Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Matt C. Abbott

10/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Such acts seem to require something beyond just ordinary human frailty, or even typical human malice.

The hypothesis of the devil-a personal spiritual being whose will is turned toward evil and who can exercise some sort of influence over man-may give rise to scorn from rationalists. I challenge the skeptics to find a better explanation for Sandy Hook or Aurora. As Baudelaire famously put it, the devil's greatest trick is convincing us that he does not exist.

I believe that wherever evil on this scale is committed, there must be some kind of diabolical influence present. The way in which this influence plays out is mysterious and varied-from temptation, to oppression, to outright possession. Mental illness alone, in my judgment, cannot account for these behaviors. Something else is involved.

I believe that wherever evil on this scale is committed, there must be some kind of diabolical influence present. The way in which this influence plays out is mysterious and varied-from temptation, to oppression, to outright possession. Mental illness alone, in my judgment, cannot account for these behaviors. Something else is involved.

Highlights

By Matt C. Abbott

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/3/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Aaron Kheriaty, M.D., Washington Navy Yard, Aaron Alexis, Sandy Hook, depression, Aurora, Colorado, Matt C. Abbott


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - The following is a brief interview with Aaron Kheriaty, M.D., director of residency training and medical education; associate clinical professor, department of psychiatry; and director of program in medical ethics at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

Dr. Kheriaty, a practicing Catholic, is the author of The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can Help You Break Its Grip and Find Happiness Again, an excellent and informative book for Catholics who suffer from-or who are close with someone who suffers from-clinical depression. (Click here to order the book directly from the publisher, Sophia Institute Press.)

*****

There were reports that the Washington Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis, had received treatment for mental health issues, including "hearing voices." The shooters in the Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colorado tragedies also reportedly suffered from some form of mental illness. But can mental illness alone cause someone to commit such a heinous crime? Isn't there also a diabolical influence present in such cases?  

Dr. Kheriaty: Severe mental illness, including various forms of psychotic disorders, can put a person at risk of engaging in behavior that he would never do when thinking more clearly. Treating hospitalized patients on a psychiatric ward, I have often seen agitated or aggressive behavior when the person's symptoms were severe. However, it is a myth that mentally ill individuals, even those suffering from severe psychotic disorders, are violent by nature.

If they do commit violent acts, they are much more likely to inflict harm on themselves than on others. It seems to me that the kinds of atrocious violence on a massive scale that we see in these shooters cannot be fully explained by mental illness alone. I've treated hundreds of people with severe schizophrenia, for example, and when the illness is poorly controlled, they may be liable to quite strange behaviors. But not violence, not evil, on the scale that we see in these tragedies.

Such acts seem to require something beyond just ordinary human frailty, or even typical human malice. I believe that wherever evil on this scale is committed, there must be some kind of diabolical influence present. The way in which this influence plays out is mysterious and varied-from temptation, to oppression, to outright possession. Mental illness alone, in my judgment, cannot account for these behaviors. Something else is involved.

The hypothesis of the devil-a personal spiritual being whose will is turned toward evil and who can exercise some sort of influence over man-may give rise to scorn from rationalists. I challenge the skeptics to find a better explanation for Sandy Hook or Aurora. As Baudelaire famously put it, the devil's greatest trick is convincing us that he does not exist.

What can we do as a society to promote good mental and spiritual health?

Dr. Kheriaty: Strengthen the family, where children can grow up with their mother and father. Welcome children into the world and treat them as ends in themselves, not as means to another end. Turn off the TV and get rid of your video games and pornography.

Give young people hope, and a sense of meaning and purpose, so that they do not turn to drugs in despair. Reject the culture of narcissism and self-aggrandizement promoted in the media, and instead, learn to care for those who are marginalized and forgotten, the poor, the elderly and infirm, and those with mental illness. Go to church as a family on Sunday and pray together as a family during the week. 

-------------------------------

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He has worked in the right-to-life movement and is a published writer focused on Catholic and social issues. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.)

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

United States developing quick-strike team to deal with Ebola Watch

Image of The U.S. Ebola strike team will include five doctors, 20 nurses and five trainers, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In response to the crisis in Dallas, the United States is developing a 30-person "quick-strike team" in order to attend to the needs of Ebola patients within the U.S. The team will be under orders to deploy within 72 hours at any time over the next month. The ... continue reading


After 21 days, the family of Thomas Eric Duncan are Ebola free Watch

Image of Thomas Eric Duncan's family, including his fiancee and her son and nephews, are nearing the end of their 21 day quarantine. So far, none of the four have developed Ebola like symptoms.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fiancee of Thomas Eric Duncan-the first man diagnosed with Ebola in the United States-is nearing the end of a 21 day quarantine, and she and her son and two nephews are grateful that this period is coming to an end. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - If ... continue reading


Supreme Court backs Texas' war on voter fraud Watch

Image of The U.S. Supreme Court has backed a 2013 Texas law that requires voters to show ID before they submit a vote.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Supreme Court has given Texas the go ahead for a law that requires voters in the state to show certain forms of identification before they are able to cast a ballot. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The October 18 decision came from a majority of ... continue reading


Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Synod on the Family: Duc in Altum

Image of Lorenzo Lotto's depiction of the Holy Family's rest on the flight into Egypt.

By Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

Christians today in most parts of the world find themselves in a world much like the one inhabited by the first Christians - rampant sexual license, abortion, contraception, family break-down.  Those early Christians took a counter-cultural stance, echoing ... continue reading


(Video) Nina Pham's incredible goodbye will bring you to tears Watch

Image of Supporters of Nina Pham, the nurse who was infected with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has released a video which shows the goodbye between Ebola-patient Nina Pham and her doctor, as she leaves Dallas for treatment in Maryland. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 26-year-old nurse was infected with Ebola after ... continue reading


(Video) South Carolina's shocking SHARKNADO! Watch

Image of A rare shark feeding frenzy was caught on video in North Carolina, as hundreds of sharks attacked a school of Blue Fish.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing video has appeared on YouTube which shows 100 of sharks engaged in a feeding frenzy just feet from the shore in Cape Lookout, North Carolina. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The bizarre video was taken on October 9, but was not made public until ... continue reading


Fed takes in record of over $3 trillion in taxes Watch

Image of A Treasury Department report has revealed that the U.S. government has taken in a record amount of tax revenue for the 2014 fiscal year, at over $3 trillion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest Monthly Treasury Statement has showed that inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues and tax revenues have reached their highest point even as of the 2014 fiscal year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The inflation-adjusted tax revenue reached ... continue reading


James Robison: Turn In Your Sermons! Watch

Image of James and Betty Robison

By James Robison

The city of Houston has issued a wake up call to all freedom-loving Americans by ordering pastors to turn in their sermons and staff communications dealing with homosexuality, gender identity, and Mayor Annise Parker. You must hear the real message loud and clear ... continue reading


He doesn't even care anymore. Government draws in $3 trillion after numerous tax hikes Watch

Image of The U.S. government took in over $3 trillion dollars in taxes for fiscal year 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. government has collected a record amount of taxes for the 2014 fiscal year, topping $3 trillion in revenue for the first time in history, numbers from the Treasury Department revealed. The data also showed that this influx of cash has brought the current ... continue reading


Trying to win a Darwin Award? Man seen walking next to Ebola patient with clipboard for protection Watch

Image of Who is this man and why isn't he protected like the others?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Maybe he's trying to win a Darwin Award? The nation is aghast at a plainclothes man who appears to be coolly walking beside Ebola-infected nurse, Amber Vinson protected only by --a clipboard. Everyone else around him was dressed in a hazmat suit as she was placed ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:1-10
1 And you were dead, through the crimes and the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:13-21
13 A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2014 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter