Father Fortea, how many of our temptations come from demons?
No one can say what percentage of our temptations comes from demons and what percentage comes from our own weakness. It is true that the devil can tempt us at our weakest point, i.e., with those sins he knows we are particularly vulnerable to committing. But it seems reasonable to think that the greater part of the temptations come from ourselves. We don’t need any external force to tempt us. Freedom is enough so as to use it badly. It is enough to have to make a decision and to consciously make the wrong decision – deliberately, with no apologies, without being able to throw the blame on anybody else.
It is true that the devil tempted the first woman, but we could have sinned without the devil’s temptation, too. Sin does not need the external temptation of a demon; our own freedom is enough to produce it.
Editor’s Note: 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 which asks the question “How many of our tempatations come from demons?”: Portion from Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Adam and Eve (1538), PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International; both Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.