Satan exists and
his strategy is to confuse, says the exorcist of the Archdiocese of Mexico.
Father Pedro Mendoza Pantoja was one of the organizers of Mexico's first
National Meeting of Exorcists and Auxiliaries of Liberation, held Aug. 31-Sept.
2 at the headquarters of the bishops' conference. The meeting drew 500
Father Mendoza Pantoja coordinates the work of eight exorcists, one for each of
the territorial vicariates of that diocese. He spoke of his work with ZENIT.
Part of this interview appears Friday.
Q: Who is an exorcist?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: He can be a bishop or a priest designated by him, who by
the mandate of Jesus Christ and in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit recites a prayer in which, in an imperative way, in the case of diabolic
possession, orders Satan to depart from the one possessed and leave him in total
freedom, or in a deprecating form, that is, of intercession or supplication,
asking that, by the precious blood of Christ and the intercession of the Virgin
Mary, a person, place, house or object be liberated from every demonic
influence, be it infestation, obsession or oppression.
Q: Can anyone be an exorcist?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: No. According to the Gospel, Christ enriched his
apostles with charismatic gifts when he sent them to evangelize.
In Matthew 10:1 it says: "And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave
them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease
and every infirmity." See also Matthew 16:17-18.
With that authority, it corresponds to bishops, successors of the apostles, to
exercise this ministry of expelling demons. But, according to Canon 1172, they
can designate, to exercise this ministry in a stable manner or for a special
case, a "pious, learned, prudent priest with integrity of life." This is true
for diabolic possessions and, therefore, for exorcism itself, also called solemn
But every priest through his ordination participates in the priesthood of Christ
and, with him, has the mission to liberate the faithful from all obsessions,
oppressions or demonic influences, with deprecating prayers of intercession and
supplication, with evangelization and administration of the sacraments,
primarily penance and the Eucharist.
Similarly, all priests are exorcists in regard to the pastoral endeavor of
liberation within their mission to evangelize, and this is true, by the command
of Christ; he does not need to be designated to carry out so-called minor
exorcism. Lay people cannot be exorcists.
Q: The meeting you organized also gathered "Auxiliaries of Liberation." Who are
these persons and what do they do?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: Auxiliaries of Liberation are: priests who do not have
the character of official exorcists; doctors; psychiatrists; religious; and lay
people who help the exorcist priest in discernment or in the exercise of his
ministry, either with prayer of intercession or in different eventualities.
Priests help with prayer of liberation and the laity with prayer of
intercession. A priest who is not an official exorcist can carry out a minor
exorcism, also called prayer of liberation, helped in turn by all the laity who
support him in discernment and with prayers of intercession. The laity cannot
recite prayers of liberation.
Q: If I am not mistaken, this was Mexico's first meeting of exorcists and one of
the first of these characteristics in the world. It seems that in the last 40
years the figure of the exorcist was disappearing. Is this an impression that
corresponds with reality?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: Indeed, it is. The causes are varied, but we could say
that they are included in the great challenge that the second half of the last
century presented to the Church in her task of evangelization.
In the first half, Satan attacked humanity in the field of ideas and thought:
rationalism, materialism, Gnosticism, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, sectarianism,
Socialism, Marxism-Leninism, etc., which separate man from God. On one hand, the
negation of a personal God and also the negation of the existence of Satan as a
personal being, exchanging the true God for an impersonal god that identifies
itself with this material world and reducing Satan to a mere symbol.
Such an influence also infected our theologians, who in recent times no longer
spoke of the devil or the angels.
But as a counterbalance, man felt nostalgia for God. His search for the
supernatural, as a solution to the problems afflicting him because of his
separation from God, made him fall into the clutches of the New Age, which with
its deceitful spiritualities and fictitious magical and esoteric solutions has
opened the doors to the manifestations of the devil in many persons who have
fallen into New Age esoteric and magical practices.
For this reason, in the permanent mission of the New Evangelization the Church
has found it necessary to revive something that she felt was of the past, but
which is urgent in our times: to proclaim to those who have fallen away the
redemption of Christ who came to liberate us from Satan's threats.
Q: It is said that in some countries the progress of Satanic sects has not been
addressed adequately by the Church for lack of exorcists. Do you think there is
some truth in this?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: The answer to this question is related to the previous
Indeed, our faithful and priests themselves have been engulfed in the sea of
confusions to which the New Age leads us with its mixture of ideas, deceits and
lies, manipulating Eastern spiritualities mixed with pantheism, as well as
traditional medicines, which in themselves are a gift from God and have nothing
diabolical, but whose efficacy is used by promoters of the New Age to give
themselves credit and make one believe that everything they say is true.
It also took us bishops and priests by surprise, without knowing what to do or
how to act in this sea of confusions. And some were filled with fear by the
phenomenology presented in those affected by the devil. Or it led them to
protect themselves in a crass skepticism in the face of these realities,
attributing them to psychological problems or illnesses that are difficult to
cure and so did not attend to them.
Moreover, seminaries have not given preparation to address these problems. For
all these reasons, through meetings and congresses both at the national as well
as the international level, we are seeking formation both for ourselves, the
official exorcists, as well as for all priests and for the laity involved in the
pastoral endeavor of liberation. ZE04091622
what are real cases of Satanic possession take serious discernment, says the
exorcist of the Archdiocese of Mexico.
Father Pedro Mendoza Pantoja was one of the organizers of Mexico's first
National Meeting of Exorcists and Auxiliaries of Liberation, held recently at
the headquarters of the bishops' conference.
Father Mendoza Pantoja coordinates the work of eight exorcists in his
archdiocese. He spoke of his work with ZENIT. Part 1 of this interview appeared
Q: Many, perhaps even believers, deny that there can be people who are possessed
by the devil. They think, rather, that it is a question of psychological or
psychiatric problems. How does an exorcist distinguish between cases of
possession and disturbances of another nature?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: Canon law and the new exorcisms ritual itself, as well
as the Catechism of the universal Church, establish that, before carrying out a
major exorcism, there must be discernment: whether it is a question of a real
possession or a simple diabolical obsession or oppression, making use also of
the previous advice of doctors and psychiatrists so that they can give their
diagnosis, the priest always being the one who must ultimately decide because,
in addition, the ritual of exorcisms indicates which are the signs that can tell
us or lead us to suspect a real diabolical possession: to speak or understand
unknown languages as if they were one's own; to reveal hidden or distant things;
to manifest strength beyond one's age or physical condition, to vehemently
separate oneself from God, aversion to the most holy name of Jesus, of the
Virgin Mary, and of the saints, to sacred images, places and objects.
Q: For many people, however, these cases of diabolical possession seem rather
like Hollywood film stories. It seems that the devil's strategy is to make one
believe he does not exist. As an exorcist, do you think this is true?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: In fact, as I see it, Satan uses several strategies to
separate us from God.
What the devil is interested in is to confuse us, either by making us believe
that he does not exist and that, as he doesn't exist, neither do hell and heaven
and so we need not be afraid of being far from God.
Moreover, he manifests himself instead with oppressions and obsessions to
torment terribly those who have opened the doors to him, so that they will be
afraid of him and not try to close the doors to him and trust him.
This is how we can explain Satanic worship and holy death to obtain power, his
favor and protection. Satan is the father of lies and deceit.
Q: All ministries in the Church are a grace of God and a service to brothers. Do
you yourself perceive the ministry of exorcist as a grace for your life?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: My whole life is a grace from God: my baptism the gift
that makes me a child of God, member of the Church, and co-heir with Christ of
his glory; the priestly ministry, the gift that enables me to participate in his
redemption and his work of salvation and service to my brothers.
The ministry of exorcist is also a gift of his grace and mercy, which in my
littleness, insignificance and limitations, enables me to experience, as his
instrument, his liberating and salvific power in the service of my brothers,
which encourages me and impels me to adhere to him ever more to participate in
his victory and, with it, in his glory.
Q: What is the service of the exorcist to the Church and to your brothers like?
In other words, is there a case you can tell us about in which your ministry of
exorcist enabled you to experience in fullness your vocation as man and priest?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: There are many cases in which, practicing the prayer of
over the past 24 years, also when I was not yet an exorcist
I have seen the power in which God makes us priests participants in the service
of our suffering brothers. The therapy of faith with the prayer of healing,
liberation, and forgiveness, with which one succeeds in something that is
impossible and not within the reach of medical and psychological science.
Now, as an exorcist for the past six years, I have attended several cases of
diabolical oppressions and obsessions. Tormented and already despairing people,
who after having gone to all kinds of specialists, quacks and medicine men, have
worsened their situation.
They think they are diabolically possessed and ask anxiously for exorcism. In
some cases, there have been signs that have led me to suspect a diabolical
presence or possession and, even without being certain, to carry out the
so-called diagnostic exorcism, that is, imperative prayer, to succeed in making
them enter a peace and tranquility without going so far as to have a full solemn
exorcism, it being enough to continue with the prayer of liberation.
It has been a great satisfaction to succeed in the liberation of my brothers,
through the service of my humble ministry, by the power of the prayer of
intercession and to see the growth of their faith, thanks to an evangelization
and catechesis that leads to their conversion, the renewal of their faith, and
their fuller adherence to the Lord, and to see them continue their lives full of
love and confidence in God.
Q: What should a person do who thinks he is a victim of diabolical possession or
who knows someone who might be in that situation?
Father Mendoza Pantoja: He must go to his parish priest and make a good
confession so that, in the first instance, that priest can take care of him.
If his parish priest discovers that there is a demonic influence but no signs of
diabolical possession, he must pray with him supported by a liberation team and
insert him in a group of evangelization or growth in the faith or in some parish
If the parish priest perceives signs that make him suspect a diabolical
possession or does not feel able to address the problem, he must then be
directed to the exorcist of his diocese or the nearest exorcist. He must never
go to medicine men or make use of magical cures.