Spain: Interview with Jose Antonio Fortea
AN INTERVIEW WITH DEMONOLOGIST JOSE ANTONIO FORTEA:
“If you summon the Devil, He may show up.”
By Nuria Navarro
Father Fortea, an authorized exorcist, certifies that the Devil indeed exists despite the fact thta some churches would rather overlook th fact. He has delivered more than a few victims from this sulfurous influence. Fortea is also the parish priest of Our Lady of Zulema in Villalbilla (Madrid) and participated in a round table held at CaixaForum.
Q: Are exorcists born or made?
A: The power to exorcise demons is received during ordination, but the bishop grants permission.
Q: Was there a special reason?
A: There was never a special interest on my part. I never practiced spiritism in my youth. When I studied the History of the Church [in college] the bishop asked me to write a dissertation on the subject and I said no. He insisted and I obeyed.
Q: Some segments of the Church don’t mention the Evil One.
A: That is so.
Q: Is it bad P.R. for the Church?
A: Or so they think. But the Church’s rede has been one and the same for 2000 years. There aren’t many dogmas, you see, but they are unalterable. One of them posits the existence of the angelic spiritual world, which includes demons. Many would like this aspect to never be discussed, but you can’t very well grab scissors and cut doctrine where you please. Possession is a fact. That’s all there is to it.
Q: Tell us, what is the Devil like?
A: Technically the Devil is an angelic being that became evil and made the irreversible decision to rebel against God. He isn’t Evil, which is the absence of proper good, and He isn’t a symbol either. He is a spiritual entity.
A: I’ve never seen him, but he’s played some tricks on me. I hate to say this, but I once went to bed and the lights all came on. On another occasion my car’s gearbox broke, but I wouldn’t submit that as proof.
Q: Do you face greater risks?
A: I ask for God’s protection. But the Devil exists and wants revene. He often tempts those who surround the priest.
Q: Let’s go back to proof.
A: There are phenomena that can only be explained through spiritual intervention. Padre Pio’s sores would bleed during consecration. A medical team researched him and found no explanation. The same happens in the world of the demonic.
Q: A mental illness could be involved, though...
A: The victim of possession is a person who, while being completely normal, participates in an esoteric ritual and from that moment on, goes into a trance, rolls his eyes back, howls, cannot tolerate the presence of religious items. If that’s not the case, I myself will suggest a visit to a psychiatrist.
Q: According to you, esoteric rituals are an invitation to demons.
A: Yes. The an urge to communicate with the Beyond is part of the New Age. Esoteric practices, such as invocations to spirit guides, use of ouija boards, Afro-Cuban santeria, recitation of unknown mantras, open the door to possession. If you summon the Devil, he may show up.
Q: Especially at 3 a.m.?
A: That appeared in “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”. Demons act by night, but there isn’t an “evil hour”.
Q: What about evil music?
A: Satanic music, played for hours in a room containing blasphemous posters or inverted crosses could indeed produce influences.
Q: Do the possessed levitate?
A: I pray with my eyes shut. I’m told that it has occured a few times in the chapel.
Q: Do their heads rotate 360 degrees?
A: I have not seen that either. I have heard them speak unknown languages, and I’ve seen them reply accurately to questions posed in Latin. Once, without moving my lips, I commmanded: “Say the beginning of the last chapter of the Apocalypse” and Three minutes later, the possessed replied: “I don’t like the Apocalypse.”
Q: Father, what does the Devil gain by possessing a body?
A: He causes suffering! Since the Devil cannot kill God, he tries to destroy his creatures, his work. Its like despising a painter and smashing his paintings.
Q: How many have you released?
A: There are between four and six cases a year in my parish.
Q: How do you know you’ve been successful?
A: The victim lets out a tremendos scream and then remains at peace.
Q: Catalunya is determined to speak a strange language. Is it possessed?
A: Catalan is my second language, all right? See here, a society can become malign, as occured during the Third Reich, but I’m not seeing this in Spain or in Europe. What is true is that central Spain is more traditional in religious matters.
(Translation © 2007, Scott Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Raul Núñez, IEEE).