EWTN Catholic Q&A
Question from THELMA on 11-25-2012:

when unclean spirit goes out of a person,does it mean the person is clean?Then why did he come back with seven other spirit more evil?

Thank you

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 11-27-2012:

The Gospel of Saint Matthew records:

38 Then some of the Scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying: Master, we would see a sign from thee.

39 But he answering, said to them: *An evil and adulterous generation seeketh for a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, **but the sign of Jonas, the prophet.

40 For as Jonas was in the whale's belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.

41 *The men of Ninive shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas is here.

42 The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: *because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon is here.

43 *And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

44 Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

45 Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: *and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation.

In context we see that our Lord was warning the Jewish leadership that the punishment of God would be upon them, for their apostasy--the rejection of the promised Messiah. An unclean spirit would only return to a person who was not in the grace of sanctification, and for one who had been in grace and freed from sin and Satan, to lapse back into sin opens the door even wider to evil and demons. Here, the warning is that it will be far worse than before for the apostates of the present generation than in times past. Such was true, as apostate Judaism was crushed at its center. More than a million died in Jerusalem under horrible conditions and many, many more outside the walls as well. The Jewish historian Josephus described it as the worst destruction the world had ever seen.

Thanks, Thelma

Father Echert