Exorcism by cath priest vs exorcism by protestant minister

Diabolical possession is a reality. Many catholic priests worldwide exorcise those who are possessed. I’m not aware of their success rates, but surely, their ministry is necessary and beneficial to many. I also often hear about protestants trying to exorcise demons. However, are their efforts less fruitful than that of Catholic priests? Since the Catholic Church is the one true faith, I would then surmise that Catholic exorcists would have a higher chance of success in ridding a demon(s) than a Protestant would. The devil would be more obedient to the catholic priest’s commands. Would protestant exorcisms even work (be successful in ridding possession)?

My husband and I were Evangelical Protestant for the first 47 years of our lives.

We’ve known and are friends with several Protestant missionaries who spent several decades faithfully ministering in countries where demon possession is common.

They cast out demons using the Scriptural formula–prayer and fasting, and in the Name of Jesus Christ. It is done with great seriousness–this is not a casual or flippant task to a Protestant.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance is a Protestant denomination that has the highest percentage of missionaries per membership of ANY Protestant denomination. Over 1000 missionaries serve in C&MA fields outside of the United States. We continue to receive the denominational magazine of the C&MA, and in almost every issue, there are stories of those who have been gloriously delivered from demon possession and are now following the Lord Jesus.

Jesus loves humans so much that He died on the cross for each and every human being. He does want anyone to suffer demon possession. When a person repents of their sins and is crying out to be delivered from demons, and the only Christian available is a Protestant who, in humility and FAITH, fasts and prays, invoking the authority and Name of the Lord of the Universe, the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus will not turn away from the possessed person. Demons cower and obey the LORD JESUS CHRIST, not any man or woman.

All followers of Jesus Christ can and should cast out demons (practice exorcism), since Jesus said it’s a sign that would follow those who believe (Mark 16:17).

A follower of Jesus Christ is filled with the Holy Spirit, thus he can practice exorcism successfully.

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.

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.

Protestants who are lawfully baptized receive the Holy Spirit, though they are not united with us in fullness of the faith. As possessors of the Holy Spirit, it is highly possible for God to bestow charismatic gifts upon them which may be just as effective as that of a Catholic who likewise receives one or more of these charisms.

If you remember the indignation of the apostles when “one NOT of their own company” was casting out demons in Jesus’ name, Our Lord rebuked them, saying that he who is not against us is for us. Lk 9:49-50

Almost in passing, yesterday a priest that I work with told me he was ordained as an exorcist. I have not had the chance to ask for details.

I’m reminded of Acts 19:13-16

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.

I understand you have respect for your Protestant background and other Christians. But this type of post can be extremely misleading to the uninformed. Please make it very clear that only ordained priests are permitted by the Catholic Church to perform an exorcism. Protestants have no faculties to do so since they do not have valid Holy Orders.

If Jesus wishes to free one of his demonic possession, He can. He is not bound by humans. On this part, you are correct. I would be imposing boundaries on God if I said that God can only exorcise in X or Y circumstances. But He also gave us One Holy Mother Church to protect and guide us, and the Church decrees that laypeople are not to attempt exorcisms. So I am very troubled that you did not take the time to make this clear to the thread creator. Your post seems to imply that Protestant exorcisms are perfectly valid and not at all problematic in the eyes of the Church, which is definitely not true in the least.

1 Like

M-Dent,

It is important not to pull a scripture out of context, which distorts its meaning. This commentary from Haydock is worth serious consideration so that the OP or anyone reading this thread will not be confused about a lawful gift of the Spirit.

Ver. 13. The Jewish exorcists. Among the Jews were some, who by calling upon the name of the true God, sometimes cast out evil spirits. But these sons of Sceva seeing St. Paul cast out devils, by calling upon the name of Jesus, thought fit to do the same, though they did not believe in Jesus Christ. And God punished them in this manner, as it is here related, at least two of them.

Google " THE EXORCISM OF NICOLA AUBREY" story about an exorcism attempted by both protestants and catholic priests on the same girl.

… and the Church decrees that laypeople are not to attempt exorcisms.

That is not true. Please read this excerpt from Lumen Gentium. The only stipulation is that one who receives this gift obtains permission from the local Ordinary to exercise it.

It is not only through the sacraments and the ministries of the Church that the Holy Spirit sanctifies and leads the people of God and enriches it with virtues, but, "allotting his gifts to everyone according as He wills,(114) He distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts He makes them fit and ready to undertake the various tasks and offices which contribute toward the renewal and building up of the Church, according to the words of the Apostle: “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit”.(115)

These charisms, whether they be the more outstanding or the more simple and widely diffused, are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation for they are perfectly suited to and useful for the needs of the Church. Extraordinary gifts are not to be sought after, nor are the fruits of apostolic labor to be presumptuously expected from their use; but judgment as to their genuinity and proper use belongs to those who are appointed leaders in the Church, to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to that which is good.(116)
[FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman][/FONT][/FONT]

In both the Gospels of Mark and Luke a single incident is recorded when Jesus addressed a very similar topic to this.

Luke 9:49-50: “And John, answering, said: Master, we saw a certain man casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said to him: Forbid him not; for he that is not against you, is for you.”

Mark 9:37-39: “John answered him, saying: Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbade him. But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For there is no man that doth a miracle in my name, and can soon speak ill of me. For he that is not against you, is for you.”

This would suggest that Jesus taught that there were those unrecognised by the Apostles (arguably much like Protestant Vicars/Pastors are unrecognised by the Apostolic Succession) who could nevertheless perform miracles such as exorcisms in Christ’s name.

That could easily also be interpreted to mean that the other exorcists were Catholics that the disciples simply have never met personally, and Jesus was telling them not to micromanage.

Really, it’s not our job to impose private interpretations of the Holy Scripture. We should listen to what the Church says. The Church says that only ordained priests are permitted to exorcise. The validity or effectiveness of Protestant exorcisms quite honestly shouldn’t be anybody’s concern.

“The practice of exorcism is recorded in the writings of the early Church Fathers, including St. Justin Martyr (d. 165), Tertullian (d. 230), and St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386).” (catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0138.html)

Furthermore: “We have it on the authority of all early writers who refer to the subject at all that in the first centuries not only the clergy, but lay Christians also were able by the power of Christ to deliver demoniacs or energumens, and their success was appealed to by the early Apologists as a strong argument for the Divinity of the Christian religion (Justin Martyr, First Apology 6; Dialogue with Trypho 30 and 85; Minutius Felix, Octavius 27; Origen, Against Celsus I.25; VII.4; VII.67; Tertullian, Apology 22, 23; etc.).” SOURCE: newadvent.org/cathen/05709a.htm

As far as I know Justin Martyr wasn’t an ordained priest. But has it changed since? How can I see when the doctrine that only ordained priests can do exorcism came?

In that scripture verse, there were no Catholics yet. It depends on who’s doing the interpreting and attempting to explain away Jesus’ meaning here, as you have done. Haydock states:
Ver. 49. We forbade him. St. John having the most love for his Lord, and being particularly beloved by him, thought all were to be excluded from these gifts, who were not obedient to his divine Master. (St. Augustine) — But we must remember, that not the minister is the author of these miracles, but the grace which is in him, who performs these wonders by virtue of the power of Christ. (St. Cyril)

[size=2]The Church says that only ordained priests are permitted to exorcise[/size].

Not so. As I stated earlier quoting the excerpt from Lumen Gentium, these gifts/charisms may also be bestowed upon lay persons, but they need to obtain authorization from their local Ordinary prior to using them.

The Catholic Church used to have minor orders, of which exorcist was one (the others were porter, lector, subdeacon, and acolyte); they were abolished by Pope Ven. Paul VI. Now the Church only has major orders, i.e. those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders (deacon, priest, bishop).

Now I’m in no way an expert historian on this particular matter, but let’s keep something in mind. 1) Even if laypeople were once permitted to exorcise by the Church, they were still instituted into the position. One didn’t simply decide one day to fight demons in the name of Christ – the Church appointed them to that duty. 2) What happened in the past is not really relevant. The current binding legislation upon all faithful Catholics is that only ordained priests are permitted to exorcise. It is dissent to advocate or do otherwise.

Do you have source proof besides your own infallible opinion? What about the official “Dogmatic Constitution” Lumen Gentium? Are we to discard it in favor of EphelDuath’s interpretation?

Is this change connected to the binding and loosing authority of Matt 18:18?

Yes. Because of the authority given to Peter, whose successor is the Bishop of Rome, he is the Supreme Pontiff and his decrees are binding on all Christians, except in the (exceedingly rare) case where sin is blatantly commanded. Since he is the arbiter of Canon Law, a Catholic is committing dissent against his lawful authority by not acknowledging that only ordained priests have faculties to exorcise.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.