That is to say, does the Catholic Church regard as legitimate any recorded instances of Satan himself making direct contact with one or more people, other than those in the bible such as the serpent in the garden, Job (even though Job was not himself contacted) etc? Incarnation, possession, visions etc would all qualify.

  • Could you clarify what you mean by "visions"? Aug 15 at 0:43
  • For the purposes of this question, a dream or vision (hallucination even) that either is or includes communication directly from Satan. Basically I'm not looking for a specific type of communication, just anything where the being contacted has been acknowledged to be Satan himself Aug 15 at 0:57
  • There is an account in the 1960s in a book that I have, which I could quote from, but there is no Catholic connection or response to this event. It happened to a woman who was not a Christian (at the time, though she converted later, but not to Catholicism.) If you could scope your question to allow for that, I could answer, otherwise, I cannot.
    – Anne
    Aug 15 at 11:19
  • Hope to have an answer in time.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 18 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


Q: According to the Catholic Church, has Satan ever appeared on earth since biblical times?

A: Yes, but official acknowledgement usually does not extend to specific cases.

Incarnation If you mean Satan appearing "in the flesh" with his own body then no such occasion has happened. Satan is a fallen angel, and angels are pure spirit with no material body. But, St. Thomas says angels could assume bodies e.g. in the case of Lot, Abraham, and Tobias. It seems to me like we wouldn't be able to be certain whether this has happened in the case of Satan or any demon since biblical times, as I think we wouldn't be able to tell a mere apparition or phantasm from a real material body.

Possession The Church acknowledges that Satan and the demons do possess material things from time to time, including human bodies. She regulates the ministry of exorcism, a ministry in which bishops, including the bishop of Rome, participate ex officio (whereas priests may only do so with delegation from a bishop).

Visions According to Lucien Roure, "the Devil has always shown himself to men in a sensible form". He notes several accounts from hagiographies. When not in a biography of a saint, any documentation is "classified" or has details censored to protect the privacy of the energumen. A hallucination wouldn't really fall under this category, as it's a figment of the imagination and not really the action of a demon.

These are all extraordinary demonic activity. But the Church teaches that Satan and the demons also tempt us in ordinary activity. St. Thomas gives the example of the lying spirit sent to King Ahab

And the Lord said: Who shall deceive Achab king of Israel, that he may go up, and fall at Ramoth Galaad? And one spoke words of this manner, and another otherwise. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said: I will deceive him. And the Lord said to him: By what means? And he said: I will go forth, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said: Thou shalt deceive him, and shalt prevail: a go forth, and do so.

Direct communication, however, as you seem to be understanding it, is not really included here.

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    I am looking for specific examples, namely of Satan himself being involved as opposed to any demon Aug 15 at 2:25
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    The emphasis of the question is on the presence of Satan, not the particular form/method of his presence Aug 15 at 2:27
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    To maintain the privacy of the energumen (demoniac) and to prevent scandal and fascination, details of specific cases are not usually publicized and if they are discussed they are anonymized. Would it not suffice to show how the Church acknowledges that this has happened/can happen in a general sense? Or do you want at least one case where the Church says "At such-and-such time in so-and-so place Satan appeared/possessed someone/was seen in a vision by someone"? And do you need a magisterial document or would the work of private authors suffice? Aug 15 at 14:22

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