What is an Exorcism
Posted On March 4, 2022
If you’ve watched the 1973 film The Exorcist, you have at least an idea of what an exorcism is. As for me, I will leave the exorcism to the experts in this matter. Exorcisms are real and they are performed more often than people think.
Critics have branded exorcisms as religious nonsense and equated possession with a simple brain disorder or neurosis, and some have called exorcism methods inappropriate and exorcists unsophisticated due to their lack of understanding of mental problems. Catholic proponents of exorcism such as the late Father Gabriel Amorth (1925-2016) have argued that exorcisms are needed more than ever because cultural trends such as yoga and the Harry Potter franchise leave millions of people vulnerable to the demonic flu.
Exorcisms and Religion
While many Americans regard actual exorcisms as relics from the Middle Ages, exorcisms continue to be performed, often on people with emotional and mental disabilities. Exorcism, an ancient rite of exorcism of Satan and his demons from the souls of the possessed, flourishes in America and was long before the recent revelations that Mother Teresa underwent it and that it was performed by Pope John Paul II.
Mother Teresa isn’t the only famous Catholic figure associated with exorcisms. In fact, we don’t know of any other ancient figure to whom exorcism was so important. We know that from the early days of Jesus’ ministry, exorcism was an important part of his healing work.
Knowing the types of exorcism during the first and second centuries of our era helps to understand the exorcisms of Jesus. In the ancient world, exorcisms were thought to depend on the innate power of the exorcist, the perceived power of the exorcist, and specific words. or the actions used by exorcists to exorcise a demon from an exorcist.
Technically, an exorcism is not an exorcism by a devil or a demon, but an oath by a devil or a demon. Generally speaking, exorcism means liberating a place, a person, or even an object from some form of negative spiritual influence. Exorcism seeks to exorcise demons or free themselves from demonic possession through the spiritual authority entrusted to the Church by Pope Francis.
Exorcisms and Prayer
Exorcism is a prayer that falls under the category of sacramental, that is, one of the many sacred signs established by the Church “to sanctify various circumstances of life” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Churches, approx. and reading exorcistic prayers, a number of sacred symbols are used in the rite. may include holy water, crucifixes, and sacred ruins, as established by De Exorcismus et supplicationibus quibusdam, approved by Pope John Paul II’s updated exorcism manual in 1998.
New Age religions also have their own brand of exorcism, believing that the spirits of the dead and other supernatural beings regularly invade the lives of the living and sometimes possess the living and need to be ordered to leave. The most dangerous form of exorcism is to make the patient so uncomfortable that the spirit no longer wants to inhabit his body. A grand exorcism or formal exorcism (“I command you”) from a possessed person is rare today, as many apparent cases of possession have a psychological explanation; and the church tries to exhaust other possible explanations before embarking on an exorcism.
Given the nature of the work of devils and the possible complicity of the afflicted persons in subsequent demonic possession, the exorcist should, if possible, ascertain the consent of the afflicted person before proceeding with the rite. Indeed, exorcism rites should never be performed without a medical examination by a suitably qualified physician. Whether demons exist and whether they can possess a person is an empirical question, which should be based on real evidence.
Exorcisms and the Church
The Church teaches that a possessed person is not responsible for his evil deeds. In the Christian sense, this supreme authority is often Jesus Christ, based on the belief that the devil, demons of the devil, and evil spirits fear Christ. In other words, the success of Christian exorcisms in the name of Jesus depends on the same general conditions that both the effectiveness of prayer and the use of charismatic power depend on.
While the basis of exorcism is rooted in the ministry of Jesus Christ (cf. Uniquely, Jesus seems to have taken the exorcisms of Jesus not as signs or evidence of the expected Kingdom of God, but along with other healings as its fulfillment. Emphasizing spirits as Holy Spirit and demons alike, Pentecostalism is a branch of Protestantism that brought exorcism to the forefront and center of its practice in the 1970s.
The ancient practice of exorcism has been a frequent theme in fiction and film, and belief in demons and the supernatural is still popular. To compete with dynamic Pentecostals, especially in Africa and Latin America, the Catholic Church has had to step up its exorcism game, as has the recent conference at the Vatican and a spate of training courses for clergy interested in becoming an exorcist. The reasons for this increased demand are debated, but there are voices of reasonable concern that the increased use of exorcism rituals could harm vulnerable people.
As Kate Kingsbury and R. Andrew Chesnut point out in an article, exorcisms have become so common today that some exorcists even exorcise demons from a distance using mobile phones. If we look at different cultures, there is hardly any phenomenon, be it a behavior, an illness, a strange experience, or a natural disaster, that has not been attributed to spirits and has not been processed by exorcism. For example, in Catholicism and Anglicanism there are theological voices that completely deny the existence of demonic entities, but institutionally these churches allow the possibility of human possession and in such cases provide for a specialized ministry.
Protestant missionaries then helped spread this new type of spiritual warfare to the global South (developing countries in Asia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean), such that exorcism has now become standard practice in many churches in those regions.