The Pro-Life Leader Who Is Also an Exorcist

Deal W. Hudson
July 18, 2010

Having just read Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuers’s new book, Exorcism and the Church Militant, one of the first things I asked him was whether he was afraid of demons. I shivered more than once reading through its short chapters, arranged as basic questions about the devil, demons, possession, and the rite of exorcism.

“Not at all,” Father answered with a smile. “God has given me the grace to remain unafraid.”

When I expressed my surprise, he explained, “Demons are basically handcuffed, and they know it.”

Father Euteneuer does not speak as a theorist. Since 2003 he’s had extensive experience ministering to those possessed by demons. His introduction to the demonic world happened when a family asked him for help for one of their members, and he eventually asked for permission to perform the rite of exorcism. He has been doing them ever since.

Exorcism and the Church Militant is intended, in part, as a warning to parents who allow their children to be desensitized to “the dark world” by books and films like the Harry Potter series and the vampire books of Stephanie Meyer. Father Euteneuer told me possession is almost always a result of someone getting involved in some sort of occult practices, such as witchcraft, Wicca, tarot cards, and Ouiji boards.

“Harry Potter and these Twilight vampires glamorize the power of evil,” Father Eutenener explained, “and this has lead to many, many cases of possession among young people.” It may begin with a child or teenager simply “playing around” with the occult, but that seemingly harmless act is “opening a window” to possession.

Father Euteneuer emphasized this point, “Demons do not discriminate between intentions – no matter how innocent – and children lose the clear distinction between good and evil.”

What makes the occult so dangerous is the fact that it is based upon something real – the preternatural world of fallen angels, headed by Lucifer himself. Below him are the “choirs” of devils and demons who are a reverse mirror, in their fallen state, of the hierarchy of angels.

Yet, as Father Euteneuer made clear, this entire dark spiritual world “cannot operate without permission from human beings.” He pointed out that the widely-seen film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, based upon the actual case of Anneliese Michel, makes it seem like a possession can occur against a person’s will.

Demons play by the rules, as it were. They can only enter a person when invited, and they will leave when subjected to the rite of exorcism to the authority of the Church. “All demons understand is the authority,” according to Father Euteneuer. He told me of a time he was with someone who was possessed – not intending to do an exorcism because permission had not yet been given – and the demon spoke to him saying, “The Church is not here.”

Father Euteneuer reminded me that as fallen angels, demons are smarter than any human being. “The darkest demon is smarter than I am,” he said. An exorcist must remain aware of the demon’s ability to know everything about the person they are possessing, including family members, and those who may enter the room to cast them out.

One demon attempted to negotiate with Father Euteneuer, offering to help him with his Latin if he would let him stay put. That story prompted me to ask if demons had a sense of humor. “No,” Euteneuer replied. “The demon was only trying to resist being cast out. They know what an exorcism is, what is going to happen to them.”

Possession usually involves more than one demon. Father Euteneuer explained that when “one demon gets in it will help to create more invitations to other demons.” The more powerful ones have biblical names, and he often runs into demons with the same name, as if they had a kind of demonic family name.

The possession of an individual person is a perverse imitation of the Incarnation. “They know they’ve lost the war in heaven, now they’ve come to earth and are doing all they can to exert their power and be an obstacle to heaven.” That’s why demons experience some form of pain when they are exorcised – Father Euteneuer said demons will often complain that “It burns.” They have been deprived of the satisfaction of entering a body in imitation of the Word made flesh.

By the end of my interview with Father Euteneuer, I realized my initial question about being frightened of demons had betrayed my misunderstanding of the limits of demonic power. Exorcism and the Church Militant is a book that should provide guidance to many for years to come, especially for parents who need a reminder that the occult is not innocent entertainment.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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