A FILIPINO exorcist has called for the revival of the Ministry of Spiritual Liberation in the Philippines amid Filipinos’ inclination to “superstitions and occult practices.”
Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P., regent of the College of Education, said the Ministry of Spiritual Liberation would be a “beacon of hope” for individuals victimized by the spiritual powers of darkness.
“The Ministry of Spiritual Liberation is a beacon of hope, with assurance of real liberty and salvation in Jesus Christ. However, this freedom is not easily obtained without a fight between the deceiving spirits and the afflicted spiritually,” Cabading told the Varsitarian in an e-mail interview.
Echoing the words of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during the Second National Conference on the Ministry of Spiritual Liberation last August, Cabading said reviving the ministry was part of proclaiming the Word of God as it is “integrally situated in the Catholic Church’s office of sanctification.”
“In the Catholic Church, [it] is a visible sign of the power of liberation inherent in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is part of the sign that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and the Church is a witness to that reality,” Cabading said.
“The presence of a very active Ministry of Spiritual Liberation, and the appointment of duly designated and prepared priests-exorcists in the local church, give confidence to the faithful,” he added.
Cabading said Filipinos’ belief of superstitions could be an entry point for demonic infestation and the presence of malevolent spirits.
Cabading cited the practices of “padugo” (blood sacrifice) and “alay” (offering) as reasons for demonic infestations in the country.
In the case of “padugo,” a person offers the blood of animals or even one’s own blood to the spirits, as a symbol of atonement, to prevent them from doing mortal harm to people or property.
The “alay” is done by giving offerings to spirits in the form of food, at times also animal blood, or something of the victim, like clothing, Cabading explained.
Cabading said these offerings were not for the “lamanlupa” or “engkantos” (fairies), but for the “fallen angels” or to “demons.”
Other practices that attract malevolent spirits include geomancy or the belief that the arrangement of certain elements and fixtures would allow the flow of good fortune or luck.
The presence of idols, charisms and charms of pagan provenance, such as New Age rosaries, in Catholic homes also attract malevolent spirits.
“The presence of any ornament or furniture that was taken from a pagan temple or a pagan cemetery, or sacred place, or home where offering to pagan deities or spirits were done to the object in consideration will harbor malevolent spirits that will certainly infest Catholic homes,” Cabading said.
Demonic possession or medical condition?
Cabading also explained the difference between demonic possession and a medical condition.
“A seasoned exorcist who has many experiences of demonic possession can pretty much sense if a case is purely psychological or psychiatric, spiritual and therefore demonic, or a mixture of both spiritual and psychological or psychiatric,” he said.
The Roman Ritual of Exorcism identifies the signs of a demonic possession, which include exhibiting strength beyond the normal state of the person’s age, gender and built.
Knowledge of a “language beyond the person’s ability, [and] of hidden things which are unknown to the person,” are also among the indications.
The Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism also considers energy and spiritual channeling as a case of demonic possession.
“Those who practice spirit channeling such as mediums and those who do energy channeling from New Age practices to be in a possessed state whenever they enter into a trance…Those who enter into a trance and wake up from it without remembering anything, is considered to be possessed,” Cabading said.
Trauma and childhood upheaval also contribute to a person’s mental and emotional health, which may attract evil and malevolent spirits, he said.
Cabading said strong negative passions such as hatred, anger, envy, jealousy, unforgiveness, lust, guilt, rancor, pride, sloth, despair, gluttony, and many other negative emotions, if unchecked, would allow evil spirits to latch into and fortify a person, and subsequently prevent the person from being healed emotionally.
Founded in 2006, the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism tends to souls who need liberation from demonic attacks.