Pablo Hertfelder Garcia-Conde
(ZENIT News / Barcelona, 25.09.2023).- In recent times, many speculations are heard of different social or religious agents about the “end times,” and a special presence of evil in the world that many warn could be produced by the devil who is acting with greater firmness than at other times.
Father Eduardo Toraño is an exorcist in Spain. He is specialized in angelology and demonology. In statements to ZENIT, he made clear his position in face of the rumours of those social and ecclesial sectors that say that the “devil is preparing himself for the end times” and he points out that “the devil has acted since the origins of humanity. We can’t assert that he is acting today more than at other times. However, it’s true that, due to the proliferation of occultism and satanism, these phenomena are more manifest.”
The exorcist points out that one of the most common doors to consent that evil act would be through Occultism (Reiki, Ouija, etc), and he explains: “doors are opened to the devil when one takes recourse to alternative therapies, such as Reiki, where people of good faith find some relief from their pain, but later they end up having other health problems, also at work, in the family and at the social level. Manifested frequently sometimes in those practices is the work of the Evil One, dividing families, bringing successive misfortunes or illnesses which are inexplicable.”
Father Toraño says there are two attitudes in the heart of the Church, one which is stigmatized for speaking of the devil and another that sees the devil in everything, forgetting that man also commits errors without the need of being influenced or possessed. “There are two extremes in the Church: those that deny the existence of the devil and, at the other extreme, those that are obsessed with the devil. In the first we see a posture of a rationalist tendency that leads to think of evil in the abstract, rejecting the existence of a personal Evil Being, who opposed God and whose sin is irrevocable, because he fixed for ever his position before God, putting himself in His place. In fact, during exorcisms the devil repeats many times: “I am God,” expression that is heard in many exorcisms carried out.”
Toraño explains that the normal is found outside these extremes: to follow Christ’s steps through the Gospel and give no more relevance to the devil as, he insists, the end of a Catholic is not to talk of the devil, but of God. “The most common is to believe in the existence of the devil, but to avoid speaking of him. This can happen for different reasons. One of them is not to give more importance to the devil than to God, as, after all, the call that the Church has received, and which belongs to her very nature, is to preach the Gospel and to proclaim Jesus Christ with the strength of the Holy Spirit, as did the Apostles and the primitive Church,. The end is not to speak of the devil but of God,” stresses Father Toraño.
In regard to those that speak of the end times in the near future, the expert in exorcisms points out that it wouldn’t be correct to think this, given that it’s written in the Scriptures that neither the day nor the hour will be known when the Son of Man will be seen descending from the heavens on His return, and the priest warns that there are movements that are sowing terror and fear about this subject, when it shouldn’t be like this at all.
“The Lord invites us to always be prepared, in an attitude of vigilance and hope as He can come at any moment. There is the possibility of each one’s death and also that the Parousia will arrive at the end of time. We don’t know if we are close to the end times. God wants us to live in the present moment and to seek holiness at every moment, with trust and hope in Him. The end times can arrive at any time, but we cannot know it with certainty. The apocalyptic prophecies that have been given in the course of history and up to now have not materialized, but will arrive. There are extreme movements and attitudes that lead people to fear given the calamities and disasters that are announced, and there are those that even provide themselves with goods and seek places of refuge for when they arrive. It doesn’t seem that God wants us to be afraid and obsessed with the end times, but that we live trusting in His Providence, allowing ourselves to be led by Him, fulfilling his Will at all times,” Father Toraño explains to ZENIT.
Need of Better Prepared Priests and Better Informed and Formed Lay People
Father Toraño says that It’s important to be formed in this area; he refers to Priests and Religious. He stresses that a rigorous and excellent preparation is needed at present, and laments that today not all Seminaries impart these subjects seriously. There is a “lack of serious and profound formation on these questions, which should feature in the contents of theological formation and also in the formation of the laity and, especially, of those being prepared for the priesthood or consecrated life in Seminaries or formation centers.