Do Catholics believe in literal demons?

As a non-Catholic myself, l am interested if Catholics believe in demons as actually existing entities.

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If you mean the cartoon characters you see on TV, then the answer is no. If you mean a person becoming possessed then yes… still not as it is seen on TV, because from my understanding, Satan can not do anything to you without you allowing it to happen… like turning your back on God.


Where do those beliefs come from?
l am aware that Bible talks about demons to some extent, but as with many other Catholic teachings (such as Natural law) they are not found in the Bible.
Is there a Catholic philosopher that made an arugment for existence of demons?

Yes. We very much do. But I detect a sense of dishonesty in your question. I think you may be trying to ask Catholics if we believe in “physical” demons. Literal is not the same as physical. I hope I am wrong, and if it is an honest question, I hope I have answered it satisfactorily.


l don’t mean it as physical demons, just the demons that are more than metaphorical.

I came to Catholicism through my experiences with demons via the occult.

Because the demons don’t want to become known to the world it is tricky to “prove”, but to answer your question, yes. But they aren’t spooky monsters, they are malign spirits.

And the Bible is pretty clear that demons exist (if you read the gospels especially).


Problem l have with the Bible on demons is that it’s taken from Jewish mythology,
and as there are many mythologies, following one as real and other as a man made product is not consistent.

l get that it would be hard to prove, but there must be a way to do so, otherwise it would be just a dogma without anything to support it.

Yes, they exist. John Paul II said that if one doesn’t believe in the devil then one doesn’t believe in the Gospels.

That said, steer clear, like far away, from anything to do with them. An unhealthy interest in them is just as bad as not believing in them.


The gospels mention people being possessed by demons and being cast out by Jesus


The Holocaust is proof, no human could have orchestrated such mass evil, Hitler was just the devils tool. Hotler couldn’t have been the source of his own hate.

On top of that, if the devil isn’t real, then the thousands of exorcists in the world are all making extravagant testimonies dishonestly. Why would they do that?


Many evil deeds such as holocaust happend, attributing devil/demons to them doesn’t make much sense.
Also, isn’t the entire desire of the Devil to ‘corrupt’ people? Not to literally destroy them.

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What do you mean by “Jewish mythology” ?

To my Christian eyes, the Hebrew people were the first and privileged recipients of God’s revelation about Who He is, who we are in regard to Him, and what kind of other beings He created. What the Old Testament says about non-natural beings is part of that revelation.


Much of the Bible is metaphorical, it makes sense to assume that demons in it are as well.

OK, but that’s a separate issue from whether we believe in literal demons.

But here is why it is not inconsistent: first, we don’t hold that mythologies are just man-made. The false mythologies can have a lot of truth in them. But they don’t have the full truth or may be mixed with error.
Second, if I ask who gave me an anonymous present, I can come up with several answers. Some will be wrong, but at least one of these answers could be correct.
Lastly, if demons are real, then it would not be the case that they are based on Jewish mythology, but rather that Jewish mythology would have some sort of description of them. They would exist independently of Jewish mythology.

There are arguments that have been made for the historicity of key Jewish and Christian claims–for instance, the argument for Mt Sinai and for the Resurrection of Jesus (if Christianity is true, so was Judaism; if Christianity can somehow be independently shown to be true apart from Judaism, it would then follow that Judaism is true).
It’s not just randomly picking and choosing a mythology.

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It does make sense, because you and I could simply not create that kind of evil without an evil force influencing us to do so and putting on the whole production

It’s been said that if the devil could physically get his hands on us, we’d be dead within seconds. He wants to corrupt and destroy, to drag us to hell with him.

Mythology evolves as culture evolves, many aspects of Jewish mythology were taken from older cultures.

I appreciate the lack of snark from @Nonatheist

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Yes, indeed.

I’m really not sure what about that fact prevents Jewish beliefs to be part of God’s revelation. Does not the Spirit work where It wants and infuse truth where It wants, including the ancient Near East ?

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