by Deacon Nick Donnelly
Homosexual activists have succeeded in persuading the ruling elites to use the power of the State, media and big business to successfully campaign for the legalisation of same-sex “marriage”. A government minister of Ireland, one of the most pro-life countries of the world, has announced with satisfaction the killing of 26 babies in 2014 as a result of Kenny’s abortion law.
These are the first ‘legal’ abortions ever conducted in the Republic of Ireland. A majority in the UK House of Commons, that prides itself on promoting feminism, have voted down a motion to protect baby girls from gendercide abortion. No wonder there is a sense among faithful Catholics that moral life is spinning out of control in Ireland and Britain. The question is, does the accelerating abandonment of morality and the riotous celebration of immorality, coupled with increasing hostility towards Christianity, especially the Catholic Church, indicate the activity of supernatural evil in both Britain and Ireland? The most significant evidence that the devil is conspiring to bring these events about is the reversal of public morality, where good is now condemned as evil, and evil is celebrated as good. For example, during the referendum in Ireland good people who defended marriage between a man and woman for the procreation and upbringing of children were pilloried in the media and meetings as wicked bigots.
Faced with the activity of supernatural evil in our countries what should be the response of faithful bishops, priests and laity?
Did the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary fail?
On 15 August 2013, Ireland was consecrated at the Shrine of Knock by the bishops of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Since this act both abortion and same-sex marriage have been legalised to popular acclaim. So why didn’t the consecration of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary bring about the hoped for moral and spiritual transformation?
Looking at the poor defence of the Faith by the bishops when faced with the challenge of abortion and homosexuality one possible explanation for this failure is that the Irish Church was just not in a position to make such a consecration. If reparation for sin was not at the heart of the consecration of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart then the one intention necessary was absent. Reparation for offenses against God’s divine majesty is the fundamental message delivered by Our Lady of Fatima:
"Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication, for the conversion of sinners."
Furthermore the validity of the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is questionable because not all the bishops of Ireland attended and the prayer of consecration didn’t mention Ireland.
However, the tragedy for both the Irish and British churches is the reluctance of many of the bishops, and priests, to publicly name as grave sin: abortion; co-operation with abortion; homosexual acts, and, support for same-sex “marriage”. Hence the scandal of Catholics politicians who vote for abortion and same-sex marriage continuing to receive Holy Communion. How can you fulfil the obligation of reparation for sins that is necessary for the consecration if you won’t acknowledge the reality of grave sin in our society?
There is a process of national healing based on the words and deeds of Our Lord Jesus Christ which the Church needs to follow: proclamation of the kingdom; exorcism; repentance; atonement/reparation; consecration; catechesis; formation, and, going out into the world to proclaim the kingdom.
First Great Exorcism Conducted in the World
Therefore, I’m convinced that before an effective consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can take place, the churches in Ireland and Britain need to take seriously the reality of supernatural evil at work in our countries. This is why I consider the news that a Great Exorcism has been conducted for the first time in the world, in Mexico, to be a very significant development for the entire Catholic Church.
It is reported that on May 20th, 2015 the Cardinal Emeritus of Guadalajara, assisted by bishops, priests and an exorcist, conducted a 'Magno Exorcismo' or Great Exorcism in the Cathedral of San Luis Potosí. According to Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez, the Great Exorcism “is a prayer asking God to drive away the Enemy, to drive him away from these places. From San Luis, first of all, and then from all of Mexico”. His Eminence further explained why he thought it necessary to conduct a Great Exorcism for the Archdiocese of San Luis and Mexico:
“The very grave situation we are living through in Mexico, whose root is very deep, beyond human malevolence; it is the devil, who is very connected to death. He is a murderer from the beginning…violence against young and old…abortions are performed even when it is not legalized, but when a country, a Christian country, legalizes abortion, that is a tragedy. It is a very, very grave sin. It’s time for people to become more aware of the seriousness of the situation in Mexico. Acts of revenge, now occurring between assassins and the government; deaths here, deaths there, and deaths everywhere: this violence is nothing else but the Devil who is tearing us apart.”
Archbishop Cabrero, the Ordinary of San Luis, explained what the rite of the Great Exorcism includes:
“Prayers, for example, about the problem of divorce and of abortion, which often are favored by inhuman laws, laws that go against nature itself. We ask God to free us from the strong presence of the Evil One, that makes itself felt. To do that, we turn to this special prayer, which is certainly extraordinary, but which is nonetheless a Church practice.”
The Archbishop expressed the hope that the Great Exorcism would result in his people knowing, “the dignity of the human person; that we will be able to see how God calls us both to holiness and to become truly conscious of our Christian vocation and of his call to eternal life.”
Father José Antonio Fortea, the world famous exorcist and author of ‘Interview with an Exorcist’ assisted the bishops and priests conducting the Great Exorcism. Fr Fortea told the Catholic News Agency,"this rite of exorcism, beautiful and liturgical, had never before taken place in any part of the world, although it had taken place in a private manner as when Saint Francis (exorcised) the Italian city of Arezzo.”
The exorcist identified the signs of supernatural evil present in a country that require this unique rite of exorcism:
“To the extent there is more witchcraft and Satanism going on in a country, to that extent there will be more extraordinary manifestations of those powers of darkness. To the extent sin increases more and more in a country, to that extent it becomes easier for the demons to tempt people."
However, Fr Fortea cautioned that conducting one exorcism would not be enough to rid Mexico of demonic evil:
"It would be a big mistake to think that by performing a full-scale exorcism of the country everything would automatically change right away. If with the power we've received from Christ we expel the demons from a country, this will certainly have positive repercussions, because we'll make a great number of the tempters flee, even if this exorcism is partial. We don't drive out all the evil spirits from a country with just one ceremony. But even though all will not be expelled, those that were removed are not there anymore.”
Pope Francis on the reality of the devil
The Holy Father’s has taught urgently and persistently about the reality of the devil and the necessity for Catholics, especially priests, to take the activity of the devil seriously. Pope Francis has talked about the modern difficulty in believing in the existence of the devil this way:
“There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage (Lk 11:15-26) , this and others, say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness’. It is true that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter, as if to say: ‘All of these (people) were not possessed; they were mentally ill’. No! The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil. We should not be naïve”.
Pope Francis also sees the increasing persecution of the Church and Christians by secularism and other violent ideologies as part of the battle between God and the devil. And he advises us to pray to Our Lord for the protection of the Church against the schemes of Satan:
“We can safeguard the Church, we can cure the Church, no? We do so with our work, but what’s most important is what the Lord does: He is the only One who can look into the face of evil and overcome it. The prince of the world comes but can do nothing against me: if we don’t want the prince of this world to take the Church into his hands, we must entrust it to the One who can defeat the prince of this world. Here the question arises: do we pray for the Church, for the entire Church? For our brothers and sisters whom we do not know, everywhere in the world? It is the Lord’s Church and in our prayer we say to the Lord: Lord, look at your Church … It’s yours. Your Church is made up of our brothers and sisters. This is a prayer that must come from our heart.”
The Need for a Great Exorcism in Ireland and Britain
I propose that the schemes of Satan are so advanced in Britain and Ireland that the most effective act of entrustment of the Church, and our countries, to the power of Our Lord would be our bishops and priests conducting the rite of the Great Exorcism in the cathedrals of every diocese. It would be an act of humility on behalf of our bishops which in effect says, to paraphrase Pope Francis, “We can’t safeguard the Church, we can’t cure the Church from the evils that attack us from within the people of God, and that attack us from secular society”. Only Our Lord can defeat the prince of the world and his temptations to compromise with the spirit of the worldliness that is clearly at work within the churches in Ireland and Britain.
My concern is, do our bishops share Pope Francis’s belief in the devil? Do they also share his urgent pastoral concern to protect people from the activity of demons? A couple of years ago I was contacted by a friend who was attempting to help a family suffering demonic oppression in southern England. She asked me if could put her in contact with an exorcist because no one in her diocese, bishop or priest, would help this family. The common response from the clergy they approached was one of disdain and condescension, “The Church doesn’t believe in the devil anymore!” I was able to help them get in touch with a priest willing to help. Without the leadership of the bishops about supernatural evil, the danger is that some faithful Catholics will unduly focus on the presence and activity of the devil without emphasising the primacy of Christ’s love and victory.
I earnestly pray that the bishops and priests of Ireland and Britain take seriously the reality of the devil in our countries, and that they follow the example of Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez, Archbishop Cabrero, and the brave Mexican priests. In the meantime, let us follow Pope Francis’s recommendation in fighting the devil and pray the Most Holy Rosary:
“Mary accompanies us, struggles with us, sustains Christians in their fight against the forces of evil. Prayer with Mary, especially the rosary – but listen carefully: the Rosary. Do you pray the Rosary every day? But I’m not sure you do [the people shout “Yes!”]… Really? Well, prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary, has this “suffering” dimension, that is of struggle, a sustaining prayer in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle”.