The Screwtape Letters Chapter 12: Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In the twelfth chapter of 'The Screwtape Letters' by C.S. Lewis, Uncle Screwtape is thrilled with the progress Wormwood is making in edging his patient away from the Enemy.


Wormwood is a young tempter for the Underworld who is being mentored by his Uncle Screwtape on how to bring someone to Hell, and he is making great strides in persuading his patient to make choices that pull him away from the Enemy and into nothingness. The best part is that the patient does not even realize that he is making some irrevocable decisions. In chapter twelve of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, Wormwood learns how to slowly move his patient on the path to Hell.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Book Cover

Church Attendance

Believe it or not, Screwtape is actually happy to hear that the patient is still attending church. While the patient is undoubtedly beginning to realize that his Christian walk is not going that well, if he is still doing Christian things he won't panic and repent when he realizes the position in which he has placed himself. The Enemy may interfere with Wormwood's work at this point, but if the patient's understanding is inhibited for long enough, the patient will become reluctant to think about the Enemy at all. This is exactly what Wormwood wants!


When people start feeling guilty about their own behavior, they tend to deflect their negative feelings about themselves on to the Enemy. Not only will the patient neglect his church duties, he will not want to even think about Him. In order to avoid the Enemy in prayer, the patient will practically beg his tempter to distract him. It will no longer be necessary for Wormwood to offer pleasures to tempt him. Ultimately, all enjoyment will be sucked out of the patient's life.

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