Tom O'Toole
The victim's salvation
By Tom O'Toole
March 18, 2011

The following poem is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of its characters to actual persons is entirely coincidental.

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." — Luke 11:24-26

    A Child

    A Youth

    A Woman
    So used...

Now what have you actually learned
When your life has become merely a practice
Of being endlessly probed and prodded
Until you pass into blackness

Do you know everything or nothing
When your molester is so obsessed
That he forsakes the sacred for Satan
To the point you have become possessed

But finally your perverter has departed
And finally your life can begin
When the bishop sends a man of the cloth
To free you from the devil's own sin

A pro-life priest, an exorcist
par excellence, a saintly shining knight
Now entered her hopeful but fragile world
Promising to rescue her from her plight

He seemed both handsome and holy
As he interceded to Our Lord and Saviour
But all the while his smile was securing
Both his overt and her subconscious favor

For as wonderful as he was, she started to wonder
As he petitioned Christ to deliver her from Lucifer posthaste
Why, when she slipped into a trance, his hand began to touch her
In a manner she would have sworn was unchaste

Instead of using only that which was Good
To defeat this gravest of evils
He attempted to join these two opposing forces
And make God and Satan work together

He believed that the best of both worlds
Was possible for one as wise as he
A world where he could both keep his celibacy
And partake in a woman's intimacy

But was it truly possible to mix
These diverse desires of man and his Master
Or was this nebulous new-age novelty
Simply the age-old formula for disaster

She felt whole those times he would hold her
Then whisper about their future marriage
At the same time concealing from her
The other women he had similarly disparaged

Thus it wasn't until that dark night
When her full demonic possession did occur
That she came to realize that he
Was now more possessed than her

Later, after the patient intervention of her parents
And some provocative prose from the relentless reporter
The bishop finally put the ex-exorcist priest
In a place where he could no longer hurt her

Though grateful at last to be safe
She also knew "safety" wasn't the same as salvation
Could she ever again trust a man's touch
To share in her dream of the marriage vocation?

Sensing her sorrow, that same earnest journalist
Halted her tears with his lighthearted "bet"
"If the Lord could obtain a good wife for ME
He'll find the right husband for you with no sweat!"

    A Priest

    The Writer

    The Woman
    Now healing...

to all those now healing
and all those
who wish to be healed
St. Patrick's Day, 2011

A special thanks to best-selling Catholic writer, Michael D. O'Brien, for the use of his ink drawing, "Child," to illustrate this poem.

© Tom O'Toole


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Tom O'Toole

Thomas Augustine O'Toole was born in Chicago and grew up in a devout Catholic family with five brothers and two sisters. He was the sports editor of Notre Dame's Scholastic magazine, where his story "Reflections on the Game" won the award for Best Sports Feature for the Indiana Collegiate Press Association... (more)


Receive future articles by Tom O'Toole: Click here

More by this author

October 14, 2016
The fight for pro-life: Two election-time poems

April 20, 2015
A simple schism: Hesburgh's death "A New Beginning" for Notre Dame?

March 18, 2015
"I can't breathe" revisited: my hoop hope for the Lady (and Mike Brey) Irish

March 4, 2015
Rudy, the Gipper, and the Hesburgh Heresy: reflections on the (immortal) soul

February 28, 2015
Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh (1917-2015) dies, pray for his soul

February 27, 2015
Charles E. Rice 1931-2015: a real Notre Dame man

February 22, 2015
Voris, Vox Cantoris, and the Vatican: a prayer for the elephant in the room

April 17, 2014
Campus Crossroads Project to transform Notre Dame into neo-Nazi nuthouse

March 24, 2014
The saints on sodomy: why the Church Fathers were harsh on homosexual sex

March 22, 2014
Fr. Miscamble, friendship, and the future of Notre Dame

More articles


Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Pete Riehm
They really don’t care what we think!

R.T. Neary
Mark A. Milley – another Biden era disgrace

Curtis Dahlgren
Critical Race "Theory" = "Divide and conquer"

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Since prophecy predicts things will get worse, why engage the culture?

Victor Sharpe
Why the Kurds deserve a state, not the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians

Jerry Newcombe
The primary stakeholder in schools: Parents or educrats?

Judie Brown
Seeing the baby

Robert Meyer
My solo sojourn

Michael Bresciani
My body – my choice: Now we know why life, and death, cannot depend upon a slogan

Jim Wagner
Socialist utopian centennial

Cherie Zaslawsky
Preaching beyond the choir

Judie Brown
With a 'Song in My Heart for You'
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds



Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Bob MacGuffie & Antony Stark
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites