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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Halloween season is upon us, replete with spooky visions of ghosts, vampires, witches and black cats. Church Militant used the opportunity to interview a designated exorcist of the archdiocese of Indianapolis to cut through the misconception of what the season really means and to shed some light on the ritual of exorcism.
Father Vincent Lampert was appointed to become an exorcist by now-deceased Abp. Daniel M. Buechlein and is one of the few exorcists known to use social media on a regular basis. He once told a reporter that he is fighting the devil by tweeting about exorcism.
At a lecture called "Exorcism and the Power of God" delivered at Seton Hall University in 2017, the exorcist said, "When God is a concrete part of our lives, then we have nothing to worry about when it comes to the reality of evil. When we move away from God and make Him less relevant in our lives, then we can get ourselves in trouble."
Painting of St. Ignatius performing an exorcism. It is located next to the Gesu Church in Rome. pic.twitter.com/Z0S20le9e4— Fr. Vincent Lampert (@FrVinceLampert) May 31, 2017
He added that a distorted view of freedom — like the one described in Genesis — opens the way to the evil one. It goes like this: "You may do whatever you wish. No one has power to command you. You are the god of yourself."
He has also noted that exorcisms were on the rise due to a wavering faith in the Church and factors like drug abuse open a path to the devil.
Father Lampert kindly granted the following interview to Church Militant on Oct. 25.
Church Militant: Halloween is soon coming up. What is your opinion as an exorcist on Halloween?
Father Vincent Lampert: The danger with Halloween is that it glorifies evil. I believe it is one of the devil's traps to lure people into darkness and sin. I don't see anything wrong with a child dressing up as a princess or cowboy and going out trick or treating. It's when the focus is on demons, ghosts, vampires, etc. that we have crossed the fine line over into the devil's playing field.
CM: What are some ways that Catholics can allow the demonic to enter into their lives?
Fr. VL: How do people play the devil's game? When it comes to the extraordinary activity of the devil, here are four ways that a person opens a doorway to evil into their lives.
1. Occult ties: The word "occult" comes from the Latin occultus, meaning hidden or secret. It focuses on knowledge of the paranormal. Its basic root is that people want a glimpse into the future. It is associated with such things as palm reading, mediums, Ouija boards, tarot cards, psychics, pendulums, yoga, reiki, crystals, magic, horoscopes, knocking on wood and witchcraft. These practices are condemned for they are a form of idolatry that violates the First Commandment.
Nothing must ever take the place of God. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12: "You must never ... practice black magic, be a fortuneteller, witch, or sorcerer, cast spells, ask ghosts or spirits for help, or consult the dead. Whoever does these things is disgusting to the Lord"; Leviticus 19:31: "Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead.")
2. Entertainment: Movies, TV shows, literature, games, computer and IT gadgets. Children today are growing up in front of a screen that is leaving them in isolation and not in community. The danger with certain types of literature like Harry Potter is that it  promotes being a witch or wizard as a position of power. Evil is presented as something good,  the diabolic is not presented as something evil,  curses, spells, alchemy, necromancy are presented as things which are good,  it is catechetical in nature. Many Catholic children pick up these books but rarely pick up the Bible or the Catechism.
3. Cursing: The opposite of a blessing. Doing harm to another with the help of the devil.
4. Living a life of habitual sin: We have lost the sense of sin in our world; addiction.
CM: How can Catholics protect themselves from diabolical influence?
1. Attend church. God does not intend for us to walk alone.
3. Use Scripture for prayer and reflection, especially the Prologue of John's Gospel, which begins:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
4. Above all, the person is encouraged to remain focused on Jesus Christ — not on the devil or evil, despite the evil one's attempt to distract and discourage. There is no quick fix for overcoming the assaults of the devil. Like all aspects of the spiritual life, it is a process, it is a journey.
CM: What effect does a good confession have on the soul, especially those who find themselves oppressed by the diabolical?
Fr. VL: When we confess our sins, we place them in the hands of God. The devil can then no longer use our sins against us to drag us further and further away from God.
CM: Why are you drawn to the ministry of exorcism?
Fr. VL: I was appointed to this ministry by my archbishop in 2005.
CM: How do you determine whether a person requires an exorcism?
Fr. VL: There is a process that is followed before the Church utilizes the ritual of exorcism. This includes a psychological evaluation, medical examination and a life history of the person to determine if this is evil, and then to determine the entry point.
CM: What is typically involved in an exorcism rite?
Fr. VL: Exorcism at its very core is a prayer asking God to bring relief into the life of the person who is afflicted. Jesus is not a bystander at an exorcism. He is the main actor.
CM: What do you know or think about Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the Holy See's former chief exorcist?
Fr. VL: Father Amorth was instrumental in bringing the ministry of exorcism back into the modern era.
CM: What prayers can the faithful rely on to protect themselves from the demonic?
Fr. VL: Marian prayers are very powerful as the Blessed Mother is a powerful ally for anyone up against the forces of evil.
The St. Michael Prayer, Chaplet of St. Michael, Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Our Father. Litany of the Saints [and] reading Sacred Scripture are also powerful. Going to confession and praying before the Blessed Sacrament are also highly recommended.
CM: What misconception do you notice that people have about exorcisms or the demonic?
Fr. VL: Some people believe that God and the devil are on the same playing field. However, we must remember that although the devil is powerful, he is still a creature and in no way equal to God the Creator of all things visible and invisible.