...The term demonology refers to the study of demons, devils and negative spirits. The insertion of 'religious' in front specifies that the person studies them from a theological standpoint and not a magical one, i.e. the conjuring or worship of them. A religious demonologist studies how mankind is affected by negative entities of the spirit realm and comes to the aid of people who are being influenced by them.

...Usually, a religious demonologist is a member of the clergy. A lay religious demonologist is one who does the same job but is not ordained, but by special permission ( from a bishop) performs the same duties. (A demonologist is simply one who studies demons; a religious demonologist actually assists people to be rid of them. Ill-informed but well-meaning people often call themselves demonologists, not understanding the importance of the prefix 'religious'.)

...Many people call themselves religious demonologists erroneously. To be able to use the title as stated above, the necessary permission from a bishop must be obtained (and the religious demonologist should have credentials, at least in the form of a letter of recommendation from a bishop). Also, they would have to have been mentored by a learned and experienced religious demonologist.

...To understand the role of the religious demonologist, one must first be familiar with some general terms and concepts relating to the field.

...By definition, supernatural is 'relating or attributed to phenomena that cannot be explained by natural laws' (Encarta dictionary, 2003). This is a very broad term, often applied to ghosts and apparitions, angels, and even God.

...But there is another level to the supernatural, a 'subsection' if you will. Theologians call this the preternatural, a realm that is inhabited specifically by negative or evil entities. These are most commonly referred to as the fallen angels, or demons and devils (demonic and diabolical spirits, respectively).

...The role of the religious demonologist varies from case to case. Often he can resolve spirit-related problems in a home himself, using specialized rituals taught to him by the bishop he reports to or the demonologist who mentored him. In cases where exorcism is needed to free a person from demonic influence, the religious demonologist conducts an investigation and gathers evidence to substantiate the case for exorcism, essentially acting as the eyes and ears of the exorcist.

...His role does not end there though, as often he is called upon to assist with the exorcism. (He can assist, but only an ordained exorcist can actually perform an exorcism.) In instances where he resolves the problem himself, such as demonic activity in a home, the religious demonologist often counsels the family afterwards, helping them to cope with the experience and guide them back to a spiritual path and closer to their faith.

...The religious demonologist is part theologian, investigator, spiritual counselor and assistant to the exorcist or bishop. One can clearly see that the ranks of religious demonologist and 'ghostbuster' have completely different attributes, and the titles are not interchangeable.

...When a demonic or diabolical spirit directly interferes with one's life, only a religious demonologist can help to resolve the problem.

...Most individuals do not intentionally set out to interact with these types of spirits. Sometimes an innocent curiosity can open the door to the unknown - unleashing a type of terror that few can fathom. The use of oracles such as a Ouija board is one of the many ways a person may come into contact with the preternatural. These inhuman beings cannot initiate contact, but they can certainly respond to it. To a demonic spirit on the prowl, the sight of a person using an oracle to communicate with the spirit realm can be construed as an invitation.

...Usually, the intent of the person using the oracle (which is a blanket term applied to any object used to communicate with the spirit world) is harmless, meaning they did not set out to contact something evil. But the demonic may take advantage of this and try to pass itself off as the loved one they are trying to communicate with or as a 'spirit guide', willing to assist them with their goal. For this reason, scenarios like this are classified as an innocent invitation.

...Occasionally, there is an intentional invitation by a person who may be involved with the 'black arts', or magic attempted for evil purposes. Upon making a type of unholy pact with a demonic spirit, they may agree to give up their immortal soul for material goods, physical gratification or power in the earthly realm. In exchange, this person would allow the demon to inhabit or possess their body. These individuals are called the perfectly possessed: not only are they aware of the possession, they welcome it. However, the price they pay for the rewards they get from the demon is the loss of their eternal soul.

...Regardless of whether the invitation was innocent or intentional, through their own free will the person made a conscious decision to interact with the spirit realm . It's not relevant who or what they intended to contact. All that's relevant is that they initiated the communicator - spirit relationship, and the demonic now has free reign to enter their lives.

The role of the religious demonologist

...The first thing the religious demonologist does in his investigation is determine the severity and stage of the demonic's attack. By conducting interviews and a physical investigation (see Investigating...), he builds a timeline of events that resulted in the situation. The phases are classified as infestation, oppression, obsession, and possession.

...It is important to note that the religious demonologist can only aid a person if they choose to be alleviated of this diabolical force. An investigation is fruitless unless the person wants the demonic assault to stop. If they willingly invited the demonic in, they have to want it to leave or the religious demonologist can be of no help.

...Infestation This could be defined as the beginning stages of the diabolical assault. At this point, activity caused by the demonic will be very subtle and is often written off as meaningless coincidences. There are a myriad of examples the religious demonologist may uncover in his investigation: inexplicable noises or odors in the house, small objects moving or disappearing, or even 'apparitions' appearing. (For example, it may appear as a small child or something the person would not feel threatened by). The person may not realize at first that these are just tricks that the diabolical uses to to increase the person's curiosity and to gain the recognition it needs to take hold.

...Oppression and obsession Confidant that that it has its hooks in, the spirit begins to show its true self. Activity becomes more frightening; the movement of small objects escalates to furniture and appliances being moved or even levitated, and there is a dramatic increase in the visual and auditory phenomena. What began as the 'small child' may now a terrifying monstrosity that confronts them at their bedside. At this point in the timeline, the religious demonologist also pays close attention to who is receiving the brunt of the activity, as the demonic often tries to single people out and pit family members against each other.

...Obsessive behavior is often observed at this stage. The person, whether conscious of it or not, gives the spirit more and more recognition, which only strengthens its hold on them.

...Possession The demonic breaks it victim(s) down with an assortment of visual, auditory and physical phenomena that they just can't bear any longer. Their wills broken and their bodies often battered, they give in - and the spirit possesses them. The invading spirit now has free reign to do what it came for: to destroy its victim. The only recourse at this point is an exorcism, and the religious demonologist takes his findings to the clergy to present his case for the ritual to take place.

Damage control

If you are not a religious demonologist, don't attempt to be one!

...If you feel you've encountered a situation where a diabolical entity may be involved, contact the clergy or someone who is well versed in handling situations like this - this can be very dangerous work. I do not recommend to anyone who is just curious to become involved with this subject matter.

...It must be pointed out for safety's sake that one cannot simply graduate from reading a few books or investigating some haunted areas to handling demonic cases. You must seek out someone with experience in this field and be mentored. Too often I've seen people attempt this, and many times with disastrous results. Being naive and ill-prepared, they become a 'soul victim' - and no better off then the person they attempted to help.

...When dealing with a person or family who, by some means, has made contact with an infernal power, it's critical that you be protected through your faith. Regardless of your religious persuasion, it's simply not possible to be a religious demonologist without it. It would be akin to going into a fire fight without a vest.

...Always be prepared for a battle - the demonic will use anything it can to have the upper hand. Remember, we as humans cannot out smart these infernal beings. They've been here since the beginning of time, and they know us better than we know ourselves. Never try to outwit them - it can't be done. No matter what plan of attack you contrive, they'll always outmaneuver you.

...Any time that the demonic is involved, be prepared to have your sense of reality turned on its end. They will assault you with an array of visual and auditory hallucinations designed to make you question your own sanity. Be wary of diabolical confusion and or a diabolical visitation, which can come upon you day or night - but always when you least expect it. This and other tactics will be used by the demon to deter anyone from trying to help these poor souls.

...When action must be taken to alleviate the diabolical influence from a persons life, proper care must be taken to ensure that every step of the required rituals is performed flawlessly. Simply conjugating a verb incorrectly in the Latin text or omitting a phrase renders the ritual useless, and leaves room for the demonic to increase its attack - and direct it towards the one who botched the ritual.

...(On that note, it should also be mentioned that the religious demonologist needs to have at least a working knowledge of basic Latin.)

...Often an offending item such as a Ouija board or cursed item may need to be removed from the premises. Extreme care should be taken to ensure that these items are disposed of properly.

...Lastly, the person or family needs to be instructed on the importance of keeping the preternatural out of their lives. The job of the religious demonologist doesn't end with the expulsion of the spirit; he also helps the victims get back in touch with their faith. The significance of this is illustrated in a quote from (Matthew . 12:43 - 45 R . S .V.)

..." When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest but he finds none. Then he says," I will return to my house from which I came." And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first ".

...In other words, the doors that were opened must be closed - and remain that way.

...Remember, it can return...




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