KRISTOFER COWLES, II
A university alumnus enthralled a packed Gentile Gallery with stories of his experiences assisting with exorcisms in a presentation on angels, demons and spiritual warfare Dec. 4.
“The very first exorcism that ever happens happens outside of time in the heavenly places; they kick the demons out; (the demons) come to Earth; and they turn their sights on God’s elect. And now, 2019, you open up the newspaper, and you see the evidence everywhere,” said Dave VanVickle, who has assisted exorcists since he was 16 years old.
VanVickle informed the crowd of the ordinary and extraordinary actions that demons use against people. He also told general stories of demonic activity he had witnessed over the years, though he did not reveal identities.
“This is an obsession of the culture that you live in,” said VanVickle. However, he also emphasized that this is a “sign of the kingdom,” since Jesus gave the power to cast out demonic spirits to the Catholic Church.
The ordinary action of evil spirits, said VanVickle, is temptation, which demons use every day to try to draw people away from God. Though not every temptation is from a demon, VanVickle explained that demonic temptation is a daily reality.
VanVickle said that the four extraordinary forms of evil activity are oppression, obsession, possession and infestation. He explained: Oppression and obsession involve intense affliction; possession is when a demon takes control of a person’s body; and infestation is when a demon takes over an object or place. Of the four, only possession actually requires an exorcism. The cure for the other three, said VanVickle, is to live a Christian life, and the demons will flee.
VanVickle also listed four common ways that people get possessed: through long relationships with unrepentant and serious sin, through childhood wounds, through violating the first commandment or through a curse. However, he emphasized that demons strike at low-hanging fruit, so they cannot possess people who have walls built against them simply from a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.
“What was interesting was that he mentioned how America's obsessed with the exorcisms, with the occult and with these movies that show the supernatural side of things but that, in order to deal with those extraordinary circumstances, just live a Christian life,” said Francesco Pinque, freshman. “Just live a holy life and become closer to God, and in that way, he can overcome all these extraordinary evil influences.”
VanVickle has since retired from this ministry to travel and speak about the subject of demons and exorcisms.