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On the Devil's Doings

Theologian Delivers a Lesson in a Rome Pub

ROME, NOV. 20, 2005 (Zenit) - Rome's Theology on Tap series for English speakers resumed with a talk on angels and devils.

Father Pedro Barrajón, a professor of theological anthropology, explained to a group of young people, who gathered Monday in an Irish pub near the Piazza Venezia, how an exorcism is carried out.

He recommended that one should not be afraid of the devil.

"The devil exists, but we must not be afraid," said the Legionary priest who lectures in the course on exorcism and the Prayer of Deliverance at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

"The devil first tries to tempt us and takes advantage of our weak points," he warned. "So then, it is important that we know ourselves well and that we know what our weak points are."

"The action of evil can be present in life from the beginning until the latter's end," said Father Barrajón.

He recalled that in some saintly lives, such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta or Padre Pio, there was an action of the devil on several occasions.

"We live in a very complicated culture, and at times the devil's presence is manifested through ideas," the theologian said.

The weapons

Father Barrajón asked the young people who were listening to him and holding beers in their hands how one can protect oneself from the devil. The first answer heard was "through the sacraments."

"Yes, the sacraments, faith, prayer and sacrifice are the defense against the devil," he noted.

One of the possible, though exceptional, actions of the devil is possession, said Father Barrajón. "Possession can be induced through cases of magic or Black Masses."

"Exorcism is a kind of struggle," he added. It "begins invoking the name of the Trinity. The people attending the exorcism pray, although this does not mean that the devil goes away."

"A sort of dialogue is established between the priest authorized to carry out an exorcism -- although at times there are lay people who do it but it is not right, because they do not have permission from the ecclesiastical authorities -- and the possessed person, who emits strange sounds," the priest added.

"The devil tries to provoke the priest and shows aversion to the cross, to prayers and the rosary and to other sacred objects," continued Father Barrajón.

"One of the devil's names is Asmodeus; this is a devil who acts against marriage and the family," he pointed out. "Other names are Son of Darkness, Satan or Beelzebub, names of biblical origin."

Finally, Father Barrajón said that in a case of possession, biological, psychological and spiritual elements intervene and that it is not easy at all to establish the boundary between psychological illness and possession.

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Keywords

Devil, Theology, Barrajon, Exorcism

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