Serving the Archdiocese of Washington for more than 13 years as the chief exorcist, Msgr. Stephen Rossetti offers intimate details regarding his life expelling demons from those possessed.
Exorcist Msgr. Stephen Rossetti has a heavy caseload of people suffering from demonic possession or harassment. He has been the chief exorcist of the Archdiocese of Washington for more than 13 years. Msgr. Rossetti is also a research associate professor at The Catholic University of America, a licensed psychologist and author of many books and articles. He heads the St. Michael Center for Spiritual Renewal, a ministry of deliverance and support for the renewal of priestly spirituality. It includes a blog that chronicles Msgr. Rossetti’s battles against the devil.
His latest book, Diary of an Exorcist: Demons, Possessions, and the Modern-Day Battle Against Ancient Evil, is a glimpse into the life as an exorcist and a powerful testimony to the healing power of Jesus Christ. In an interview with the Register, Msgr. Rossetti spoke about his new book and his ministry.
Why did you want to write this book?
The book is a compilation of my daily blogs, and it is exactly what the title says: a diary of my own experiences. I wrote it first of all for other exorcists. There are general books on the subject, but an exorcist needs to know a lot more; he needs more detail on what happens and what to do and not to do. These daily reflections go into detail on the daily life of an exorcist. Also, I am hoping that it helps the general public realize the truths of our faith. One thing for sure, the daily experiences of an exorcist reaffirm everything the Church teaches! It’s all true.
Initially you kept your identity as an exorcist quiet. Why have you gone public?
Well, I still hope to remain a bit in the background. I first wrote the blog to help publicize our website and “Catholic Exorcism” app. But, to my surprise, the entire thing has gone “viral,” and the response has been overwhelming. I didn’t expect that. At first, when I had 50 people view the blog post I was happy, but then the word spread like a wildfire. We did no advertising at all. Now, we can’t keep up with all the emails and interest we are getting. …. It is gratifying but overwhelming.
You mention occasional demonic attacks on you personally. What happens?
You can’t daily poke Satan in the eye and not get a response. The good news: God protects us, and so does the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we weren’t protected, every exorcist would be immediately killed by Satan. He especially hates us, and you can see the pure evil hatred in the eye of a possessed person when they are “manifesting” in a session.
You mention in your book that saying the name of Jesus has great power. Why is that?
Jesus’ name, as noted in the Scriptures, invokes the presence and power of Jesus. To speak in his name and to invoke his name is to make the power of Jesus Christ present. The demons hate that name and demand that I stop saying it. So we say it all the more. It is in his name that the demons are expelled.
Do you work with people of other faiths?
We can exorcize anyone and do, including Muslims, Jews, nonbelievers and Protestants.
I think many people realize that if you have a problem with evil spirits, call a priest. Our Catholic bishops are in the direct line of the apostles, who were given the express authority to cast out demons, and the bishops delegate their authority to us. Of course, we tell the people that, while we respect their faith choices, we will cast out the demons in Jesus’ name, and they need to be okay with that.
Do you ever get scared?
Jesus is Lord. As the years pass, our team and I have an increasing confidence in the authority of the Church and the Lordship of Jesus.
Why do demons want to possess or harass people?
Angels were created for relationships, just like us humans. But all of their actions and desires are completely distorted because of their sin. As a result, instead of loving another, they try to possess and dominate. We humans should take note: We are called to freely love others and respect their freedom. When we try to dominate and possess, we are acting like demons.
From your perspective, does it seem that evil is getting stronger in our world?
As faith wanes and people increasingly begin to practice the occult, there will be many more demonic problems. Faith is our strongest protection. And when we engage in occult and demonic practices, it invites demons into our lives. Just look at the explosion in the number of people practicing witchcraft. This does not bode well. We do not have enough exorcists for the hundreds of thousands who practice witchcraft.
In your book, you talk about anger and unforgiveness as giving the devil power in people’s lives. Why is that?
Anger feeds the demons. Unforgiveness creates an inner spiritual wound that the demons feed off as well.
What is our best protection against evil?
Faith, obedience and love.
In his book, Msgr. Rossetti noted that our country is showing signs of demonic oppression and offered suggestions on how we should respond. Here is an excerpt from the chapter “America Needs Deliverance”:
“First, there are plenty of openings for the demonic. There is a significant drop in the practice of the Faith. This causes a critical loss of graced protection. Moreover, many people are practicing witchcraft and wicca, playing with Ouija boards and engaging in occult practices that open the door to the demonic. There are close to a million abortions each year in the United States, and we have found this to be a huge demonic door. And there are other sinful behaviors on the rise, such as Internet pornography, drug, and sexual addictions, and more. Sin gives evil increasing access to our lives.
“Second, there are signs in our country of a demonic mentality infecting our communities. One of the first signs is discord. The level of discord in this country is through the roof. Rising levels of unhappiness, hopelessness, suicides are also typical demonic signs; suicide rates have risen in the United States for several years (according to statistics from the CDC through 2018). Outbursts of rage, anger, and violence often accompany demonic activity; one sign of it in this country is an increase in terrorism. Finally, Satan and his minions think of themselves as victims and a victim mentality is increasingly pervasive in the United States.
“These are disturbing trends that point to an increasing influence of Satan and his minions in this country. Of course, Satan does not have the final word. God is in charge and his designs will never be thwarted. Nevertheless, I believe our country is becoming increasingly demonically oppressed (not yet fully possessed!).
“What to do? As with any client who is oppressed, we start with closing the doors to the demonic. Stop sinning; stop practicing the occult and start practicing the Faith. Barring any nationwide conversion or extraordinary divine intervention, or both, this is unlikely. In fact, all trends seem to be in the wrong direction.
“But all is not lost! It has always been that the small baroque of Peter with a little band of the faithful on deck can turn back divine judgement and “coax” the Almighty to shed extraordinary graces on the people. The redemptive graces of Jesus’ death and resurrection are infinite, and our merciful God wishes to shed those graces upon us.
“What must we do? Love God and love the people — completely. Judge no one, left or right, liberal, or conservative, Republican or Democrat, black or white. Pray constantly. Invoke the Blessed Virgin. Pray that our little prayers and sacrifices will be filled with the Spirit and share in the redemptive action of Jesus. Thus, they will become immensely fecund.
“God will not abandon the United States. I believe it has a special role to play in the divine plan of salvation. But the influence of the demonic these days is palatable. The country needs us and our prayers right now.”
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