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EXORCIST FROM MADRID DISCUSSES OCCULT, DEMONS, LINKS CLERGY CRISES TO BUREAUCRACY

By Michael H. Brown

Among other things that we discuss at our retreats is the issue of angels and demons. The other night, I spoke with Father José Antonio Fortea Cucurull, a well-known exorcist from the iocese of Alcal! de "enares in #pain $%adrid&. "is thesis for a degree from the Camillas 'ontifical (ni)ersit* was entitled Exorcism in the Present Age. "e is also the su+,ect of a +ook, Interview with an Exorcist. And so he is a man to whom one can direct certain -uestions. "ow often does full possession +* demons occur. Who gets possessed. "ow acti)e -- in our present time, in his opinion -- is e)il. /hile, from time to time, demonic influence makes its attempt on us all $and while the Church is not currentl* well-schooled in this aspect, which was such a part of Jesus0 ministr*1 see toda*0s 2ospel reading&, Father Fortea, in answering the first -uestion, said that there are onl* a+out four cases of total possession, where+* a demon has complete control of a +od*, per *ear in #pain $this in a nation of fort*-fi)e million&. 3/e are speaking of something that is rare,3 the priest said. 4ike other exorcists, howe)er, the #panish priest differentiates +etween possession and influence or affliction +* unclean entities $the latter far more fre-uent& and is -uick to point out that there ma* +e cases of possession itself that ne)er come to his attention. Indeed, Father Fortea, pastor of #aint %ar* %agdalene 'arish in Anchuelo, on a)erage sees fi)e to ten people who come to see him each da* in the +elief the* are +eing affected $call this oppression or infestation&.

esoteric science.3 And the cause. the interest in spiritual matters is often di)erted to dark regions. 3#he is now normal. mediumship.. during a )isit to the (.3 3That for the moment is the main difference. There were less cases in 5urope fort* *ears ago. Americans pra* more. I reall* don0t know. *ou ha)e such things as #anter9a :an occult practice especiall* pre)alent in the %iami area./hen it is a case of total possession $and not a ps*chological sickness&. 3It takes a certain le)el of action. #o I do not sa* that here *ou ha)e more cases. wi6ardr*. 3It0s clear that the more people go to witchcraft.and that while 5urope is far more seculari6ed than the (.+ut in the Americas e)en good people show a tendenc* to go to ps*chic or witches. In the Americas. <et *ou also ha)e more Christianit*. howe)er we la+el it8 the wrong kind of supernatural experience. I did not know it was e)en possi+le to scream in such a wa*.3 recalled Father Fortea last week.. 5urope is more seculari6ed. .3 sa*s Father Fortea. The great difference +etween 5urope and here is that #outh America and 7orth America ha)e more faith. There were e)en some mo)ements of the +ed8 impossi+le for a person.#. and there is a demonical influence -. pantheism. or the 7ew Age. paganism. the exorcist sa*s the origin is often in the occult -.3 >ne of the most extreme cases the priest has encountered concerned a woman whose deli)erance lasted nine *ears. In other words. 3It was )er* dramatic +ecause of the screaming. +ut to put the hands through the +arrier from this world to the other is something that happens more in this countr*8 there is a clear presence of the occult. America has at least e-ual pro+lems with the demonic +ecause the )er* +elief in the supernatural here $missing in so much of 5urope& often leads people into cultism. =ecause of their faith. 5ach countr* has its defects. the more there will +e cases of demonism. satanism. I can0t sa* there are more cases of exorcism.#.

Asked a+out claims of apparitions. emons decei)e. "e has in)oked saints like #aint 2eorge.3 he sa*s.3 =ut.3 he sa*s. 3In one case e)en the +ishop went there and it took a while. >ne su+. *es. There can +e a link +etween a+ortion and demonism. sa*s Father Fortea -. In his mid-forties. "ealings ha)e occurred in con. %an* times )er*. "is approach is first to +less a person to see if there is possession. at places such as %ed.3 Father Fortea has +een called to deli)er homes that seemed infested +* spirits and recommends fre-uent pra*ing of the ?osar* and use of "ol* /ater in such instances.pain. Father Fortea sa*s that he does not ha)e a special sensiti)it* to the presence of e)il. )er* light.noting the 3gra)e case3 of a man who had a large tumor in his li)er that after exorcism disappeared. +ut the demon can0t mo)e the +od* with freedom-.ugor. who had recentl* spoken to priests in the iocese of #t.3 "e preferred not to address it in detail. Father Fortea descri+ed this as a 3)er* m*sterious3 topic and said there are 3different opinions among exorcists. emonical influences are more common. It often takes persistence $see James @8A&. trance. where we caught up with him. =ut I0m not sure.e in "ercego)ina.3I can tell *ou what the demons said. particularl* the =lessed %other. Augustine in Florida and was on to Al+u-uer-ue. There are more cases of demonical influence -.unction with deli)erance and exorcism. and reall* it works.ect rarel* addressed +* the Church concerns spirits of the deceased and whether the* can negati)el* affect the li)ing. 3(suall* I pra* in tongues. sometimes extreme. The* said it was witchcraft and a cult.3 said the exorcist. "is approach is more intellectual. 3 emons know what *ou are sa*ing. 3It0s a shame we don0t use healing power more. . 'urging a +uilding can take time.ma*+e a trem+le.3 he said. 3is alread* a terri+le traged* for the woman3&.ect that can cause fear. and fear is destructi)e. +ut he is reluctant to discuss this also $3The a+ortion itself. sa*ing it was a su+.

I don0t know wh*. and now it ma* +e dou+le. 3'eople who ha)e attacked her ma* ha)e a +ig surprise. and said he was informed in ?ome that she is up for +eatification. oppression.particularl* in countries such as the (.3 The good news8 the num+er of exorcists in the (. Father Fortea said that currentl* 3I suspend . 'riests are spending too much time with paper in offices and this is a +ig danger-+ureaucrac*. /hen we do. we see healing. non-+ureaucratic wa* of Christ.#. 3"er cause was accepted in the Congregation of #aints. 3Ten *ears ago.3 "e does ardentl* defend the contro)ersial writings of Italian m*stic %aria Baltorta.#. /e see freedom from fear. it0s unthinka+le to close a church +ecause in #pain it is )er* inexpensi)e to operate one1 in fact. #pain.which has di)ided at least two 5uropean exorcists. There are so man* m*steriesC For example. there were no more than thirt* or fort* dioceses that had an official exorcist in the (. The* ha)e to return to the simplicit*. he noted. is increasing.. we are opening churches in our diocese1 +ut the more *ou grow a +ureaucrac*. . the more *ou are going awa* from the ministr* of Jesus. The* should create a commission to stud* priests in Ital*. To +e in front of a computer is not pastoral.so wh* so man* cases of a+use. 3'riests in this countr* are )er* good -.3 4et us continue to discern. how a+out the clerg* a+use crisis -.3 he responds. In #pain. 3In #pain we ha)e )er* few cases.3 The +ad news8 man* dioceses remain without one. >ffice work is not pastoral work.3 he claims. /e see deli)erance. who wrote Poem of the Man-Go . o+session.udgment. depression. the more it eats *ou1 the more *ou +ur* *ourself in an office. e)en possession $hear the hiss& as well as fear. It is a simple call to act in the unworldl*. and e)en the >rthodox in 2reece on how to function as poor and simple.#.

one would see that 3the pages of the 2ospel are completel* ali)e in our time. If one could watch the ministr* of exorcism. sa*s Father Fortea.3 .It takes close attention to #cripture -.which itself has great power o)er e)il.