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Can demons do good?

February 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Demonology, Fr. Fortea, Spiritual Warfare

Dear Fr. Fortea, can a demon perform a good act?

We need to remember that demons are not engaged in doing evil 100 percent of the time. Sometimes, they just think. Doing this is not evil at all; it is merely an act of their nature. Nevertheless, demons cannot perform a supernaturally moral act (for example, an act of charity, supernatural repentance, or sincere glorification of God) because such an act requires supernatural grace.

A demon will glorify God only if it is forced to. It may regret having gone away from God, but without any true repentance or sincere pleas for forgiveness. As such, a demon can do many other natural acts with its intelligence and will. But a demon will never have the least amount of compassion or love toward anyone. This is impossible as a result of its rebellion against God, who is Love itself. A demon’s heart only hates; it revels in the suffering of others. By their own free choice, the demons will feel an acute absence of the life-giving presence of God’s love for all eternity.

can demons do goodTo 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.


Art for this post on “Can Demons Do Good?”: Detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International, Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.

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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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  • 1downrivermary

    I can’t imagine someone coming up with a question like this. All I know is what is written: (to paraphrase:) Whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is of God, think on these things. And (come on) don’t be “silly”!

    • LizEst

      Actually, Mary, it’s not a silly question. Demons are very deceptive and tricky. They can make something look good to us and yet have it not be so, because they are quite skilled in the arts of imitation and manipulation.

      Furthermore, they will accept good coming out of something, if they can realize a greater evil from it. That is why the Church is very careful when they approve or disprove visions, locutions, etc. There have been many deceptions down through the years (here is a case of a nun who made a pact with the devil and fooled most everyone for 40 years: ).

      The devil loves to divide us from God, from His faithful Church and from each other. We are heartened by Christ’s words that the gates of hell will never prevail.

      • 1downrivermary

        It is still my feeling that lifting up our God, His Son, His Spirit is a much better way to spend our time.

        • LizEst

          Well, Mary, of course it is…and, that’s what we hope to be doing in eternity, as well. Practice here is an excellent way to spend time.

          It’s also still good to be able to ask this type of question in this kind of forum where a person can get a straight answer. We never know exactly why someone (and those that read the responses) might have need of an answer. It doesn’t hurt to answer it. Perhaps it will put someone’s mind more at ease. Perhaps it may lead someone to seek out a priest for more personal assistance. One of the ways we serve and praise our Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is by also serving our brothers and sisters and neighbors in the name of Christ as this site does every day.

          God bless you Mary…and continue to praise the Lord! Thank you for your input.

  • judeen

     becareful .. for evil can act like a spirit of light.. I have heard of healings , to just trick people enough to follow them…. a demon appeared to padre pio, as mary.. for mary would come to him… and padre pio figured something was wronge. and asked her to praise the Lord… it changed into a cemon with great anger disappeared…. when ever use the test of the church … I can not remember it all… but it is about loveing and serving the only son of God Jesus Christ, which we love and adore . the 1 true God…    ,

  • judeen

     I also have heard demons have done miricals.. – it seems… that there are healings but the healings are only temperary… and the sickness will come back   …. or healing will go away… they are tricky.. when when praying over people always.. declare Jesus Christ is our Lord and savior.. the one true God.. and person repent of all their sins and ask God for forgiveness..for their sins…. when doing this the healing alot of the times is granted by God….

  • $1650412

    I think this is an interesting point. I was just wondering about the behavior of ‘Legion’ we read about earlier this week in the Mass readings. The demoniac from the Gerasenes region comes running up to Jesus and prostrates the man before Him saying something proclaiming Jesus the son of the Most High God. (The demon addresses Him this way, subservient and begging.) I wondered what the motivation could be in ‘their’ behavior, because they seem, for such an ugly and formidable crowd, to be completely submissive to Jesus. I thought it could have been a snide and cowardly manner, but I just didn’t understand it until this explanation. I can see how they could be completely filled with contempt for the man possessed and for Jesus, but still attempt to forward a destructive agenda with their sniveling obeisance It is an interesting matching of wits and wiles in this amazing Scriptural account as Jesus delivers this afflicted soul. Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever- praise the Lord!

    • Becky Ward

      So here’s my question. Where did the demons go after the pigs drowned?

      • $1650412

        That is a follow up q for Fr. Fortea! There is some mention of waterless places— so maybe the whole scheme backfired on that bunch…

        • LizEst

          This is off topic…but, I like your new picture, Jo. You are so photogenic! They all turn out well. Who is the little one behind you?

          • $1650412

            You’re too sweet Liz! That’s my baby, Fiona!

          • LizEst

            Fiona is beautiful, Jo. I can see the resemblance. Congratulations!

        • rjk123

          I noticed it, too. Both of you are beautiful.

  • Thankfully, some of the responses confirm my understanding better than Fr. Fortea’s explanation in this posting. There is a man in Brazil who goes by the name “John of God’ and he has followers as well who chanel ‘entities’ to bring supposed healing to people. It is indeed very tricky. Because if someone is suffering some ailment and then claims that they are healed by this man, how can that be the work of a demon, right? It is also tricky because they pray the Rosary there at the ‘casa’ and they use the Divine Mercy image and they have Saint Ignatius of Loyola as the their ‘patron saint’.

  • There is also a man in the United States New York, going around claiming to have Archangel Michael as his protector. He claims to heal people, but there was a horrible account of young lady who experience possession after he had claimed to bless her so much. He makes people fall down in the spirit, and is not humble. Claims he can forgieve sins better than a priest, and to have authority to call Jesus down from heaven. To top all this off he claims stigmata and was blessed as a child by Saint Andre of the oritorary of St. Joseph Canada. Be aware of such people, they are wolves clothed in sheep skin. The priests did not fall back & a very few ~the rest did, …. its true Jesus said I’m sending you among wolves. Our church needs to cover these issues as soon as possible. Especially in the dioseces level. This young lady went to the hospital & is now released. Praise God. Please pray for her. She wishes to not be known yet after all perhaps her role in life is to stop such things from occuring. God permits evil for a greater good (CAtchism.) Please advise your family & friends these times are much more lies … The Eucharist is, THE SOURCE & SUMMIT! You will know them by there fruit, he tried seducing her claiming to be a saint. Be safe. Praise God, remain in grace by attending confession

  • Even before I read all your Responses, here is my take.  Somewhere in the Scriptures we are told that the Devil can – and does – disguise himself as a Angel of Light.  And  he does that very often, and leads many astray.  That is why the Catholic Church MUST THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE ALL APPARITIONS  AND DIVINE MESSAGES – especially which disguise themselves as from the Blessed Mother of God.  However, it is pretty easy to discover – and soon – that one is dealing with Evil forces.  Why? Because Satan does not know how to be humble.  Pride is all he knows, and rebellion and virulent hate against God and His mankind.  And it was that Pride which made him be thrown out of Heaven and  cast him and his fallen angels to Hell  – PRIDE. 

     We have very many so-called Christian Denominations which have led many astray with their “miracles”, Gospel of Prosperity, Charismatic Powers and such emotionally arousing phenomenon which entice very many, especially the young people.So we must always remember St. Peter’s warning, whom I paraphrase: ” Be alert.  The Devil is prowling around like an angry lion, look for someone to devour. Resist him and he will flee from you”.

  • Diana

    Thank you

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