Demon-busting Irish priest calls for more exorcists
The spooky religious practice dates back to the Dark Ages, when demonic possession was the go-to explanation for many problems, including mental illness. The practice is still very much alive within the Roman Catholic Church which published guidelines for exorcism as recently as 1999.
Now, Irish priest Fr. Pat Collins has claimed that demand for the banishing of demons has increased significantly. He added that he can’t see why exorcists are not being used more commonly to investigate incidents that appear to involve the “malicious activity” of the devil.
The Catholic priest spoke out after publishing an open letter explaining how the desire for exorcisms has “risen exponentially.”
“What I’m finding out desperately, is people who in their own minds believe – rightly or wrongly – that they’re afflicted by an evil spirit,” he told the Irish Catholic newspaper.
“I think in many cases they wrongly think it, but when they turn to the Church, the Church doesn’t know what to do with them and they refer them on either to a psychologist or to somebody that they’ve heard of that is interested in this form of ministry, and they do fall between the cracks and often are not helped,” he said.
In 1999, the Vatican renewed a decree on exorcisms under Pope John Paul II.
In the document, the church describes exorcism as a ‘pious supplication’ through which god can set Christians free from dangers, including the “snares of the devil.”
It directs priests, who have been given the authority to carry out exorcisms, to begin by sprinkling holy water before reciting a number of prayers before the ‘possessed’ person.
The priest must then place his hands on the person before breathing on their face.
“When these things have been completed, the exorcist shows the troubled person the lord’s cross, which is the source of every blessing and grace, and the sign of the cross is made over the person, by which Christ’s power over the devil is shown,” the renewed guidelines state.
It warns practitioners not to make a spectacle of the ritual.
“The exorcism should be performed in such a way that it manifest the faith of the church and that no one can consider it as a magical or superstitious activity,” the document reads.