Training to be a Spiritual Warrior
Counsellor and Investigator
Message from the Dean
The activity of Satan in the past 100-120 years has increased exponentially. Without question the 20th Century was a century of unmitigated evil. To name but a few examples includes the development of chemical warfare in World War I, the rise of communism and fascism, the targeting of civilians in fire bombings, blanket bombings, and nuclear bombings, and the holocaust of Nazis Germany during World War II, Stalin’s U.S.S.R., Mao’s China, the killing fields of Cambodia, and the various genocides in Africa. More people died for the faith in the 20th Century that all the martyrs in the past 2000 years.
The late 19th and the 20th Century also brought the most devastating and dangerous cultural changes in the form of modernism/post-modernism ("the relativistic position that there is no absolute truth or objective reality") and ultimately Progressivism (a kind of "evolutionary" Marxism). These notions are that "what we experience as reality is a social construct (solely constructed by individual human minds), that it consists only of our interpretations of what the world means to us individually, and that individual responses to a given cultural product comprise the whole reality of that product." This is in essence a form of self-worship and determination that intertwines its evil philosophies into politics, general culture, and even the Church
By 1994 the Judeo-Christian worldview that had predominated Western Culture since AD 314 was replaced by a Post-Modern worldview hostile to Christianity and to all God’s children.
Today, the evil one has brought us a step further into full Progressivism.
Bottomline: We are at war!
As with all wars there are casualties. The casualties may involve otherwise orthodox Christians living without the excellence and fullness of the Catholic worldview that our Lord intends us to live, or those casualties may involve seduction into heterodoxy or heresy. Ultimately, those casualties may lead to various levels of bondage, harassment, oppression, obsession, and even possession.
The “Culture Wars”, spawned by the Post-Modern Worldview and fueled and brought to its fullness by Progressivism, leaves all of us a casualty. We are all born into and live in this worldview that is fundamentally hostile to the Christian worldview. We may often find ourselves, therefore, thinking in ways that are inconsistent with the Christian worldview. This is the subtlety of spiritual warfare — if the evil one cannot get us to abandon the faith, or to rebel into heterodoxy or heresy, he will try to rob us of the victory in Christ that we ought to experience. Healing from these sort of casualties is found in obedience to the Church and “...fanning into flame the gift that is within you.” By appropriating the victory of Christ and the life of the Spirit we may experience the fullness and excellence of all that Christ wants us to be.
Spiritual Warfare may also lead to more serious casualty ranging from bondage, harassment by demons, to serious demonization (“possession”). The more serious levels of demonization may be beyond a person healing themselves through prayer and devotion. Deliverance Counselors and healers may help these people.
Those casualties who are affected at the highest and most severe levels of demonization (commonly, but misleadingly, called “possession”) will need the formal Rite of Exorcism (Solemn Exorcism). Solemn Exorcism can only be performed by a Catholic priest appointed by a Catholic bishop and even then only with the Bishop’s expressed permission.
The numbers of Solemn Exorcisms, although still relatively rare, have increased in recent decades. What is alarming, however, is that lessor forms of demonization that do not qualify for a Solemn Exorcism, have increased markedly. There are perhaps 10,000’s, maybe 100,000’s, of people suffering from levels of demonization that are severe enough to require the help of Deliverance Counselors, but not severe enough to qualify for a Solemn Exorcism.
Unfortunately, there is no credible formal training for Deliverance Counselors. Seminaries do not deal with this issue. Thus, training becomes an exercise in self-study and hopefully finding a mentor with experience in this area, and the instructions in the Rite of Exorcism itself. There are some training efforts among charismatic Catholics, but the approach of these efforts are questionable, often misguided, and are generally not comprehensive.
In 1993, however, the International Association of Exorcists was formed. Membership is restricted and exclusive. A priest must have permission of his bishop to join. This Catholic association may begin to provide very needed training, support, and advice to those priests who are officially appointed as Exorcists. But this still does not meet the need for the average priest and the laity who deal with levels of demonization that do not qualify for a solemn exorcism.
Unlike a Solemn Exorcism, that has a specific rubric promulgated officially by the Church by which priest follows in doing an exorcism, in Deliverance Counselling there is no such formal guidance by which all Counselors may follow. This has caused much confusion and widely differing approaches among those called into Deliverance Counselling.
Without a standardization of methodology and a training that painstakingly brings a person through academic, clinical, spiritual instruction, and direction in personal spiritual formation and growth, abuses and uneven results are bound to be the norm.
Perhaps because of this lack of proper training and understanding among Deliverance and Healing apostolates the Church has observed many abuses and even harm not only to the clients of these groups but to the counselors themselves.
The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith thus issued two instructions on this matter. The first was in 1985 dealing specifically with deliverance work: Inde Ab Aliquot Annis. The second pertinent document deals with prayers for healing was issued in 2000: Instruction on Prayers for Healing
It is critically important for those in the Deliverance or Healing apostolates to read these binding instructions from the Vatican.
The lack of training in seminaries, the lack of priests or laity knowledgeable and experienced in doing Deliverance Counselling, has caused a great gap of people not receiving the help they need. Our Community has been called by God, we believe, to fill this gap and provide not only counselling with demonized people, and investigations of “hauntings,” but also to provide a specific and comprehensive course of instruction to train eligible people to be Deliverance Counselors.
This section of the SPCDC website will provide information about what it means to be a Deliverance Counselor, eligibility requirements for admittance to our training, an outline of the training curricula, and an application for those interested in becoming students in our training program.
Thank you for your interest and may God richly bless you.