ASK FATHER: Can demons enter a church during the Traditional Latin Mass?

St. Margaret beating the Devil with a hammer.

St. Margaret beating a Jesuit… the Devil with a hammer.

From a reader…


When I first read your post on how the laity’s deportment affects the priest’s soul, [HERE] I thought you were saying you’d been physically struck by the devil during Mass. When I went back to ascertain if he chucked something at you or actually smacked you, I realized my scanning made me miss the point entirely.

But here’s a question it brings up….one of the reasons I initially went out of my way to go to TLM was because I read that the devil cannot enter the church during the TLM, because of the number of times the sign of the cross is made?

Is that true or just a bunch of hooey blooey?

Hooey blooey… a specific theological category much in evidence in the last few years and from surprising sources!

I, unlike, St. John Vianney, have not to my knowledge been physically assaulted by any of the agents of Hell.  Other kinds of assault have been incessant over the last 30 years.

Can the Devil or other fallen angels “enter” a church during a Traditional Latin Mass?

I would say, yes, of course they can.   It would not be an enjoyable experience for them, if the concept of “enjoy” can ever apply to them.  Since we are dealing with the experiences of angelic beings, this is way outside of what I can state with absolutely certainty.  However, I suspect that their entire existence now is one of spiritual pain, which they want every human being to share for the sake of diminishing the glory that will be God’s in the summation of all things.  That’s their goal. When a soul falls into Hell, they scream at God: “That’s one more you DON’T have!”

First, a church ought to be, itself, a sacramental.  Demons are repulsed by sacramentals.  Churches should, if possible, be consecrated.  If they are ever desecrated, they should immediately be tidied up and reconciled (yes, that’s the term for it).

Also, the presence of Holy Water blessed with the older, traditional rite will be seriously annoying to them, as will the sacred images and other blessed things.  Use sacramentals well!  Keep your rosary with you, and blessed medals, etc.  Have Holy Water in your home and perhaps even exorcised and blessed salt.  They hate that stuff, heh heh.

Supremely bothersome to the demons will be the priest and, of course, the Eucharist.  I assume that their well-deserved pain escalates to terrific agony during the sacred action of Holy Mass, and rightly so.

As far as the form of Holy Mass is concerned, I suspect that the TLM is far more excruciating to the Enemy than is the Novus Ordo.

Mind you, no matter the form, the priest is still a priest and the Eucharist is still the Eucharist.  There isn’t more Eucharist just because the traditional form is used.  I’m not sure I would say the same about Holy Water, which is why I have never and will never used the newfangled form.  However, the older, traditional form of Holy Mass has simply got to be more irritating to the Enemy for reasons that are obvious, the more frequent signs of the Cross being one of them.  And don’t forget the Latin!  The Devil hates Latin.  All reasons to increase the number of places where the TLM is celebrated.

Thank you Pope Benedict for irritating the Devil with Summorum Pontificum!

That said, the malice of the Enemy against us is so great that I imagine that they overcome their torment in order to continue their horrid mission.  Their hatred is strong and they are relentless.

Ask God and your Guardian Angel and St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, for protection against the attacks of Hell.  Since we are members of the Church Militant, ask them for, as I have described it elsewhere, Demon-Kevlar.

So, no, I don’t think that the sacred precincts and the Mass are themselves guarantees of expulsion of the Enemy.  They certainly help, but their hostility is a strong motivator.

But if you want a force multiplier against the wiles and attacks of the Devil, examine your conscience and…


That’ll fix ’em, the hellish bastards.  ¡Hagan lío!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    I, unlike, St. John Vianney, have not to my knowledge been physically assaulted by any of the agents of Hell.

    You’re not trying hard enough then.

    [What, pray tell, would you know about that?]

  2. After patiently listening to a theological hypothesis, Fr. Z drew a long breath and said: “The technical term for that proposal is ‘hooey blooey'”.

  3. APX says:

    Apparently baptized church bells (real church bells, not those Basiiictron Electric Church “bells”), when they’re rung really drive the demons mad because of how far out the sound waves go.

    [Bells! Yes! Church bells are consecrated, “baptized”.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  4. PatS says:

    You mention: “Holy Water, which is why I have never and will never use the newfangled form.”…
    I’m unaware/uneducated of a difference. Can you elaborate?

  5. Zapf Grakul Akmodan says:

    I am reminded of some old woodcuts depicting devils tempting women to babble during Mass, and then keeping a record of the babblings


    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. JustaSinner says:

    Father, can laity bless water in dire circumstances?


  7. Netmilsmom says:

    But the laity can “make” Holy Water with blessed salt, is that correct? But the salt has to be blessed by a Priest.


  8. iPadre says:

    One Sunday about a year ago, as I said the words of consecration of the sacred host, the door violently flew open and slammed shut. I saw the door out of the corner of my eye as it happened, and I almost jumped. It was frightening. I also had the distinct feeling that something left the church. It was a very calm day, no wind, no rain, and a bright sunny day. Two of my choir members were sick that day and sitting in the congregation toward the back of the church. About a week later, they told me that before the door incident, they heard someone walking up the center aisle toward the altar, along with the sound clanging of chains. When they looked up, no one was there. It was just after that they they saw and heard the door swing open and slam shut. This was Mass in the OF, ad orientem.

  9. fishonthehill says:

    A friend of mine once conducted a prayer pilgrimage wit parishioners to an abortion mill, carrying the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, upon returning to the Church he attempted to repose the Blessed Sacrament and the locking mechanism to the tabernacle somehow became inoperable preventing him from opening the tabernacle. After having a locksmith repair the situation we discussed the situation at length, the tabernacle had never had an issue prior to that moment. I proposed that it perhaps was the work of the devil… he scoffed. I said, why not? Christ encountered Satan in the desert, a liminal place, the tabernacle is a liminal place as well (a threshold of sorts). I truly believe you are right Fr. Z, the work of the evil one can be found in the most unsuspecting places and we must be armed with all that is necessary to engage in combat. As my spiritual director often said, “the devil dances on the roof of the seminary”.

  10. Stephen McMullen says:

    My priest told me, “The devil hates the sound of Latin.” I believe him.

  11. HobokenZephyr says:

    Funny, my Latin teachers told me that the Devil hates the sound of correct Latin.

  12. APX says:

    I suppose this is another good reason for using blessed incense at Mass, since it gets into every nook and cranny where demons linger.

    [Another great point!]

  13. the little brother says:

    Some years ago while attending Mass @ St.Thomas, a known cocaine dealer came into Mass & began to disrupt the service w/loud, threating & terrible blasphemy. The Priest, Fr. Rob from Pakistan (a Columban missionary), quietly bowed his head & spoke NOT A WORD! … & just as suddenly, the possessed man jumped up & began screaming “Pakistan, Pakistan, Go back to Pakistan” & fled the church!!

    Only a few of us knew that Fr. Rob was visiting that day to raise $$ for the mission. Most certainly the dealer did NOT.

    But the most amazing part for me was that as far as I could tell, no one realized that they had just witnessed an exorcism.

    Dear Fr. Rob, I pray for you everyday & hope you are OK.
    In Jesus & Mary,
    the little brother

  14. bibi1003 says:

    A friend told me that she will only go to the TLM because she believes it has great power against Satan.

  15. Boniface says:

    The blessing of Church bells I’m the Rituals Romanum also prays that the powers of hell be defeated whenever they are rung. Powerful stuff.

    The “ordinary” (non-liturgical) blessing of candles in the Rituale also contains ainor exorcism, as does the aforementioned salt and water, as well as olive oil. The palm blessing also asks for protection against evil spirits.

  16. Terry1 says:

    Interesting about St. John Vianney, I’ll have to read a biography of him someday.

    Years ago, while sitting at the computer contemplating something that I heard Fr. Malachi Martin say even more years ago in an interview Art Bell did with Fr. Martin on Coast to Coast radio. Fr. Martin said something to the effect that the devils price was the souls of the children of the people who had sought gain in one form or another from the devil. No one else was home when I was trying to recall this conversation that took place about dozen years earlier.

    Terry Leo
    Suddenly I felt my left shoulder shoved at least half a foot forward and then I heard a whoosh noise similar to air rushing into a vacuum. I looked behind me, no one was there. It was at that moment I realized I had been tempted over and over to go some place on the internet I did not want to go at the same time I was contemplating Fr. Martin.

  17. Eric says:

    Can Jesuits enter a church during the Traditional Latin Mass?

    [Hmmm… lemme think. … HA! Well played! It’s a trick question, isn’t it! Jesuits don’t enter churches.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  18. St. Pio was assaulted by the grapple as he ascended the Altar.

  19. Stephen McMullen says:

    One of the discussions on another site where we organists hang out is ….what is the procedure for blessing an organ? One person (brilliant!) said to take a full thurible and put it by the air intake for the pipes and then play the organ. Mein Gottes!!!…..the genius of that!

  20. KateD says:

    Hey Zapf Grakul Akmodan,

    I think I recognize that lady from LA Congress!

  21. ASPM Sem says:

    A question for Father or anyone who might theologically know – why does the devil have such an aversion to Latin/why are exorcisms performed in Latin reportedly more effective than those in English/other languages? Is there any theological basis for such a claim, or is it moreso grounded in tradition?

  22. Hans says:

    Just for an instant I read that as, ‘Can deacons enter a church … .’

    I’m sure I’m just being over-sensitive.

    I’m not sure I would say the same about Holy Water, which is why I have never and will never used the newfangled form.

    Okay, I have used the new form. What is the old that I might do better? Even if only to get away from the old translation that seems likely to be long in being replaced in the BoB.

  23. KateD says:


    I am far from being a theologian…lol…but have been chewing on this lately as well.

    Could it be because it was used by the Church for 2000 years to celebrate the Mass?

    Another thought…
    As a punishment for the Tower of Babel, man’s language was confounded. And what’s one of the first things that happens at Pentecost, at the moment the Holy Spirit descended like tongues of fire on the disciples? The unintelligibility of different language was removed, and the speakers of God’s Word were universally understood. In time Latin became the unifying language of Christianity. It is the anti-babel. Because they were building a church for the Glory of God, rather than an edifice for their own?

    Now in the NO Mass we are again turning away from glorifying God and towards ourselves…CONFOUNDED!

    I dunno…those are the threads I’ve been tugging on.

  24. Mary-Kathleen says:

    2007 article about Fr. Gabriele Amorth:


  25. Matt R says:

    Ideally, the thurifer at Holy Mass should be ordained exorcist, since the incense repels demons, and he is also responsible for carrying holy water before the principal Mass (and possibly on other occasions, though not when he’s also got the thurible), incense at that point being a pontifical privilege.

    I suspect that some of these stories are not demons but souls in purgatory, if they’re benign, possibly annoying, though I’ve no way nor no desire to judge that.

Comments are closed.