Veteran exorcist says Christians can be victims of occult, like evil eye

Father François-Marie Dermine, an exorcist, speaks at the Meeting of Rimini in 2015.
Father François-Marie Dermine, an exorcist, speaks at the Meeting of Rimini in 2015. | YouTube/ Domenicani - ESD multimedia

Dominican Father François-Marie Dermine, a veteran exorcist, warned that even though praying Christians can be harder to attack, they, too, can become victims of occult practices such as the evil eye.

The evil eye is considered to be a look given to inflict harm, suffering, or some form of bad luck on those that it is cast upon.

Dermine who has served in several Italian dioceses since 1994, and recently published a new book, Ragioniamo sul demonio. Tra superstizioni, mito e realtà (Let’s Reason About the Devil: Between Superstitions, Myths and Reality), says while praying Christians can be victims of occult practices, they can also defeat this evil with God’s help. He also believes there is no “absolute antidotes to the action of the devil.”

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“This fact has been confirmed by my own experience. Everyone can be a victim of evil. But it is obvious that it is more difficult that a person who tries to live an honest life in the grace of God become prey to the devil,” Dermine said in a recent interview with the National Catholic Register.

“I have followed devout Christians who were under its grip. But if this happens, if God allows it, it is to enable these people to come to a greater good. I personally witnessed that these people can make an important qualitative leap in their human life and in their life of faith,” Dermine said. “We also have various examples of possessed saints in history, and this means a lot. However, these people have been able to win the battle with God’s help, and it strengthened their holiness and humanity, as well.”

The exorcist said he wrote his latest book to make the public more aware of the devil’s existence at a time when it's increasingly being questioned.

“I am an exorcist, and it really hurts me to hear people in general and priests, in particular, deny the concrete action of the devil in our lives. I couldn’t stand this situation anymore. It is the fundamental reason why I wrote this book," Demine said.

"Faith deprived of the belief in the existence of the devil is not genuine because the existence of angels is a truth of faith, and the devil is a fallen angel. I am very clear from this point of view. Whoever denies the existence of the devil is a heretic. Obviously, the devil is not at the center of the faith, but his figure is indispensable to understand the mystery of faith.” 

While he wants Christians to be careful not to demonize everything, he noted that too many believers have been seeking to rationalize away the devil and stressed that doing away with the devil is a threat to belief in God.

“I once heard some people say: ‘I have come to the awareness of the existence of God through the awareness of the existence of the devil, because I have seen it.’ This statement has a relative value, but it is true that, if the figure of the devil is missing, one also loses sight of the figure of God itself. In this sense, the death of the devil can accompany or precede or favor that of God because it makes the concept of God very abstract,” Dermine said.

“It makes faith arid and intellectualistic and makes us forget that we really need to be saved, helped and protected by the Lord. We must bear in mind that our faith consists in the effective presence of a loving God, and reasoning is not always the best way to reach God,” he said.

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