Spiritualism and Its Dangers
Interview With an Exorcist, Father Francesco Bamonte
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ROME, NOV. 4, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Superstition offends Jesus because it shows a lack of trust in him, says an exorcist who has written a book on the hidden action of the Evil One and supposed communications with the beyond.
Father Francesco Bamonte's volume, available in Italian and soon due out in other languages, is entitled "I Danni dello Spiritismo" (The Damages of Spiritualism), published by Ancora.
Father Bamonte, a religious of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, dedicates his pastoral ministry to helping people who have fallen prey to wizards or self-styled mediums.
In this interview with ZENIT, Father Bamonte describes in detail the physical and psychic damages caused by spiritualism.
Q: You are an exorcist. Do you think that people who fall into spiritualistic practices are seeking the truth in a mistaken way?
Father Bamonte: Certainly. Spiritualistic practices are a mistaken way of seeking truth. People hope to receive real information on God, man, the beyond, the past, present and future, from what they think are the souls of the dead. In reality, they are generally no more than tricks which sometimes make them enter into contact with their own subconscious.
In other cases, however, they enter into contact with demonic spirits which pretend to be the souls of the dead. That's because the phenomena and manifestations of spiritualism are not always tricks, fiction, suggestions, psychological mechanisms, manifestations of the subconscious or creations of the psyche, which some like to suggest so as to explain unusual events, including the demonic or supernatural.
The cases of infestation or diabolic possession, in which exorcist priests have had to intervene after a spiritualistic séance, show clearly how this practice is a favorite way for the devil's destructive action on people.
Q: What, exactly, is spiritualism, and why is it not reconcilable with the faith?
Father Bamonte: It is the evocation of the dead, that is, a practice with which, through techniques and human means, with or without a medium, an attempt is made to call a dead person to ask him questions.
Every time we pray to God for our dead, without engaging in a spiritualistic practice, we ask the dead as well as the saints to pray to God with and for us. This is the invocation of the dead, but not their evocation, which is what spiritualism does.
The dead can only manifest themselves to us by the free initiative of God, directly and never through techniques or mediums such as spiritualistic séances. For serious reasons, God can allow a dead person to appear to us, for example, to give us advice or at least a consoling presence, to ask for prayers or to express gratitude for prayers offered.
If on the contrary we are the ones who want to bring about a meeting with the dead through "evocation" with spiritualistic techniques, already in the Old Testament God spoke clearly in this respect and told us that he abominates anyone who does these things. Suffice it to read Deuteronomy 18:10-12 or Leviticus 19:31.
Q: Spiritualistic practices promise consolation and contact with dead persons. What can be said, from the Christian point of view, to those who seek this approach to the beyond?
Father Bamonte: They should read the Bible and see that God severely prohibits this approach to the beyond because he knows that it is false and deceitful as it plunges us in darkness and turns us away from the truth and genuine faith, opening the way to the intervention of evil spirits.
Whoever wishes to feel close to deceased loved ones, should go to confession frequently, go to Mass, pray for them, and be totally prepared to accept God's wills. God will certainly give them the possibility to feel the joy of being in communion with their deceased loved ones.
Q: What are the principal dangers of spiritualism?
Father Bamonte: Physical troubles of all kinds such as strong stomach pains, pains in the forehead and bones, vomiting, epileptic fits, pins and needles in the legs, sudden attacks of heat or cold, increasing sense of anxiety, depressions, constant nervous tics, the impossibility to take in food.
Q: Enough, enough ... are there still more?
Father Bamonte: I am referring only to physical troubles, but there are still many more: inability to sleep night or day, inability to study or work. To be agitated, to have nightmares, to be afraid of the dark, to have the sensation of being grabbed by the arms, or the sensation of someone sitting on our lap. One also feels invisible slaps and bites, as well as blows to the body.
Q: And the psychological damages?
Father Bamonte: Phenomena like self-exclusion from the social daily context, states of dependency like those of alcohol or drugs, loss of rationality and freedom, dissociation from one's personality to the point of feeling that someone has entered one's person; voices that superimpose themselves on prayer and blaspheme and lead to suicide.
In regard to damage to places, we might say that they are indicated by phenomena such as the movement of objects without any sensible cause, doorbells or musical instruments which are suddenly heard. Mention must also be made of banging on the roof, walls or floor, cries and voices in the air, the sound of footsteps, dark visions or monstrous presences.
Q: What is so-called pseudo-Catholic spiritualism?
Father Bamonte: The futile attempt to reconcile the Catholic faith with spiritualism. Given what I have just said, it can readily be understood how this is absolutely impossible.
Q: Yes, it is perfectly understood. But it is not unusual to meet Christians who are somewhat superstitious. Can this tendency be corrected?
Father Bamonte: Superstition is a sin against the First Commandment. Christian faith and superstition are in open contradiction and yet not a few Christians are afraid of a black cat crossing the street, spilled oil, the numbers 13 or 17. And they wear amulets or talismans to ensure good luck or prevent ill fortune.
There are also many Christians who have a horseshoe on their front door. It is not unusual to see Catholics doing gestures with their hands to look like horns or who cross their fingers at certain times. It is also grave, especially if one is a Christian, to believe in horoscopes, to consult wizards, to have one's palm read, or to engage in spiritualism.
Superstition offends Christ because it reveals a lack of abandonment and trust in him. In evangelization, in the preaching at Mass, and in catechesis, it is necessary to proclaim that the Christian trusts Christ wholeheartedly, who frees and saves man from the forces of evil that threaten him.
Superstition, on the contrary, not only does not liberate or protect one from the forces of evil but it is a way that enslaves one forever.