?

I would include possession among mental illnesses. I think...

And yet it can't just be dealt with by medication or psychological therapy. You feel at times it needs this spiritual...?

It definitely does. But it is a real condition and one of the things that I would argue, as a psychiatrist, is that it ought to be recognized as a psychiatric diagnosis.

So you think it should be in the DSM.

I think it should be in the DSM-IV and have equal status with multiple personality disorder, which people have come properly to be very skeptical of.

An exorcism [is] sort of comparable to major brain surgery where you might have a team of seven in the operating room. You use not just one kind of technique but anything that you possibly can to help your patients. There's a mixture of techniques ranging from prayer and orders to the demonic and talking to the demonic to try to figure what the hell is going on if you can. And it was notably successful in the case of Jersey, the first case. Unless we had spoken with the quote "demons" unquote, we would not have known that each demon represented a kind of false idea.

Why do you put demons in quotes?

I put "demons" in quotes because this is really a frontier in psychiatry. As a scientist, I try to be very careful as to what is theory and what is fact. I cannot swear to you in a court of law that these initial demons were demons in their own right, as opposed to Satan or the devil.

So you're talking about the hierarchy of demons?


So you're saying it definitely is one of these, but you put demons in quotes because you're not sure which one it is?

I'm not sure they were so much demons in their own right as they may have been reflections of the big guy, Satan. Both cases described in the book--and this is very rare--are cases of Satanic possession, not just possession by ordinary little demons.

Meaning the kind of demons you refer to when you mention the charismatic hierarchy like a demon of lust or a demon of overeating? You're talking about the `big guy.'

Or even other real demons, as in the second case. Judas seems often to be a real demon. In the first draft of the book, I included things other than those two cases of full-scale possession. I had a vignette [about] a friend in medical school who had also become a psychiatrist.

He got in touch with me and asked if I'd come to dinner. He had become an expert in multiple personality disorder and he proceeded to regale me with this case that he was fascinated with.

I don't know about you, but after 26 personalities, I'd start to get bored or suspicious of the diagnosis. I asked him, "John (fake name), do you ever have the feeling that you're being toyed with? The demon can pull all kinds of tricks, like inventing personalities." And he said, "No, why do you ask?" Just the possibility this patient didn't have multiple personality disorder, but that this real bad guy might be a demon.

Multiple personality disorder and possession are not necessarily mutually incompatible disorders. There's some evidence that you can have both.

In the course of four months of treatment with [a] young man, he had uncovered 42 different personalities. Then he said offhandedly he was a secular therapist, he didn't believe in possession or anything, but "one of them calls himself Judas and he's a real bad guy."

I consider multiple personality disorder to be a less common condition than possession. With a lot of cases of multiples, I would wonder whether they were cases of possession, as I did in this man's case.

I left the dinner feeling a little sorry for both the patient and my friend the psychiatrist, because I felt that both of them were being perhaps mistreated. The patient because my friend couldn't deal with a possible diagnosis of possession, and my friend was being mistreated because Judas may have been fooling around with him. If you're dealing with the demonic in the later stages, one of the very subtle signs you get is the feeling that although it looks like the patient is sitting in the chair talking, it really isn't the patient talking to you. It's something else that's trying to toy with you.

There were a lot of quiet times where not much happened or you'd be quietly praying a lot of time would go by, and you also had breaks. I was surprised to read that the women involved put aside their demonic personalities during your coffee breaks.

Right. They would pull themselves together. Although the second case, at the end, she would pretend to pull herself together when she was at her most demonic actually. But until the end, she had the capacity--as did the first patient--to set aside the demonic.

If you can let the demonic out a little bit in the patient, the demonic might quiet down and let the patient be himself or herself. We would try not to speak to the patient unless we were speaking to the patient being very real, authentic. Or we would speak to the demonic. But we would not speak to this nonsensical mixture. You're wasting your time until you can separate the two.

You say that in both your cases you were just facilitating it, you and the rest of the team. It wasn't you who cast out the demon, it was the person themselves.

That's right. The number one exorcist, the most essential of all, is the patient. What happens in a successful exorcism is that the patient renounces his or her involvement in the demonic and decides to side with God or Christ or the truth or whatever you want to call it. It's the patient who casts out his or her own demons by making a choice against that.

In your confrontation, what during the exorcism would cause the patient to make the decision more clearly? It almost seemed like when you exposed them in lies, they realized what was going on and pushed back against this power that had taken them over.

Yes, I think so. The patient would become aware that his or her precious demons, or precious ideas were utterly false. That's why in the average exorcism, probably the person makes the choice they do. But there are really four exorcists. The patient is number one, the second is God--and one can sense the presence of God in the room. The third is the team that the exorcist should gather. The last is the lead exorcist.

Source: Beliefnet

If you're interested to lean more about evil and demonic possession, listen to prominent Catholic theologian and exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin on The Nature Of Evil, Exorcism & Possession and watch a real video on an exorcism in America. Watch also this documentary showing a real exorcism in the Philippines.

Fr. Gabriele Amorth, Rome's chief exorcist's book is also worth a read. This milestone book is a great resource on demonology and diabolic possession. Read about how one can get possessed and how to protect yourself and your family - here

If you need help pertaining to cases of demonic possession or oppression, please contact a deliverance prayer group in your area listed in this worldwide directory.

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