Anonymous asked:

I read this book by Bob Larson on generational curses and I was wondering if his ideas could help the issues that I have with my family like anger and addiction? I was thinking of going to see him for help.

Jimmy Akin replied:

"I wouldn't recommend going to Bob Larson on that. Bob Larson is not a Catholic gentlemen. He's trying to serve the Lord ... and he has a different perspective on these things than the Catholic church would.

The Catholic church doesn't talk about families being cursed. You can look in the Catechism. You can look in papal encyclicals. You're not going to find anything that says families today are cursed, much less a specific procedure for dealing with those curses. I would have to say that the idea of a generational curse is problematic from a theological point of view and I couldn't recommend, and the Church does not recognize procedures for dealing with such curses. I wouldn't recommend all that. What I'd recommend instead is seeking the counsel of a priest or another wise person perhaps someone who knows your family ... he may be able to give you some pointers for how to handle family situations and how to help the people in your family. It might be advisable to receive psychological counseling, family therapy for example or therapy for particular problems that you mentioned ...

You also could ask a priest to pray for your family and to say mass for your family. If people in the family wanted to have a prayer session with a priest he could come and help pray with everybody although people may not want that. So there's a limit to what can be done, but it's good that you recognize issues and want to help your fellow family members ... I wouldn't attribute all of the different problems to a curse other than just the fact that we're all broken human beings and we all need God's help."

Monique's take:

I agree with most of what Jimmy Akin says, and recommend staying with Catholic sources on the subject. Yet, I would not entirely discount the idea of generational curses.

Father Gabriele Amorth, the chief exorcist for the Diocese of Rome, believes in and has experience dealing with generational curses and talks about them in his books. In An Exorcist Tells His Story, he writes, "Curses invoke evil, and the origin of all evil is demonic. When curses are spoken with true perfidy, especially if there is a blood relationship between the one who casts them and the accursed, the outcome can be terrible. The most common instances that I have encountered involved parents or grandparents who called down evil upon children and grandchildren." He shares that there are strong bonds between family members, and that curses that operate within these familial bonds or on a “special occasion,” e.g., a wedding, can have bad consequences. He gives several examples of cases he worked: a young man cursed by his own father at birth, parents cursing their daughter-in-law at their wedding, and a man whose grandmother cursed a photograph of him, resulting in ill legs and multiple surgeries.

Thankfully, curses are frequently prevented from having an effect. “Curses are often unsuccessful for many reasons, for instance, because God does not allow the evil, or the intended victim is a person of deep prayer and union with God,” Father Amorth explains.

Some people think that generational curses would be removed by the Sacrament of Baptism. It is true that baptism removes Original Sin, and any actual sin. However, it does not \necessarily remove the consequences of sin. Also, in the Sacrament of Confession sin is forever removed and the soul cleansed of the sin when confessed (i.e. 1 John 1:9), but the consequence of the sin, either spiritual or material consequences may remain.

In his book, Interview with an Exorcist, Father Jose Antonio Fortea gives the following advice to those who believe they are suffering from a curse:
  • Pray the Rosary.
  • Read the Bible.
  • Speak with God every day.
  • Attend Mass frequently, even daily.
  • Place a blessed crucifix and an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the house.
  • Make the sign of the cross with holy water daily.
“If the evil a person is suffering is from a demon, it will go away as a result of these devotions. If nothing changes, however, then the evil the person is suffering is not caused by a curse. Also, if a priest is an exorcist and suspects a curse, he can pray a prayer of deliverance and this will remedy the situation.”

However, we must be careful not to think every misfortune or upset stomach is the result of a curse. It's also wise to be discriminating as some ministries may claim to find a demon under every rock.

“During our time on earth, God allows us to experience both good and evil because this life is a period of trial, of purification,” he reminds us.

If we truly want to be protected, we need to be a person of prayer who lives in God’s grace. “The more one prays and lives a spiritual life, the more one is protected,” Father Fortea writes.

Source material:

An Exorcist Tells his Story - by Fr. Gabriele Amorth

Interview with an Exorcist - Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. For the complete response download the podcast.

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Show air date: July 10, 2014

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Jimmy Akin

Question appeared in show: 11:27

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