Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines & Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Joe wrote:

Dear Catholic Apologists,

  • How can the Catholic Church be sure that someone is suffering from diabolical possession?

Thank you.


  { How can the Catholic Church be sure that someone is suffering from diabolical possession? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Joe —

Unless one of my colleagues has an answer, this question is outside of the scope of what we could know. Most of our team consists of lay Catholics who are not priests.

All I can say from previous answers we have given is the Church goes extremely slowing in these cases because many times, rather than being a case of demonic possession, the person is suffering from some type of mental illness.

Diabolical possession can happen but we are not qualified to address the discernment process.



Eric replied:

Hi, Joe —

This is discerned in the exorcism process. The Church knows by many years of experience certain things that accompany demonic possession.

For example, if someone has knowledge that they couldn't possibly naturally have, or fluently speaks a language they have never studied and couldn't possibly know by natural means, those are good signs you are dealing with demonic possession. Objects levitating in the person's presence or an extreme aversion for holy and blessed objects are other clues. Some possessed people are able to distinguish between a consecrated communion host and an unconsecrated one. Sometimes strange objects will materialize inside the person. Sometimes a person's voice will change and become guttural; a woman, say, will speak with the voice of a man. Superhuman strength is another clue. Less dramatically, during an exorcism, the priest knows how demons behave and can recognize their behavior if he is well-trained.

Typically, the Church will first look to psychiatrists to rule out mental illness. If the psychiatrist cannot explain what's going on, the exorcist will look more closely at diabolical possession.


Fr. Jonathan replied:

Hi, Joe —

It is a strange question because it assumes that we have surety.

Like all things of spiritual nature there is faith involved.

Fr. Jonathan

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.