Devil's in the detail: Exorcism guidebook translated into English for first time

Devil's in the detail: Exorcism guidebook translated into English for first time
In news that will come as a sign of relief to families of those possessed by demons the world over, the Catholic Church has announced the release of the first English translation of the exorcism ritual needed to cast out evil spirits.

There is a catch, however, as distribution of 'Exorcisms and Related Supplications' is restricted to bishops, though others, including exorcists, scholars, and seminarians, can get ahold of a copy if a bishop agrees.

“Given that there’s less facility in Latin than there used to be, even among priests, it opens the door to more priests to do this. Until now, not only did the priest have to be wise and holy, but he also had to have strong facility in Latin,” said Fr Andrew Menke, executive director at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), according to the Catholic Herald.

The USCCB approved the translation in 2014, but the Vatican only gave the go-ahead this spring.

Further to helping anglophone clergymen, hearing prayers in English, rather than Latin, can, according to Menke, also benefit the person seeking to rid themselves of Satan’s little helpers.

“The first and foremost reason for an exorcism is to rid the person of the demon. And whether the person understands what’s being said or not is irrelevant on one level. They just want to be free of this oppression,” he said.

“At the same time, exorcists have told me that for some people it can be a big help to hear words that they understand, words that are consoling, words that remind them of the power of Christ over the demons,” he added. “There’s a certain confidence that comes from hearing these words.”

While most of the book is exclusively for use by trained exorcists, it also contains some prayers that everyone can use. The collection ‘Supplications Which May Be Used by the Faithful Privately in Their Struggle Against the Powers of Darkness’ has been printed in a separate booklet and, perhaps unsurprisingly, is for sale by the publishing arm of the USCCB.