Regarding exorcisms


#1

I was reading about the rite of exorcism on Catholic Encyclopedia, and I read one line that intrigued me: it said that exorcism was not always limited to the ordained, but the lay could also perform some exorcisms, specifically, those not used against diabolical possession, but rather infestation and the such. Is this true? If so, what kind of prayer is used by the layman in question?


#2

You may want to look up information on prayers for healing and deliverance (healing/deliverance ministry). Francis McNutt is a good Catholic author for what you are looking for.

Other phrases to look up would include "obsession" (as opposed to possession) and "discerning spirits". Priests or lay people who believe that the Holy Spirit is still active as it was during the Apostolic Age and who believe that we can receive and use (for the Glory of God) all the spiritual gifts that St. Paul talks about in his letters could have insights for you.

I do not want to get into any debates regarding this. The OP can take this information as jumping off points for his/her own research and prayer.


#3

[quote="Aeden, post:1, topic:300366"]
I was reading about the rite of exorcism on Catholic Encyclopedia, and I read one line that intrigued me: it said that exorcism was not always limited to the ordained, but the lay could also perform some exorcisms, specifically, those not used against diabolical possession, but rather infestation and the such. Is this true? If so, what kind of prayer is used by the layman in question?

[/quote]

It is not licit for any lay faithful to perform exorcisms against possessions. Not even all the ordained can perform them: only bishops and those whom they have specifically appointed for this ministry.

Can. 1172 §1. No one can perform exorcisms legitimately upon the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local ordinary.

With regards to the exorcisms against infestations etc., the lay faithful may not licitly perform them either, according to the Inde Ab Aliquot Annis, which forbids not only the solemn exorcism (already mentioned in the Code of Canon Law) but also the so-called "exorcism of St. Michael" (not to be confused with this prayer, fully allowed).

It is also forbidden for "those who lack the required power" to "attempt to lead assemblies in which prayers are employed to obtain liberation from demons, and in the course of which the demons are directly disturbed and an attempt is made to determine their identity" (prohibition that includes obsession of persons and infestation of places).

Let this scripture be a word of prudent admonition for the unauthorized thinking to perform exorcisms:

the evil spirit replied, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?" And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them


#4

[quote="R_C, post:3, topic:300366"]
It is not licit for any lay faithful to perform exorcisms against possessions. Not even all the ordained can perform them: only bishops and those whom they have specifically appointed for this ministry.

With regards to the exorcisms against infestations etc., the lay faithful may not licitly perform them either, according to the Inde Ab Aliquot Annis, which forbids not only the solemn exorcism (already mentioned in the Code of Canon Law) but also the so-called "exorcism of St. Michael" (not to be confused with this prayer, fully allowed).

It is also forbidden for "those who lack the required power" to "attempt to lead assemblies in which prayers are employed to obtain liberation from demons, and in the course of which the demons are directly disturbed and an attempt is made to determine their identity" (prohibition that includes obsession of persons and infestation of places).

Let this scripture be a word of prudent admonition for the unauthorized thinking to perform exorcisms:

[/quote]

I see. Thank's for the clarification of the St. Michael prayer vs the exorcism of St. Michael.


#5

[quote="Aeden, post:4, topic:300366"]
I see. Thank's for the clarification of the St. Michael prayer vs the exorcism of St. Michael.

[/quote]

Indeed, Pope Leo XIII had directed in 1886 that the prayer to St. Michael be said after Mass, something that ceased to be done in 1964. However, Pope John Paul II stated in 1994:

The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St Michael the Archangel (cf. Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had this picture in mind when, at the end of the last century, he brought in, throughout the Church, a special prayer to St Michael: 'Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil...' Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.

The only prayer that is called "exorcism" that a lay faithful can have access to that I know of is the prayer inscribed on the Medal or Cross of St. Benedict. The medal or cross requires a specific blessing. However, as far as I know, the "exorcism" is inscribed on the medal or cross because it is meant to be worn, not recited.


#6

[quote="R_C, post:3, topic:300366"]
It is not licit for any lay faithful to perform exorcisms against possessions. Not even all the ordained can perform them: only bishops and those whom they have specifically appointed for this ministry.

With regards to the exorcisms against infestations etc., the lay faithful may not licitly perform them either, according to the Inde Ab Aliquot Annis, which forbids not only the solemn exorcism (already mentioned in the Code of Canon Law) but also the so-called "exorcism of St. Michael" (not to be confused with this prayer, fully allowed).

It is also forbidden for "those who lack the required power" to "attempt to lead assemblies in which prayers are employed to obtain liberation from demons, and in the course of which the demons are directly disturbed and an attempt is made to determine their identity" (prohibition that includes obsession of persons and infestation of places).

Let this scripture be a word of prudent admonition for the unauthorized thinking to perform exorcisms:

[/quote]

This is, of course, all true... but there is still a difference between levels of "possession", ranging all the way down from the supposed "perfect posession"... and I would hesitate to say that some sort of seemingly spiritually related infestation even counts as "possession" since it involves no acceptance of the human will whatsoever.

What must be understood is that there is a SEVERE difference between praying for someone who is having an issue, or perhaps providing them with Holy Water and other sacramentals, and actually attempting to deliver the person from a demon (which requires authority of a bishop, which can be delegated to a priest, and requires contact with the demon to ascertain its identity). The latter should NEVER be done by lay persons, the former is allowed.


#7

Here from the CDF:

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19850924_exorcism_en.html


#8

[quote="Actaeon, post:6, topic:300366"]
I would hesitate to say that some sort of seemingly spiritually related infestation even counts as "possession" since it involves no acceptance of the human will whatsoever.

.

[/quote]

Not that I would use infestation in terms of persons (rather places) it is important to note that "possession" does not need to involve any "acceptance" per se.


#9

[quote="Actaeon, post:6, topic:300366"]
What must be understood is that there is a SEVERE difference between praying for someone who is having an issue, or perhaps providing them with Holy Water and other sacramentals, and actually attempting to deliver the person from a demon (which requires authority of a bishop, which can be delegated to a priest, and requires contact with the demon to ascertain its identity). The latter should NEVER be done by lay persons, the former is allowed.

[/quote]

You make a good point.

The Inde Ab Aliquot Annis does include infestations and any events that may be the result of the adversary's work:

This applies even to cases which, although they do not involve true diabolical possession, nevertheless are seen in some way to manifest diabolical influence.

However, the document does not forbid prayer at all...in fact, it exhorts us to it:

Of course, the enunciation of these norms should not stop the faithful of Christ from praying, as Jesus taught us, that they may be freed from evil (cf. Mt 6:13). Moreover, Pastors should take this opportunity to remember what the tradition of the Church teaches about the function properly assigned to the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles and the Saints, even in the spiritual battle of Christians against the evil spirits.

To pray that us or our brothers may be free from evil, or to provide them with sacramentals, or to direct them to the Church and to the Sacraments, is something between souls of brothers, and no attempt is made to directly disturb anyone! If anyone is disturbed by such natural good deeds, he is of course free to leave :D


#10

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