“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

It might not seem very “modern” to believe in demons, but that doesn’t change the facts! The Catholic Church very much still teaches about the reality of the demonic in our world today; if fact, the Holy Father Pope Francis has especially emphasized this fact. This is important, because it’s hard to fight against things you don’t acknowledge even exist.

Here are 5 of the most common myths about demons:

Myth 1: Demons don’t really exist

Truth: Demons are not just a metaphor or a poetic expression of evil. Divine revelation and the Church’s teaching is clear: demons are real and active in the world right now.

Myth 2: Exorcisms aren’t real

Truth: Exorcism isn’t just for movies: in fact, Jesus performed exorcisms in the Gospels and the Church has always continued this aspect of his ministry, even to the present day.

The Vatican actually offers special training for priests appointed to be exorcists by their bishop, and if you’ve received a Catholic baptism you’ve received a minor exorcism.

Myth 3: Occult practices are just harmless fun

Truth: Occult practices can sometimes actually engage with real demons and are thus very dangerous and sinful. The Catechism makes this clear:

“All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

“All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion.” (CCC 2116-2117)

Myth 4: Even if demons exist, they can’t do anything

Truth: Actually demons are highly involved in human affairs, mostly by tempting us to sin and abandon Christ. In rare situations, they can harass a person more explicitly or even engage in possession. Many saints engaged in explicit and physical battle with demons.

Myth 5: There’s nothing we can do about demons

Truth: There’s much we can do! Our Jesus Christ has definitely defeated the powers of darkness, and with his grace we can be free of their influence as well. Mostly, this involves frequent reception of the Sacraments, prayer, penance, and a pursuit of holiness. In rare cases, this may mean seeking the help of a trained and properly authorized exorcist.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

[See also: St. Teresa of Avila’s Demonic Experience that Proved the Power of Holy Water]

[See also: A Bishop Explains Why the Church Must Still Battle Demons Today]

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