Demons - Symbolic or Real?
It has become commonplace in modern times to look at stories in the Bible, especially the miraculous stories in the Gospels, as symbolic or metaphorical parables designed to inform us about our own human nature. Nowhere does modernism clash with the plain speaking of Jesus Christ more than his encounters with Satan and demons.
Right from Chapter 1 of Mark's Gospel we find Jesus first tempted by Satan himself
And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him. Mk 1:13
and then he began casting out demons
And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." Mk 1:23-27
That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. Mk 1:32-24
That's just one chapter of one gospel. There are so many examples I can't list them all.The Lord's final instruction to the apostles is likewise direct and literal
And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." Mk 16 15-18
Reading the plain text, it's hard to believe Jesus was referring to a simple spiritual or metaphorical condition of the person, some imbalance or something symbolic. Indeed the casting out of demons, like healing the sick, is so prevalent and so specific, there can't be any question it means what it says. But the modernists don't believe it and don't think you believe it either so they've invented all sort of contortions to get around the supernatural.
There was a time every diocese had an exorcist who's sole job was to cast out demons. The rite of exorcism has been part of the Magisterium from the beginning of the Church. But today they are becoming rare. You're more likely to see another movie about exorcisms than hear about a real one. So has demonic possession dissipated? Have they all be cast out? If not, are there still possessed people among us? And if no one is casting out demons, are instances of possession multiplying? To what end?
The greatest weapon Satan and his legions have is the belief held by many that they do not exist. This allows them to move among us freely. They're building their army. All they lack is a head, a human willing to lead them in the final battle. Those inside the Church who ignore them are the religious version of the useful idiot.