Some of my friends who have decided to become hermits, and some of my friends who have actually started new orders, have come against a new evil, perhaps not seen for centuries--organized witchcraft. I refuse to use the term "wicca" as it sounds to trendy and too tame for the real deal.
Those with whom I have spoken realize that in some areas there are actually witches praying against Catholics who are isolated, Catholics who are starting new orders, either religious orders, or lay associations, which have been thwarted in their attempts to begin something new and necessary.
Some of these spiritual attacks, done on purpose, come from specific groups of people, especially in the United States, who want to bring down the power and influence of Catholicism. This is not the fiction of Malachi Martin, who, by the way, fictionalized facts to make these more acceptable to the the public, and to protect himself. This good man was even accused of being paranoid, when, in retrospect, many of the things of which he wrote are not only public knowledge, but in the msm.
The rise of witchcraft fills a spiritual gap for those who do not want to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. Those who want power, (and witchcraft gives people temporal power in certain areas of their lives), find ways to get power, not by submission to God, but by submission to the evil one.
Witchcraft morphs into other false paganism, but remains a practice of malice. Malice, one of the worst sins, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, involves the intellect, not only wishing evil on others, but devising ways to hate others. The Roman Catholic Church, the universal Church, which includes all the accepted Rites, such as the Byzantines, has been "under attack" for centuries by the powers of evil, but now, more and more Catholics are witnessing such evil in their lives, sent on purpose, from malevolent people.
Yes, there are people who wish Catholics evil. There are malicious people, who either derive some sort of control over their enemies by hatred, or who get some sort of perverted pleasure out of wishing others evil.
Witchcraft is only one "religion" which holds that one has the right to curse others. Voodoo also is a negative "religion" based on cursing and spells.
This is not the stuff of Hollywood. Recently, some holy men and women have expressed to me that they have seen sinister occurrences in their lives, and they actually know the persons who are wishing them evil. These holy people are attempting to start up a new order, and others are attempting to have houses of prayer, leading lives of contemplation and sacrifice, interceding for the Church and for individuals.
The rise of witchcraft means that there is a concerted effort to stop orthodox Catholic local groups from creating places of holiness.
Some people think that witches are merely outsiders, who are picked on by the larger community. But, the irony now, in 2015, is that the new large minority of people, not only the young, actually are "nones"--not members of any established church, either protestant or Catholic. These nones still want spiritual experiences, and even those who are "materialists" seek out power, which witchcraft can give.
Of course, satan asks a price, eventually, for this temporary power.
In both the western Church and in the eastern Church, witchcraft has been addressed at some councils, such as Elvira, Ancyra, and Trullo. However, the modern entertainment world has pushed the idea that witches of the past have been either misunderstood people on the edge of society, or those involved in common, neutral magic. There is no such thing as neutrality in the spiritual realms.
These times present a problem for loyal Catholics who may find themselves isolated either in urban or rural areas. The truth that one cannot live alone without some spiritual protection must be realized. All those who are pursuing holiness need protection, either from close friends, holy families, spiritual directors, or members of their parishes.
But, as my friends who are starting an order have discovered, "five is not enough". The presence of holy groups of people in certain parts of the United States has created hostility--too many people hate the Church, and do not want to be challenged in their own secular worlds without God.
Sadly, as reported by the Beeb this past week, there are some fanatics who see witches where they are none and who want to find satan under every rock. As a leading exorcist states, "Satan is not under every rock. He is under every other rock."
Too often as Catholics we turn all our attention on the evil within the Church, which is blatantly obvious this week in Rome, forgetting that there are those who actively strive to bring down the Church in local areas by means of occult activity.
This past month, staying in a convent for several weeks, the dear nuns have shared with me the trying times of spiritual attacks in monasteries which are lights in the darkness. These attacks have resembled the script of movie, involving both personal and group illnesses, severe financial setbacks, the lack of vocations, (who talks about abortiona and contraception as being part of the vocation crisis), and even dissension in neighbors where they, and orders like them, have tried to work and grow.
Yes, God tries His favorites, but we cannot ignore the unseen world, which is larger than the seen world. This is not the time for lone wolf Catholicism. We must all be aware of those trying to be saints in hostile territory and come together for prayer and support.
Some statistics: In 1990, in the States, there were 8,000 witches, (those who claimed they were). In less than twenty years, over 750,000 self-identifed witches or pagans were in the States.
In the United Kingdom, the numbers have been given on various sites online as about 13,000, again, self-proclaiming witches. This seems low.
In Australia, slightly less than 9,000 people claim to be witches.
As Catholics, we must support groups attempting to reach out to these individuals and groups with prayer and fasting. Pray for new orders and new lay associations. Pray for hermits.
We, of course, have the truth and power of Jesus Christ and of Holy Mother Church, but we cannot be naive or stupid. In British Columbia, the so-called witch capital area of North America, witchcamps advertise for youth, youth who are not protected by baptism or other sacraments.
We can see darkness growing both in and out of the Church. Both of these types of enemies want power over the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. Let us pray for all those who may be vulnerable at this time, either in Rome, or elsewhere.