Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Matt C. Abbott

10/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Such acts seem to require something beyond just ordinary human frailty, or even typical human malice.

The hypothesis of the devil-a personal spiritual being whose will is turned toward evil and who can exercise some sort of influence over man-may give rise to scorn from rationalists. I challenge the skeptics to find a better explanation for Sandy Hook or Aurora. As Baudelaire famously put it, the devil's greatest trick is convincing us that he does not exist.

I believe that wherever evil on this scale is committed, there must be some kind of diabolical influence present. The way in which this influence plays out is mysterious and varied-from temptation, to oppression, to outright possession. Mental illness alone, in my judgment, cannot account for these behaviors. Something else is involved.

I believe that wherever evil on this scale is committed, there must be some kind of diabolical influence present. The way in which this influence plays out is mysterious and varied-from temptation, to oppression, to outright possession. Mental illness alone, in my judgment, cannot account for these behaviors. Something else is involved.

Highlights

By Matt C. Abbott

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Aaron Kheriaty, M.D., Washington Navy Yard, Aaron Alexis, Sandy Hook, depression, Aurora, Colorado, Matt C. Abbott


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - The following is a brief interview with Aaron Kheriaty, M.D., director of residency training and medical education; associate clinical professor, department of psychiatry; and director of program in medical ethics at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

Dr. Kheriaty, a practicing Catholic, is the author of The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can Help You Break Its Grip and Find Happiness Again, an excellent and informative book for Catholics who suffer from-or who are close with someone who suffers from-clinical depression. (Click here to order the book directly from the publisher, Sophia Institute Press.)

*****

There were reports that the Washington Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis, had received treatment for mental health issues, including "hearing voices." The shooters in the Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colorado tragedies also reportedly suffered from some form of mental illness. But can mental illness alone cause someone to commit such a heinous crime? Isn't there also a diabolical influence present in such cases?  

Dr. Kheriaty: Severe mental illness, including various forms of psychotic disorders, can put a person at risk of engaging in behavior that he would never do when thinking more clearly. Treating hospitalized patients on a psychiatric ward, I have often seen agitated or aggressive behavior when the person's symptoms were severe. However, it is a myth that mentally ill individuals, even those suffering from severe psychotic disorders, are violent by nature.

If they do commit violent acts, they are much more likely to inflict harm on themselves than on others. It seems to me that the kinds of atrocious violence on a massive scale that we see in these shooters cannot be fully explained by mental illness alone. I've treated hundreds of people with severe schizophrenia, for example, and when the illness is poorly controlled, they may be liable to quite strange behaviors. But not violence, not evil, on the scale that we see in these tragedies.

Such acts seem to require something beyond just ordinary human frailty, or even typical human malice. I believe that wherever evil on this scale is committed, there must be some kind of diabolical influence present. The way in which this influence plays out is mysterious and varied-from temptation, to oppression, to outright possession. Mental illness alone, in my judgment, cannot account for these behaviors. Something else is involved.

The hypothesis of the devil-a personal spiritual being whose will is turned toward evil and who can exercise some sort of influence over man-may give rise to scorn from rationalists. I challenge the skeptics to find a better explanation for Sandy Hook or Aurora. As Baudelaire famously put it, the devil's greatest trick is convincing us that he does not exist.

What can we do as a society to promote good mental and spiritual health?

Dr. Kheriaty: Strengthen the family, where children can grow up with their mother and father. Welcome children into the world and treat them as ends in themselves, not as means to another end. Turn off the TV and get rid of your video games and pornography.

Give young people hope, and a sense of meaning and purpose, so that they do not turn to drugs in despair. Reject the culture of narcissism and self-aggrandizement promoted in the media, and instead, learn to care for those who are marginalized and forgotten, the poor, the elderly and infirm, and those with mental illness. Go to church as a family on Sunday and pray together as a family during the week. 

-------------------------------

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He has worked in the right-to-life movement and is a published writer focused on Catholic and social issues. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.)

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

Bill Clinton Panders to Homosexual Activist Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. We Will Resist Them Watch

Image of Pictured: Bill Clinton

This is the same President who, one year after he signed the Defense of Marriage Act, told the Homosexual and lesbian magazine The Advocate - I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. This has been my long-standing position, and it is not being reviewed or considered. So, what has changed? Certainly not the truth about marriage. It cannot and will not change. Rather, this politician has changed. And, his wife wants to be President of the United States.

By Keith A. Fournier

All people of good will who recognize the vital role that marriage and the family play in serving the common good must get ready for what lies ahead. All people of good will who respect free speech, free association and the free exercise of religion must not be ... continue reading


New Hampshire sees a massive spike in job growth, problem? It's all going to immigrants Watch

Image of The so called

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has issued a new a report that shows that New Hampshire-the state where both senators voted for the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill-has had 71% job growth, but here's the kicker, those jobs are going to foreign-born ... continue reading


Why Christians Should Celebrate Halloween - and Transform the Culture Watch

Image of Noah dressed up as the Incredible Hulk

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The International Association of Exorcists sponsored a gathering in Vatican City on the last weekend of October in 2014. The organization was formally approved by the Holy See in June. The global Press was enamored with the notion that the Church even recognizes ... continue reading


Three men sentenced for participation in Internet child pornography ring Watch

Image of The 13 defendants, who range in age from 23 to 66, are from Indiana, New Jersey, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, Missouri, Montana, Kentucky, Arizona and Massachusetts.

By Stella Dawson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The United States this week sentenced to prison three men involved in an international child pornography ring that exchanged online pictures and videos of children engaged in sexual acts, the government said on Wednesday. WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... continue reading


How could he let it happen? 92% of Afghan war Marine KIA under Obama Watch

Image of During the entire, 12 years war in Afghanistan, 92% of U.S. Marine casualties took place under the six years of President Obama's term.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Earlier this week the U.S. Marine Corps withdrew its forces from Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province in Afghanistan, effectively ending their 13 year involvement in the Afghan war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "U.S. Marines and service members from the ... continue reading


VIDEO: Antares rocket launch fails with fire and smoke Watch

Image of The Antares rocket was set to launch on October 27, but was postponed a day because a ship was in its expected trajectory.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A private contracted, unmanned NASA rocket exploded just after launch along coastal Virginia early on the evening of October 28 . LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft, products of Orbital Sciences Corp., were set to ... continue reading


Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christian Leaders Stand in Solidarity to Defend Marriage Watch

Image of Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by the Christian Church. It precedes Christianity. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by Christian teaching, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Moral Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Marriage Solidarity Statement was drafted by Deacon Keith Fournier, Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Alliance, and Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action. It was vetted among other Christian pastors and leaders ... continue reading


A 'Living legend': Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, last of the Crow war chiefs, turns 101 Watch

Image of Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, a living legend at 101, and a renown historian and scholar of the Crow people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, the last Crow war chief, turned 101 on October 27, and spent the day at the Bighorn Battlefield, with his son. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I was fortunate when I was growing up," he said. "The Crow Indians were still retaining the ... continue reading


Former TV reporter says computer was bugged by Obama administration Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former President Richard M. Nixon was notorious for the surveillance he used on who he perceived as being enemies - but it appears that current U.S. president, Barack Obama could have taught "Tricky Dick" a thing or two. According to former CBS reporter Sharyl ... continue reading


School shooting in Washington state leaves 2 dead, five injured Watch

Image of Kids and parents react to news of the shooting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A shooting has occurred at a school in Washington, in which authorities believe a bullied student shot and killed another. The shooter is also believed to be dead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A school shooting has taken place at Marysville-Pilchuck High School ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter