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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!