Spiritual Warfare in the City of Angels

An Interview with Jesse Romero

It is hard to miss the buzz in Catholic quarters surrounding well-known evangelist Jesse Romero’s new book, The Devil in the City of Angels: My Encounters with the Diabolical. What caught my attention in Romero’s story was how he first encountered demonic spirits: not in his work as a Catholic evangelist but earlier, in his career as a Los Angeles deputy sheriff. He witnessed supernatural manifestations that police academies never dream of addressing with their cadets; but these encounters helped propel him deeper into his Catholic faith.

As Jesse’s faith matured and he began sharing the gospel, his path crossed a number of others — baptized Christians — whose involvement in the occult opened them to demonic oppression and possession. Romero accumulated a wealth of knowledge regarding spiritual warfare, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions for CE’s readers.

Shane Kapler: With Scripture and the Catechism being so clear on Christians not having anything to do with seances, astrology, psychics, etc., why do you think so many Christians still dabble in the occult? And as a follow-up, what are the occult practices in which they most frequently engage?

Jesse Romero: Baptized Christians are hungering for the mystical and other worldly, we were hard wired that way.  Many people are simply ‘curious’, just like Eve, that’s what got her in trouble, wanting to discover the unknown and the forbidden.

Many people are drawn to the occult because they are ill-informed Americans who have a malformed, uninformed, misinformed, or deformed moral conscience and the allure of the occult is all around us: psychics, tarot card readers, fortune tellers, horoscopes, healers online and also renting a storefront in your neighborhood.

You also have the pop culture (music, movies) that promotes that occult as well as the best-selling ‘Harry Potter books.’  Tempting people to dabble in the occult is one of the ordinary activities of demons. Is like shooting fish in a barrel, demons tempt humans through ‘temptation’ all day long.

Kapler: You write a great deal about spiritual warfare. What type of spiritual warfare is reserved only for exorcists, and what type is the work of the laity? Is there a line that the laity does not have the spiritual authority to cross?

Mr. Romero: Priests have the authority to engage in healing, deliverance and exorcism. There are two types, a minor and a solemn exorcism. Any priest can engage in minor exorcism, a solemn exorcism requires the permission of their bishop for someone who is possessed. Lay people can help Priest in healing, deliverance and exorcism as support and as prayer intercessors. Every Priest has a team of lay people assisting him. A priest has universal authority to heal and liberate a person from the diabolical, while a lay person has authority over those under his authority. A husband and father has authority to pray healing and deliverance prayers over his wife and children. Lay people can pray healing and deliverance prayers for themselves. The ones that I have been praying every day for over ten years are the www.auxiliumchristianorum.org  prayers. These prayers were written by Catholic Exorcist for the laity in order to protect themselves and their families from the diabolical.

Kapler: In the gospels, Jesus exorcised demons with a simple command. We see Paul appearing to do the same with a spirit of clairvoyance in Acts 16. Would you share your thoughts as to why exorcisms today are a much more protracted process? Why does the rite of exorcism often need to be repeated a number of times for a person to finally gain freedom?

Mr. Romero: Several reasons, first, more people are living in mortal sin, there are less baptisms, less couples marrying in the Catholic Church, so that means there are less people praying in the Church Militant. Instead of the Church Militant being battle ready (living in a state of grace and praying), the Church Militant has laid down their weapons and have fallen asleep in the battle field.

Several Exorcist have told me that this (the laity’s lukewarmness) affects their prayer sessions. Also, most energumens (possessed) people continue to live in mortal sin, therefore the demon may get driven out through the session but they come right back because the person lacks sanctifying grace in their soul which keeps them free from the diabolical.

Many peoples’ lives are so disordered; they do not have properly formed moral consciences based on the Word of God and their wills are weak as a result of habitual sin. Therefore, they lack the courage and fortitude to follow the exorcist protocol to live in a state of grace. Ninety percent of the deliverance is done by the spiritually afflicted person; ten percent of it is done by the priest. Exorcism is not magic; it’s hard work which requires the spiritually afflicted person, by an act of the will, to fully cooperate in pursuing a life of holiness. Demons enter through mortal sin and remain when the energumen (possessed) embrace heresy.

*Heresy – the obstinate denial after Baptism of a truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith  (CCC 2089, 465).

Kapler: In your book you share your own experience in deliverance ministry, how to arm ourselves against the devil’s activity in our lives, as well as ending the book with prayers you have found very effective in countering the demonic. If someone finishes your book and wants to receive further, solid formation in this area, where would you send them or what written resources do you recommend?

Mr. Romero: The three books on Catholic spiritual warfare that I would recommend are:

Kapler: Jessie, this is fantastic. On behalf of Catholic Exchange and its readers, thank you.

image: Silvia Elizabeth Pangaro / Shutterstock.com

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Shane Kapler lives in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and is the author of works such as The Biblical Roots of Marian Consecration, The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Seven Core Beliefs of Catholics, and Marrying the Rosary to the Divine Mercy Chaplet. He is online at ExplainingChristianity.com

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