by Fr. Vincent Lampert
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.Profiles in Catholicism
"At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Barna Research Group released a startling survey showing more people, some 56%, believe in Satan than they do in God. As troubling as that statistic is, this could be yet another one of those Romans 8:28 situation, where God uses all things to work for good. Perhaps the many troubles of our country and world, including illness, civil unrest, and unemployment, just to name a few, will cause folks who haven't taken faith matters seriously to give more thought and prayer to the reality of good and evil, both God and the devil. That’s why Fr. Lampert’s book is not only so timely but so badly needed in a world that knows little about the source of gloom and doom or how to fight it. He brilliantly outlines how the answers can be found in Jesus, Scripture, and the teachings of the Church.” Teresa Tomeo, Bestselling Catholic author
The purpose in writing this book is to present the Catholic Church’s perspective on the reality and influence of the devil and his angels and what should be the Christian response. It is the author’s prayer that all those who read this book will deepen their own commitment to the Lord, especially those who may have distanced themselves from their Christian roots. Its purpose is not to focus on what the devil is trying to do to us, but rather to focus on the love that God has for each and every person created in his image and likeness. People are always fascinated by the devil. What is needed is a greater fascination with God!
In this ministry, Lampert submits himself to God so he may use the author to help people, who are up against the forces of evil, to experience the immense and unconditional love that God has for each and every person. Oftentimes people who are plagued by evil feel a certain unworthiness. Exorcism allows people to know the truth that anyone who wants to be found can never be lost to God. The power to confront demons and to cast them out rests in the name of Jesus Christ and the authority he has given to the Church. Indeed, in an exorcism Jesus is not a bystander, he is the Main Actor. Before the author departed from Rome to head back to the States, the priest who trained him left him with these final words,, “When you’re doing an exorcism and even think for a split moment, ‘wow, look at what I am doing’ You’ve just walked on unholy ground/ The focus is never on the exorcist, the focus is on Jesus Christ and his power and authority. This is sound advice that the author has always taken to heart. In this ministry it would be so easy to inflate my ego when it comes to combating Satan and his angels. Humility coupled with a servant’s heart must be the key ingredients in the life of an exorcist.
Building on the teachings of his predecessors, Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation on the Call to Holiness in the Contemporary World, Gaudete et Exsultate, says that “we should not think of the devil as a myth, a presentation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea”(Gen. 161) In his homily at Mass on Friday, April 11, 2014, Pope Francis stated, “the devil also exists in the 21st century, and we need to learn from the Gospel how to battle against him.” He further stated that “We must not be naïve about his ways, in fact, we need to be very aware of the strategies he employs to entrap us. For the devil is not a thing of the past.” The devil’s cleverest ruse, according to the famous remark bi the nineteenth-century French poet, Charles Pierre Baudelaire, as echoed by St. John Paul II and Pope Francis, is to convince us that he does not exist.
The author has chosen to publicize his identity to better educate people about this important ministry. Talking about the ministry takes the mystique away from the practice of exorcism and allows people to know that they should not be afraid to approach the Church if they feel that something demonic is taking place in their lives. The Church exists as a vehicle to defeat the devil, as we make our journey to the tree of life. As more and more people are walking away from their Christian roots, or merely wearing the Label of being a Christian, they are falling into the clutches of the devil. Therefore, it is more important than ever that the Church, through the ministry of exorcism must stand ready to help these people overcome what the devil is doing to them and bring them to a true and genuine union with Jesus Christ. The author asks us to pray for him as a priest and to pray for all priests. This is a book that the entire faithful should read.