Sense of Life. Articles in English. Father Ernst Alt’s Appeal.
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Father Ernst Alt’s Appeal

(Anneliese Michel’s Exorcist)

Thanks to the mass media the Klingenberg exorcisms gained unprecedented publicity. Throughout Europe and America they provoked a fierce debate on the subject of Satan and demonic possession. Although the media have stopped talking about the events, the exorcisms remain relevant to this day.

Jesus Christ commanded his apostles and their successors to “cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8; see also Luke 10:17-20 and Mark 16:17). Exorcisms will always be a part of pastoral ministry; they are visible signs of the dramatic struggle between the Kingdom of God and the powers of darkness. In the name of the Crucified and Risen God-Man, Jesus Christ, Satan and his minions must yield! By His passion, death and resurrection Jesus won a decisive victory over the power of Satan. A priest performing an exorcism acts in His name and by virtue of His power. To those who have watched the religious and social situation unfold over the past several decades, the relevance of the Klingenberg events is striking indeed. Since 1975, when the exorcisms in Klingenberg took place and the six demons made known their names (Lucifer, Judas, Cain, Nero, Hitler and Fleishmann), Satan has tracked a triumphant march across Germany. Why? Because people are freely succumbing to the power of sin. The rapid erosion of the Church’s influence on public opinion seems to date from that time. In the name of artistic freedom all manner of blasphemy is committed on film and television. Meanwhile religious sentiment suffers the most palpable harm. No court in the land speaks out against these outrages, and the representatives of the Church are so terrified that they scarcely raise their voice in protest. The demoralization of our youth has reached a high point, reaping its frightful fruits: drug addiction, pornography, satanic music and sects, moral freefall and the total collapse of Christian formation. Terrorism and abortion are the bloody footprints of Satan who was “a murderer from the beginning.” Spiritist activity is widespread, having spread to the smallest villages. Black masses are no longer a hushed-up rarity. Influential theologians dilute the truths of the faith. Faith is relativized; human freedom is absolutized. Yet the fact remains that if the truths of faith are called into question and human freedom fails to conform with God’s law, we will surely perish and fall into the hellish pit of the fallen angels — the kingdom of the one who desired to be like God and is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9).

I command you, unclean spirit…

Demonic possession is evidence of the real existence of God’s kingdom and the empire of Satan. Man is called to make a choice upon which his salvation or damnation depends. Jesus Christ is Lord and the final victor over hell and Satan. In His name we receive the gift of salvation. In His name we are redeemed. In His name we must cast out evil spirits. In His name even the weakest minister of the Church has the power to combat the powers of darkness. Jesus Christ is present in all the sacraments. The people present at the Klingenberg exorcisms were able to say along with Peter: You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16)! Only through this avowal can we prevail over the gates of hell.

People who attend exorcisms sometimes experience a sense of quiet joy. It is true! — they say. Everything in the Gospel and the teachings of the Church is true! Jesus lives, teaches and acts in His Church. He is truly among us. The focus of every demonic attack is the Son of God Himself. The demons are forced to acknowledge Him, as in the scene in the Gospels: We know who You are. You are the Messiah (Luke 8:28; Mark 1:24; Mark 3:11). And yet in their blind fury they strive against Him. 

Evil spirits will act through people who give themselves over to the power of sin and attempt to obscure or harm the faith by whatever means possible. Those who attended the Klingenberg events saw with their own eyes that exorcism is a necessary weapon for the expulsion of evil spirits. Throughout her history the Catholic Church has always performed exorcisms; and she will continue to find them indispensable in the future.

Those who attended the Klingenberg exorcisms experienced the reality of evil spirits first hand. Satan exists and is more active now than ever before. That is why exorcism cannot be done away with, since this would mean that the Evil One has triumphed. In its briefest form the prayer of exorcism consists in the words, “As minister of the Church, by the power of the Crucified and Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, I command you, unclean spirit, to depart!” There is nothing here that can be modernized […]

Those who witnessed the exorcisms know that without our permission the kingdom of darkness can do us no harm. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8: 38-39).

Your chocice: heaven or hell

And yet the threat of hell hangs over every one of us, for as sinners we can freely give in to Satan’s power and forfeit eternal life. The demons gave eloquent testimony to the frightening reality of hell when for hours on end they screamed, “We are damned for eternity!” Hell is the only alternative to heaven. It is straight nonsense to maintain that the scriptural references to eternal damnation are warnings only, threats that will never be realized.

Jesus clearly states that the ultimate consequence of sin in hell. Through sin we can so harm ourselves that we can become like the evil spirits, come to hate God and, at the moment of death, reject His love and freely choose hell. In speaking of hell, Jesus does not wish to frighten us. He is telling us the truth. He loves us and wants us to come to our senses and repent. […]

While performing the exorcisms, we were granted the grace of experiencing the all-powerful love of the risen Jesus who abides in the sacraments and acts through His priests. The experience of Christ’s divine power and the terrifying presence of the evil spirits during the exorcisms wrought a profound change on all those present at the Klingenberg events. Yet understanding these truths is not enough to make conversion a reality.   

The truths of faith have to be translated day after day into concrete life choices: persistent daily prayer, rejection of sin, and the regular reception of the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist.

Anneliese Michel experienced all these events with the most acute awareness. She was not mentally ill. She not only understood everything; she was also gifted with a particularly mature faith. That is why she asked the Church for help and for the rite of exorcism to be performed on her. Heavenly guidance and her lively faith eventually prompted her to endure the possession as an act of expiation for the sins of others, and finally — of this I am sure — to offer up her very life. […] The need of all of us to take conversion seriously is one of the most important messages to come out of the Klingenberg exorcisms. […] This is the constant message of Christ and His Mother — one that involves our freedom, reason and will. […]

Call to conversion

The events at Klingenberg were a call to all of us to repent. The call came up suddenly in our lifetime and has lost none of its urgency. If Anneliese’s demonic possession had remained hidden it would have been a sign for a small circle of people. But this did not happen. Thanks to the mass media half the world talked about these events. They have become the subject of scholarly research. What happened at Klingenberg carries a very important message for us all. What occurred was a visible manifestation of the activity of Satan and his minions. So powerful was our experience of the Evil One’s influence that we have no doubt that hell exists and that many people by choosing sin are on the straight path to hell; anyone who says otherwise is telling lies. The truth is borne out by Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Church.

What happened at Klingenberg is God’s warning to us in the context of the signs of the times: the existence of Satan and hell vigorously repudiated; sin justified; the divinity of Jesus Christ and His real presence in the sacraments denied; marriage and the family, school and public life, political and scientific activity sundered from their religious underpinnings. And the inevitable bitter fruits: divorce, millions of abortions, euthanasia, genetic manipulation, the corruption of youth, etc. etc. What connection should Germans see between the Klingenberg events and the signs of the times? According to an opinion poll by Demoscop, 31% of Germans believe in heaven (compare with 80% in the USA), 14% in hell (USA — 66%) and 18% in the devil (USA — 66%). […]  

The Third Reich

Is this not reminiscent of the not-so-distant past? I have in mind the years of the Third Reich,whin I lived trought as a boy. Germans believed in the Führer. He in turn demanded that the nation believe in him. The German spirit was to restore the world to health. My childhood was marked by constant terror of nighttime bombing raids, evading strafing aircraft, anxious prayers offered up for my father who was fighting in Stalingrad. We imitated what we saw: we stood at attention, raised our arms and shouted Heil Hitler! — much to my mother’s chagrin This was diabolical. Satan, who is the “father of lies” was present everywhere. The millions of victims and martyrs speak for themselves.

True, many Germans came to their senses, but only to the extent of acknowledging this period of history as a “mistake” and little more. Those who consider those times as nothing more than a mistake are in for sore disappointment. Indeed it will be sign of appalling ignorance of enormous proportions if — at least in retrospect — we do not recognize in Hitler’s Third Reich the influence of the kingdom of Satan. I am of the view that we need to make restitution, but not just in German Marks. After this experience, which touched untold millions, it is incumbent upon Germans to warn the world of the power of Satan.

It is still difficult to watch documentary films showing millions of people rising to their feet and lifting their right arm to salute the Führer. Have these people paid homage to God? Have they bent their knee before Him? How many Germans have repented? How much could yet be done to bring about Germany’s moral and Christian rebirth! Such reparation still lies before us. Meanwhile, the prevailing spirit of materialism, the moral rot eating into every sphere of life, and the wave of anti-Christianity flooding the country are clear proof that Christian Germany has yet to learn from her lessons.

During Anneliese’s exorcisms, the demons spoke out clearly and unambiguously. We do not need to know what they said. It is enough to know of their existence and hidden influence. In Klingenberg — much to their disgrace — they were forced to reveal themselves. In drawing my conclusions from the events that unfolded in that town, I cannot pass over associations that I find significant. I have in mind those that point clearly to the fact that the power of Satan existed in the so-called Third Reich in a way unknown until that time. Yet only a few recognized it. I believe the facts permit me to observe that Satan is seeking once more to extend his empire over Germany but in another — perhaps more powerful — way. Present events admit of no other explanation.

All of Germany was talking about Klingenberg and the demoniac Anneliese Michel. Many were outraged to hear journalists report that “demonic possession does not exist”, or psychologists claim that “demons are the product of an over-stimulated imagination”, or the judiciary declare that “Anneliese was not possessed. She was mentally ill”. And yet many were gladdened to hear this “good news.” Life could go on as before. The matter was settled: there was no power of darkness brooding over Germany. And so Germans could go on justifying themselves and their past.

Does no one understand that it is a splendid thing to serve God and His kingdom? Does no one understand that the greatest and most beautiful thing is to worship the Triune God? Does no one understand that through Our Blessed Mother’s intercession and aid we are brought unerringly to Jesus? Does no one understand that under the protection of the holy angels we along with Saint Michael can raise the cry, “Who is there like God? and fight for His kingdom. 

Does no one understand that in this way we can defend ourselves against everything that threatens our life, nation and world? Must Anneliese Michel stand alone in the struggle against the powers of darkness? Ought not her demonic possession to teach us something? Her life and death, are these not a sign for us? Maybe we are a “pusillanimous” people — a nation of cowards. Or can it be that we are a gifted people who until now have had a false notion of our gifts — to the great misfortune of Europe’s nations and millions of victims?

What should we understand?

No raising of the arm to some new Führer! No falling into materialism! No succumbing to false values! No yielding to pressure by the mass media! What else? Bend the knee and pray, paying homage to Jesus Christ in a spirit of truth and love. That is the first and holiest thing a person can do. This is the kind of action that everyone acquainted with the life and death of Anneliese Michel ought to undertake. No organization is needed. Ten people in every German parish is enough — united with Mary and all the angels ministering to God. Just ten per parish; although, of course, it could be a hundred as well.

After all I have experienced I cannot remain silent. That is why I pray to God that He may grant us the grace to break with sin, to go regularly to confession and pray with the greatest reverence, worshiping the Triune God in union with Mary and all the angels and saints. Only then will the kingdom of God grow and the power of Satan be overthrown. […] Anneliese Michel of Klingenberg is a sign calling all of us to personal conversion. For all of us — for Germany, Europe and the whole world — the only salvation is a return to God.

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