In the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation we renounce Satan and all his works, and profess our faith in Christ and in the Church. Sacred Scripture speaks of God’s protection and power over Satan. The first letter of John testifies that as children of God, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, the evil one cannot touch us. But it also states that "the whole world is under the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:18-20).
Chapter 12 in the Book of Revelation tells how the angel Lucifer rebelled against God. In the ensuing battle, one third of the angels in heaven fell to earth as demons. Since demons hail from all nine choirs of angels, some demons are more powerful than others. Moreover, demons still possess the perfect knowledge God gave them, thus, they are infinitely superior to human beings in intelligence.
Séances, the practice of trying to contact the dead, is an activity Catholics are sternly warned against. That’s because the Devil is an active force, a living, spiritual being. Through occult worship and rituals like séances, he can enter our lives by pretending to be a benevolent spirit. Blessed Pope Paul VI testified to the power of the Devil and his desire to harm humans:
We come face to face with sin which is a perversion of human freedom and the profound cause of death because it involves detachment from God, the source of life. And then sin in its turn becomes the occasion and the effect of interference in us and our work by a dark, hostile agent, the Devil. Evil is not merely an absence of something but an active force, a living, spiritual being that is perverted and that perverts others. It is a terrible reality, mysterious and frightening.As believers, we must be faithful to God and reject sin. The Devil will tempt us, but he cannot hurt us unless we allow him. Once we open the doors to the supernatural, we are out of our depth and lose all control.
On the afternoon of November 9, 1938, two girls in a ghetto of Warsaw conducted a secret séance during which, a malevolent spirit was unwittingly released. That night, Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass", a wave of anti-Semitic violence erupted throughout Germany. The timing and intensity of these respective events cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence. We will never know the extent to which a séance influenced history. That it unleashed "a terrible reality, mysterious and frightening", is certain.
As young women forced to live in a Nazi slum, surrounded by death and despair, dabbling in mysticism seemed like a harmless diversion. Cousins Havella, 18 and Sofie, 16, made a Ouija board with letters and yes/no responses. Using a pendulum they began to communicate with spirits. After multiple séances, they contacted a dark entity who grew increasingly adamant in demanding to be brought into the human realm. At the spirit’s insistence, Havella agreed to do so. Sensing the demonic nature of the entity, the next evening, November 10, Havella attempted to capture it. Her attempt failed.
When the Nazi pogrom of Kristallnacht commenced, SA and Hitler Youth units throughout Germany and its occupied territories engaged in the systematic destruction of Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues. Members of many units wore civilian clothes to support the idea that the disturbances were 'spontaneous' expressions of outrage. The attack left no aspect of Jewish life intact.
The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues. Many burned in full view of the public and of local firefighters, who had received orders to not intervene. An estimated 7,500 Jewish business were looted. Jewish families were forced out of their homes and subjected to public humiliation. Hundreds more were assaulted or killed. Some 30,000 Jewish males were arrested. Most were transferred from local jails to Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, and other concentration camps. Jewish cemeteries were the object of targeted desecration.
The German government immediately blamed "the Jews" for the pogrom and imposed a fine of one billion Reichsmark on the German Jewish community. The Reich confiscated all insurance payouts to Jews leaving Jewish owners personally responsible for the cost of repairs.
Ten months later, Germany would invade Poland and the horrors and bloodshed of World War II would begin. It remains the deadliest conflict in human history, during which industrialized murder [the Holocaust] and the reality of nuclear destruction [atomic weapons] were discovered and perfected. Both still haunt us, the later with unthinkable consequences should they fall into depraved hands.
In the closing months of World War I, Our Lady of Fátima predicted an end to that great conflict. Mary told the seers that if people did not cease offending God, a worse conflict would befall mankind, during which many souls would be lost. That conflict, World War II, came to pass with tragic results.
Evil lurks everywhere and with it sin, yet there is reason for hope. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). With more and more souls embracing the dark side, the forces of hell will continue to wreak havoc on creation. Our Lady of Fátima's message is no less true today. The time for mercy and forgiveness is now. Let us heed Our Mother's plea for repentance and prayer. Only an abiding relationship with God will protect us from the snares, temptations and insidious lies of the Devil.