By Fr. Daniel Bowen, O. de M.
Public Curiosity About the Demonic
This year there are five Hollywood films dealing with the demonic, no doubt a sign that interest in the devil and paranormal phenomena is on the rise.
However, what is different this year is that two of these flicks go beyond the cheap thrills that the film industry often milks for profit.
One is Nefarious, a Christian independent horror film. It stars Jordan Belfi as a psychologist who must determine if a convicted death row inmate, played by Sean Patrick Flanery, is faking his alleged demonic possession.
The movie reflects Catholic teaching on demonic possession quite well and has been lauded by many Catholic leaders as showing an accurate window into the dangers of opening oneself to demonic influences.
Cary Solomon, one of the movie’s script writers, was interviewed by the National Catholic Register and said about the movie,
“This movie is saying, ‘Don’t play with the devil. If you dance with the devil, you’re going to lose.’ We point that out, but we do it in a very smart, cinematic way — we tell a story. Jesus told parables for a reason because stories are the most powerful way to convey information to people.”
Solomon also said, “All the world [is] surrounded by the occult, especially on TV and in the movie theaters. So it’s a perfect time for this to show the wickedness and the evil of the devil.”
The other movie is Padre Pio, based on the life of one of the most popular Catholic saints of the 20th century, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, who was a Capuchin Franciscan friar, priest, and mystic.
The character is played by the Catholic convert Shia LaBeouf, and is set during the times of economic strife of Italy following World War I. Padre Pio is known for his deep wisdom about prayer and peace in one’s life, mastering the spiritual life, and by being physically attacked by the devil.
Much less of the Padre Pio movie, to be released June 3, is concerned with demonic possession than Nefarious.
Why the Devil?
Besides today’s movies, there has been a rise in interest in the devil and in possession in recent years. Google’s Trends software notes that searches for the word “demonic” have gone up significantly in the last five years.
Why today’s interest in the devil? Here are a few possible reasons.
- Fear and fascination. The concept of the demonic taps into primal fears and the unknown. Humans have long been fascinated by paranormal phenomena, and the idea of malevolent entities existing beyond our realm can be both terrifying and captivating.
- Vacuum of religious faith. As people move away from Christianity and morals in the western world, their God-given desires for powers beyond themselves take on a new form. Unlike Christianity, getting involved in the dark side of life takes no commitment - at first, anyway – until one comes under the control of evil.
- Rebellion and Taboo. For some individuals, an interest in the demonic may stem from a desire to rebel against societal norms or religious dogma. Embracing the demonic can be seen as a rejection of conventional beliefs and a way to assert individuality. However, this leads to a slavery of the passions and false beliefs.
Conveyers of Mercy and the Mercedarian Friars USA
Priests know on a day-to-day basis that they are the conveyors of God’s mercy in a world that is assaulted by the devil. Their priestly graces are powerful antidotes to the seductions and entrapments of the world. Through their ministry, they bring to people the graces that enable them to share God’s own life and his salvation.
It is the outreach of Christians that leads people away from sin and into the discipleship of Jesus Christ. Priests, however, play a special role in this with their powers as ministers of the Sacraments – especially the Holy Eucharist and Confession (also known as Reconciliation and Penance).
If you are a single man seeking your God-given vocation in life, have you thought about becoming a Mercedarian friar? You would thus be able to carry on our Order’s mission to redeem those being held captive by modern forms of slavery.
The Mercedarians, also known as the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, was founded in 1218 in Spain. We have friars who are priests and others who are brothers.
In the United States, Mercedarian friars serve in parishes, prisons, hospitals, schools and other institutions in Ohio, Pennsylvania New York, and Florida. As part of our charism of redemptive love, we have a sincere devotion to Mary and to the Eucharist.
Single Catholic men age 18 – 40 who think they may have a Mercedarian vocation are invited to visit the website of the Mercedarian Friars USA. Contact me, Fr. Daniel Bowen, vocation director, at email@example.com.
Test Your Call
Why not test your call to the Mercedarian Friars and get your score.
Learn more about the Friars at these sites as well:
YouTube: Mercedarian Friars USA