Are lay people allowed to perform functions similar to that of exorcists (driving away demons from possessed people; cleansing haunted houses or accursed locations)?
Laypeople are not able to perform exorcisms in the sense you’re thinking of them. An formal exorcism cannot even be done by every priest, but only priests appointed to do so by an Ordinary.
Laypeople, as part of their vocation to work for the sanctification of all of the world, however, are invited to pray for the liberation of people and places from diabolical influence. This, however, should not take the place of formal exorcism when needed, and laypeople praying for liberation from diabolical influence should not try to imitate a priest performing an exorcism — they’re two very different functions.
No, only specially trained and appointed priests can exorcise demons.
And, don’t try it. You are not equipped to battle Satan. You may well put your own soul at risk.
CCC 1673 When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcising. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called “a major exorcism,” can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.
Try telling that to some people I know…I’ve been pinned to the floor before now because of a “cough” (apparently that meant I was possessed…:rolleyes:)
Edit: I should state they are NOT catholics