I was a speaker at a Catholic event on a Caribbean Island when a priest confided that he needed more prayer to stand against the demonic spirits that attack the island families. The night before the event a family knocked on his rectory door at a late hour to present their teenager to the priest because they could no longer restrain the child. Evil spirits were manifesting through the teenager evidenced by strange body contortions, superhuman strength and vile verbal abuse against the family and God. Father prayed deliverance prayers over the youth and the manifestations stopped. Father admitted it is hard for him to keep up with the caseload.
The island is situated along the route of an international drug-shipping route. Consequently, drug houses heavily populate the island—almost one per block. Teenagers and adults from every walk of life frequent these drug houses. Subsequently, many parents asked me to pray with them because their children, several per family, were struggling with drug addiction and worse.
Father ascertained that drug lords are heavily involved in the occult; and that in order to increase the addictive quality of the illegal drugs, satanic curses are placed on the drugs. He was told that satanic curses are also placed on certain music and video games to increase their seductive, addictive and destructive qualities.
Before I continue, please allow me to implore that every reader pray more for priests who are on the frontlines of these spiritual battles. People from every religion and even non-believers seek a Catholic priest when they want out of the grip of evil spirits. Unsuspecting and unprotected people (those who are not clothed in the armor of God per Ephesians Six) can be seduced by the devil’s empty promises. Eventually they become so tormented by their demonic liaison that they want out. The devil does not easily let go of his grip. In most cases he has permission to be there because a person has consented that he enter at the level of their free will. For liberation the person must renounce evil, and often they need the assistance of a Catholic priest to expel the demon. The ordained priest has the authority of the Church behind his prayer to bind and cast demons but he can suffer because of this. Priests are spiritual fathers of God’s family. Most parents relate to the burden bearing we do for our families—tears of intercession that dampened our pillows at night, a pierced heart that cries out for the good of children entrusted to us. A priest does the same for the flock entrusted to his care. He needs to be strengthened by our prayers.
What is a curse?
According to Spain’s experienced exorcist, Fr. Jose Fortea, “A curse is an action that is done to harm another with the help of demons. There are specific curses to kill, to cause one to be possessed, to make things go bad in business, and to make someone sick, etc. …Curses are effective only if God allows them to have effect. The more one prays the more one will be protected against these things.”
The curse is very simply the absence of God or the corruption of creation. “Corruption of procreation” defines a curse in its most operative simple form. Curses are the absence of God. To the degree God is absent is equal to the affliction of the curse. (Pope Leo XIII Institute).
Are curses really effective?
Fr. Fortea explains:
…The first thing that has to be said is that whoever does the curse—as well as the person who may have asked for the curse to be done—will be the first ones affected by the demonic. Without a doubt, they suffer some type of demonic influence, possession, or sickness. The evil they wish on another will come back to them. A demon is never invoked in vain. But is a curse effective against the person to whom it is directed? This depends on the will of God. That is to say, it is the same as with accidents, illnesses, or misfortunes. During our time on earth, God allows us to experience both good and evil because this life is a period of trial, of purification. Of course, the person who prays and lives in God’s grace is protected. The more one prays and lives a spiritual life, the more one is protected (Fr. Fortea, An Interview with an Exorcist).
What can be done to counteract a curse?
Fr. Fortea advises, “If he is truly under a curse, the only way to remove it is to do just the opposite. That is to say, if a person has invoked a demon to do evil, then one has to invoke God to protect, help and bless him. Good is always stronger than evil.”
Fortea’s advice echoes Christ’s teaching, “But to you who hear I say love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who maltreat you (Luke 6:27-28).” The Lord has given us the opportunity to bless or curse by the power of our tongue so vigilance is necessary.
Fr. Fortea suggests that his parishioners use the following highly effective weapons if one believes he is the victim of a curse. One cannot go wrong with these!
- Pray the Rosary
- Read the Bible
- Speak with God every day
- Attend Mass frequently, even daily
- Place a blessed crucifix and an image of the Blessed Mother in one’s house.
- Make the sign of the cross with holy water daily.
Most exorcists agree that objects can be cursed by some work of magic, voodoo, satanic rituals or witchcraft. Cursed objects are sometimes unknowingly ingested or they may be outside the person causing harm through touch or by keeping the cursed object in the home. Cursed objects must be found and destroyed, and thus the curse is broken. I have ceased to purchase artifacts from countries where voodoo and witchcraft are rampant.
It is important to stress that the sacramental life is the most powerful protection and that God does not want us to be afraid—only vigilant, prudent and wise about the spiritual battle. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians instructs us to “put on the full armor of God” and then—confidence! In truth, the devil fears the Christian who knows his identity in Christ, filled with His Spirit! The Holy Spirit comes to our aid and makes us spiritually sensitive to discern our spiritual circumstance and how to be protected or liberated. God has given the Church every provision for spiritual warfare.
A Rome exorcist teaches, “Even demonic possession can become a school of holiness—not only for the tormented soul, but also for family and friends, who pray, suffer and sacrifice toward healing.” Often God is teaching us how to proclaim His victory in the midst of the darkness. God brings good out of evil situations but asks our cooperation in faith, hope and love. He instructs us to pray His blessing upon one another.
The Catechism teaches, “blessings consist of prayer, scripture, and sometimes a special ritual sign (1668).”
The USCCB posts the following, “People are accustomed to seeing bishops, priests, and deacons blessing objects or persons in the name of the Church. Indeed the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry. However, there are other blessings, like the ones contained in Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers that can be prayed by anyone who has been baptized, “in virtue of the universal priesthood, a dignity they possess because of their baptism and confirmation”. The blessings given by laypersons are exercised because of their special office, such as parents on behalf of their children” (www.usccb.org/).
Blessing is a constructive relationship whereby God’s grace flows through humanity, individuals, families, and institutions. Blessings further the miracle and the wonderment of creation. Blessings make God manifest, or present, in one’s life, in one’s body, in one’s home, in one’s institution. To the degree that God is present is the efficacy of the blessing.
The reciprocal, yet unequal in strength, is the curse. The original meaning of blessing from Genesis is one of the first echoes of creation. Blessings and curses present two sides of creation, and echo these two aspects. When in perfect relationship with God, the blessing received through one’s relationship with God overshadows all else.
- Numbers 6:24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. This can be prayed in return for a curse.
- In your own words: Eternal Father, I confide to Your goodness those people who have cursed me or my loved ones. I implore You to cover them in the Precious Blood of Your Son Jesus. Graciously bless them with the light of truth and conversion to the glory of Your Name. Thank you for the infinite protection of Divine Love that surrounds me.
- St. Edmund: O, Lord, into Your hands and into the hands of Your holy angels, this day I entrust my soul, my relatives, benefactors, friends and enemies, and all Your Catholic people. O Lord, by the merits and prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all Your saints, keep us today from all evil and unruly desires, from all sins and temptations of the devil, from a sudden and unprepared for death, and the pains of hell. Enlighten my heart with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and never let me separated from You. Amen.
For more information please visit the spiritual warfare section: www.foundationforpriests.org