Scary Movie

What do you do if your child sleeps with his or her lights on?
December 08 2016 | by

DEAR FRIAR RICK: recently my 12-year-old son saw a film on TV about people being possessed by the devil. He was so frightened by what he saw that he had to sleep next to me that night. I tried to reassure him by telling him that it was all fiction, just a horror film without any foundation in truth; that it was all just trash.

However, a few days later during scripture lesson, he asked our parish priest a few questions, and the priest obviously replied that the devil does indeed exist, but that people of faith and prayer need not fear him.

I know that Pope Francis has, on more than one occasion, stated that the devil is not a myth, but a reality against which we must fight against every day. However, I also believe we should do more to reassure our children about this being and his role in the world. Since he saw that film, my son always sleeps with the lights on.


Your son will eventually get over his fear. I would not worry about it. I also think that your parish priest answered your son’s questions pretty well. Like the Pope I agree that the devil is real. Saying that evil is real does not mean that it is as portrayed in films. It’s actually a lot more insidious. The devil is most often manifested in the lies we hear in our hearts that tell us we are not loved, that we are not worthy, and that we are alone. The antidote to this is the Incarnation of Christ. God becomes flesh and enters our world, our lives, and he tells us that we are indeed loved, indeed worthy, and that he will stand by us no matter what!


DEAR FRIAR RICK: I work for a charity in the UK which collects money and material items such as clothing, medicines, etc. to be sent to the poor both in Britain and even as far away as Africa, where we usually just send money. Last month we experienced a massive robbery at our offices. A considerable sum of money was stolen and our store, which was full of the items, was raided. To add insult to injury, I had to spend a lot of my precious time dealing with police detectives and insurance papers.

Needless to say this has generated a lot of anger and frustration within me. I cannot understand how certain people can be so callous as to steal from the poor. However, this incident brought me into even greater discouragement when I caught myself cursing and hating to the uttermost those who did this to us, and consequently to the poor. I am a devout Catholic and I know that I should, instead, have prayed for them.

Fr. Rick, I just cannot bring myself to pray for them. When I do pray I realize I am only deceiving myself because the truth is that only hate fills my heart. What should I do?


What a horrible turn of events for your charity. Who would steal from those who are trying to help the poor? Callous indeed! I remember a few years ago when I was in Toronto we decided to install a statue of Our Lady in the church courtyard. We didn’t have a lot of money so we bought a resin statue. It was imported from Italy and portrayed a very young and tender Mary. I loved the statue. Anyways, one morning we found that the statue had been ripped off of its foundation. The police later found that statue on the street near the church. It had been dragged around, the head broken off and irreparably damaged. I cannot tell you how angry I was that morning. Thank God I didn’t come upon the vandals in the act because I would probably have knocked their heads off!

When we are robbed or vandalized it’s not just a matter of property loss that affects us. There is also often a feeling of being violated. This in turn can affect our feeling of safety in our environment… our home or workplace or church. We can only function effectively in these places if we generally feel safe. So, these kinds of violations challenge our feeling of safety.

Although forgiveness is a hallmark of our faith, it can only be attempted after a time of initial recovery and healing. So, give yourself a break. It’s important to actually feel the pain, the shock and the anger. Pray for yourself. Pray for the people who have been hurt by the crime. Then, in time, you can focus on the criminals.

Updated on December 15 2016