Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ask Thugfang: Confession Part II

His Right Dishonourable Loathsomeness, Master Thugfang, is a demon of great infamy among academic circles. He is a frequent columnist for “Tempter’s Times”, an assistant editor for “Wickedness Weekly” and current chair of Tempter’s Training College’s Department of Defense Against the White Arts, after the sudden disappearance of the most recent head under mysterious circumstances. Now, His Right Dishonourable Loathsomeness takes your questions. Having problems with a particularly troublesome patient? Meddlesome enemy agents stymieing you at every turn? Don’t wait, write immediately to “Ask Thugfang” C/O “Underworld Magazine.”
Dear Master Thugfang, I am writing to you from a special assignment. My patient is a Catholic. His erstwhile handler was reassigned on short notice because of the patient’s troubling habit of weekly confession, and I have been placed in charge of the case since I have had some success with this in the past. I even wrote an article for Wickedness Weekly entitled, “How to Keep your Patient from Going to Confession.” Unfortunately, all the tricks and tactics I have used before seem to have no effect on this particular patient. It persists in its stubborn adherence to this habit, so I am writing to you to ask if there is any other technique you know of which I can use?
Sincerely, the Obfuscator
My Dear Demonic readers, in my last column which you may read here, I addressed the unfortunate Obfuscator’s question with advice on how to meddle with a patient’s confession before the patient enters that little white box. It appears, however, that he asked for my advice too late. Apparently someone must have hinted to the lowerarchy that the Obfuscator’s skills were not what he had led them to believe, and he has been sent for retraining to bring them up to an acceptable level. Very sad I am sure, but a salutary lesson for all of us on the dangers of pride.
So now I shall enlighten my general audience, and particularly our dear Obfuscator’s successor, on how to make best work of the patient’s post confessional period. Remember, the Enemy has just effected a reversal of your work in the first spiritual order. Your natural reaction is discouragement and despair, but you must fight through that. You must be waiting at the door, so to speak, so as soon as your patient walks out you are there, braving the toxic illumination of Grace to begin your work all over again.
Obviously, our first tactic is distraction. That should go without saying, but I am amazed at how many young demons try the most subtle and complex approaches on patients who clearly do not need it. Keep it simple for Hell’s sake! Once the patient comes out of confession, the less time he spends thinking about it the better. Distraction, distraction, distraction. The sooner you can get him to put the whole thing out of his mind and forget about the Enemy and what He has done for him, the sooner you will be able to get back to the business of stealing his soul.
Never forget, my dear Obfuscator, the patient is half animal. He can no more see his own soul than he can see the inside of his head by rolling his eyes back into his skull. He was never meant to spend his life staring at his own soul. He was meant to stare at the Enemy with his whole soul and everything attached to it, so naturally, it is impossible for a human really to see himself. The most advanced ones have long since ceased to try. They are too busy staring at the Enemy, blast them. But the patient’s inability to see his soul means that he cannot see what was done in his soul.
You see, confession, while it does admittedly destroy every vestige of our work at the very deepest level of the human, it does not (usually) destroy all our work at shallower levels. Think of your human as a series of concentric circles. The very center is the soul, the actual patient, what we want to feed upon. Then around that is the will, which is the gateway to the soul. Outside of that are your patient’s subconscious thoughts and feelings, his conscious thoughts and feelings, and all the ephemera of phenomena that he generally refers to when he says, “myself.” The center is what we want to control, but we have to go through all the other layers. Confession does whatever it does at the center, and the effects spread outwards from there. How far they spread is determined by how closely those outward areas are aligned with the soul. For most average humans, especially young ones, the alignment is not that close. As a result, while the soul is cleansed, and perhaps the will is slightly re-oriented, the imagination, emotions, thoughts, and especially the fears, remain largely untouched. We must keep it that way. That is our only foothold. Distracting the patient from thinking about the work of forgiveness prevents him from trying to bring his outer circles in line with the inner reality. It stops him from becoming an integrated whole, disrupts the flow of grace, and keeps our foothold secure.
You and I must face the unfortunate fact that the Enemy’s Son Himself is active in that little wooden box, in a mode of such presence and power that it scorches my mind even to think about it. Your patient is spared such awareness. Why? I don’t know. Probably some nonsense about “freedom” and such claptrap. Who cares why? That is our opening. The patient can be quite ignorant of the fact that He is present, actively doing something of cosmic spiritual magnitude. To the patient it is a vending machine, and eventually just a habit. Soon he won’t even think too closely about what precisely that machine is vending. Isolated from the majority of his life, the sacrament’s transforming power dwindles to nothing.
That foothold then becomes the starting point for our counter-attack. As long as the human is ignorant of how little of himself is truly surrendered to the enemy, we can use the un-surrendered bits to draw his will back to what his body, mind and emotions have been conditioned to desire. Retaking the same ground over and over and over again is tedious, I know, but that is simply another result of the Enemy’s obscene love for matter and insistence on creating temporal creatures with souls.
The battle changes slightly when the patient does start to think about forgiveness. Obviously we still want the patient to labor under as much delusion as possible, so keep him ignorant of the real nature of forgiveness. Encourage him to expect the sacrament to erase all the effects of sin on the surface level, which is all he can see. Let him expect that all his addictions, habits and sinful inclinations which he has so carefully conditioned into himself over the years are going to be wiped away by the sacrament. Odds are that it won’t happen (the Enemy rarely interferes on such a superficial level) and then he will fall into sin again, and be disappointed and discouraged. Keep this lie up as long as you can. If you can keep the patient expecting what was never promised for long enough, he will eventually give up trusting the Enemy’s promises, and therefore the Enemy, never realizing that it was never the promise that was untrustworthy, but only his private mental vision of it. No matter which, for us, as long as it drives the patient into apathy and despair.
An observant human, on the other hand, will not be fooled by that delusion forever. Eventually he will learn that, even though the sacrament forgives, it is up to him to live up to that forgiveness and overcome his remaining habits. This is a very dangerous level of awareness, for us, because it guards against false expectations, and is dangerously close to humility. There is, however, one last little trick that I have used successfully on a patient at this juncture. This patient was a very successful middle-aged businessman who was a weekly penitent. He was well aware that the sacrament forgave, but did not erase his compulsion, and that might have caused him to seek out the Enemy’s grace, both in prayer and in the form of professional counseling. He was very nearly lost to us (unbeknownst to him.) While he was seriously considering going into therapy his old caretaker was reassigned and I was brought onto the case, which I successfully turned around in short order. I was able to convince the patient that his continuing life of sin after every confession was simply his “old habits” and that he was “working on them.” There was no need to go to any extremes to root out this habit. All that was necessary was that he “try his best”. In reality he maintained a quite lovely double-life for years, without ever realizing it. He would confess every Saturday afternoon, go to Mass on Sunday and stay clean and sober for the week. Then on Friday evening he would quite matter-of-factly stop by the strip club and have a few drinks while ogling the female humans. This was to “get it out of his system.” Just in time for confession on Saturday. How convenient! “Trying his best!” Such an elegant euphemism. It really only meant that he would grit his teeth a few times before walking in the strip club door, when any half competent priest would have told him that it ought to mean taking measures to make himself unable to drive there in the first place. “Working on it,” consisted of a few manufactured tears in the confessional every now and then, some eloquent promises to his wife, and the occasional orgy of self-loathing, all the while casually feeding the habit which ultimately devoured him. Fool! Just sorry enough to be miserable, not sorry enough to make any real attempt to stop.
Oh the exhilaration of that battle! My career was at stake, a soul was on the line! Enemy agents waited at every juncture, ready to leap into action at the first sign of real intention to reform. I was positively surrounded by some pretty fearsome characters, let me tell you, and they meant business. All he had to do was open his mouth and talk to his brother, or get someone to give him a ride instead of driving. Anything, the slightest action, would have called forth a perfectly terrifying firestorm of grace and I would have been lost. But I kept my head, and whispered soft lies, and he slept through it all. First he robbed the sacrament of its transformative power, and then he closed himself off to its forgiveness as well. He is now safely residing in one of our more bland and uninteresting summer residences. Presumption is another of my favorites, and a very secure sin, because generally the patient has no idea he is committing it.
In summary, my Dear Demons, confession is a most terrible weapon of the enemy, and one that we must never underestimate. The habit of going to confession is almost the worst habit a human can have. You may look at my medals and awards and think that you too can snatch a patient’s soul from the very jaws of the confessional, but I warn you, do not risk it. For every daringly successful attack like mine, there are a thousand failures. We here in the lower circles of Hell are not the least bit interested in vainglory. All we want are souls, as many as possible, by the surest and safest routes possible, as fast as possible. If you lose us a soul by your idiotic presumption, be warned!
We grow hungry!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Master Thugfang,
    My mistake was in trying to be brilliant before I had the experience you can proudly claim. My sudden ‘wisdom’ was also the final stroke in my change of position. I still, however, intend to read your columns and lower myself through their direction. Any assistance you can offer in advancing my career will be appreciated by yours truly, for after hearing your story of ‘soul winning’ and hunger of those in lower circles I am more determined than ever to bring more souls into our residences.
    Your letter and thoughts on attacking the priest’s humanity are being taken to heart and pondered, and your explanation shows the holes in this method clearly, especially with those patients who believe in the power of confession. I can think of many times when it could be used successfully, however, and will add all your ideas to my arsenal. The idea of bringing in scandal is wonderfully appropriate; there are many juicy tidbits these days. We must keep abreast of the trends that assist our cause! Your anecdote is humorous as well and I only wish that I might have a similar experience, her confessor using her sins in his homily… what patients will believe when they begin to be self-conscious.
    The column on post-confession was also enlightening; maybe if I study carefully I will be lowered again to my former position. Before your column, to be precise, I would have rated distraction as my least favourite tactic in the post-confession efforts! It felt somewhat clownish and repetitive. Thus, my problems… as you said, it is incredibly effective and I cannot fathom why I have missed it. My guiding Masters in the lower regions probably thought that it was so obvious that they assumed that we knew it instinctively.
    So our patients are spared the awareness of the power of the enemy? That is definitely an advantage, so is there a catch? I guess the lower you are the better you realize the existence of the opening and how to use it tactfully. Thus, ignorance is another strong tactic! Should we not be gaining now? The ignorance prevalent out there opens up many patients’ souls for our tricks. Maybe I could delve into that area more? Though, as you said, that will only fool those unobservant humans. Your final method, “I am working on it” (or presumption) is one I had considered. I was not sure how to actualize presumption in a patient, however, and I would not risk trying for fear of losing one. The warning is well taken, though too late for me. I would suppose that part of presumption is telling your patient that “they have all the time in the world.” Tomorrow is a wonderful time to change, why not enjoy today.
    All of your points are ‘pointed’ and appreciated. In thinking about them I am particularly drawn to investigate the idea of ignorance, ensuring that there are few humans who even reach the state where we have to fight for their souls. If they are never given the opportunity to hear and understand then we have a head start. If we can get to them before the enemy and fill their ears with thoughts, distractions, and day-dreams, then it will be easy to guide our patients toward their end. Maybe I could even let a few grains of information fall, but confuse it so that the humans understand the foolishness/nonsense and sentimental twaddle that is taught to them by the enemy. I definitely think that there might still be a lower place for me to research this area, for I am intrigued. You must, however, have considerable experience in this area as well and be able to share them with a fellow Demon.
    Sincerely, the Obfuscator