It’s become the fashion in the past number of years to hold that there is no man who can be so evil that he would, without being totally possessed by Satan, be maniac killers like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and bin Ladin, among so many others. This is wrong headed.
Even the most cold-blooded murders, even in the millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, are as nothing compared to the one death of the Son of Man, the Son of the Immaculate Conception. My sin did that. I’m already worse that all these others. The horrific torture and death of Jesus is what He had to go through so that, in justice, He would have the right to have mercy on us. That’s how evil sin is. Jesus did not die to redeem Satan, who is unredeemable, as he doesn’t want to repent, ever. Jesus died to redeem us. Again, our sin did that, not Satan’s sin. Why say that we cannot be so evil as to kill each other off, when we’ve killed off the Son of Man? Of course, you can’t kill Life. He rose from the dead. An exorcist needs to have a sense of sin consonant with the reality of the torture and death of Mary’s Son. He did not die for nothing, as would be the case if Satan could be blamed for all the evil that happens. Using Satan as a scapegoat for mankind is an insult to Jesus. Note well: God will not be mocked!
Having said all that, well, I mean, sure… Satan will surely want to facilitate the evil that we come up with, cranking it up and exaggerating in every way, getting as much evil as he can from us. Satan knows we are too weak and stupid to be as evil as he is, so he will do what he can to assist. Perhaps such people were fully possessed. Whatever. People can also be terribly evil. In absolving such people of all sin, saying they never committed any sin because, really, the “devil made them do it”, is perhaps a bid to absolve ourselves of sin, so that we can have a license to kill, to do whatever sin we want: If such horrific murderers can be called innocent, why not us? Sure, all hell broke out on Calvary, but all of that was occasioned by and only went so far as what our own sin demanded.
I remember reading a bit of an interview with Pope Benedict (or was it still Cardinal Ratzinger), the bit where the interviewer asked whether someone like Hitler could be saved. The answer reminisced about the theology class the young seminarian Ratzinger was taking, the one which included a discussion, one day, as to whether someone like Hitler could be saved. Another student said that since he was in error, and perhaps even sincere in that error, perhaps he could be saved. Ratzinger said that it was at that moment that he understood fully that error does not justify; only God’s grace justifies. Sincerity gets no one anywhere. Without the grace of God, it gets one only as far as hell.
Bottom line: Look to Christ crucified when you want to know how evil our own sin is. Know also how eager, in looking to Christ crucified, that Satan is to encourage this evil. Know that possession isn’t necessary for this evil to take place. Know that it is even probable that possession is what is happening in such cases.