Are demons symbols of our inner struggles?

Hi, I stumbled onto your web site accidentally, while looking for an answer to a question I've got . . . I'm a very conservative Catholic, and in discussing doctrine with another conservative Catholic, the subject of demons came up. My view was that demons are real, and do exist - the other viewpoint was that demons are symbols of our inner struggles with sin - and not seperate, real entities. I have been unable to locate an official doctrine on which of these two viewpoints is most accurate . . . can you help? Thanks in advance,



Dear Maribeth,

Demons exist. They are real - and not merely symbols. Their existence is so clear in the Bible and has been taught so consistently in Christian tradition that, until very recently, there has not been any need to make an official doctrine. Pope Paul VI, however, made some very clear statements:

WHAT ARE the Church's greatest needs at the present time? Don't be surprised at Our answer and don't write it off as simplistic or even superstitious: one of the Church's greatest needs is to be defended against the evil we call the Devil.

It is a departure from the picture provided by biblical Church teaching to refuse to acknowledge the Devil's existence; to regard him as a self-sustaining principle who, unlike other creatures, does not owe his origin to God; or to explain the Devil as a pseudo-reality, a conceptual, fanciful personification of the unknown causes of our misfortunes. See: Confronting the Devil's Power

Although the devil's power and persistence is so much greater than ours, we need not fear him if rely on Jesus and the good angels he has placed at our sides. We are in a spiritual battle and we need the prayers of the saints - and each other. You have mine. Please remember this sinner.

Fr. Phil Bloom

See also How Satan Operates

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