Summary of Slaying Dragons: What Exorcists See & What We Should Know with Charles Fraune

For the podcast episode of this, go here

General Introduction:

Slaying Dragons is a comprehensive presentation of the ministry of exorcism within the context of spiritual warfare, incorporating the teachings of at least twelve exorcists and the writings of many saints & Doctors of the Church. Given the rise in the rejection of the Faith, the acceptance of evil, and the demand for exorcisms, it is critical that people know what is really going on in the spiritual and material realms.

1st Key: The authority of Our Lord over demons

God is supreme over all things. Therefore, all demonic activity falls under our Lord’s permissive will. Our Lord has perfect authority over Satan and the demons.

As Fr. Ripperger says, demons are on a short leash; Christ is in absolute control over everything in the spiritual realm, and the demons know this (49).

One way to personally experience our Lord’s authority over the demonic is through binding prayers. Whenever you sense a diabolical influence against you, even as a simple temptation, you can speak directly against the demon in the Name of Jesus. It is important to name the behaviour in which you are tempted. Our Lord’s own words, “Get behind me, Satan!” is also a simple and direct binding prayer.

Binding prayer: “In the name of Jesus, I bind you, spirit of N., and I cast you to the foot of the Cross to be judged by our Lord.”

Since our Lord has authority over the demonic, it is best practice to ignore the demonic and focus rather on God by staying in a state of grace and loving Him with your whole life.

As the exorcist Msgr. John Esseff states, “Sin is far worse than Satan.” It is our disconnect from God that leads us to rely on ourselves, which necessarily leads to sin and the loss of God (13).

2nd Key: The authority of the Saints & Angels over demons

Our Lord also wields his authority over demons also through his saints & angels, ensuring that every demon has a “nemesis.”

  • The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the nemesis of Beelzebub. When Our Lady shows up during an exorcism, the possession is over.  She has, as Fr. Ripperger puts it, “perfect coercive power” over demons. (66). When the devil was asked by an exorcist why he feared the Blessed Virgin Mary more than God Himself, Fr. Amorth says the devil responded, “I feel more humiliated being conquered by a simple creature than by God Himself.” (67). The Rosary, in particular, has a powerful influence against the forces of evil. Also, devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows.
  • Saint Catherine of Sienna, for example, is the nemesis to the “noonday devil,” the demon of acedia.
  • St. Thomas Beckett: There was one exorcism where the demon revealed he had possessed the king’s men who murdered Beckett, so using a relic of Beckett’s freed the possessed man.

Who’s more powerful: Your Guardian Angel or Satan?

  • “According to St. Thomas Aquinas, a man’s guardian angel is more powerful than even the Devil himself.  This is due to the power of grace, which was granted to the holy angels after the test that accompanied the first instance of their existence” (8). With this in mind, it’s good not only to have a devotion to our own guardian angel but also that of our family members, and the additional guardian angel given to us at either our wedding date or our ordination date.

3rd Key: The authority of Sacraments & sacramentals over demons

Our Lord also wields his authority over the demonic through the Sacraments and sacramentals.

Remaining in a state of grace through frequent use of these means is essential.

Fr. Amorth says, “The demon keeps his distance from the one who nurtures his faith, who frequents the sacraments, and who wishes to live devoutly.” (121). As Fr. Ripperger puts it, “Never fall into mortal sin ever!” Demons do not like to get involved with us if we are in a state of grace (123).

Frequent Confession & Holy Communion:

  • Fr. Ripperger says that Confession “is one of the most effective things to ward off or break demonic influence” (125). Confession, for example, drives out evil from the soul, while the exorcism only drives evil out of the body. 
  • And with the Eucharist, Fr. Fortea says, “Our body is like a home or tent in which He comes to dwell.  Nothing destroys demonic influence more powerfully than worthy reception of the Body of Christ.” (126).

    Use all the Catholic Church has to offer: Sacramentals, medals (especially St. Benedict & Miraculous), holy water, blessed candles, sacred images, relics, fasting, devotion to our patron saints and guardian angels are very effective in spiritual warfare.

Bonus: The authority of fathers over demons

As all exorcists say, demons are very legalistic and know when someone has authority and when they do not.  If the person commanding the demons truly possesses the proper authority, the demons will obey.  If the person does not, it can take a dangerous turn (see Acts 19:11-17).

The father, as the head of the family, has authority to:

  • bless his family, including his wife and his children.
  • Fr. Ripperger gives a version of the binding prayer to parents to help break up bad relationships.

The mother shares in her husband’s authority to a certain extent:

  • she can bless her children like the father (trace the Sign of the Cross with their thumb on the forehead of the child, and using a commanded prayer saying, “God bless you,” and then a blessing is given).
  • but she cannot bless the father (he has headship over the family).
  • While the wife is not able to bless her husband, she is permitted to pray binding prayers over him. 
  • Each spouse can offer prayers of deliverance for the other spouse as well as on the children.

If neglected, this leads to problems:

  • The demon Asmodeus is a special target for fathers of families (cf. Book of Tobit he orchestrated the death of Sarah’s 7 husbands).
  • When the father commits a mortal sin of a certain sort, like pornography, he is now vulnerable to diabolical influence. If a demon comes in at that moment, he can corrupt the whole family, since he entered through the head of the family. The demon can also remain and be passed down through successive generations.

Overall, the father needs to step into his authority like Saint Joseph, who bears the title “Terror of Demons.”


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