Stigmata and Demonic Possession

My understanding of the phenomena is that they only seem to happen to Catholics.  If they do happen to other Christians, they do not happen in nearly the same frequency as with Catholics.  They also seem to not happen to non-Christians at all, as far as I know.  So what does this mean?

If the phenomena are real, it implies that Catholics are uniquely vulnerable to demonic possession and more likely to be given Jesus-like wounds.  What would let demons more easily possess Catholics?  Why would Catholics be chosen to receive stigmata?  Why don’t all Catholics realize they’re in such danger?  Why do the same things not happen to everyone, or at least to non-Catholic Christians?

If the phenomena are fake, it implies that some elements within Catholic culture are more likely to believe in things like demonic possession and stigmata, otherwise the phenomena would be classified as mental illness and/or self-mutilation and/or Munchausen syndrome, be treated, and never be talked about as supernatural.  Why would some Catholics tend to believe supernatural explanations for these phenomena?

I  don’t have an answer, so I’m curious to know what the rest of you think.

26 thoughts on “Stigmata and Demonic Possession”

  1. In mainstream Protestant Christianity demon possession does occur, but it doesn’t occur on a Benny Hinn level where people throw around on the floor. Rather it occurs in such a way that you can’t tell it, they may cause sickness (mental or physical) or cause the person to be violent. Sounds very much like a mental disorder, but what separates those of us of the faith from those who do not believe is, well that we do believe. So just because someone is possessed does not mean there are any tell-tale signs of it. The Spiritual Gift of Discernmnet (yes capital letters) which gives someone the ability to read spirits and tell if someone is lying etc (yes I know how crazy this sounds) would give someone the ability to see demons in people. But no we don’t believe in Benny Hinning.

    1. Well said. Discernment in itself feel “crazy”. It comes with a lot of rejection and intense emotions similar – intrusive symptoms similar to PTSD. One could say at times it feels like persecution. I was born an only child and raised in a home where we didn’t talk about God. I grew up “knowing” things and always being “right”. The first time I heard a teaching about Jesus I knew that is how I would try to live. I didn’t have a name for it until recently. The problem is people don’t appreciate having truth revealed. It is a lonely journey. Its not a choice…the only choice we have is what we do with it.

  2. Arenlor, thanks for letting me know that Protestants can be possessed, too. Do different, less subtle, demons possess Catholics? Those demons don’t require someone with Discernment to notice them. Maybe the Catholic demons have Munchausen syndrome and need the attention.

    It sounds like the demons who possess Protestants have cleverly hidden themselves in a way to look just like psychiatric disorders. Are they immune to medications for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. or are they suppressed by medication because they chose to hide as diseases that respond to medication?

    Do you believe that there are psychiatric and psychological problems, or do demons cause all of them? If you believe in them, how can you tell the difference between a mental illness and a demon without the aid of someone with Discernment?

    1. Frist, Christians can’t be demon possessed, they may be demon influenced but not possessed. Secondly many people who go to church aren’t born again. (John 3:3) That is to say they aren’t Christians, they are only church goers. Most people from what I’ve seen in the populace fall into this category. They feel as long as they are “a good person” that’s all they need to worry about. I left the Catholic Church in the late 70’s and became a Christian in 1986. Any church that teaches Jesus plus anything = salvation isn’t a Christian church. The Catholic Catechism shows that the RCC is one such church. God Bless, Mike

    2. Thanks for your post…I found it while looking for a suitable definition of stigmata to share with my son.

      I worked in mental health… I saw some that were constantly symptomatic even with monitored medication. I believe I have discernment. I believe a lot of the diagnosis you listed are demonic in origin…torment. But I also believe some clients faked some symptoms. We have a concept of double-mindedness…where people profess a level of faith but walk in rebellion. This is a main source of access for this supernatural torment. It can happen to anyone regardless of denomination. Catholic practices or rituals that are not biblical can be considered occultic…thus invites harrassment. Maybe this is why it is more widely reported by Catholics and revered by some as a sign of supernatural levels of faith and closesness to God. I have witnessed people being “delivered” of these things through prayer and rededication to faith as described in scripture. It is all very “crazy”. They display animal like behavior and then move to a type of peaceful exhaustion seemingly back to a healthy state of clear thinking.

  3. The medications will seem to work (they won’t though). I do believe in mental issues, I have plenty myself. The important thing is always get psych help immediately. I also happen to believe that a few mental diseases are caused by the demons themselves (sociopaths and the like, nothing like, ooh he is sad, must be a demon). I think most of the things that you see with Catholics are fake or brought on by their own mind making them think they are that way. There is no real way to tell the difference without Discernment, but both can be solved with prayer. The main thing you have to realize with Protestant vs Catholics here that is probably why they flop around like a fish out of water is that Protestants tend to believe you have to ‘invite’ or let the demon into you, it can’t just force itself onto you. Catholics believe that you can be attacked directly by them.

  4. How is there any difference between a medication working and seeming to work? Are you saying that the demons know the medication is coming in and stop influencing their host?

    Do you think all sociopaths are influenced by demons, or do any of them have demonstrable (pardon the ironic term) chemical imbalances, deep-seated psychological problems, or damage to the parts of their brains that regulate their behavior?

    You say that whether or not someone is possessed by a demon, prayer will solve their problems. Has this been tested? It doesn’t seem to work for heart patients: Medications have been tested, and if they “seem to work” even with demons, then the entire notion of demons becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t offer any improvements over the medical solutions.

  5. > Why would some Catholics tend to believe supernatural explanations for these phenomena?

    Same as with everything else. Historical reasons 😉

  6. I just want to “lend an ear” to the other side of stigmata. I am a true stigmatic, I have even been diagnosised as having stigmata. I am not a mental paticent, nor am I or have I ever imagined what can clearly be seen on my personal body. I did not put it there nor would I ever be able to stand driving a nail through my wrist or any other part for that matter just to claim glory I have never saught. I am still who I am with or without the Hoopla… I can still do the things I am suppose to do. I do not need money nor attention. Nor am I making it up. Have you ever “Known” a true stigmatic. One that even has the same diseases because of the stigmata itself. Some times it is no picnic. I do nto spout out demonic things? I did however meet God when I was a child and died on the operating table for almost 5 minutes. This is documented in my medical records. I know what God needs and wants me to do. I am not catholic rather methodist. Yes, God saved a lowly Methodist who was not catholic. I often get asked that question being a stigmatic. Are you catholic? No I am Kohen by blood line. I was then told well God saves Catholic by the priest. I then asked, have you seen God then? He said no, but why would he let you see him and not me as his priest. I said simply. Because God choose to. God choose who God wants. God loves his children and wants so much more then what we are and what we have allowed us to become. Those at the heads of religion make sure you will never be saved. God says he will impart the signs on our bodies, if we do nto stand up then the stones (statues will). I love life, I love God, I love people, and my family. No one can ever tell me God does not exisit, I have seen God. Follow your heart in these days, it will not lead you astray.

    PS my disgnosis is what it is, I am who I am, nothing more nothing less…. made to be just who I am suppose to be. See my family since old times have held a special thought about the pine box and plain white shroud. When we are reminded of this everyday we remember that even though on this earth we have many pleasures and treasures, when we die we are all teh same. This keeps us humble. May you all be blessed in a way that is special to each of you.

  7. The Stigmata are in the wrong places, therefore I think they are faked.

    As far as I know, no prostant church believes that christians can be possessed.

    1. To be fair some of them appear on the wrists, and some of them appear on the palms. Some on the feet, and some on the ankles. That would mean that some people will have them in the right places. Does that make theirs real, and the others not?

  8. I chock up the reasons to the fact that the majority of catholics have been spoon fed what the Catholic church wants them to believe. Since most 3rd world catholics are ignorant of the bible and are not encouraged to read bibles they have nothing to check and verify the truth of what they are fed. This makes them suseptable and open to all the appearances of supposedly spectacular signs and wonders that they, of course, whole heartedly gobble up with zeal. One only has to look at how Satan uses this tactic in his one purpose mission. He will do anything, including fabricating incredible miracles, to get peoples eyes away from the purpose of Christ which is salvation thru belief in his death and resurection and his deity as God.
    The bible says it plainly: For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible’ ” (Matthew 24:24) Folks, get into the word, know truth from error, and get into Christ and His gift of salvation and bring along a friend. That is the bottom line.

    1. I never expected such an explanation. You seem to be suggesting that the stigmata are real, and Satan is behind them. This still doesn’t explain why it only tends to affect Catholics.

  9. Demonic possession is real. It can happen to both the wayward christian, and the non-believer. Stigmata is real, God choses what he wants. Know this.

  10. I have first hand seen demonic possession. I am a christian, I follow Jesus Christ, true son of God in flesh. I am non-denominational. You cant make someone believe the truth, especially when they dont want to. May God bless you and protect you.

  11. people demons do exist you get three tipe of level that demon work 1. demon that scare and atack 2. demon that are fested on you 3. demon that poses you. Not all demons do bodely harm some have diveront tasks but 90% of all posesions is because of our self or parents choices in life and what we say. There are laws that exist that we as people dont want to acsept or adhere to then all this s#$t hapin to us. and yes why only cathlic becaus thy pray thrue maria and not Jesus so the cause harm to thim self. dont take my word for if go read it for your self. pardon my speling but english not my language.

  12. I am a Catholic, and I am a stigmatic. I know it is not the work of the devil. Jesus said that the devil can not do the work of God because he would be “dividing his house in two.” Each time I am in deep prayer, the center of my hands, a ring around my forehead, my ankles, and a certain spot in my side begins to swell in pain. This happens because I have dedicated my life to God and have asked Him to make me more like His Son and for me to participate in His Passion. This is what he sent me; these pains constantly remind me of Jesus giving his life so the gates of Heaven could be opened. Remember when Jesus told his disciples to “pick up your cross and follow me.”? This is just an outward sign of those who completely follow Him, even to death.

  13. The historical record shows the unbroken authority of the Catholic Church from Jesus’ time. Satan attacks those closest to Truth.

    Remember also Jesus warned against thinking Satan can cast out Satan.
    So also the authority of the Catholic Church to exorcise shows its authority from Jesus.

  14. Interesting comments on this post.

    Stigmata is not of God. Yes, he can do whatever he wants, but show me one verse that says his will for us is pain.

    It is a sign of an afflicting spirit. It is a mockery of Jesus’s suffering on the cross and his final words, “It is finished.”

    My personal opinion is that Catholics suffer from it more frequently than other denominations of Christians because their worship of Mary opens the door to demonic attack.

    In the Western world, we have been conditioned to think that demonic interference looks like the Exorcist. That is not the case. The word used in the New Testament is actually “demonization” which can range from affliction, oppression, influence, and in extreme cases, possession.

    Yes, Christians can suffer from it. It is lucridous to think that just because you are saved Satan is just going to ignore you. We are justified by grace, but sanctification is an ongoing process. Satan may have lost your soul, but he will do everything in his power to blight your life, to diminish your witness, to steal God’s promises for you here on earth, and attempt to block God’s plan for your life.

    We often look at the story in the Bible of Jesus casting out a legion of demons from a man into a herd of pigs. That man was possessed, Exorcist style. But the Bible also tells of the woman who suffered from an “issue of blood” for 18 years due to an afflicting spirit.

    Another example of demonic interference in a person’s life is the book of Job: premature death (his family,) destructive weather, financial loss, discouragement (his wife,) condemnation (his friends,) and illness.

    If you read the works of ministers who deal wiTh deliverance and healing, like Derek Prince and Jim Croft, they caution that just because a particular illness is caused by an afflicting spirit in one person, it doesn’t mean that is the case with every person with that illness. Many times it is necessary for someone with the gifts of discerning of spirits or words of knowledge to determine the root cause.

    But if you pray, or someone else is praying for you . . . Especially for healing . . . And the pain moves or it gets more intense, that is a straight up sign that it is due to an afflicting spirit/demonic oppression. No question about it.

    Another sure sign is a sense of gagging or choking.

    I am involved in an outreach that prays for physical healing and I’ve seen this many times.

    The most recent was someone who came for prayer for a leg injury. The condition was physical, but their description of the pain was a little odd and pain killers weren’t working.

    The first time the person was prayed for, the pain shot up to an extreme level.

    So we prayed again binding the spirit. The pain went back down to the level when they first came in.

    Then we prayed a third time, again for healing. The pain was greatly reduced and the person left with a significant increase in mobility.

    Jesus came to bear our pain and burdens for us, not to inflict them on us.

  15. Ok, you have seen God. I hope you know God himself commands us to test the spirits to see if they are from God. This is my question, please try to fight against the need for confrontation because I’m going to ask you a touchy question.

    How do you know it was God?

    I guess you already know that God warned us a lot of times about: false pastors, false believers, false prophets, false gospels from false Jesus’s, and deceitful spirits.

    Did you asked him if Jesus Christ did come in the flesh?

    1 john 4:2-3
    “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

    And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world”

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