This is a tough book to get a copy of since Human Life International stopped publishing it.
I've found the Fr Euteneuer story, which is being thoroughly covered by Bill Lyndsey over on Bilgrimage, to be a very frustrating and very sad, if not predictable, story. I have been following Euteneuer's career to some extent since I happened to catch him castigating Sean Hannity on FOX news a couple of years ago. Since I don't watch FOX news, this was a sort of 'accidental' event. I must have been channel surfing during commercials. I was so struck by Euteneuer's take down of Hannity I didn't know quite what to make of this priest for whom Hannity wasn't rightwing Catholic enough--not to mention it was kind of fun to see Hannity struck speechless. In the history of this blog, Euteneuer's name has come up more than once, but not for his pro life activity. It's been for his career as a self proclaimed exorcist.
It didn't take much research into his ministry to see that his penchant for exorcism was going to be his undoing. One of the points made in Hollywood's current fling with exorcism "The Rite" is that in the end Anthony Hopkin's character succumbs to his adversary. This is not a Hollywood fiction. It is not ordination which protects a given priest exorcist from being overcome, it is his integrity. Integrity is critical because it is the best indicator we have about the strength of any given person's personal ego boundaries. If oppression and possession is about anything, it's about the strength of one's personal ego boundaries. All one need do is read Euteneuer's personal statement and compare it with Human Life International's statement to see that Euteneuer has some ego strength issues which have led directly to boundary issues. Priesthood does not, in the end, strengthen insecure egos nor provide magically conditioned ego boundaries. Abuse is always lurking in the shadows when insecurity is cloaked with spiritual authority.
Occasionally when participating in workshops I'm asked if I believe in demon possession. The answer is always a qualified one. Disassociative Personality Disorder certainly exists. Regression hypnosis certainly works for some patients with OCD. Medical tests done on channelers show demonstrable differences in basic biological functions when the channeled personality is present and dominant. i have seen personalities change dramatically when people have encountered areas considered haunted. I've seen many examples of the placebo effect and spiritual healing which can not be accounted for by Newtonian physics or current biological or psychological paradigms. All of this leads me to believe there is more going on in our reality than we might want to credence. The idea of possession, or attachment disorder as it's known in some psychiatric circles, is a legitimate area of inquiry as far as I'm concerned. I do not however, think for one moment that the Catholic paradigm is correct. Certainly not the paradigm that Euteneuer himself subscribed to and wrote about in his book "Exorcism and the Church Militant".
He has consistently blamed oppression or possession on occult practices and maintained that permission must be given by the person before demonic influence can enter a person's life. First off, were he alive, Job would certainly disagree. Satan had his way with Job and it wasn't because Job invited it by playing around with a Ouija board. In my own limited experience, every single case I have seen that might have qualified, save one, involved people who had experienced early childhood sexual abuse. I don't find this surprising since early childhood abuse is frequently seen in Disassociate Identity Disorder. Children do not give permission to be abused and sexually assaulted. That Eutenueur never makes this connection leads me to believe he violated protocol by not working consistently with mental health professionals. "Prayer helpers" are not mental health professionals.
I'm sometimes at a loss to understand what the fascination is with possession and exorcism--well on one level. These are as occult in conceptualization as any New Age or pagan occult practice. Hollywood certainly gets this which is why we get an exorcism movie every three or four years. That Catholic leadership seems perfectly willing to go down the same road, and that the New Apostolic Reformation types are basing an entire version of Christianity on these concepts is quite frankly very alarming. This stuff is not a game and it can be hugely damaging for individuals whose ego boundaries are, for what ever reason, not particularly solid.
I wonder if Fr. Euteneuer thinks he should add a few more chapters to his opus on exorcism after the last six months or so. He should if he's really doing any serious therapy along with his 'religious' exercises. It may be that while religious artifacts will get a negative response in some situations, a lack of integrity generates it's own response in the therapist or exorcist, and that can be very negative as well. Notice it's not lack of faith, it's lack of integrity. Sometimes I think Faith without integrity is too often a good definition of religion, but that's just me. I'm willing to bet that too many of Euteneuer's exorcisms were conducted on people who would have been far better off with antipsychotics. But then hey, they don't make hollywood movies around priests who hand out meds. Not macho enough I guess.