Conjuring and Consequence

Demons have limits. All created things are limited, and the demon in Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It is no different. Let’s look at those limitations, and those also of the humans involved.


—SPOILER ALERT—


Sin always has consequences. Sin is a cancer for the soul, and it weakens us because sin is whenever we reject God and choose someone/thing that is not God. Basic Christianity: God is love, power, goodness, wisdom, justice, joy, life, and existence. If we reject Him, then we reject the source of love, power, goodness, etc. So rejecting God necessarily leads to the absence of those things, which means we are weakened, and will end up in eternal death if we don’t return to Him. It’s just logic.

In cases of demonic possession, sin makes us vulnerable against it. Here are the main examples straight from the movie:

  1. Ed’s possession at the very end: we’ve seen in the Conjuring series instances of Ed’s pride (pride is not only a sin, but the worst of sins, contrary to what many think today). Every time he thinks he can handle a demon, or performs an exorcism himself, or breaks a promise with Lorraine because he needs to be the hero, these instances are prideful. No man can ever handle a demon without the Church and her Lord backing him up, which means he needs to be ordained (or at least commissioned explicitly by a Catholic bishop), and to break good promises that should be kept, well we can all see that is wrong.
  2. Arne’s possession at the very start: another example of pride, and very much like Ed’s prideful attitude, thinking he can take on the demon without the Church, ultimately without God’s backup. It may be heroic, perhaps even selfless to tell the demon to possess him instead of David, but good intentions don’t make evil actions okay. Demons can even play us into thinking we’re being sooooo sacrificial and generous, only to destroy us by making us play by their demonic rules instead of the rules of the Church that God made (tangent: the priest in the film wants to have the exorcism on David done at the Church–a sacred space–but Ed insists over the priest (perhaps in his pride) that it be done immediately at the boy’s home instead. Because of this, the protection of the Church over the family is lessened, and leads to a worse situation for everyone). Additionally, the film suggests that Arne and his girlfriend (Debbie) have been sleeping together without the blessings of marriage, which is the mortal sin fornication and lust.
  3. David’s possession before the very start: since David is only a child, he (and all children) are especially vulnerable to spiritual attack. Just as the faith of the parents is required for a child to be baptized, the parents are also responsible for spiritually safeguarding their child. Largely missing from the film is the presence of David’s parents, which implies their negligence. In fact, the real-life interview with Ed and Lorraine regarding David’s case reveals that David’s own mother and sister dabbled in witchcraft, which in doing so gives hell an open invitation. Here’s the interview itself, and the moment of this fact comes up at 25 minutes in:

So the big lesson: if you want demons to stay away, then you must stay away from sin! Otherwise your very sins invite them in. Other notable insights I took from the film:

  1. The hospital chaplain: this sounds controversial, but it’s been demonstrated by the experience of many Catholics, that in the past few decades, the Church has an extreme shortage of brave and bold priests. Many priests have been instead weak, limp, emasculated, and cowardly. The priest ministering in the hospital exemplified cowardice by not even knowing when to pray during demonic manifestation, and demonstrated stupidity by giving Arne a glass bottle of holy water when Arne was on suicide-watch. The overall impression we get of him is a man who is unsure, fumbling, and a pushover.
  2. Furthermore, we see a fallen priest who delved too deep into demonology without the wisdom of Church Tradition. The ex-priest shared that he scoffed at the Church’s warnings, dismissing them as fear based on not understanding demons and the occult. Rather, the reality is the Church’s millennia-old experience with spiritual warfare has taught her how to fight smartly against the fallen angels! She is not afraid, but informed and has grown wise from battle. Outside of the Church’s protection, this ex-priest went on to have an affair, fathered and raised a child presumably without having her baptized, which left his daughter further defenseless against the demonic.
  3. Which leads the ex-priest’s daughter becoming a witch, and occultist who makes deals with the devil, thinking foolishly that demons can be toys and that they honor bargains with humans. There’s a reason why Jesus Christ calls Satan the father of lies: he cannot be trusted and is always out to abuse and rape the children of our Father in Heaven. The witch learns this too late, and could’ve been spared the lesson had her earthly father trusted and served the Church a bit more.
  4. When Lorraine locates and attempts to overturn the Satanic altar, notice that it is solid and immoveable. When I saw this, it shamed me to know of so many modernistic Catholic “altars” that are weak and limp, unable to even compete with the witch’s altar! Since discovering the Traditional Latin Mass, I’ve learned through the ancient worship that Catholic altars should be worthy of the Holy Sacrifice: bombproof, fireproof, tornado-proof, tsunami-proof, and glorious:

Lastly, if you’re interested in more insights for the first two Conjuring films, click this: The Conjuring is Conquering; and click here for more on exorcism.

Shoutout to a former student who encouraged me to share my thoughts!

The Conjuring is Conquering

conjuring-posterWhen I first saw The Conjuring (2013) by director James Wan, I knew the film was special in its class. The sequel, The Conjuring 2 (2016), affirms the series’ uniqueness. At the end of my review, I’ll mention the standout point from the first film, but for now, let me share how The Conjuring is conquering its genre (see here for my thoughts on The Nun).

—SPOILER ALERT—

—–1) In this earlier review here, we learn that the writers for the movie series are devout Christians, and not only that, but are also devout Catholic Christians. Now although all Christians are similar in that we love and follow Jesus Christ, other Christians differ in that they broke away from the Church Jesus originally founded on St. Peter, our Lord’s first pope. Perhaps in a later post I can share more about this schism (to break away), but for now, we see in the film a few examples of why the Catholic Church stands apart from the Christian denominations that broke off from her to start their own churches. The first example is when we see Ed and Lorraine Warren discuss that any work they do must be cleared by “the Church.” And we all know that “the Church” refers to: the Catholic Church. Not the neighborhood community church, or the city central church, etc., but the Catholic Church. This reminds me of a quote from renowned movie critic Roger Ebert:ExorcismMeme

—–2) The second example of the Catholic Church’s primacy is the use and display of crucifixes in the film. Catholics and Orthodox Christians use and prefer crucifixes, and a crucifix is different from a mere cross: crosses do not have the little statue or image of Jesus affixed, but crucifixes do. In the film, we see a room covered in crosses, but the crosses are playthings to the demon. Evil does not fear two sticks glued together. However, when a crucifix comes out, especially when it comes out in the hands of a faithful and prayerful Christian, the demons freak. The key is that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ changes the mere cross into a weapon against sin and Satan. Without Jesus, a cross is merely an instrument of terrorism and torture, but with Jesus’ sacrifice, the cross becomes the beams that crush Hell. Here’s a little meme to summarize:CrossWithChrist

—–3) An extra sign of the Church’s power is in Ed’s use of Latin in his prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. We saw this in the first Conjuring (and in many other exorcism films), and it is reinforced here. To keep this short and sweet: Latin is the language of the Catholic Church, it’s the mother language of Catholics, and whether we know it or not, Latin remains our inheritance. In fact, real exorcists have claimed that Latin prayers have a extra punch to them than prayers in usual languages. Demons seem to despise Latin prayers, perhaps because the only culture that uses Latin in conversation today is the Church. In Latin prayers, the Church converses with her Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s a conversation most worthy of being had. Latin, because no other society uses it conversationally and daily, has become set aside (reserved) for the Church’s prayers. Latin, in a sense, has become holy (set apart, and in this case for serving God).

—–4) Next, it is true demons use fear to destroy us. When we fear, we tend to forget we are actually loved, actually guarded and prized by God and all Heaven. Many of us would do things exactly as the characters in the film: run, hide, scream, cry… and we should! But we should run to Christ! Hide in God’s light! Scream for the Lord’s mercy! Cry to the saints to pray with us, for us, to the Holy Spirit! Demons want us to be so afraid that we forget God, that we doubt He can help, that we dismiss His presence and focus on the demons and the crisis. Instead, we must turn to God immediately. As soon as trouble starts, and even before it starts, whip out your faith and call on Our Father who art in Heaven. In the film, we see Lorraine bust out her rosary when things get crazy. Don’t pay the demon any attention, but shower your gaze on Jesus, invite the Holy Spirit to nuke the sins and the demons. Get into the habit of using troubles as reminders to pray.Be Fearless

—–5) And at last, Janet, the star of the film, says something subtly profound at the end. After the literal Hell she has been dragged through by the demon, she believes she is so lucky! She actually says, “I’m so lucky!” and is not being sarcastic! She sees that all the terrors have been a way for God to lead her to love, to lead her to know two amazing and faithful friends in Lorraine and Ed. The evil was wicked and deadly, but God somehow knows how to work the horrors for Janet and her family’s benefit in the end. This is also true for the Warrens, when we see them realize that God has given Lorraine her gifts, and has allowed her to see the terrifying visions in order to help her save Ed and Janet from death. Most importantly, it must be said that we believe God never causes any evil, but He does permit evil to happen when we humans or when spirits (angelic or demonic) choose to commit evil out of our own free will. He might limit some of the consequences of our sins, out of His mercy, but He does permit us to use our free will, and only He knows how to set things up for our benefit. We must trust Him and do our best to do His will. To find out why God would take such a risk to let us have free will, please see this post.the_conjuring_-_uk_1757631a

—–And about the first Conjuring film: there was one line that jumped out at me. The mother in the film, after learning that the demon harassing her is the damned spirit of a woman who murdered her own child, says: “What kind of mother would kill her own children?” As soon as I heard this, I thought immediately of the millions of children aborted because their parents did not want them, did not love them enough to share life with them. The numbers are sobering: over 55 million children in America have been aborted since 1973, over 336 million Chinese babies have been aborted since the 1980s. And if you don’t really know what an abortion is and how traumatizing and violent it is for the mother and child, please see the abortion procedures here. So the question from the first film is actually pointing a finger at us as a nation, as a culture: what kind of society kills its own children?

—–The Conjuring 2 was a treat. It’s rare in film to see faith presented, the Church respected, and at the same time not in a cheesy lame way. I am grateful I got to see the film, and to share my thoughts. May God bless you and all those involved in the film in any way. Amen!

—–For a thoughtful and much more thorough review, please see Dcn. Steven Greydanus’ here.patrickwilsonconjuring2