Just curious how common exorcisms are these days. In late October, I watched a documentary on a cable network on the real story that inspired the movie ‘The Exorcist’ and admired the persistence and faithfulness of the primary priest involved in it. In the real story, the possessed person was actually a boy, not a girl. I didn’t previously know that.
I was just wondering if exorcisms still take place or is demon possession more apt to be chalked up to mental illness in today’s society. If they still occur, I wonder why we don’t hear more about them on the news?
Any insights would be appreciated.
Follow up question:
If exorcisms are still performed, does it take a priest with special qualifications or title to perform it or is any parish priest qualified to perform one?
No one knows. The priest who serves as the official exorcist in each Diocese has his identity kept quiet, since he would tend to attract mentally ill people.
We really don’t have any way of knowing. Those who go through the process are very scrutinized to make sure this indeed a spiritual possession, and not a mental affliction.
Nice to see you on the boards Tommy! I hope you are enjoying a peaceful and blessed Advent season.
Dioceses that are fortunate enough to have an Exorcist at their disposal, send those who have been evaluated by a knowledgeable Priest or layman, through exhaustive psychological and medical screenings.
More often than not, private exorcisms or deliverance prayers rather than the formal rite of exorcism, are tried first. All of this is done with the knowledge and blessings of the Bishop. Formal rites of Exorcism are indeed rare, but certainly do take place. The Church never talks much about these for obvious reasons.
If were not for the culture of death, kids playing with Ouija boards and the occult, if people went to Mass and prayed more, there would not be the level of exorcisms in the world that there is.
Could you just imagine what it would be like if someone needed an exorcism, and the news got wind of it.
You know how the news is. They are always looking for the sensational. The privacy of the person would not be respected. Reporters would probably be hanging around trying to be first to get the scoop. Some of them get pretty aggressive.
I have often wondered how some things even make the news. How do they know?
Thanks for the reply, esieffe. I can relate to what you said in your last paragraph.
My wife and I stayed in another city on our wedding anniversary a couple of years ago. The “Ghost Tour” at old hotel we stayed at (it was where we had stayed on our honeymoon 30 years earlier) was much more attended than the local church the next day.
Thanks to those who have replied, including Arizona Fat Gir (interesting name :)).
The rite of exorcism is not something we hear much about in Protestant circles, so I was a bit curious about it, especially if it still exists because I rarely hear it mentioned anymore. It was all the rave back in the 1970’s when the movie came out.
When *‘The Exorcist’ *movie came out, one night as a teenager I was listening to a Christian radio station at bedtime when my older brother, who was not religious at all at the time — knocked on my bedroom door and asked if he could hang out with me for a bit and talk about God and faith. Ironically, he has just seen the movie and was scared to death, He started asking questions about God and the Christian faith and the movie helped him realize there is a devil. He began his spiritual journey. He is now a committed Christian.
The book “hostage to the devil” describes what I have experienced. And I have worked and studied at deliverenced ministry. Novel Hayes is one such ministry. They have a week long deliverance seminar in April yearly
If you like the Exorcist, like myself, I suggest seeing the true sequel. William Peter Blatty wrote the Exorcist with an “Apostolic agenda”. The sequel follows the character of the astronaut (Captain William Cutshaw)who had the farewell party at Regan’s home. It was the scene where she comes downstairs and pees.
The sequel is called The Ningth Configuration, and is one of my all time favorite films.
They are quite common actually… they are just kept very quiet.
As for doing the ritual, there are actually 2 different rites of exorcism (outside of Baptism)… One can be done basically by any priest, the other requires special permission from the Ordinary - and yes, the demon will know if the priest is acting without permission in disobedience.
Father Gary Thomas was working as a parish priest in California when church leaders asked him to travel to Rome for training in the rite of exorcism. In Rome, as an apprentice to a veteran Italian exorcist, his eyes were opened to a darker side of the Catholic faith he had never known, and he came to see the battle between good and evil as never before. Journalist Matt Baglio had full access to Father Gary over the course of his training, and the astonishing story he found reveals that the phenomena of possession, demons, the Devil, and exorcism are not merely a remnant of the archaic past, but remain a fearsome power in many people’s lives even today. The inspiration for the movie The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins, this book provides a uniquely intimate glimpse into the chilling world of a real-life Roman Catholic exorcist.
Then for an instant the woman snapped out of the trance, saying,“A tear from Mary is all it took,” before falling back into the state.The exorcist was elated to know that Mary was present and help-ing. He instantly launched into a Hail Mary. Everyone in the roomjoined in, even the woman on the table. Yet somehow the exorcistknew it wasn’t over.
The demon must be hiding to allow her to recite theprayer,
he thought. “Say after me: Eternal Father, you are my Creator and I adore you,” he said to the demon.The woman thrashed and screamed. “No!” the demon barked.“I’m not going to say it! I must not say it, I can’t; it is against every-thing.”The exorcist could feel that the demon was weakening. He askedeveryone in the room to kneel. “Eternal Father, you are my Creator and I adore you,” he intoned, while everyone repeated him.The woman, sensing the torment of the demon, saw all the saintsin the room respond as well.“No, no, even those other ones kneeled down—the white one,the black one, and the little white one,” the demon said.
Then the ex-orcist noticed that the demon’s voice changed slightly to a tone of forced reverence when he added, “Her, her [Mary]—she kneeleddown as well.”
Thanks, JimG, Pablope, and e_c – especially for the links.
I find Catholicism fascinating in a lot of ways, and this is one area of interest.
I had heard somewhere where the demon possessed do not blaspheme Mary. Is that true? If so, I wonder why – does God not allow it or does Mary command respect from even the evil one? I will read the URLs and see what other interesting info there is on this subject of exorcism. it has been a curiosity of mine for a while, although dormant until now.