Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The exorcist squads.....where are they?

A 1940s child's view of devils - courtesy of Fr Gerard Scriven, White Father
In 2007 the Holy Father issued a directive to all Bishops requesting that they take urgent steps to create or strengthen their teams of exorcists. What has happened? The truth is, I don't know, I can't get a clear answer from any Bishop's press office that I contact. I suspect that not very much has happened.
Yet, Pope Benedict issued his orders in full appreciation that the forces of Satan are on the march (apologies if that sounds like Lord of the Rings speak but Tolkien, I am sure was cognisant of the way the world was going when he wrote his trilogy).
Satan is real, demonic influences surround us, abortion, terrorism, euthanasia, genocide, child abuse, family structure in freefall, secularism and the host of other corrosive elements that we now face on a daily basis.

The Exorcist - not too far from the truth
I recall having a conversation with the Westminster Diocesan exorcist, Fr B, many years ago. He told me that he had been commissioned to exorcise a house and had duly arrived with the key and his required sacramentals including a holy water stoup and sprinkler (someone will tell me the latin name for such an item, I am sure). He had not reached very far into the house before he became aware of a most oppressive and overpowering presence, the air chilled imediately to a sub zero temperature and he was, naturally petrified. "What did you do then, Father" I asked.
"Dropped everything and fled" he responded. "It was beyond me to remain there any longer". We tend not to think too deeply about such subjects which is all well and good, but we should not, in any way, underestimate the grip that is on the world and pray regularly and frequently to St Michael and Our Lady. Only two years ago Cardinal Tettamanzi issued a ten point caveat regarding the devil, here it is:

10 points regarding the devil

  1. Do not forget that the devil exists
  2. Do not forget that the Devil is a tempter
  3. Do not forget that the devil is very intelligent and very astute
  4. Be vigilant concerning your eyes and heart – be strong in spirit and virtue
  5. Firmly believe in the victory of Christ over the tempter
  6. Remember that Christ makes you a participant in His victory
  7. Listen carefully to the word of God
  8. Be humble and love mortification
  9. Pray without flagging
  10. Love the Lord your God and offer worship to Him only

Cardinal Tettamanzi’s Decalogue against Temptation


  1. I would also point out that exorcism has been so sensationalized by the secular media that it is greatly misunderstood. Many exorcists, including Fr. Gabriel Amorth, have reminded us that Exorcism is not a sacrament, but a sacramental, used when evil spirits take possession of a body. However, committing a mortal sin is the willing surrender of our soul to evil--my point being that Confession is more powerful than an exorcism and the exorcists will tell you that you can continue to deliver yourself from various levels of evil influence by frequent Confession and Communion.

  2. The holy water flingy-stick thing is an "aspergillium". Don't know if there is a name for the bucket that goes with it.

  3. Thanks Hilary. I recall it now you mention the word, brain cells are diminishing at an alarming rate!