ANAHEIM — To cope with the wiles of the devil, the most powerful weapons to defeat him are lead a sacramental life, full of faith and prayer.

That is the claim of Very Rev. Jeffrey S. Grob, JCD, one of 15 US experts of the Catholic Church trained in the rite of exorcism.

Grob, one of two exorcist priests in the Diocese of Chicago, participated in the course “Christ Triumphant” during the 44th Annual Convention of Renewal Communities of Southern California (SCCR), Sept. 4-6 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Also speaking on the theme were Father Gary Thomas, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Saratoga, California and exorcist of the Diocese of San Jose, on whom the book and film “The Rite” (2012) was based; and Father John Farao, OFM, exorcist of the Diocese of Monterey, California, who spoke on the topic of “Protecting Your Home from Spiritual Darkness.”

The three experts in demonology alerted 600 of the conference’s 8,000 total attendees from about exorcism and the real presence of the devil.

The exorcism is a rite developed and promulgated by the Catholic Church to deal with a larger number of people involved in satanic rituals, occult practices, witchcraft, sorcery, the New Age, and the cult of  “Santa Muerte,” (Spanish for Holy Dead) a Mexican goddess of death and the dead, and theft enshrined in parishes for purposes of “Black Masses.”

“They come to church and steal the Blessed Sacrament,” Father Thomas said. “They used them in Black Masses.” A Black Mass is a ritual characterized by the inversion or parody of the traditional Latin Mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church.

Father Thomas considered that all the priests and Eucharistic ministers have to be alert when people come to Communion, and if they do not to consume the Sacred Host, ask the person to do it in front of them.

Last July, about 400 consecrated hosts were stolen from the Shrine of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in the Pico-Union area of ​​Los Angeles as well as the Tabernacle and the Cross of Christ used for processions and Masses.

n‘La Santa Muerte’ has nothing of sainthood

In Mexico, thousands of peoples have fallen into the sin of idolatry to follow the cult of the “Holy Death.” Many desperate people are superstitious and not because of an economic crisis but a crisis of faith, the experts said.

 “The cult of Saint Death is not from God,” said Father John Farao. “It started practicing witchcraft of the [members of] drug cartels.”

The priest warned that when somebody evokes the “holy death,” they are not aware of the price they will pay.

“The most common is that Satan will begin to harass that person,” he said. “It will turn people away from God.”

The Catholic Church has also warned about the dangers of the female skeletal figure as it has led to the loss of a family member, household mishaps and even demonic possession.

“I would tell people that it is better to engage with the Virgin of Guadalupe,” he said. “She will accompany you on your journey to eternal life.”

In addition to the healing workshops, the Holy Spirit and prayer, the convention offered two tracks called “Christ Triumphant,” both focused on the ministry of exorcism and deliverance for clergy and pastoral lay ministry.

“The temptation and occasional harassment [by the devil] is the common destiny of mankind,” Father Grob said. “The [evil] possession, which requires an exorcism, is rare.” He acknowledged only five cases that have required an exorcism to the possessed person.

On Sept. 5, Father Grob, doctor in Canon Law, stated that as a seminarian, before his ordination in 1992, the United States didn’t have a single class in demonology.

nDemonic possession is gradual

In his dissertation on exorcism, he said he has seen objects moving by themselves or demons trying to engage in a conversation with him, while he performed an exorcism.

The diabolical possessions, he said, do not happen overnight.

“It developed gradually,” he assured. “Usually, [it happens] between those who open the door to the devil.”

In one case, it was suspected the roommate of a student was involved in Satanism. He was continually tormented and felt the room lights were on and off alone. Once, all the pictures and a crucifix fell in the middle of the room.

The Church teaches that at the beginning demons were good angels created by God, but after themselves for their free and irrevocable decision became evil. They rebelled and rejected God.

The Gospel of John calls the devil Satan “the prince of this world” (John 12:31). “The devil is a sinner from the beginning” (1 John 3:8) and is personally opposed to God and His plan of salvation.

“A sacramental life, full of faith and prayer are the best defense,” Father Grob said to the audience. “The devil exists, but we have someone bigger than him: Jesus Christ, and with Him there is nothing to fear.”

nLiving in faith and truth

But how is handled a case of spiritual oppression?

“From the beginning the devil has been a murderer. Is the father of lies,” he explained. “Everything starts with sin, with the things that people accept in their heart; we must live in faith and truth.”

Father Grob summarized in three words the action of evil in the world: disappointment, discouragement and division.

He said that the category of demons belonging to the “Three D’s” of Satan and his attacks to today’s world are: abortion, considered by society “as reproductive freedom” and cohabitation of a couple [living together without the Sacrament of Marriage].

“Just look at what we have done with marriage,” said the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “Also, some years ago there was a prayer to not to kill our unborn children and we called abuse of power ... today they call policy, so having information about a topic is not the same as having the truth.”

Judith Mata, parishioner of St. Joseph Church in Santa Rosa, Calif., was surprised how easy the person may be tempted by the devil.

“Spiritual warfare is at every moment,” she said. “It's not over until you die.”

She added, it is important to live the faith and endure life with an attitude of daily prayer for the victory against the wiles of Satan.

Karina Lopez, member of St. Eugene Church Cathedral in Dana Point, California, said that the practical and direct presentation of Father Jeffrey Grob “was shocking.”

“One can have peace of heart without getting tangled in rites,” said Lopez. “Among these complications you get lost, knowing that with recourse to the sacraments, the life of faith and prayer, one can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”