Deliver Us From Evil

December 2009

It is our great pleasure to introduce in this December issue a new NOR columnist. His name will undoubtedly register with a good many of our readers: He has appeared countless times on radio and television (including a controversial interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News); he has been featured in several Catholic publications; tens of thousands have attended his public appearances; and his work on behalf of the prolife movement has earned him numerous accolades — as well as enemies, an indicator that his influence is felt far and wide. He is someone whom the NOR has long admired; we have had occasion to quote him many times over the years. He is Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer. Readers know him as the president of Human Life International.

Fr. Euteneuer will write a mini­series of columns on a topic that has generated much interest and discussion in the pages of the NOR, a topic with which he is intimately familiar: demonic possession and the Church's Rite of Exorcism. In addition to being a major figure in the prolife movement, Fr. Euteneuer is a trained exorcist. He has been performing exorcisms for over six years, and has been authorized to do so in several dioceses across the U.S. Fr. Euteneuer has performed more than ten full exorcisms and several dozen deliverances of afflicted persons. His interest in this ministry was a natural outgrowth of his prolife work, through which he has been confronting the organized power of evil on a global scale.

Thomas Euteneuer was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1962, the fourth of seven children. He earned a bach­elor's degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a licentiate degree in biblical theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. While in college, he participated in the Marine Corps Officer Candidate Program, attended basic training at Quan­tico, Virginia, and graduated at the top of his company. After discerning that the Lord was calling him to the priesthood rather than the military, he entered the seminary.

Fr. Euteneuer was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, in 1988. Over the next twelve years he served in five parishes in the diocese, in addition to working as secretary to the bishop, director of vocations, and spiritual moderator for the diocesan Respect Life office. His prolife activities began in the early years of his priesthood with prayer vigils, pilgrimages, picketing, and sidewalk counseling. In 1999 he helped establish a crisis-pregnancy center across the street from an abortion mill.

The following year he was given permission by his bishop to work full time in prolife ministry with Human Life International (HLI). Founded by Fr. Paul Marx, O.S.B., in 1981, HLI is the world's largest prolife organization, and has affiliate offices and associates in eighty-seven countries around the world. In his nine years as its president, Fr. Euteneuer has visited fifty-seven countries and logged over one million miles as a prolife mis­­sionary. He is the recipient of Legatus's 2005 John Cardinal O'Con­nor Award for Life and the Brent Society's 2007 Soldier of the Church Militant Award.

This month Fr. Euteneuer begins his column miniseries, Libera Nos a Malo ("Deliver Us From Evil"), with an overview of the nature of Satan and the Church's war against him. Subsequent columns will develop the themes integral to a proper understanding of the Church's Rite of Exorcism — and why it is necessary that priests perform it. The call of the Church — and each individual Christian — to wage spiritual warfare against the evil in our midst has suffered from de-emphasis over the past few decades. The Church Militant is at risk of becoming a complacent crowd, comfortable in a world that is not our true home. The culture around us urges us to lay down our spiritual weapons and go shopping or watch television. Meanwhile, the devil does not rest.

Let us turn away from such folly and, as St. Paul instructs us, put on the full armor of God, that we may "stand against the wiles of the devil" and "resist in the evil day," standing in all things perfect as our Lord Jesus Christ is perfect.

We inaugurate Fr. Euteneuer's column miniseries with a special plea and prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

DOSSIER: Spiritual Warfare & the Problem of Evil

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