What is the Church’s position on disease and the origins of disease? I ask this because I am a middle aged woman with many medical problems and have had limited success with conventional medicine. A Catholic neighbor of mine knows of a priest who does exorcisms. Supposedly this priest was able to cure many people because their illness was the result of evil or demonic manifistation. My friend says that illness can sometimes be caused by “negative energy”. I am not sure what she means by “negative energy” and furthermore I’m a total skeptic but I was just wondering if there’s a kernel of truth somewhere.
No, you do not need an exorcist. The moment you see any mention of “energy,” know that you are dealing with new age activity.
This is how the Original Catholic Encyclopedia defines Exorcism:
“Exorcism is (1) the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice; (2) the means employed for this purpose, especially the solemn and authoritative adjuration of the demon, in the name of God, or any of the higher power in which he is subject.”
Notice that there is no mention of physical illness. Priests need the permission of the local bishop to do exorcisms. The priest you mention sounds like he is doing his own thing—his own new age thing at that!
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.