In a recent interview, a world-renowned exorcist said the sex abuse scandal currently rocking the Catholic Church is demonic in nature and likely to get worse before it gets better. “We are in for a long storm,” said Father Gary Thomas, the exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose, California.
“It’s only going to get worse,” Father Gary Thomas told the National Catholic Register’s Patti Armstrong. “But as bad as it is, it has to come out. It is unacceptable.”
According to Fr. Thomas, the age-old taunt — “who’s going to believe you?” — is a Satanic message that is meant to silence sexual abuse victims.
“Convincing people that no one will believe them is what Satan says when something is so outside the bounds of what is reasonable as to be unbelievable,” Father Thomas said. “Reading the accounts of what those children in Pennsylvania went through [as detailed in the Grand Jury Report] we wonder, how could this happen?” he continued. “It’s other-worldly—outside what people thought was possible — that’s what makes it demonic.”
For far too long, Catholics have seen this real-life horror story play out over and over again in their churches.
In an article about becoming the solution, Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., founder and president of the Ruth Institute, pointed out that if abusers thought people would speak up and be listened to, they would not have gotten away with so much for so long. If people had listened to poor “James,” when he was abused at 11-years-old, the now 60-year-old man abused by Father Theodore McCarrick, would not have had to suffer in silence for decades. “James tried to tell his parents,” Morse wrote. “They did not believe him, against the word of a respected priest. James began getting into trouble, doing alcohol and drugs. The family thought Father McCarrick could straighten him out. They encouraged him to spend more time with their son.”
Fr. Thomas explained why sexual abuse of children is especially heinous. “By sexually abusing children, Satan desires to destroy the icon of the kingdom of God. He wants to destroy the most innocent version of humanity, which is the child,” he said.
The priest said that in his opinion, behavior that falls outside the bounds of what is conceivable — like murder — is also clearly demonic.
“ISIS is a satanically driven organization because they have a premediated will to kill as many as possible who don’t believe their way of life,” he explained. “Even drug cartels are demonic and often pray to Satan to curse their drugs and they refer to Satan as their father and pray to him. I’ve seen documentaries on this and attended workshops with government task forces and prayed over some of the cops because of what they are dealing with.”
Fr. Thomas called on all Catholics to pray and fast and to act to triumph over the evil. “It can’t just be the removal of a few,” he said. “It has to be a complete reshaping of the paradigm of the way our Church governs; we need a complete cleaning up. We need a lay commission to set up an independent study. The bishops can’t do it; they don’t know how to do it.”
Father noted that he fasts and prays before his work as an exorcist. “Prayer, fasting and the sacraments are efficacious,” he said, “but it cannot be without the intentionality of action that comes out of prayer. We want prayer to change us and we are praying for a change in the whole Church, all the way up. And we are also praying for the victims who have gone through decades of terrible trauma.”
Fr. Thomas said Catholics need to be strong and be prepared to persevere for the long haul. “We are in for a long storm,” he said. “The clouds are just starting. However, our primary concern must be the victims who have been violated and firmly and without doubt prevent new victimizations from taking place in the future. There can be no tolerance for sexual misconduct perpetrated by clergy or lay people within the Church now or ever again.”
In the video below, Fr. Thomas gives a talk on the nature of evil at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Turlock, California.