How Powerful is the Occult? Must Catholics be Wary? What You Need to Know

I posted this back in April. As I make the final touches on the final draft of Slaying Dragons II, I decided to edit this slightly and include it in the book. At the same time, I realized it deserves a re-post. Enjoy and Share!


A reader on Twitter recently sent me a message related to my current work on the prevalence and danger of the occult. He said: 

"May I ask a question? How much power does the occult actually wield? I remember in the Old Testament it was either such practices do nothing or they use dark powers. Furthermore, how much does the average Catholic need to be wary? Say someone tries to cast a spell on you or something..."



By “occult” is meant the lure which the occult presents to us, and the power of these diabolical workings, within the occult, to harm us. The occult, whether New Age, Wicca, witchcraft, sorcery, mediumship, psychics, magic, Satanism, necromancy, and the like, is much more widespread than people realize. It is not only working widespread in the culture in the background, it is also manifesting in the mainstream culture and entertainment venues. By this, the average paganized American citizen (~90%) easily adopts an occultic mindset which inclines them to superstitious behavior, self-glorification, a practical atheism, a rejection of Christianity, an openness to alternative spiritual practices and realities, and, for many, an interest in occult practices of a varying sort and degree. By means of these, demons gain a hold on us, corresponding to that specific varying sort and degree, and are able to influence us accordingly.


As I sat with that question, many things immediately jumped out that are in need of addressing to really get an idea of the answer. Many Catholics want it to be simple and want to be told, “You're fine, just hold fast to the Faith and all will be well.” Living in this world of insidious evil and insidious lies, in all areas of human activity, even in the Church, we should know now that any dealing with issues of morality is no longer simple, and the modern presence of the occult is no exception.


The things that came to mind, from this person's question, involved a careful and thoughtful analysis of all the simple things used in the asking.


First: What is an average Catholic?


“Average” in this day and age would actually imply that you are relatively faithless, reject any teaching of the Church that you don't like, and side with the prevailing winds of culture instead of the breath of the Holy Spirit. So...let us never think that it is good to be an “average Catholic.”


If the question posed actually meant to say “your standard practicing Catholic,” well, things continue to get interesting, quite quickly. We must consider these additional questions: 


Regarding virtue:

-       How many wounds are you carrying in your heart and your soul?

-       Are your passions rightly ordered or are you a man of extremes in your efforts at holiness?

-       Do you give the appearance of being a devout person but, deep inside, and in your private life, you are easily prone to bursts of viciousness? 

-       Do you have secret vices or inclinations to sudden surges of anger or lust or pride, among others?


Regarding knowledge and practice:

-       How much do you actually know the Faith?

-       Are you a traditional Catholic or one who embraces every modern novelty of these days?

-       Do you make good and frequent Confessions?

-       Do you truly believe in everything the Catholic Church professes?


Regarding seriousness and vigilance:

-       Have you tolerated the presence and recurrence of mortal sin in your life and don't even realize it?

-       Do you saturate your mind and soul with the pagan world's news and entertainment?

-       Do you spiritually fortify your home on a daily or weekly basis?

-       Are you perpetually striving for real holiness on a daily basis?


Regarding past exposure to grave sin and the occult:

-       Did you dabble in the occult as a kid and have forgotten all about it?

-       Did you ever live in mortal sin for an extended period of time?

-       Did you ever live in mortal sin and spend a lot of time with evil people?

-       Were you ever in a spiritually vulnerable state and were perhaps afflicted by a curse at that point?


Answering The Questions


When considering your vulnerability to the occult, the above questions must be answered. They will be very revealing, as related to the concern expressed by the person at the start of this reflection.  


So, “Are you vulnerable to the occult and its diabolical power?”


Well, if your soul is weak, if you don't take the Faith seriously, if you reject certain teachings, if you have dabbled with the occult in the past, if you spent extensive time in mortal sin, if you are lukewarm in your devotion, if you have secret vices, if you do not go to Confession frequently, if you do not make good Confessions, if you do not receive Holy Communion devoutly, and if you have not resolved any of the above faults and you, at the same time, reside in this culture which is nearly fully paganized and of an occultic mindset, then you are vulnerable to the power and presence of the occult as it exists in our world today.


Why? Well, that is the second thing that must be considered.


The “power of the occult” is a complicated system of supernatural, preternatural, and natural permissions and activities. The “power of the occult” cannot simply be reduced to “God is more powerful than the devil,” and we must refuse to let it appear to be so in our minds.


Remember that Our Lord, more powerful than all things, including Satan and the demons, nonetheless was weak, by His will and as a Man on this earth, and vulnerable to the external influences of Satan. It was Satan who orchestrated, in fallen men, through many of the faults listed above, the betrayal and execution of the Son of God. Thus, even if we are healed of all the faults above, we will still be vulnerable to the occult in a way. Therefore, if we are burdened by any of the faults above, we are actually in a state of “easy prey” to the occult.


The occult's power, and the power of demons to influence us through it, depend on many things:

-       the permission of God for it to bring about its effects

-       the power of the demons to act in this world and upon us

-       the strength or weakness of the Church in this age of the world

-       the strength of the practice of the Church in fighting the Enemy in this age of the world

-       the number of people dabbling in the occult in the culture

-       the presence or lack of grace in the world, by means of the activity of the Church and the presence of sanctified souls

-       the phase of salvation history in which we find ourselves and the subsequent power of Satan at the time

-       the widespread oppression and brainwashing inclining men to believe and love evil


As we know today, God does permit demons to work through the occult and to enter the lives of those who embrace the occult. This includes those who are innocently exposed to practitioners of the occult or who are the targets of their malevolent practices. Further, we live in an era where the Church hierarchy is weak and scared and ignorant on issues related to the diabolical and the occult. As a result, the Church is not sufficiently opposing what has quite evidently become a Satanic age, in which the occult is drawing more and more people into its grips. Mankind has embraced insanity and jettisoned the use of reason on nearly every issue which characterizes man’s existence in this world. Coupled with the last two statements, it would seem to indicate that we are living in the final age of salvation history, though this has not yet been make clear.


Yes, We Must Be Concerned Today


Thus, it is quite clear, the question of how powerful the occult is to influence even practicing Catholics is much more complicated than we would like it to be. We must do the spiritual work necessary to shut all doors of influence by which the demons seek to enter and destroy us. The occult, whether as a lure of interest and curiosity, or as a malevolent power which threatens us through preternatural activity, is something that we must all take much more seriously.



Get Slaying Dragons: What Exorcists See & What We Should Know to learn more about the abilities of demons to influence in this age.

Follow me here and here to hear of the release of my forthcoming book on the present threat and reality of the occult and the power of the diabolical to work through it in our world today.