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Last week I had a rather troubling dream. I fought with the evil spirit all night long. He kept appearing under the guise of nasty things, all I remember is mice and cats, and I would grab holy water and throw it on him, but he would just laugh. Then I remembered (in my dream still) that the holy water had been blessed according to the new rite, so perhaps it didn’t have the same exorcisms as the traditional holy water. So I went and found a bottle and sprinkled it on him, and he burst into flame and disappeared hissing. . . . When I woke up, I proceeded to sprinkle the whole place with holy water, just in case the dream wasn’t simply a dream.
I do think it is very possible that the holy water we find in many churches today, does not include the exorcism that was used by better informed priests of former times. The devil is not as real as he once was to many, and so perhaps in consequence the lengthy exorcisms are seen as unnecessary? Have you ever been present when holy water is blessed in the traditional way? It is awesome.

Outline of the Answer
• Sacramentals
• Conserving the Divine Mystery
• A House Divided
• Hesitancy in Faith

Yes, it’s true that the blessing of holy water according to the new Book of Blessings lacks an exorcism of the salt and water. Thus there is a real difference between holy water that is blessed water and holy water that is exorcised water. Therefore, blessed water is not as effective against demonic influence as water blessed and exorcised according to the Rituale Romanum.[1] Still, there is more to your comment than this.

Conserving the Divine Mystery

I agree that the celebration of the new order of the Mass is open to abuse.[2] Still, I accept the Novus Ordo Mass as valid. The real issue between the new Mass and the Tridentine Mass is not about validity; it’s about reverence, or, more technically, conservatism. As I say elsewhere on this website, “A conservative—a true conservative—seeks to conserve respect for the divine mystery of Christ’s Incarnation and Passion that is behind every liturgical action of the Catholic Church.” Thus, the Novus Ordo can be offered conservatively, and there are places—though they may be hard to find—where it is offered conservatively.

Note carefully, though, that even a conservative loses his faith if he falls into anger when he encounters evil. In fact, this is how the demons snare us. If they can make us get angry when they provoke us—especially through behavior they incite in others—we fall into sin and the demons win.

So, to protect yourself from further attack by the devil, think not in terms of Church matters as being “valid” or “not valid,” because such thinking only makes you vulnerable to falling into anger; think in terms of conservatism, and seek always to conserve the divine mystery of Christ’s Incarnation and Passion in everything you do. Your protection from evil depends not on what others do or how well or poorly they do it, but on how well you cling in faith to the Church herself.

Therefore, when you encounter the flaws and errors of others, instead of getting upset at them, say to yourself, “Let them do what they want. Eventually, they will have to answer to God for their behavior. As for me, well, let me seek purity and do what is right, no matter what others do around me.” And if you want holy water blessed in the most efficacious manner, then seek it out quietly, without grumbling.

A House Divided

Remember here what Christ said when He was accused of casting out demons with demonic powers. “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand” (Matthew 12:25). By analogy, then, we can say that a person divided by beliefs about the efficacy of “Novus Ordo” versus “Tridentine” is in danger of being laid waste by his own anger. And that is why you are being attacked by evil: the angry division in your heart has left a gaping hole for evil to enter.


Just try telling someone that he or she is lacking in faith. If anger and bitterness immediately erupt, it only proves the point that faith is really lacking.


Hesitancy in Faith

Hence, I interpret your dream as pointing to your personal spiritual weakness: the devil is trying to provoke you to pride and anger. He wants you to seethe at the thought of how others are not as informed as you think you are. Remember, if faith the size of a mustard seed could pick up a mulberry tree (Luke 17:6) or a mountain (Matthew 17:20 and 21:21; Mark 11:23) and throw it into the sea, then that same faith—untainted by pride and anger—can send the devil back to hell.


Who wrote this web page?


1. See Fr. Chad Ripperger, Introduction to the Science of Mental Health. Sensus Traditionis Press. Denton, Nebraska. 2007, p. 548, note 99.

2. You may have to travel quite a distance on Sundays to find a conservative Mass, but you may not have the time for extensive travel on weekdays. If you ever have to go to a liberal parish, then, instead of putting money into the collection, leave a note that says, more or less, “I will not support this parish financially as long as you [use altar girls; use Extraordinary Ministers of Communion in un-extraordinary circumstances; alter the liturgical texts; fail to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament; make the homily into joking entertainment; etc.].” This isn’t being judgmental, it’s a matter of giving a legitimate warning, and at least you won’t go home fuming in anger trying to fight the devil. Then give your monetary support to a parish, monastery, or religious order that supports holy priests and the preservation of Catholic dogma.


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