I don’t know why James Holmes killed all those people in Aurora, Colorado, but I can cross at least one thing off the list: He was possessed by demons.
That’s what Father Dwight Longnecker suggests, in yet another example of why you shouldn’t automatically pay respect to someone just because he has a religious title in front of his name:
Was [Holmes] demon possessed? Maybe. It happens.
Demonic infestation is a rare, strange and terrible psycho-spiritual affliction. In simple terms, a malevolent, separate intelligence infests the mind and spirit of a person. It takes over the rational faculties and dominates the personality. The phenomenon is real, but anyone who has ever dealt with the problem realizes that the demonic realm is complex. The human person is an intricate organism in which the physical, mental and spiritual aspects are totally interwoven. Therefore, in most cases, trying to diagnose the possibility of demonic influence is extremely difficult.
After spending half his article talking about what Demon Possession is all about, Longnecker qualifies his remarks and then switches gears to EVIL!
Is James Holmes demon possessed? It is impossible to say without a detailed diagnosis. Even then, it is a slippery question. We are dealing with a reality that is rubbery. In many ways this is the wrong question. Better to ask, “Was James Holmes taken over by Evil?”Yes. Something happened to the mild mannered science geek. He turned into a monster. Something twisted in his mind and heart, and Evil made an entry. Evil infested his life. It took him over. Whether the twist was through mental illness, some inner wound or some terrible dark intelligence, we cannot say. The fact that we can’t say what went wrong and don’t have a neat and tidy answer is the key to understanding the terrible conundrum of evil.
A friend of mine who is an exorcist says this is why the ministry of exorcism is so exhausting and grueling — because the demons constantly lie. Whenever evil is manifested, it wears a mask. The evil ones squirm and hide. They flatter one moment and hiss with rage the next. They are one moment obsequious and aggressive the next. Because they are liars, reason and trust can find no grasp. Pure Evil is random, violent and unpredictable.
He speaks of Evil as if it were a *thing* and not just a bad idea. Evil doesn’t need to be capitalized every time you talk about it. This is just a religious figure who can’t be honest and say, “I don’t know why he did this.” Instead, he makes up his own reasons. What I dislike most about this strategy is that it takes the responsibility of what happened off of Holmes and puts it on this mystical spirit that no one can capture.
It also ends the conversation. (“Evil did it. There’s nothing else to figure out here.”)
There was something going on in Holmes’ head that night, but no one physically possessed his mind. Maybe he wanted attention. Or maybe he just wanted to kill people. Or maybe the court will declare him to be insane. Or maybe there’s a reason we haven’t considered just yet.
Longnecker doesn’t know any more than we do. He just thinks he does because he can couch his response in religious terminology.