Advice From Exorcists on How to Strengthen Your Spiritual Immune System

“A life absent of faith ... is already fertile ground for an extraordinary action of the devil.”

John Ritto Penniman, “Christ Tempted by the Devil,” 1818
John Ritto Penniman, “Christ Tempted by the Devil,” 1818

Can you be harmed by a curse placed on you? The answer could depend on whether you are in a state of grace, according to Father Theophilus (not his real name), an exorcist in the Mountain West who spoke with the Register about the importance of spiritual protection. Without grace, according to him, a person is largely defenseless against any sort of spell.

He shared a story of a man suffering from a fortuna. A fortuna in voodoo witchcraft is a spell to give someone good fortune. 

“A woman infatuated with a man can ask for a love curse to be put on him so that he will become infatuated with her,” Father Theophilus explained. The man who came to Father Theophilus for help was suffering from a sudden obsession with a woman at work. “The woman received the cursed stuff and made a cake out of it, brought it to him on his birthday, he ate it, and he was suddenly obsessed with thoughts of adultery with her. The man had never found the co-worker attractive and had not even noticed her before. It started on his birthday, after she had brought him some cake. He loved his wife but had suddenly become obsessed with that woman.”

Father Theophilus helped the man by working with him to develop a strong prayer life and get back to church and the sacraments to avail himself of God’s grace.

“In the state of grace, we have spiritual immunity,” he said. He also recommended sacramentals such as holy water and blessed objects that move us towards grace. “There are so many curses that bounce off you because your Catholic immune system is strong,” Father Theophilus said. “This man was not strong; he had nothing to check the curse at the door.” Father Theophilus said that with lives focused on God, we can be confident of his protection. 


Who is at Risk?

Anyone not in a state of grace is at risk. A dramatic example is a curse placed on a Gary, Indiana, woman that drew international attention several years ago when bizarre supernatural occurrences plagued her family — some of it witnessed and documented by people in the medical and law enforcement community. It began after an ex-boyfriend put a curse on her.

The culture’s move away from faith and church, with a parallel move into the occult, is a dangerous combination, creating a spiritual vulnerability for those not in a relationship with God. Pagans, the leading group being Wiccans, now outnumber Presbyterians and have been fueled by celebrity practitioners. For instance, Tom Brady made public last year that his wife engages in witchcraft on his behalf.

Although some branches of Wicca claim they do not cast harmful spells, “harmful” is a relative word. Consider that witches around the country called for a hex to be placed on President Trump in 2017 and another call went out in 2018 to place a curse on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In both cases, there was a huge prayer response to counteract the evil that witches considered good. This is not to say that occult practitioners can control the world with their spells, but it points to the existence of supernatural spiritual warfare. 

Not believing in God or in the devil poses a threat, according to Father Gabriel Amorth, the former Vatican exorcist who died in 2016. In his book, The Devil is Afraid of Me, he warned:

There is a denial of God that is to be feared. Today, man has been able to impose a culture in which reason and science explain everything. And the result is mathematical: whoever denounces God, gives himself over to the devil and to all his works. The Lord has spoken clearly: either you are with Christ or you are with Satan. There are no alternatives or half measures. Today as never before, there are many who either believe in Satan or who believe that he does not exist. Thus, he can operate in total liberty, tempting and tormenting men in a thousand ways, without having them think that these evils come from him.

Protective Measures

“A life absent of faith — that is a life lacking or having an incomplete relationship of communion with Jesus — is already fertile ground for an extraordinary action of the devil,” Father Paolo Carlin, one of the world’s leading exorcist explained in his book, An Exorcist Explains How to Heal the Possessed. “Also, balance of an apparent life of faith with esoteric occult practices [i.e. horoscopes, fortune tellers] and philosophies further leaves a person open to the enemy, allowing him to enter his life and influence it.”

According to Father Carlin, “We must find the balance between attributing every evil to Satan, seeing him everywhere, and totally denying his existence.” Here are some of his recommendations for building an armor of spiritual protection:

  • Avoid and confess sin. “Sin consists in refusing God and His Kingdom through one’s free choice (CCC 391), incited by Satan’s deceitful seduction: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). 
  • Read Scripture. “The Word of God listened to and lived each day in concrete choices becomes our defense from the snares of the evil one.”
  • Prayer. “Prayer is important but secondary to conforming our will to the will of God. God the Father has established an eternal alliance with man, a relationship of faith founded on the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. This alliance is maintained through our response which is prayer.” 
  • The sacraments. A sacrament works in the fullness of grace, obtaining for us communion with God in the truth and strength of the Holy Spirit, who is present in us from our Baptism …. To receive the Eucharist is to receive Jesus in one’s life … We exorcists can verify that the sacrament of Confession is particularly feared and hated by the demon, because it snatches from him so many souls. … This behavior permits us to be received into the merciful arms of Christ, who immerses us in His blood and purifies us from all the stains of sin.
  • Belong to a church. “We are the Church gathered together and guided by the Holy Spirit, who works everything in everyone (1 Corinthians 12:5). 
  • Listen to good music. It can lift our spirit towards God.
  • Humility. “Satan does not fear exorcism so much as the humility that brought one to it.”
  • Forgiveness. “Cultivate a heartfelt trust in the mercy of God and exercise mercy toward his neighbor pardoning unconditionally and loving his enemies.” 

Father Amorth explained that in order to free someone from an evil spell, forgiveness is necessary. “Heartfelt forgiveness toward the one who did this evil is the basic requirement,” he stated. “At times I am made to understand that the exorcisms on a particular person are not having any effect, and I ask this person: ‘Have you forgiven the one who did this evil to you?’ ‘No’ And then enough with the exorcisms. One must at least make an effort to pardon the one who has done evil to us. Forgiveness also occurs through the action of the Holy Spirit — that is through the love of God, who alone can cure hearts. Therefore, one should invoke the Holy Spirit.”

Father Amorth recommended consecrating oneself to the Blessed Mother and renewing the consecration daily in our prayers. He would pray to her, “Wrap me in your mantle.” Many times demons told him, “We can do nothing to you because you are too protected.”

“The power of Satan was broken off by Christ,” Father Amorth stated. “Mary also became associated in this role. … God verifies this in the first pages of Genesis, in his forewarning and condemnation of Satan, the serpent: ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head’” (Genesis 3:15). 

We can all be protected with a healthy spiritual immune system. “We can say, in general, that everyone can be the object of evil actions,” Father Amorth explained. “But for the one who prays, who is close to God and who lives in the grace of God, the situation is different; he is protected. This generates a type of boomerang effect: many wizards are afraid of the evil spells because they fear that they will fall on themselves.”

Michelangelo, “The Last Judgment,” 1536-1541

Dare We Admit That Not All Will Be Saved?

“To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell.’” (CCC 1033)