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Have Nothing to Do with the Dragon, Part II – Satanism and Pagan Practices  

By Deacon Derrick Johnson 
Permanent Deacon at Assumption Parish in Welby

Part I of this article discussed New Age practices and the proper Catholic response to such things. In this second part, we will discuss the increase of Satanism in common practice and involvement in various pagan religious practices.  

There was once a time when the idea of involvement with Satan worship was unthinkable. No respectable person would do this, let alone openly and outwardly. Things have changed today, and we have seen evil manifested publicly and unabashedly.    

Satanic Involvement 

What was once hidden is now openly celebrated. There are clubs, bars, “churches,” and places of meeting that openly invoke Lucifer and his demons. Pentagrams (a five-pointed star originally used to represent the five wounds of Christ) now turned upside down are a symbol of Satanism. Seeing these used to be rare, but in these times, they are in tattoos, stickers, carvings, and on consumer products. We have become desensitized or ignorant to Satan, so much so that these things no longer shock us. Symbols such as an upside-down cross, which firstly represents the crucifixion of St. Peter, are now images that seek to mock Jesus and our faith.  

Classes and clubs that promote Satanic rituals, Wicca, and Witchcraft are on the rise in our communities. Gatherings promoting “Un-Baptism,” celebrating abortion, transgenderism, and homosexual practices, hosting “Black Masses,” and processions are on the rise. In the Archdiocese of Boston, one such convention just concluded at the end of April 2023. These rituals intend to be the “anti” or mockery of all that is truly holy. Everything that Catholics hold sacred is openly mocked in a spirit of rebellion and seduction. The internet has made it easy to find these types of events, which are as dangerous today as they were in the past. These are blasphemous and evil and are dangerous to the souls and salvation of those who partake in them. No Catholic has any business associating with any parts of these rituals.  

Music has also been a means of communication for the Evil One.  It has been said that music has a particular way of entering the soul. Have you ever noticed how you have been moved in the Mass or adoration when a beautiful piece of music is played? This holds true for music that invokes evil, too. Songs that have lyrics praising evil or Satan are just that: evil. We must know that the words we allow to enter our intellect influence our spiritual life. There is no free lunch here; words have power, and we must guard against these words and their intentions when we consume music.  

Rituals that attempt to contact or conjure the dead must also be avoided. Ouija Boards are avenues for contact with evil and cannot be used. This may seem laughable given that such a “game” is marketed by a toy company and widely available without obvious calamity befalling the stores. Still, like New Age practices, its use indicates an openness to a spiritual realm other than God.  When we invoke supernatural forces, we open ourselves to their presence in our lives. Those that are contacted are not the ones we intend to contact, but rather, they are demons that pose as our dead loved ones. One point of clarification: this practice is not the same as seeking intercession from a loved one or a saint who prays and invokes God’s blessing on your behalf.    

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In addition to rituals, we must guard against products produced with involvement in the occult. Outward Satanism has entered consumer goods. Water that uses “death” in its name and advertises Satanic curses in their marketing ploys, beers that use Satanic symbols, curses and names, whiskey distilleries that celebrate the mark of the beast on barrels and marketing, tattoo artists celebrating evil, bars that use demons in their imagery and marketing, or even pipe tobacco that promotes occultism are just a few of the ways that these products have entered our consumer marketplace. Satan must never be glorified, and using products that glorify him or invoke him should never be used or consumed. We must be aware when we see products that use these in their marketing or branding and understand that we cannot write them off as simply being edgy or over the top.

Last but not least, much like the practice of child sacrifice to Baal in the Old Testament, Satanic groups also have a hand in advocating for the abortion industry. They are happy to champion it as “health care,” but in reality, they are advocating for abortion as a type of evil and “liberating” sacrifice. If you need any more reasons to stand against the killing of innocents, know that the Evil One is one of the biggest supporters of the abortion industry as human sacrifice.   

Pagan Practices 

Right-practicing Catholics should only be interested in one principal ritual: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. So many of the world’s religious practices attempt to understand some part of truth and goodness, but only one benefits from the fullness of truth and goodness — the Catholic Church — because she has Jesus Christ as her head. Rituals that once shaped our ancestors’ understanding of worship have now passed away because God has graced us in the incarnation of Jesus and the deposit of faith given to us.   

With this knowledge, we must not participate in pagan religious rituals. Sage ceremonies, dream catchers, drug-fueled trips that are meant to connect to pagan deities and (false) spiritual enlightenment, seances calling upon the dead, and so many other similar practices are not of our faith. Even if these drugs and rituals are attempted to be “baptized” (i.e., done for Catholic reasons) and help us connect with the Triune Godhead, they are not permissible for Catholics to be involved in. Taking mind-altering substances to connect to God is disordered and should not be done. If this is what God had wanted, he would have prescribed it as a method to worship him, just as he has told us specifically how to worship him in all of salvation history. We know we cannot serve two masters and are called to choose Jesus as the Lord of everything in our lives. These practices stand in direct opposition to this. In my Vietnamese heritage, I know that generations past were Buddhist, and while I celebrate my past, I am decidedly Catholic and do not dabble in the pagan practices of my ancestral past. I am, first and foremost, a son of the Father, and nothing else can lay hold to my identity.   

Conclusion 

In our archdiocese, we must understand that the occult is alive and thriving among us as Jesus and his Church are rejected by those who worship evil or look for answers outside of him in desperation. We must stand apart from these practices and reject their hold on our lives. In the final analysis, these practices are violations of the First Commandment: I am the Lord your God. You shall not have other gods besides me. Our hope, our ONLY hope, is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.  

If you have dabbled in these or even devotedly practiced these things, I urge you to repent, to renounce your sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and receive absolution from your sins. Remember that Jesus Christ himself offers deliverance from these sins, and regardless of which evil spirits one may have dabbled in, they hold no power over his perfect grace. If people in your family or friends are ensnared by evil, witness your faith to them, pray for them, fast for them, and educate them on the dangers of what they are involved in.  

We must know and hold fast to the universal truth that the Trinity is God, and Jesus Christ is the only way we can be saved. His Church is the gate through which he has willed for us to achieve our salvation. Accept no substitutes!  

All praise and glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever!  

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