Are we permited to apply this exorcism?


Tobit is a wonderful story, full of good examples we can emulate. Tobit 6,2 is an incident regarding Tobiah which I will leave to you to read. The words of Raphael in 6,8 is our study here. :

“As regards the fish’s heart and liver, if you burn them so that the smoke surrounds a man and woman who is afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, the affliction will leave him completely, and no demons will ever return to them again.”

One get’s the sense this is meant for the broader audience and not just for Tobiah. It reads like a prescription for general use. In 8, we see it’s application and everything goes well for him and his new bride.

For decades I have been trying to persuade, with not much success, that there are also degrees of possession where symptoms are so mild they manifest as psychological disorders or typical temptations of bad behavior. I have seen at least two people in my life where I am convinced this to be true. They are people who make some attempts to change, make some headway and are happy for a very short time, but some power seems to reel them in to their misery and anti-social behavior. Lately for the first time, at a private homily by a young priest, he stated that he has witnessed such behavior in persons, and he had the suspicion that this was occurring.

So the question is, can we use this remedy for cases of possession in our times?

I am thinking a procedure along the same lines as the instruction by Raphael, but would add a confession and communion beforehand by the victim and asstant. The room would be blessed, and incense with the heart and liver burning. It would end by prayers to St. Michael and Raphael, and others appropriately selected.

Your thoughts are welcome.


My thoughts are that we should stick with the Magisterium and what they have shown us. Tobit was for a different audience in a different time. In Jesus time there were men running around trying to do exorcisms on their own and look what happened to them:

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Exorcists are trained by the Vatican for a reason. Not just because it’s dangerous to fool around with such things, but also because it’s important to discern that it’s not just mental health issues or some other issue but an actual possession. Don’t play with things like this. If you truly think that someone is possessed bring it to the attention of a bishop.


This almost sounds like you’re trying to put together a “Do-it-yourself exorcism kit”. What an exceedingly bad idea!!! Please do not fool around with this sort of thing. If there is a real cause for exorcism, take it to your pastor so he can take it to the Bishop. Then the situation will be vetted and if deemed appropriate an exorcist will handle dealing with the possession.


It seems to me that the “heart” is the heart of Christ;…and the liver performs many vital functions.

We know that the fish is a symbol for Christ.

I don’t see that we would need to burn those organs. They appear to me to be symbols.


Without going into the fraught question of whether Tobit is a fictional “parable novel” or a historical story…

First of all, as several sources point out: “Outside of this text there seems to be no evidence in antiquity that the burning of fish heart and liver to make a smoke before a spirit-oppressed individual has otherwise been performed as a ritual of exorcism by either Jews or Christians.”

Second, the fish isn’t J. Normal Catfish. It’s a “monstrous fish.” It is in fact a river version of one of the Bible’s sea monsters. So if you can find and catch Leviathan with a hook (as God challenged Job to do), or in this case, catch a man-eating river monster by hand just by grabbing his gill (which is a pretty awesome heroic feat of strength and courage), I’m sure that angels will also be coming along to tell you about the useful properties of said river monster or sea monsters.

Likewise, you can’t go down to the store and buy Siegfried’s Brand Dragon Blood for the purpose of instantly learning the language of all birds and beasts. The various versions of the story go into great detail about how this works, but that doesn’t mean it’s “meant for all people.” It’s just for verisimilitude and enjoyment of the story.


Exactly what bmullins said:
Acts 19:15 Jesus I recognize, Paul I know, but who are you?

Lay people are only allowed to offer “prayers of deliverance” for people, not prayers for exorcism. Find out what some of them (prayers of deliverance) are and get a blessing from a Roman Catholic priest before you say them for another person.


If there are, it can be resolved by faithfully living out our Catholic faith. That is, frequent confession (one good confession can be more powerful than an exorcism) and going to Mass (especially when battling extreme temptation which may mean daily Mass), living a life of grace and prayer and practicing the virtues.

Exorcisms are always performed as a last resort after all means of alleviating the affliction have been exhausted.

I would suggest praying for them.

God bless


The tally is in. Looks like we shouldn’t touch this(not that I intended to). Thanks all. :thumbsup:


Only priests may perform exorcisms.

Canon Law:

Can. 1172 §1 No one may lawfully exorcise the possessed without the special and express permission of the local Ordinary.

§2 This permission is to be granted by the local Ordinary only to a priest who is endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life.


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