Presumptions We Have in Doing Ministry- St. Padre Pio Center for Deliverance Counseling
This is a papal fidelity site. Loyal and Obedient to the Current Pope and to the Magisterium United With Him. Presumptions upon which We Conduct Our Apostolate The Church with her Pope and Magisterium is our ultimate authority.
The Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, as officially interpreted by the Pope and Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and the writings of the Saints, forms the basis of our understanding of Spiritual Warfare issues.
Spiritual Warfare is real and not an event found only in Biblical times or other past ages.
There are only two opponents in Spiritual Warfare — God and those who serve Him; Satan and those who serve him. Many are not aware they are serving Satan subconsciously by their actions, opinions, or beliefs.
Occultic and demonic influence may be found anywhere. Such ideas are not something only found on the mission field in some jungle somewhere. Demonic or New Age influences are found in all strata of society — even in our parishes. Pope Paul VI once observed the the smoke of Satan has even entered the sanctuary.
Everyone, including Christians, are susceptible to occultic and/or demonic influence. We can find ourselves contaminated with ungodly thoughts, opinions, and beliefs without knowing it if we are not careful. The most dangerous form of infiltration is not a conscience choice but a subtle warming to hellish ideas that begin in such a way as to not sound so bad. Then we experience the frog in the boiling water phenomenon — a frog is placed in regular water and then the water is slowly heated. The frog, being cold-blooded, will acclimate to the warming water. By the time the water boils it is too late and the frog dies without noticing the danger. We, too, find ourselves in slowly warming water everyday in our culture that finds so many ways to distract us from living the good Christian life. These demonic influences can also enter our lives through deliberate action, careless inattention, generational sins (sins of our ancestors), influences from family (such as parents teaching or involving their children in rituals, activities, or ungodly life-styles and philosophies), influences from peers (such as in fraternal associations, co-workers, buddies, etc.), and influences from society-at-large (such as from the media, games, music, holidays, sports, cultural philosophies and prevalent worldviews that are incompatible or even hostile to the Christian worldview.
One should never jump to conclusions about occultic or New Age involvement allegedly observed in others or in the community. Always test the spirits and our conclusions.
Demons are not around every corner. We must accept responsibility for our own sin while recognizing the possible influences of the enemy to encourage us to sin.
Counseling and ministry in areas of Spiritual Warfare occult must be done according to God's will and blessing, in a way that is Biblically balanced and in full accord with Church teaching and legislation. It must also be conducted in a rational and considered attitude and discernment. Hysteria, exaggeration, emotions subjectivity, and fear are not attributes of a Godly apostolate.
God is infinitely greater than Satan. Though God has ultimately won the war, battles over individuals, groups, and places are being fought.
One's worldview [Western (Individualism, Scientific), Eastern (Pantheistic Collectivism and Mysticism), Evangelical Christian (Bible alone, individualistic) or Catholic (Fullness of the Sacred Christian Faith and Tradition, paterfamilias, complementarian, communitarian, sacramental, Biblical) and one's view of Man (Man is basically good and getting better vs. Man is sinful in his fallen nature and in need of a Savior) will significantly determine how one will respond to the issues of the occult, Satanism, and the New Age. We have all be raised in a culture with a worldview based on the doctrine of demons collectively known as Liberalism with its various cousins such as Modernism, Feminism, Individualism, Americanism, and Secular Humanism. As such we are all contaminated by that influence and must work hard to remove those philosophic influences and presumptions from ourselves whenever and wherever we find them. Our ability to recognize and identify the subtleties of Satan's snares depends upon this.
There are numerous different types of Satanism, occultism, and New Age, and numerous degrees of involvement. Some people may never progress to the deeper levels of involvement. Others may quickly descend into the darkest levels of Satanism.
The general rule of thumb is to believe about 20% of the phantasmal stories one hears from the media, from Satanists, occultists, former members of the occult, AND workshop presenters and deliverance counselors.
One of the most revealing and important Scriptural insights concerning the respective purposes of Christ and of Satan comes from the comparison of the following two verses: The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Christ Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. —John 10:10
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. —1 Peter 5:8
Our workshops, materials, website, and apostolate are not intended to glamorize, sensationalize, or encourage participation in Satanism, the occult, or the New Age in any way. Our purpose is not to give unnecessary attention to Satan, his followers, or to adherents of occultic practices and beliefs. Our intent is to alert the public, and particularly the Christian, of the dangers of Satanism, the occult, the New Age, and the various doctrines and philosophies of demons that have become the prevailing philosophies of our time. Our intent is also to express the need for Christians to fulfill their general calling to participate in Spiritual Warfare. If we who have the power of Christ with us do not do it, who will (or can)? Our apostolate seeks to accomplishes these purposes and intentions by providing information, insight, help, and hope to those in need and to all of us who are Spiritual Warriors.
We believe there are five essential approaches in dealing with Spiritual Warfare:
THE SECULAR APPROACH trying to explain unusual phenomena and occult involvement ranging from the scientific (and the use of scientific equipment to capture paranormal activity), to the parapsychological (explaining all behavior in terms of the psyche and forces untapped in the brain), to the psychiatric/psychological (explaining phenomena with imbalances in brain chemistry or issues from processes of body chemistry, brain function or dysfunction, or psychological trauma, and pathological processes, and disorders, or any combination of the above.
THE TOTAL SKEPTIC APPROACH involves those individuals who believe all of this paranormal business in utter bunk and a result of trickery, fraud, misguided emotions, or mental defect. While much of the reported phenomena may indeed be false, the "Total Skeptic", thinking he is logical, actually misses the logical analysis. For example, the Amazing Randy, who is famous for de-bunking claims of the paranormal, shows how a phenomenon is fake by reproducing the same effect with slight-of-hand illusion. While such illusions often are the correct explanation, in many cases the mere fact that Randy can reproduce the effect by trickery does not logically follow that the phenomenal effect MUST be fake — it only shows that it could be. The Total Skeptic's motto could easily be, I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts since they are so into debunking that they are not objectively looking for evidence to the contrary of their skepticism.
THE NEW AGE APPROACH seeks to subvert all that we know to be true as Christians. While Christian terminology is sometimes used and Christian concepts co-opted, the overall direction and fundamental presumptions of the New Age Approach is contrary to the Truth of God and lead deeper into magick and the occult. Often New Age spiritual warriors will use white magick to cast spells of protection against the harmful spirits, call upon their spirit guides to guide and protect them, and borrow from any number and combination of metaphysical and mystical notions to approach the "evil" but to do so without God, and rather seek the god within us.
THE SENSATIONAL APPROACH appeals to creating a sensational show for people (to get the high-ratings, if you will. Some information may be true, much of it may be exaggerated, and some will be untrue. To capture the imaginations of the audience (and often to convince the most people to pay for tickets or consulting) the Sensational Approach will emphasize or create the bizarre, the incredible, and the beyond belief antics. This approach is scene in newspaper tabloids, and talk-show circuits, and with many on the lecture tours. The Sensational approach is used not only by showmen looking to make a buck or to exploit some innocent people to make a dollar, but may also be by otherwise well-meaning and sincere Christians who want to help people but have their perspective on spiritual warfare out of balance. These folks are often involved in the charismatic renewal movement but are out of balance in their understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus they tend to gravitate toward sensational (and always subjective and emotion) displays of gifts in order to fight the devil. Catholic charismatics are more balanced in their theology and practice than Protestant charismatics, but much abuse and imbalance is also seen among the Catholics. In fact it was this sort of abuse that brought the Church to issue stricter legislation about the use of deliverance counseling and prayer. Perhaps the most famous modern example of this approach is Bob Larson and the Bob Larson Show on TV and radio
THE CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL APPROACH will vary somewhat between Catholics and Protestants, but the basic presumptions and approach are the same — dealing with the Truth of God's economy and the Christian worldview concerning angels and demons and spiritual warfare. This approach recognizes the reality of a literal God and a literal Devil and the cosmic war that is going on all around us. This approach knows that God has won, but battles over souls are still raging and this we must be involved in Spiritual Warfare in some fashion if we are to be true disciples of Christ. The Christian Spiritual Approach recognizes and affirms that the only real deliverance from evil in any form is the salvific grace of our Lord Jesus Christ through the instruments He has given us to wage this battle in His name — the Church, the Sacraments, the Church's Sacramentals (such as holy water, deliverance counseling, and exorcism), intercessory prayer, personal devotion, and discipleship. Some deliverance counselors use a combination of two or more of the first four approaches. Perhaps it is to cover all bets but it is not a safe or godly approach to take. The most famous example of this multi-approach style perhaps with the Warrens who investigated the Amytiville Horror haunting.
There are those who disagree with our position. We respectfully agree to disagree on various matters, but we do insist that all Catholics obey the teaching authority of the Catholic Church as we ourselves are vowed to do. We cannot agree to disagree on official Church teaching and discipline. For non-Catholics we respect the dignity and right of their choice to believe what they believe, without compromising our beliefs and the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church.
We at the St. Padre Pio Center for Deliverance Counseling continue to gain insight concerning Satanism, the occult, the New Age, and the philosophies counter to Christianity and its Church; and continue to be instructed by the Church in her wisdom and discernment as legislated from time to time. Thus we reserve the right to change or upgrade our material as deemed necessary when directed by the Holy Spirit and/or by the Church.
Finally, there are no experts in Spiritual Warfare or in counseling victims of the occult. Our apostolate should not be looked upon as an expert agency. We are sinners who have been given a calling to perform an apostolate. Any knowledge comes only as God has given it to us through the Church, the Bible, and the Saints; and through prayer, experience, and sometimes the stupid actions of our own sinfulness. Whatever God has given us we share. The glory is His. Ad Magorem Dei Gloriam