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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Interview With "The Assistant Headmaster": Lisa Mladinich's All the Rage: Fashionable Occult Practices and Furious Consequences

Hail, Academicians! 
Your "Assistant Headmaster" had the privilege and pleasure of chatting with Lisa Mladinich, publisher of the invaluable AmazingCatechists.com  and  Be An Amazing Catechist.
     We discussed her recent post, Killing Us Softly: Seduced by the Occult, regarding the current rage among some Catholics to casually arrange a meeting with so-called Psychics, Readers or Mediums for a "reading", or a "séance",  or  a "revelation" concerning the  future.  
     As well, we discussed the rationale these Catholics use for committing these sins: "It's just for fun." "It's only  entertainment." "It's not real." 
     A few words occur to me when I hear these excuses for disobeying God's Commandments.  Words like: unwise,  ill-advised, spiritually dangerous and mortally sinful.  What follows in this post are the other words which occurred to me during my conversation with Lisa Mladinich. (
For your convenience, what follows is the complete copy of Lisa's conversation with me.)
"The Assistant Headmaster"
Reverend Father James J.M. Reynolds, STL


BE AN AMAZING CATECHIST

All the Rage: Fashionable Occult Practices and Furious Consequences

So-called "psychic readers" are con men, but that doesn't mean a real threat of evil does not exist, under many forms.

By Lisa Mladinich, April 03, 2012



For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16
wildernessIn last week's column, I gave an overview of the Catholic view of the occult and related it to the common problem of Catholics dabbling in its popular forms. Those who dabble tend to lose their faith in gradual stages, even as they become irrationally argumentative and contemptuous of religious people. As they lose their faith, they lose their peace. And if you question them at all, they get good and mad.
The response was predictable. Catholics and other Christians were supportive. But most of those involved in some form of occult spirituality were enraged. Sadly, they made my point for me. I urge those of you who are prayerful people to keep them in your daily intentions.
A few days ago, I got an email from the owner of a terrific website called, The Catholic Jedi Academy, asking permission to publish a copy of my column for his readers. The site owner, Fatherr James Reynolds, a diocesan priest in New York, has had more than his share of experience with the paranormal. I had a very interesting chat with him and he shared some observations that were helpful to me. I hope they are helpful to you, too.

Father Reynolds, how did you become interested in exposing the occult?
For me, the paranormal stuff has been going on for over thirty years. I'm a statistical oddity among priests. I have had more encounters with the paranormal, with strange things happening, and so called 'haunted houses' than most of my confreres.
The Lord gets me involved with this. People come up to me at Mass and ask me for help. And that started way back, even before I was in the seminary. Two of my friends lived in houses that were haunted, and it was substantial stuff that could really scare you: doors moving, furniture being lifted and shoved around, strange noises, seeing things. And as I went along, I guess the Lord decided, "You've had a dose, now, so I'll send people to you."
I got a phone call one night from a friend, who said, "Turn on your TV to channel so-and-so," and I said, "Why?" And he just said, "Turn it on, right now!" And I look, and it's John Edward's show (the famous necromancer), and there he is talking to people in the audience. And who's sitting right behind him? Three of my Eucharistic ministers!
There was a story on what they call 'cold readings' on one of the news shows (possibly 20/20), that featured a British man claiming that what John Edwards is doing is a 'cold reading.' And he explained the psychology of it and then he demonstrated how it works.
First, the British man advertised that he was a psychic. And then the people walked in and because they believed it, they anticipated it, and they made it happen. He asked generic questions and they filled in the blanks. So he does this with an audience and they're telling him everything he needs to pull off the illusion, and they're all crying and emotional. And then he says, "I have to stop this," and they are all in shock when he tells them it was all made up.
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He says that somebody who is shrewd enough to observe body language and knows the right questions to ask can make it look real. And if he gets stuck, he says the spirit is telling him that 'he has to go now,' and 'that'll be a thousand dollars each!'
But even if the psychic is faking it, isn't damage still done to their souls?
The way I describe it is it's like lint on your clothes. You go to the psychic, and even if the guy is a fraud he may be under the influence of demons who give him tidbits of information so that you'll believe him. And once you leave there, you never leave alone. Something always comes with you, like lint on your clothing. And until you make an effort to take it off, they'll keep at you.
Is it enough to confess the sin of your occult involvement, repent sincerely, and stay away from it in future, or is more needed?
The sins are forgiven if you confess, but what many priests don't realize is that now you have to evict these things from being around you or working within your mind. First you confess the sin and the grace of absolution fills you again. But with that grace now you have to fight these things off, change your lifestyle. You have to stop thinking with a certain mentality.
Would the person need prayers of deliverance?
If the priest offers it, of course they're going to take it. But depending on their expectations it may not be appropriate. He should ask them, "But did you go to confession, are you trying to fight this off?"
Four times I did some kind of deliverance prayer and prayed over (and with) a person for several days, over the course of a week or two, and they started to say, "I don't feel it any more." But I always give a warning. "Keep yourself holy. Remember what the Lord said. If the demon is cast out but it can't find someone else to enter, he comes back with seven more" (Mt. 12:43-45).
What are some signs to look for, if you've been exposed to these things?
First, how does this suddenly change your relationships? Are you suddenly fighting with your spouse? Are you angry all the time, getting in a lot of arguments? One of the things the devil will have for all eternity is his own rage, and he likes to spill it out on to people who don't suspect it. Ask, "Why is this happening?"
Second, you'll experience disruptions in your sleep. You'll awake in the middle of the night, frightened, seeing things in the bedroom shadows. Sometimes you feel like someone is there in the room with you, but invisible.
That person definitely has to take the steps: First, to go to confession; then start receiving communion after confession. If it still continues and you can't find a way to deal with it, you go to the priest and tell him about it. Most priests would pray over the person, maybe not specifically for freedom from demonic oppression, but for peace of mind, etc.
I use the analogy of lint on your clothing, because it starts when you go to a psychic with your friends, and then things start changing. Weird things are happening and you don't know why, and you think, "But it couldn't be me going to the psychic!"
I've heard of demonic influences clinging to objects, but if someone you love is involved with the occult, is it dangerous to touch them and hug them?
Don't get frightened. The devil wants us to be afraid. When you hug your loved one, in your conscious mind ask the Holy Spirit to be between you like a blanket. Then it's the Holy Spirit wrapping around her and you're insulated. A hug might be one of the things that could actually be helpful to her. Remember, she's not the psychic, she's the victim of the psychic.
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St. Ignatius of Loyola said in his spiritual exercises, that the devil is a coward. If you stand up to him, he runs. If you can expose his presence to somebody, he'll back off. At first he'll scream and shout, but ultimately it's Christ working through you, by the Holy Spirit, and he doesn't want that and he runs away. He's a bully, but there's nothing he can do to you. If you're with the Lord and living a good Catholic life, there's nothing to worry about. He'll just run.
An image I like to use with people sometimes is that the bully in class has picked you out and is intimidating you and making your life miserable. So you come back with your big brother, Jesus, and you stand behind him and let him do the talking and tell this bully to get out and never come back. There's no way the evil one can get to you when you're standing behind Jesus.
Thank you, Father Reynolds!
I'd like to close with some scriptural passages:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you(James 4:7).
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people (Eph. 6:10-18). 
Lisa MladinichLisa Mladinich is a Catholic wife and mother, catechist and workshop leader, and the author of the popular booklets, "Be An Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children," and "Be an Amazing Catechist: Sacramental Preparation" available from Our Sunday Visitor. She is the founder of www.AmazingCatechists.com.
Mladinich's column, "Be an Amazing Catechist," is published every Wednesday on theCatholic portal. Subscribe via email or RSS.

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