Catholic Spiritual Direction:
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To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book, Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance. Published in part with permission by Ascension Press.
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Where are demons located?
A demon is said to be in a place when it acts in that place. If a demon is tempting someone “here,” one says that it is “here.” If a demon possesses a person’s body, we say it is present within the person. If a demon causes a chair to move, we say that he is in that concrete place. In all these cases, though, the demon is simply acting there.
Heaven, hell, and purgatory exist now only as states of being. At the resurrection at the Last Judgment, the souls of the dead will be reunited with their bodies and will then exist in a concrete place (see CCC 650, 1005). At that point, the blessed will occupy a “physical heaven” (that is, a physical place of everlasting happiness), and the condemned will occupy a “physical hell.” As Revelation 21:1 states, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” After the general judgment, then, the blessed—souls reunited with their resurrected bodies—will dwell in the “new heaven and a new earth” for eternity. Where will condemned humans dwell? We do not know for sure. Some have speculated that the “physical hell” of the damned will exist in the center of this same world.
What does a demon think about?
Though demons find pleasure in knowing, they also suffer as a result of their knowledge—especially when this knowledge leads them to think about God. Demons constantly perceive the order and beauty of the Creator in all created things. Even in apparently neutral things, they see the reflection of the divine attributes.
Demons are not constantly engaged in tempting human beings. Much of the time they spend thinking. They suffer during those moments when they remember God and become conscious of their miserable state, that is, their separation from God. As we have previously noted, the amount of this suffering varies in intensity according to each demon’s degree of moral deformation.
Are all demons the same?
October 18, 2012 by Fr. Fortea
Filed under Demonology, Spiritual WarfareQ: Dear Father Fortea, are all demons the same? Are there differences between them regarding power, personality, and things like that?
A: No. We have already discussed that each demon sinned in a certain way and with a determined intensity. While the angelic rebellion against God had its roots in pride, from this root other sins grew. This can be clearly seen during an exorcism, when the particular demons possessing the person display sins of anger, self-worship, and desperation, among others. Each demon has its own psychology and its own way of being. For example, some are talkative, others are mocking; some are proud, others are hateful. Even though they all turned away from God, some demons are more evil than others.
As St. Paul and the tradition of the Church indicate, we need to remember that there are nine hierarchies of angels (from highest to lowest): seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels. The superior hierarchies are more powerful, beautiful, and intelligent than the inferior ones. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, each angel is completely different from other angels. In sociological terms, there are no angelic “races”; rather, each one is its own species. As we have said, though, it is possible to group the angels into hierarchies. These hierarchies are also called choirs, since these groups form themselves into choirs that sing praises to God. Their praise is obviously not that of the voice, but rather a spiritual type of praise that comes from their will to know and love the Trinity.
Because some angels from each of the nine hierarchies sinned and transformed themselves into demons, a demonic hierarchy exists. In other words, there are demons that are principalities, virtues, powers, etc. Even though they are demons, they retain their particular angelic power and intelligence.
Exorcisms have shown that superior demons can have power over inferior ones. What does this power consist of? This is something that is impossible for us to know because we cannot see how one demon forces another to do something, since there is no body to push or force. Nevertheless, a more powerful demon can prevent a less powerful one from leaving the body of a possessed person during an exorcism. Even though the weaker demon is suffering and wants to leave, the stronger one may impede it.
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