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prayer intention (and advice?)

A Xt3 Member asked at 9:13am on July 3rd 2018
Dear Fr.,

I met with an old friend of mine who seems to be going through some kind of crisis. We met for the first time in two years the other day, and she was open enough to tell me that she has started looking at Satanist literature. I'm sure that it's all very entertaining, and rather clever, especially when it declares the unacknowledged creed of the day. I recollect her saying "There's not even any mention of Satan!" There's truth in all heresy right? The adversary doesn't need to be named to get a foot in the door.

Anyway, I was hoping that you could offer me advice for how to handle the situation, especially as it seems to be in its intellectual infancy, not full blown Black Mass.

Do I look into the intellectual claims and creeds of Satanism? Does it put me at unnecessary risk? Are there any books from a Catholic perspective that address this sort of thing? Many of the online testimonies are not intellectually satisfying, nor do the witnesses appear commonly trusted by the Catholic blogosphere.

Because both of us have been over-educated and under-catechized in our youth, the desire for wit and intellectual stimulation is rather important for reaching the soul. I myself have spent a couple years in illness and theological study which has led me to recurrent intellectual and spiritual conversion, but the same years for my friend led her down what seems to be the opposite path.
Please advise if you can, and I beg for your intercession.

Yours in Christ,

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Hi B, first off, I'd suggest dropping any reading of Satanist literature, explicit or implicit. And I'd suggest the same for Satanism's "intellectual claims or creeds," simply because, as Pope Francis has several times warned, including in an interview last December as reported on Crux:

"He is evil, he's not like mist. He's not a diffuse thing, he is a person. I'm convinced that one must never converse with Satan - if you do that, you'll be lost," he told TV2000, a Catholic channel, gesticulating with his hands to emphasize his point. "He's more intelligent than us, and he'll turn you upside down, he'll make your head spin. He always pretends to be polite - he does it with priests, with bishops. That's how he enters your mind. But it ends badly if you don't realise what is happening in time. We should tell him go away!" he said.

Another time Pope Francis has said:

The secret of Christian living is love. Only love fills the empty spaces caused by evil. A good example brings about so much good, but hypocrisy brings about much evil. We cannot give up in the face of evil. God is Love and he has defeated evil through Christ's death and resurrection. The fight against evil is long and difficult. It is essential to pray constantly and to be patient. The crucifix does not signify defeat or failure. It reveals to us the Love that overcomes evil and sin.

If you're looking for intellectual stimulation, instead of what I think would be wasted time reading up on Satan, why not dive into Pope Benedict XVI's excellent three volumes on Jesus of Nazareth or dip into the catalogue of a publisher like Ignatius Press, where you'll find lots to keep your mind exercised as well as to make up for being under-catechized-which unfortunately many of us in the Church suffer from these days. I'd also suggest some of the great encyclicals for example St John Paul II on Splendor Veritatis and Faith and Reason, and Benedict XVI (on charity and on hope), all available online, or Francis on Laudato Sii.

Very best, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 9:30pm on July 9th 2018 reply

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