Dear Fr. Fortea, who are the most evil of all the demons?
One might logically assume that the most perverse demons would be those of the highest angelic choirs, but this is not the case. There is no relation between nature and sin. A demon of the lowest choir can be much more perverse than a superior demon. The evil that a free being can commit does not depend on the intelligence or the power that one possesses. An angel of the lowest hierarchy could exercise its virtues more than one of the more exalted hierarchies. In the same way, a humble, uneducated woman who devotes her entire life to doing God’s will can be holier than an archbishop or a pope.
Here’s an interesting related question: Is the hierarchy of angels the Bible gives us (angels, archangels, principalities, etc.) a hierarchy of grace or of nature? In other words, are the seraphim the holiest of the angels or merely the most powerful? Do they simply shine with a greater glow of angelic intelligence? It would seem that the angelic hierarchy is one of nature rather than holiness, since the visual description of the four living beings around the Lamb (the angels of the highest hierarchy) gives an impression of more power and knowledge, as do the very names of the nine hierarchies. Principalities and powers are names that seem to indicate strength more than anything else.
To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.
Art for this post on who are the most evil of demons: Gargoyle 17, Gargoyles Magdalen College, Oxford, England, photographed by Chris Creagh, 27 July 2009 own work, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported; detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International, Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.