The Covenant Eyes Podcast

The Power of Acknowledging Sin: Lessons from an Exorcist with Father Vincent Lampert

October 25, 2023 Covenant Eyes, Karen Potter, Brandon Clark Season 2 Episode 58
The Covenant Eyes Podcast
The Power of Acknowledging Sin: Lessons from an Exorcist with Father Vincent Lampert
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We've got a captivating episode for you today with Father Vincent Lampert, the Exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Prepare to have your mind blown as Father Lampert unravels the devil's four-stage plan of attack: deception, division, diversion, and discouragement. We dive into the deep end of spirituality, discussing how sexual sins like pornography can lead us further into isolation and into the devil's schemes, and how we can guard ourselves from falling into this trap. With Father Lampert's guidance, we learn how God is always looking out for us, ready to meet us where we are, even when we've been deceived.

Finally, we venture into the topic of the occult - an area that often invites deception and destruction into our lives. Father Lampert asserts how dabbling in the occult can lead to dire consequences.  So, tune in to this thought-provoking episode and equip yourself to stand strong against the devil's influence in your life.

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Brandon:

Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of the Covenant Eyes podcast. This is our Halloween episode. If you can believe we're this far through the year already. I'm Brandon Clark, one of the hosts today, joined by my co-host, karen Potter. Karen, how are you?

Karen Potter:

Oh, doing great what's up. Covenant Eyes audience so glad to be here again, looking forward to today's episode. You are going to love the topic we have on tap for today. So, brandon, without further ado, I think we should roll into today's guest.

Brandon:

Yeah, we're very pleased to welcome Father Vincent Lampert, who is the Exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Why do we have an Exorcist on? Well, it's not just because it's really cool to have an Exorcist on. It's because I think there's a lot of spiritual things that we don't think about when it comes to sexual sin, specifically pornography, something we talk a lot about on the Covenant Eyes podcast for good reason, and so we're going to talk a little bit about Father's role. We're going to talk a little bit about the spiritual side of things and how pornography impacts us from a spiritual lens and get a deeper dive into that. So very excited to welcome Father Vincent Lampert. Good morning, father. How are you?

Father Lampert:

Good morning. I'm doing great and it's a pleasure to be with you today.

Brandon:

As I mentioned before, we're very glad to have you. Let's just talk a little bit about this and maybe clear up some of the I don't know some of the things that people don't understand about Exorcism, because there's a lot of movies out there, right? I think a lot of people listening have probably seen the Exorcist and there's a lot of different things out there. But what is your role and what is it? What does it mean to be an Exorcist Father?

Father Lampert:

My primary role is to investigate cases of alleged demonic activity here in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and then to determine if the right of Exorcism needs to be called into play. One might say, too, that my role really is to help people understand the reality of evil, the reality of the devil and how he tries to disrupt us in our daily lives. So when it comes to the reality of evil, people always think of Exorcism and that really would be the extraordinary activity of the devil. But all of us do need to be aware of how the devil tries to trip us up in the ordinary circumstances of our life.

Brandon:

That's really interesting. One of the things I think about when you talk about that is the extraordinary, but then the ordinary, and so we have so many different things that we are tempted by throughout the day that Satan would like to lay this down into rabbit holes, to fall into things like pornography. How does it escalate to get to the point of needing the right of Exorcism?

Father Lampert:

For most people, I think their encounters with the demonic begin within the scope of his ordinary activity. I like to say that the devil, when it comes to his ordinary activity, has a four-stage plan of attack. It begins with deception, which leads to division, which leads to diversion, which leads to discouragement. The devil's ultimate end is really to unravel our lives and to really cause us to lose our sense of meaning, purpose and direction, even our proper footing or grounding in life, which should always be with God. So, if you think of deception, most people make a choice because they believe it's something good, but they may have some defective reasoning or thinking, if you will. So if you think of the story of the fall of Adam and Eve, it began with deception, where the serpent says to Eve surely you will not die, you will become like God, which means you don't need God, you can be God yourself, you can make your own rules and regulations, you can determine what is evil and what is good. And because humanity fell into that deception, that lie, it led to division. It's interesting talking about pornography. What's the very first thing that Adam and Eve did after they had given in to the lie? They went and hid. And why? Because they realized they were naked. So there's that notion again of human sexuality becoming distorted. So the deception led to division. They found themselves broken. They tried to hide from God. Now the good news and all of that is you know God's code goes to the garden and crawls out the atom. Adam, where are you Now? Obviously, God knows where he is. He wants to see if Adam and Eve will acknowledge that they've given in to the lie and repent, rather than trying to justify it. But because they hid and God calls out, we know that there's a God who always fights for us.

Father Lampert:

That's the point I would want to make. Even when we give in to a lie, when we sin, God is always looking for us, because God's love for us is unconditional. But when we don't try to acknowledge our sinfulness, it leads to division, we find ourselves broken, and that division leads to diversion, meaning we begin to look for a substitute for God in our life, and then that division or a diversion will ultimately lead to discouragement, meaning we have no meaning and purpose in our lives because we're not connected with God. St Augustine put it best when he said you know, our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you. So the human person has the innate desire for God and when we don't see that desire for God, we are literally lost.

Father Lampert:

And when it comes to things like pornography, you know, pornography demands time and attention and really it becomes a substitute in our lives for God. And oftentimes when people give in to that sin, rather than owning up to it, they try to justify it. Well, everybody's doing it, there's nothing wrong, I'm not hurting anyone along the way. But in reality people are hurting not only themselves, but they're actually hurting their relationship with God. So as an exorcist, really my main goal is to help people go back or even have that first and genuine encounter with the relationship with God. So really my focus is not on what the devil is doing in people's lives, but helping people understand what God wants to do in their life.

Karen Potter:

That's an amazing explanation and very interesting work. I'm curious how does you know I'm aware of like generational curses and how does that play a role in what some of these folks are? You know we see like sometimes the sexual sins kind of going through generations? How does that all work together and what have you seen in your work?

Father Lampert:

You know the thing about generational, then generational curses is that someone is making a pact with the devil. Curses are very authoritative and legalistic. So if someone enters into a pact or an agreement with the devil, that can be passed on through generational lines if it's not broken and people take ownership of their lives and they recognize sin for what it is. You know, I've encountered a. I did an exorcism a few years ago in the state of Alaska, at the request of the bishop up there, and it was a young girl who was possessed because it was her great-grandparents who were involved in the occult. Her mother was the witch and her great-grandfather was, so her great-grandmother was the witch and her great-grandfather was the shaman or witch doctor in their village.

Father Lampert:

And because they entered into an agreement with evil spirits because you know people that claim to be witches and whatnot they don't have any power. The true power behind them is the power of evil. Now, either they've been duped by the evil and believing they have the power, or they know it's the power of evil working through them and they are complicit with it. So in this case, the demon attached itself because the great-grandparents actually gave demons the right to afflict their family members, thank you. So again, they're very, very legalistic, and that's where generational thin comes in, where one of our ancestors may have given a legal right, if you will, to a demon to attach itself to the family bloodline.

Karen Potter:

Is that one of the reasons we see? You know, we'll see fathers that have used and abused pornography and then their children Is that? Do you think that's all why that's happening? Is that it's a curse and that it can they? Can it be broken? I guess would be a question from some of our listeners.

Father Lampert:

Yeah, I think that's exactly how it's impacting younger generations the sense of pornography. The good news is that anything can be broken because the power of God is greater than the power of evil. The people have to want that and they need that commitment. You know, anybody who's suffering is not called to walk alone. I mean that's the importance of any church community that people belong to, that God does not want us to suffer alone or walk alone. You know, when Jesus sent out his disciples, he sent them in tears. We need to recognize the important role that other people play in our lives. There's a growing trend, I think, in society today where people say they don't need a home church. You know they can be spiritual but they're wanting everything on their own terms and people really need to be grounded in a faith community.

Father Lampert:

You know when I think of the church. You know one of the ancient images of the church is the Ark. So you think of the story of the Great Flood. Those who were saved from the Great Flood were in the Ark. Even in the Catholic tradition, one of the reasons why older churches were always built with a long nave it was literally meant to be a representation of the Ark, recognizing that those who were in the Ark were being saved, those who were in the church, those who had accepted Jesus Christ, were those who were being saved. And certainly sin can have a very powerful grip on us and we need people to walk with us on that journey of faith to help break that connection. So you think of the role of a pastor of any church. You think of other faith leaders, even fellow people in the pews on Sunday. They go a long way in helping us to break the hold of evil that it has over us.

Brandon:

Father, one of the things that you said about your role that really struck me when you were talking about what it meant to be an exorcist at the beginning was that you helped people realize the reality of evil and the reality of Satan. Do you think that's one of the games that he tries to play? Is to get people to not think about the reality of him, to not to get people to just go about their day and not question whether they're being tempted by demons or tempted by him.

Father Lampert:

Absolutely. I think the devil prefers to work in the shadows. There was a famous French poet who said that the devil's cleverest ruse was to convince us that he does not exist. Charles Pierre Baldelair If the devil convinces us that he does not exist, then what's the consequence of that? Then we don't need God. If there is no evil that we're combating, we don't need God in our life.

Father Lampert:

The name Jesus means God's save. So what is God's saving us from? I would suggest that it's something evil. I would even go on to say that I believe that when you look at the ministry of Jesus himself, he really was a battle against the kingdom of God, against the kingdom of Satan. Even when Jesus began his public ministry, he baptized and then immediately he's driven into the desert by the Spirit for 40 days and then he has an encounter with the devil. One might say that this is really the first time that humanity, because Jesus, son of God and son of man, both divine and human, is the first genuine encounter between humanity since the fall of Adam and Eve and when Adam and Eve had sinned. Where do they go into? Into the wilderness. They're cast out of paradise into the wilderness.

Father Lampert:

Where does Jesus go to begin his public ministry. He goes into the wilderness, where humanity is lost, and he encounters Satan. He battles against him and in doing so he teaches us that in life we all have a battle with Satan. But if we have Christ on our side, we recognize him for our Savior and the power that he brings to us. Then we ultimately come to realize that evil is nothing to fear. And even if we're held in the grip of sin, no matter what, it is pornography to recognize that there is no sin that cannot be broken, because the greatest thing that we can know in life, in my opinion, is not the sin that has its grip on us, but God's love and mercy. So God's love and mercy is the greatest thing that any of us can ever know. And if people are caught up in some sin again like pornography, rather than giving in to shame, own up to it. That's why, in the Catholic tradition, the sacrament of reconciliation or confession is so powerful, because we acknowledge our sins and we give it over to God. And once we give it over to God, the devil cannot use it against us anymore.

Father Lampert:

Again, think of Amonib, after they had sinned and God said what have you done? God was giving them the opportunity to repent. But how does Adam respond? That woman you put here made me do it, eve. What have you done? The serpent made me do it.

Father Lampert:

We're always placing the blame on someone else rather than simply saying I've sinned and I'm sorry. And I think again, people need to realize that sin is a reality for all of us. We're all sinners and what God calls us to do is to acknowledge that sin. I love that great line from Saint Paul when he says when I am weak, then I am strong. So if we can recognize our weakness, the sins that we have, that should cause us to have a greater awareness of the need of God in our life. So we take something that was weak, that sin, and we turn it into a strength because it draws us closer to God. So for me, I like to tell my parishioners that rather than running away from sin, we need to run towards it and then to own it, give it to God, and you've said, as a building block in our relationship with God.

Karen Potter:

That's really good advice for our listeners out there. I have a question when it comes to this spiritual battle that we're in Obviously putting on the full armor of God, I think is really important. I think there's a lot of people who are failing to realize that this is more than just a battle of you know, our will. It is a spiritual battle. Satan wants to deceive us, he wants to distract us. Like you said, he wants us to become desperate and alone and isolated. Do you think a lot of people fall victim because they don't take this seriously enough and they don't put the gear on that God has given us the armor.

Father Lampert:

Absolutely. I think people need to realize that the battle that we're in is really about eternal salvation. I think sometimes people don't take it seriously enough because they may think of it in terms of self-improvement it's like people that go to the gym to exercise or to eat better but people need to realize that really, what is at stake in this battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan is our eternal salvation, and God has really given us the tools that we need to fight the devil. I like to say that we don't have to do anything extraordinary so to put on the armor of Christ. You know, if you're a Christian, you're going to church, you're praying, you're reading the Bible. If you're doing these things, the devil is already on the run. So we never have to do anything extraordinary to defeat the devil. It's the ordinary aspects of our faith. So it's that praying day in and day out. You know going to church every week. That may seem like it's mundane and it becomes kind of, you know, commonplace, but that's so important to keep doing those things because it's helping us to build up our spiritual defenses and to live in the manner pleasing to God.

Father Lampert:

I would even go on to say that freedom in the true sense of the word doesn't mean to do whatever we want to do. To truly be free means to live in the manner that God created us to live. So when we live according to God's plan, that's freedom in the true sense of the word. When we start to believe that freedom means that we can do whatever we want, then we end up becoming slaves to our own passions and desires. So again, putting on that armor of Christ is recognizing God's rightful place in our lives and really what God is asking us to do, you know, to worship and glorify Him, to pray, to know His holy word. What God asked of us is actually it fells in comparison to what we stand to gain, namely eternity with God in this heavenly kingdom.

Brandon:

Although this really makes me think of the scripture passage mentioning how the gates of hell shall not prevail against us as we are on the offensive, and so what you're talking about with putting on the spiritual armor is that. I love how you use the phrase. Even Satan is on the run. I want to ask about a scenario that maybe some of our listeners have encountered, maybe their ministry leaders themselves and they're seeing it and those they work with. It'd be those who are just stuck in that rut of sexual sin. They might even be confessing their sin on a regular basis, but it seems like they just can't work through that. For some reason, they can't break through as much as they want to. Can you talk a little bit to those folks about not necessarily like what they can do, but offering some hope for them where it could? I'm guessing could be easy, and I've actually seen this in my own life. When you're stuck in a rut, it just becomes so easy to get discouraged and down and wonder if there actually is freedom.

Father Lampert:

Yeah, you're talking about rut. On the side note, I'm a big fan of the National Park System. So out in the state of Oregon there's actually some ruts from the old Mormon pioneers when they went out west their wagon wheels and they've actually become solidified so they're like a fossil now. But the notion was that sometimes people, when they were in their wagons, would stay in the rut. It would be a bumpy ride but they knew to get out of the rut. It would be bumpier because they would have to go over these other ruts before they got to clear ground. So when you think about people dealing with sexual sin, they have to realize that, yes, it may seem like it's safe enough to stay in that sin because you don't want to deal with those bumps they're going to get you out of there. But we should be willing to go through those extra bumps to get to that clear land where God wants us to be.

Father Lampert:

So again, somebody's struggling with sin. Realize that you're going to have to make some drastic changes. Maybe what's causing that sin to have its grip on you People are whether it's connected to the Internet all of the time. There may be things that people have to do to change. I've known a lot of people that struggle with pornography who told me that they no longer have the Internet on their phone. Now, that's a drastic change and some people might say, well, there's no way I could go without that. But again, by doing away with the Internet on their phone, it allows them to really remove that temptation from their life. And again the bumpy roads would be to realize to anybody that's dealing with any type of addiction you can go through withdrawal because the brain becomes so acclimated in being fed by this addiction that there's going to be those bumps to get out of that. But we have to believe that in the midst of all of this that there's something better for us.

Father Lampert:

I think of Psalm 23. My favorite word in Psalm 23 is the word through. Based on one's interpretation or version of the Bible you're using. Even though I walk through the valley of darkness, the reason I like the word through. It tells us that the darkness we are in is not permanent. It's something we're passing through. If we ever start to believe that the darkness is permanent, that's when we lose all hope. But the good news is even going through that darkness, according to Psalm 23, jesus is with us, at our side with his rod in the staff to comfort us. So anybody that's dealing with any struggle is not struggling alone. Christ is with them. And again to recognize that no sin is greater than God's love for us.

Karen Potter:

That's an excellent reminder, father. I was curious as to how you know being an exorcist. This is an intriguing, you know thing. We've all seen different movies throughout the years and I almost feel like Hollywood and movies and culture have almost made the occult seem appealing to the younger generation. I see a lot of people engaging with things that smell of the occult. Is there a danger that people face when they start dabbling in these things? Is it like a gateway that's being opened, and how is that opening up their hearts and minds to letting Satan in and possibly deeper? You know problems from there.

Father Lampert:

There is a greater trend of people to be fascinated with the occult. It makes me think of St Paul's Second Corinthians, where he says Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and deceives many people. There are a lot of people today who are involved in the world of the occult and they don't see it as something wrong. And again, that's where the devil has tried to turn it into something good. People need to realize that the devil works on people's memories and imaginations. So when we feed ourselves through things of the occult, things associated with Halloween, we're putting all of these images in our head and because the demonic can play on our memory and imagination, we're actually giving him fuel for the fire, if you will, in our spiritual lives. And that's one of the principles I like to live by is, if something is inconsistent with our Christian faith, then we need to root it out of our lives. And again, rooting it out doesn't mean it's going to be easy, but we really have to be able to get to that place we were talking earlier about, you know, confessing and repenting.

Father Lampert:

You know, in the Catholic tradition of the sacrament of reconciliation, sometimes people will come to me and say, father, I keep committing the same sin, so I don't know why I confess it. You know I keep coming back and saying the same thing over and over again and my response to them is the fact that you can still name it is an indication that you've not surrendered to the sin. Yes, you're still in the fight. The battle may not have been won, but it's important to stay in the fight rather than to succumb to the evil and in the world of the occult. I think a lot of people are just succumbing to the evil and they don't really understand the consequences of that. People dabble in the occult. They get fascinated with Halloween, the entertainment industry. They may think it's fun and entertaining, but they may not realize that the devil is indirectly trying to enter into their lives and his ultimate goal is to destroy these people's lives, to cause people's lives to literally begin to unravel and spiral downward.

Brandon:

And he doesn't even have to do that through possession. Can you just even talk about the number of cases of possession versus just the destruction that he can cause on a daily basis? I'm guessing that there's a wide gap in between the two.

Father Lampert:

Absolutely. You know there's four different types of extraordinary demonic activities Infestation, the presence of evil in a location, with an object, even in an animal. You think of chapter five of Mark's gospel a man possessed by Legion. When Jesus expells the demons, they go into the swine. So that tells us that even animals can be possessed.

Father Lampert:

When it comes to an object, it's something that's inherently evil. It was created strictly for the purpose of causing a connection between a person and an evil spirit. Think of a voodoo doll, a Ouija board. Now some people might laugh and say it's a harmless game, but again, that's how the devil works. He wants something to become so commonplace that we don't really think about how it's impacting our lives. And then there's demonic vexation, which are physical attacks. Demonic obsession, which are mental attacks. The devil's literally trying to get inside of someone's head so that everything that they're experiencing is being filtered through the presence of the demon. And then demonic possession, whereby the devil, or one of his spirits, takes control of a human body, treating that body as if it were its own, using the person's mouth to speak, their eyes to see, their ears to hear.

Father Lampert:

When it comes to demonic possession, a good question is why would the devil be interested in possessing a human body, and it goes back to the pride of Satan. The devil wants to be God, and the greatest thing that God ever did for us as humans is the incarnation. God took on human form and a person of Jesus Christ. And because the devil wants to mimic God, he believes that he takes on human form by demonic possession. Now the interesting thing is, when we look at the person of Christ, we see things like love and compassion and goodness in communities, but when we look at the devil, when he possesses somebody, he distorts the human person. The human person is animalistic in nature, and so the devil is really believing in possession that he is indirectly attacking God himself when he's attacking the human person, who has been created in the image and likeness of God.

Brandon:

That's powerful. The other thing that I would love for you to clear up, just as we come to a close, father Aaron was mentioning the occult and the Hollywood and the fascination with it, and I think and maybe not on purpose, maybe on purpose, I don't know I don't trust Hollywood a lot these days, but they tend to give a lot of power to evil and not as much power to Jesus. Can you correct that script for us? Can you tell us what the truth is when it comes to the demonic versus Jesus? Because it's so easy like we've been talking about sexual sin, it's so easy to get stuck in it and wonder if there is freedom and wonder if Satan's hold over us will ever give way, and we tend then to, I think, give more power to Satan than he deserves.

Father Lampert:

Yeah, I think when it comes to Christ, christ has given us new life and then the devil is really all about death and destruction. Again, you think of the fall of Adam and Eve. The devil said certainly you will not die, you will become like God. But he's a liar. The father of all lies, the scripture tells us, because death entered into the world, jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. The devil really is all about death and destruction Because the human person, again being God's greatest creation, the devil really is all about non-creation. He wants to destroy everything. So when you think of the devil, you think of words that we've been talking about death, destruction, isolation.

Father Lampert:

When it comes to sexual sins, they're always in isolation. People may get caught up in pornography on the Internet and they think well, I'm not hurting anybody, I'm by myself, I'm in my room, no one's getting hurt along the way. But what's happening and I think that's how the devil suddenly works is that he's impacting our ability to really think clearly. So again, he wants us to believe that sin is actually a good. One of the entry points for the demonic into people's lives is habitual sin, where people no longer can call sin a sin. Faith in God will lead us in one direction and the faith of God in another. We're living at a time when pornography is rampant, I would say, but we're also living at a time when faith is in decline, and I think there's a corollary between those two, because when people convince ourselves that we don't need God, then there really is no consequence for the choices that we make. So people that get caught up in sexual sins will say well, I'm not really hurting anybody along the way, but in reality we are, because we're treating that human person that we're viewing as just an object for our own gratification. We're failing to see that person as a reflection of the image of God. You're looking at these images on the internet and you have to think to yourself wait a minute, this is a child of God, this is someone that a mother gave birth to, but then again we're treating them as nothing more than an object that can be viewed and then discarded.

Father Lampert:

To me, all attacks against human lives have a common thread. So, whether it's pornography, human trafficking, whether it's abortion and abuse, it's relegating the human person to nothing more than an object, and really that's what the devil is all about, that the human life really is nothing. There's no difference between a human person and an animal. So remove God from the equation. When you read the book of Revelation, the book the Mark of the Beast is 666. Now, 6 is considered to be an imperfect number.

Father Lampert:

What did God create on the sixth day of creation? Humans and animals. What separates humans from animals? We can live for the seventh day, meaning we can choose to honor and glorify God and give Him His rightful place in our lives. But if we choose to live on the sixth day by kicking God out of our lives, not giving God the rightful place, then we're no different than the animals, if you will. But I think that's why even why the devil, when he possesses someone, the manifestations we see are always animalistic in nature the howling and screaming and eyes rolled in the back of the head and foaming at the mouth. It really is making a mockery of the human person and people need to realize again when it comes to pornography, we are making a mockery of the human person. By saying these things, I don't want anybody to feel bad about themselves. I want people to realize, to literally wake up and open your eyes.

Father Lampert:

The conversion of St Paul on the road to Damascus. He's knocked off that horse bya bright light. Each and every one of us needs to allow the light of Christ to shine in our lives. I tell people that being an exorcist is like being an exterminator. The exterminator comes into a house that's infested with bugs and what do they do? They turn the light on and what do the bugs do? They scurry for every cracking crevice that they can find.

Father Lampert:

So in an exorcism, the light of Christ is being thrown onto sin and it will scurry and scatter away, and we should always make the distinction between a sin and a person created in the image and likeness of God. I think too many people today would say well, if you're calling me a sinner, you're telling me I'm a bad person. You know, we always love the person and we hate the sin, and none of us is ever the subtotal of our sinfulness. We are so much more because God has created us, and when God created the human person, he found it very good. So I think the role of being an exorcist anybody who's a pastor or a minister in the church we are helping people to see the goodness that God gave them when he created them. And all this ugliness, whether it's Satan, sinfulness, pornography all of that can be peeled away so that we can see ourselves for who we truly are.

Karen Potter:

I think that is a beautiful way to end today's show. I think those are words of wisdom that we can all walk away with. I want to thank all of our listeners for joining us today for the Covenant Eyes podcast. It's been a joy being with you. Thank you so much, father, for joining us, thank you for your wisdom, and God bless you and all of your work.

Father Lampert:

Thank you.

Karen Potter:

From everybody here at Covenant Eyes. Thank you and we'll see you next time.

Exorcism's Role in Sexual Sin
Recognizing Sin and Spiritual Battle
Overcoming Sin and the Occult
Devil and Pornography's Role
Gratitude for Wisdom and Farewell