If Jesus meant for the apostles and their successors to have an exclusive franchise (ie. they are the only ones who can act “in personam christi” for things like confecting the eucharist, granting absolution in response to confession, etc.), why didn’t Jesus denounce the exorcist from Mark 9:38-40, who was casting out demons in Jesus’s name but was not one of the apostles, or even a disciple of Jesus? Not only does he not condemn unauthorized exorcism, but when Jesus does respond, he affirms people doing deeds of power in his name, not just exorcists specifically.
Catholics believe that Christ ordained the twelve Apostles to the priesthood. Therefore, the twelve and their successors act in persona Christi as they fulfill their role as priests (e.g. in making present the Eucharist, in forgiving sins, etc.). The ministerial priesthood of the Catholic Church draws its power from and is united to the High Priesthood of Christ.
The exorcist casting out demons in the name of Jesus was not rebuked by Jesus because not all acts of exorcism need be performed by a priest. People who are not ordained to the priesthood can be granted the charism of performing great deeds in the name of Christ. However, there are those faculties which are reserved to men ordained as priests. So in this particular situation, it would be the case that the exorcist, who was not a priest, must not have been doing anything out of his power as a “lay” person because he was not rebuked and his authority was not questioned.
christus_vincit’s answer was my instinct. I don’t know that an exorcism de fide requires an ordained priest. It possibly may be more along the lines of the discipline of priestly celibacy, which is widespread, but not immutable. The 1975 CDF document Christian Faith and Demonology says this in paragraph 113:*This was determined in the fourth norm set down in the Motu Propio Ministeria
quaedam of August 15, 1972: “Two ministries adapted to the present-day needs are to be
preserved in the whole Latin Church, namely, those of the lector and acolyte. The
functions heretofore commited to the subdeacon and are entrusted to the acolyte;
consequently, the major order of the subdiaconate no longer exists in the Latin Church.
There is nothing, however, to prevent the acolyte being also called a subdeacon in some
places, if the episcopal conference so decides” (AAS 64  532 [TPS SVIII, 260]).
The office of exorcist is thus suppressed, and there is no provision that the power now
associated with this office can be exercised by the lector or the acolyte. The document
simply says that the episcopal conference may ask the Apostolic See to permit the
establishment in the regions of the offices of porter, exorcist, and catechist (AAS, p. 531
[TPS, p. 259]).*In reading this over, it sounds like others such as acolytes could possibly perform “exorcistic” duties, but that the Apostolic See may need to grant permission? And remember in Acts 19:13ff that some Jews attempted to invoke Christ’s name to perform an exorcism but they were beaten up. It is a dangerous enterprise and in many ways demands a prudential and sober approach. It’s not something wise to invite just anyone to do.
As well, in the Mark 9 example, we are not told the details of the exorcism in question. We see “casting out demons” but are not given details on what that entailed. Perhaps it was a full blown human possession, perhaps not. Additionally, the disciples said he “was not following us.” That statement also leaves it unclear how the person in question was invoking Christ’s name, because that person apparently was following Christ. So how did that person come to the gospel? We are not told.
Remember also that this whole excerpt starts in verse 33ff where the disciples were arguing which of them was the greatest. This exorcism story ties into that. Could the person casting out demons have heard the gospel via one of the 70 or from one of the person’s one of the 70 appointed? Perhaps. And the disciples still had an obtuse understanding of who were their followers because they were playing games of pride a moment earlier.
In regards to the Eucharist and Confession, they are sacraments. The Church has 7 sacraments, 5 where a priest or bishop is necessary. In addition to the Eucharist and Confession, the other 3 are Confirmation, Annointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders.
This doesn’t mean that Christians cannot extend forgiveness to those who have offended them, or that they cannot go to someone they have offended and ask them for forgiveness. It just wouldn’t be a sacrament conferring forgiveness of the sin and sacramental graces. Also, we can pray for the dying, annoint them with blessed water or oil. But it wouldn’t be a sacrament; it would not forgive the sick person’s sins.
Exorcism is not a sacrament. In the early Church it was administered by others besides ordained priests, but currently for Catholics, the Church regulation is that the rite is to be performed only by a priest. ( CCC#1673 vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P58.HTM#EF )
All authority is delegated. Jesus is the source of authority, and he delegated it to his Apostles. They, in turn, delegated it to others, and so on, and here we are.
Nobody can simply walk in from the street and declare himself a Bishop (or a priest). This charism must be given - it cannot be seized upon.
Haven’t you seen and heard what Jesus actually taught? Now here this:
Jesus established His Church and explicitly made four promises to Peter alone:
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church.” (Mt 16:18)
“The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”(Mt 16:18)
I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.” ( Mt 16:19)
“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Mt 16:19) [Later also to the Twelve]
“Strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
“Feed My sheep.”(Jn 21:17).
What did Jesus say about hearing His Church? It is necessary to be subject to the right authority. Obedience is the very heart of religion. We went from God by disobedience; the road back is by obedience. And the authority of the Pope is that of Christ. Of him Christ said, “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me.” Lk10:16. Again, Christ said, “If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen.” Matt. 18:17. Our Lord could never have commanded men to obey two conflicting authorities.
St John counsels: “We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.” (1 Jn 4:6 ).
In Colossians 2: 4-23, St Paul calls on his flock to follow Christ “as you were taught” and warns against merely “human precepts and teachings.”
1 Cor 1:10: I urge you brothers, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph 4:14). Further, “For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their lusts. And they will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables.” (2 Tim 4:3).