How are exorcists chosen?


#1

Hi. This isn't so much a question of faith but one to satisfy my curiosity. I've always wondered how priests are chosen to train as exorcists. I know my former parish priest was the exorcist for our diocese and he apparently studied in Rome for a couple of years, and I was watching The Rite and the seminarian was sent to Rome for a formal course as well. Is there a special criteria as to who is chosen, or can priests themselves volunteer to undertake it?


#2

[quote="Aphraxus, post:1, topic:329792"]
Hi. This isn't so much a question of faith but one to satisfy my curiosity. I've always wondered how priests are chosen to train as exorcists. I know my former parish priest was the exorcist for our diocese and he apparently studied in Rome for a couple of years, and I was watching The Rite and the seminarian was sent to Rome for a formal course as well. Is there a special criteria as to who is chosen, or can priests themselves volunteer to undertake it?

[/quote]

i'm also as curious as you are on this matter.i hope the answers will come in soon.:D


#3

I would venture that there is a “discernment” process in place however it is unclear who makes the discernment :smiley:
The candidate? The Bishop?
In the movie “the rite” the prospective candidate was not very keen in pursuing this “line of work” hinting that the discerning was done by someone else :thumbsup:

I have come to believe through personal experience that Bishops AND priests are sometimes “illuminated” by the Holy Spirit and this in turn effects some response over the discerning.

Just my worthless :twocents:

Peace!


#4

I too want to see were this goes…:popcorn:


#5

As far as I know, the ministry of exorcism is reserved to the bishop, who will personally chose diocesan priests and delegate them the authority to perform the solemn rite. Definitely volunteering is out of question, given the peculiar nature of the task. The Rite specifies that candidates should have specific marks, too. This is a ministry in which the priest steps between a victim and one or more quite powerful bullies who will happen to know every single sin he ever committed and all his weaknesses. An old exorcist oncr said that he wouldnt touch a case of possession with a stick if it wasn't under strict obedience.

I read that currently in the US there are about 50 priest exorcists (don't know about religious orders, they work in a different fashion I think) but there may be a need for at least one per diocese.


#6

I found this canonlawmadeeasy.com/2012/10/11/who-can-conduct-an-exorcism/ which supplies some information and is a good read to begin with, but it leaves us lacking on how it is currently done. It is a start for those that are interested though.


#7

I would ask my former parish priest but I get the sense that he prefers to keep his exorcist status low key. He never actually said that he was the designated exorcist for the diocese…it only came out because someone at the parish office inadvertently blabbed. I suspect he would prefer not to talk about it because it would attract questions like this.

I’d imagine that priests would be rather reluctant to become exorcists in any case. Which does make me wonder whether it’s a calling within the calling of the priesthood.

From the article…

"The Code of Canon Law does not specify that a bishop must appoint an official diocesan exorcist, who is to be called on in all cases of possession, but in some dioceses, like Chicago, bishops have done just that. It is also possible for a bishop to choose a priest to act as exorcist only when a case arises—which means that there are many dioceses where no priest has the permanent title of “diocesan exorcist.” "

So a bishop has authority to appoint a diocesan exorcist. That’s something. Now all we need is how he picks his candidates.


#8

I liked that movie! :thumbsup:


#9

I watched and listened to some interviews with the priest that the movie (and book) The Rite were based on. Fr. Gary Thomas said that he was appointed by the bishop. He discusses this around 1:58 in this video: youtube.com/watch?v=pNDEC63NzGI


#10

I don’t know the answer to that, but I have known two exorcists in my lifetime. I will not disclose their identity or location. The first one is deceased and performed an exorcism in the mid-1970’s of my then best friend’s father who was possessed. The second one I have recently met because the Archbishop of the Diocese has assigned him to me. I knew right away that he was/is an exorcist. Of course he had not revealed anything to me, but through logic and discernment, I suspected from the beginning that he was an exorcist. We had talked on the phone a few times prior to our meeting. I could just sense that he was an exorcist somehow because I had known one 28 years ago or so, and it’s a feeling that one cannot forget. Immediately after we concluded our first meeting in person ( I don’t remember 99% of the meeting because I was in a dissociative state), but do remember that as the priest was saying his goodbye’s to us, and right before my wife and I got into the car, I turned around and bluntly asked him, " Are you an exorcist?" He immediately spoke the truth and said " yes". I suppose that we both have some kind of discernment. my wife said that during the meeting that he said I was experiencing oppression.


#11

I believe the only mention in the law is the profound suggestions that the code makes. The rest is the sole discretion of the bishop, whether volunteers, recommendations, lottery, or prayerful discernment on his part, and discernment and/or obedience on the part of the priest.

My hope and believe is that exorcists are chosen with some prayerful discernment.


#12

This is actually something i always wanted to know to. I think that priest that get this job are appointed by there dioceses bishop. And from there i think that there would be training for that rite unless it is already covered in the seminary.


#13

The book The Rite, which the movie was based on, talks about this quite a bit. Fr Thomas was chosen by his bishop and he has trained many other exorcists throughout the country. It's really a good book, and nothing like the movie.


#14

The bishop chooses them. In the case that the movie the excorcist was based on one priest gathered the evidence and when he presented it to the bishop he thought the bishop was going to assign him to perform the excorcism. The bishop chose someone else.


#15

I read a book from local library about real life exorcisms. It was vague on who chooses. It mainly indicated the Church did the choosing. There was no hint of anybody volunteering. The book said that the main reason for choosing a priest is the depth and strength of his faith and that he had to really believe in the devil and evil spirits. I'm tempted to go get the book and read again now because of this thread.


#16

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