How Do You Suppose One Decides On Becoming An Exocist?


#1

I have been discerning my vocation quite a bit lately, and I am not saying that I want to become an exorcist, but it does intrigue me. What signs or what charisms do you suppose a person must possess to become an exorcist? I understand that a priest who is an exorcist must have a great grasp on their faith due to the challenges that exorcisms and the devil may place in front of them. But I am wondering what is the draw or why a priest would decide to become an exorcist.

God bless,
Joshua


#2

I think usually most exorcists don't ask to become exorcists. Most of the time they're just priests who are asked by their bishop to become exorcists. I don't know if any priest actively goes out looking for that assignment.


#3

Usually the ones that want the position, doesn't get it. The Bishop will use his judgement on whom he chooses. I actually attended a presentation that the Exorcist of my Diocese gave. It was a nice talk


#4

I knew our diocesan exorcist quite well before he moved to the East Coast for another calling. I never got the chance to ask him whether or not he was asked to take the position or if he applied for it. He was a very intelligent and extremely spiritual scripture scholar. He was such a blessing to have around the parish.

Joshua


#5

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:2, topic:269687"]
I think usually most exorcists don't ask to become exorcists. Most of the time they're just priests who are asked by their bishop to become exorcists. I don't know if any priest actively goes out looking for that assignment.

[/quote]

I agree.

I think one quality of an exorcist is to be robustly sane. And deeply spiritual. And strong-minded. I don't think that's the simplest combination to find.


#6

I always wondered about this.
:popcorn:


#7

[quote="joshvanrad, post:1, topic:269687"]
I have been discerning my vocation quite a bit lately, and I am not saying that I want to become an exorcist, but it does intrigue me. What signs or what charisms do you suppose a person must possess to become an exorcist? I understand that a priest who is an exorcist must have a great grasp on their faith due to the challenges that exorcisms and the devil may place in front of them. But I am wondering what is the draw or why a priest would decide to become an exorcist.

God bless,
Joshua

[/quote]

Joshua,

Priests are appointed by their bishops to become exorcists, and then sent for training and then guidance (hopefully from another experienced exorcist). They do not choose to become an exorcist as part of their vocation.

If you want, I can send you my list of resources on the subject from previous postings here on CAF. Fr. Rippenger's audio seminar on Spiritual Warfare mentions the fasting and praying that must be performed to fortify and protect the Exorcist from spiritual attacks (which can include extreme temptations to sin).


#8

[quote="Sonic, post:7, topic:269687"]
Joshua,

Priests are appointed by their bishops to become exorcists, and then sent for training and then guidance (hopefully from another experienced exorcist). They do not choose to become an exorcist as part of their vocation.

If you want, I can send you my list of resources on the subject from previous postings here on CAF. Fr. Rippenger's audio seminar on Spiritual Warfare mentions the fasting and praying that must be performed to fortify and protect the Exorcist from spiritual attacks (which can include extreme temptations to sin).

[/quote]

That would be wonderful.

Thank you,
Joshua


#9

[quote="joshvanrad, post:1, topic:269687"]
I have been discerning my vocation quite a bit lately, and I am not saying that I want to become an exorcist, but it does intrigue me. What signs or what charisms do you suppose a person must possess to become an exorcist? I understand that a priest who is an exorcist must have a great grasp on their faith due to the challenges that exorcisms and the devil may place in front of them. But I am wondering what is the draw or why a priest would decide to become an exorcist.

God bless,
Joshua

[/quote]

Hello Joshua,
Firstly, in the Catholic Church, in order to be an exorcist, you must be an ordained priest. With the above qualities, as well as holiness and discernment, you would then be recognized and then appointed to be an assistant to exorcism. After a while, it would then become clear that you possess (pardon the pun) the "right stuff", at which point you would be appointed an exorcist. Then you must be an older person, having experienced physical, material and spiritual trials. You yourself cannot "choose" to be an exorcist... it is a charism which is recognized in the person by the bishop and his fellow clerics. Not everyone is chosen and not everyone can do this... it is not something to go into lightly and takes a long time for the office to be formed. Having said this, one can have a gift for this (rare), but you still need to be a priest and properly formed.


#10

Of course it used to be, exorcist was one of the stages every priest went through on the way to final ordination. Every priest had the training for exorcist.


#11

Wow, I never knew that


#12

That’s part of why it used to take so long to become a priest, as well. It used to be seven years (not sure what it is now) but there are no longer seven levels of priesthood, just two–deacon and priest–instead of one for each year of formation.


#13

I may be mistaken, but I thought that exorcisms fell to the bishop and that it was pretty rare to even have an exorcist on "staff"?


#14

[quote="adopted_heir, post:12, topic:269687"]
That's part of why it used to take so long to become a priest, as well. It used to be seven years (not sure what it is now) but there are no longer seven levels of priesthood, just two--deacon and priest--instead of one for each year of formation.

[/quote]

Seminary normally takes eight years now. That can be shortened if the seminarian already has a degree (especially in Philosophy).

Be careful that you are as precise in your terms as you need to be. There are not "seven levels of priesthood" (and there never have been). Priesthood is one of the levels of the Sacrament of Holy Orders (of which there are three levels: deacon, priest, and bishop). A bishop is also a priest and deacon. A priest is also a deacon. A priest is not a bishop, and a deacon is neither a priest nor a bishop.


#15

No, there are not now seven levels in the meaning that there are seven different kinds of priests, but there used to be seven degrees or orders of priesthood (beyond deacon, priest, and bishop’s not even counting). There were the Minor Orders, while the priest-to-be was still discerning his vocation. He had minor ordinations and was given specific function at different grades along his formation, and before he reached the Major Orders he was allowed to leave the priesthood. The Minor Orders (which were instituted by the Church and so are not included in the Sacrament of Holy Orders) were: Door-keepers, lectors, exorcists, and acolytes. The Major Orders are: Subdeacons, Deacons, and Priests. Bishops have a separate consecration. This was the case from the beginning of Christendom until within the last century, when the Minor Orders were smashed together under the heading of deacon, or else virtually eliminated (as is the case of exorcists–not many of them now). So, until about fifty years ago, a man could be an exorcist without the fullness of priesthood (Final Orders), and even before he was required to observe celibacy.


#16

[quote="adopted_heir, post:15, topic:269687"]
No, there are not now seven levels in the meaning that there are seven different kinds of priests, but there used to be seven degrees or orders of priesthood (beyond deacon, priest, and bishop's not even counting). There were the Minor Orders, while the priest-to-be was still discerning his vocation. He had minor ordinations and was given specific function at different grades along his formation, and before he reached the Major Orders he was allowed to leave the priesthood. The Minor Orders (which were instituted by the Church and so are not included in the Sacrament of Holy Orders) were: Door-keepers, lectors, exorcists, and acolytes. The Major Orders are: Subdeacons, Deacons, and Priests. Bishops have a separate consecration. This was the case from the beginning of Christendom until within the last century, when the Minor Orders were smashed together under the heading of deacon, or else virtually eliminated (as is the case of exorcists--not many of them now). So, until about fifty years ago, a man could be an exorcist without the fullness of priesthood (Final Orders), and even before he was required to observe celibacy.

[/quote]

I would hesitate to assert, though, that seminarians who reached the minor order of exorcist were actively performing the ministry of exorcism that we're talking about here. Probably at one time in history they did, hence the name, but I'd have to see more documentation to believe that in recent centuries they did.


#17

I can't think of what else they would be doing then. I suppose deacons only deaconed in the last few years? Exorcisms aren't often like the movies, they're not always big grand productions. The Baptismal Rite was preceded by an exorcism. So, if these seminarians ever baptised, they were using their training as exorcists. The training and use of exorcists had persisted as a constant in the Church up until the huge upheaval beginning in the early '50s and culminating with Vatican II. The last few decades of having specially-appointed, specially-trained, and especially rare exorcists is the exception of Church history, rather than the rule.


#18

I, too, am under the impression that nobody chooses to be an exorcist. It’s chosen for him, and I get the impression that it’s reluctantly taken for the most part.

Long ago, I had occasion to meet the exorcist who was the real-life exorcist in the event that was the basis for the book and movie “The Exorcist”. I knew who he was because a relative of his told me about him. I then met him at a retreat. Very nice. Seemed very holy, but also sort of “otherwordly distracted” or something. You got the impression that he was there in the sense of being aware of things, but that in some important way, he “wasn’t there”.

One of the priests giving the retreat briefly mentioned that the exorcist had never been the same after the experience. He explained that confronting ultimate evil is just not something a person gets over. He further stated that he, himself, wouldn’t undertake it for anything.

I think many, if not most, priests know that, and that’s why I think they have to be appointed to do it. I don’t think anybody who has any idea what it is, ever seeks the role.


#19

I can imagine that a priest isn't ever quite the same after battling Satan in the body and mind of a human being.

:eek:

There is a price to be paid, I'm sure.


#20

The only exocist I have ever known was the most spiritually adept person I have ever personally met.


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