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Relation of demons to the natural, preternatural & supernatural

October 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Demonology, Fr. Fortea, Spiritual Warfare

Dear Fr. Fortea, how do the natural, preternatural, and supernatural realms relate to demons?

The natural deals with the laws of the physical world, i.e., the workings of nature, whereas the preternatural concerns things or events which appear outside or apart from (Latin praeter) the laws of the physical world. The supernatural concerns things or events beyond or above (Latin super) any created nature; it is proper only to God Himself.

Demons can engage in preternatural activities such as making an object levitate or transforming something instantly. They can do things that go beyond the material world, but they cannot act beyond their angelic nature. Their powers are limited, even in the physical world. God can create something from nothing; a demon cannot.

We can see these realms operating in our souls. For example, beautiful scenery can remind us of the beauty of God, and this is something natural. Meanwhile, an angel or a demon can send inspirations directly into one’s mind. God can go further than that–He can send spiritual graces (of repentance, of thanksgiving, etc.) to the deepest depths of one’s spirit, causing radical changes in a second. All working of grace is supernatural; grace is always sent directly by God.

To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book, Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.

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About Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea

Father José Antonio Fortea is not only an exorcist, but also a writer, and parish priest. He once thought he would lead what he has termed ordinary life as an attorney in Madrid, much as his father did before him, but sensed instead a vocation to the priesthood in his adolescent years. A theology graduate of Navarre University in Spain, Father Fortea wrote a thesis there on exorcism. He has been a practicing exorcist for several decades.

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  • Thank you, Father Fortea.  To me, this sentence says it all : “Meanwhile, an angel or a demon can send inspirations directly into one’s mind.” As we have been taught and advised before in this Website, negative inspirations, depressing, confusing and anxiety-producing inspirations are nearly all the time the work of the Evil One to those who are striving to grow Spiritually. Even when we are undergoing trying times, our Guardian Angels are there to inspire us to surrender everything to God in Prayer.  Then we accept whatever difficulties, illness, loss of loved ones or any other trials besetting us as the Will of God and accept them with serenity and patience.

  • Marie

    Can we hear the voice of demons? Can they respond when talking to God?

    • Claire

      I would guess that they can. Negative, accusing, or discouraging words or emotions that we experience when talking to God aren’t from Him. See what Mary@42 comments below.

  • Drexel Gregory Bautista

    Good book but if anyone is interested in this area, a good start is Matt Baglio’s book The Rite (the movie is supposed to be based on the book but it’s very different).

    • Drexel – good recommendation. The Rite is a great book.

      • LizEst

        It came to be on my stack of those to read shortly (hopefully in between our current book club selection and the next) thanks to Sarah Reinhard at

        My prayers for all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

        btw, Dan, glad to see the comments are back on. ; )    Thanks!

  • Jeanjohnlabombard sr


  • You are right, Clare.  This can answer your question, Marie. Certainly the Evil One did not like what I said yesterday.  While fast asleep and dreaming in the middle of the night, I heard someone opening the door of my Bedroom and coming towards me. Still in my dream, I grabbed the Crucifix which never leaves my neck and started praying non-stop: “Jesus Son of the Living God, have pity on me, a sinner”.  After a short while of this repetitive Prayer, the feeling of someone in the Room left me. Then a very depressing feeling swept over me that, in fact, all the striving I do to live my Spiritual Life faithfully is an illusion. God is very, very far away from me. This went on for the remainder of the night. This feeling – now almost becoming convincing – continued to haunt me, even though I was falling asleep on an off.  I woke up in the morning so discouraged and very disturbed. I came to my little Office for my morning Prayers at 6.00 a.m. looked at the Image of the Divine Mercy, but  my silent Prayer to Him had no effect and the feeling did not leave me.  I continued with my entire one Hour Morning Prayers and then at 7.00 a.m. I prayed the usual Divine Mercy Chaplet which is allocated to me by the Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy for those dying at that Hour in the world.

    I am still feeling totally disconnected with God and my recourse of appeal to the Statue of my Patroness for her Intercession elicits no respite.  The dejected feelings are still gnawing me but I am consoling myself that I do not delude myself.  I believe that my Faith in God is unshaken and He has never left me, even at times when major problems beset me, my children or their young ones. So I am saying that Prayer to Jesus continuously and also asking our Holy Mother and my Guardian Angel to fight for me until Friday when we visit the Divine Mercy Shrine for the 1st Friday of the Month Stations of the Cross Prayers climbing the holy Hill, which is followed by the Eucharistic Adoration, Confessions and the Holy Mass.

    So, in short, Marie, we can always recognize when the Evil One is at work trying to manipulate our thoughts or interrupt our Prayers to God.  The effective way I have found to thwart Him is to persist in Prayers and strive to fight off the discouraging and depressive effects He causes to our emotional and Psychological spheres.

    • LizEst

      Mary, God bless you in your struggle. When the devil tempts you to believe God is far away, remember God is right there with you, fighting for you. “Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ [Jesus] will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little” (1 Peter 5:8b-10).

      Not only did Jesus say He would be with us always, He is the one who gives us life. And, it is His life, His breath, His Holy Spirit that sustains us. For, if the Lord were to abandon us, we would simply disappear. We cannot exist without Him. Remember that God will not abandon you. He will either remove this trial or He will give you the strength to endure. “If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). He does not go back on His Word.

      • God bless you, LizEst.  You are an Angel. You know, to-day at my Divine Mercy Holy Hour Adoration I could not pray the usual Divine Mercy Stations of the Cross.  I only prayed one Divine Mercy Chaplet for the dying at that hour and at the end of the Holy Hour, I prayed the Holy Rosary.  After that I just sat before Him having nothing to tell Him for an hour and a half  before the Holy Mass.  I am now resting under the protection of my Patroness, our Holy Mother to whom I ran whenever I find myself lost, frightened, inexplicably anxious or threatened.

        Thank you for reassuring me especially with (1 Peter 5:8b-10),   that God, is in fact, very, very close to me, just now. I feel very comforted by the Holy Spirit’s compassionate words through you. 

  • Claire, I would disagree to some extent. We don’t have to read very far into St. Gemma’s diary to see Jesus exhorting/chastising her. Furthermore, the scriptures says God reproves/chastises those whom He loves. Of course, I may misunderstand what you mean by ‘negative, accusing, or discouraging’ words. Marie, as to whether the voice of demons can be heard, I will respond that as God wills it. Many of the saints heard the voices of the demons. As you grow in spiritual perfection, the demons no longer use temptation and deceptiveness, but begin to battle you in a straight forward manner.

    • When Jesus reproves and chastises us He always does it lovingly. He encourages us to change for the better. He chastises us so that in converting, we will grow closer to Him. When we repent He tells us that He believes we will do better.

      But the devil puts us down telling us that we are worthless, and will never grow in holiness. The devil also accuses us of sin when we did not sin.

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