How to Become an Exorcist – Part 1
You are currently visiting the introductory post in a series which will teach you the process of becoming a Catholic exorcist. Here you will find some background information on the practice. Part 2 presents the general rules for conducting exorcisms. All information included in this series is taken from the 1952 English translation of the Rituale Romanum.
One of the more interesting Catholic practices is that of exorcism. It’s something which we see in horror movies and faked YouTube videos, but we never see it in real life. This creates some mystery surrounding the practice, and many people wonder what exorcism is all about.
Then they go looking for information about exorcisms on the internet, and they find a lot of unreliable information. Usually, their most trustworthy resources are either occult sites run by people spell magic with a ‘k’ or journalists providing shallow reports on exorcisms.
They are not exactly the kind of people Christians should ask in order to understand their own theology.
Now, I happen to own some resources published by the Catholic Church on the topic of exorcism. So I figured that I was in a position to share some accurate information on the topic.
Here’s what the Catholic Church says about exorcisms. I have structured it in the form of a Question and Answer forum in order to directly address common questions.
How to Become an Exorcist – Q & A
What is exorcism?
Exorcism is the process by which a possessing spirit is driven from its host.
Who can perform an exorcism?
Exorcisms can only be performed by certain Catholic priests (or higher prelates) who have been trained to deliver them. Monks and nuns do not deliver exorcisms.
Do all evils arise because of demons?
No. Humans can do evil things without being possessed by demons. But any human who is possessed will still do evil things.
Are Christians required to believe in demonic possession?
Yes. The New Testament describes possession in multiple locations, and Jesus is described driving them out. These accounts are literally true.
You cannot be a Christian and reject the existence of demons.
Where do demons come from?
The origin of demons is described in the Book of Revelation (12:7-9).
“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels had to fight the dragon; the dragon fought, and so did his angels. But they were defeated, and a place was no longer found for them in heaven. That huge dragon, the ancient serpent, was hurled down, he who is called the devil and Satan, he who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled down to death, and his angels were hurled down with him.”
Did Christ and Satan fight?
Yes. Christ fought Satan on the cross and won. This victory differs from that which Christ achieved when he resisted Satan in the wilderness. By Christ’s victory, man has gained a resistance, although not an immunity, to demonic possession.
How to become an exorcist? – What tools are used during an exorcism?
From the Rituale Romanum (English Translation – 1952):
“Against these unclean spirits the Church uses as her weapons prayers, blessings, holy water, and other sacramentals to combat the ordinary power that the former wield over men.”
What is possession?
Possession can mean a few different things
- It can mean that Satan controls one’s will so completely that the victim’s evil surpasses common standards.
- Possession can mean Satan has entirely infected a person’s intellect.
- It may mean that Satan has assume dcontrol of a person’s senses.
- Or it could mean that Satan has driven a person to lunacy.
Where does the church get its power to exorcise demons from?
Christ gave his apostles several powers when he first sent them out to do his bidding. The ability to exorcise demons was among these. Certain members of the church descend from these apostles, and they have inherited the powers which Christ had first given.
How to become an exorcist – When was the proper procedure for exorcism finally determined?
The translated Rituale Romanum states that standardized exorcisms started to appear around the year 200 AD. But exorcism practice often changed over time. Many for these changes were for the worst.
Peasant superstitions made their way into exorcism practices during the Middle Ages. Moreover, most of what we envision when we think of an exorcism was invented during this time. The exorcisms we see in movies are of this kind.
The Catholic Church holds that many of the practices exorcists adopted during the Middle ages were faulty and need revision. Therefore, modern exorcists frequently update exorcism regulations in order to safely identify and remove medieval superstitions from the practice.
Why do demons want to possess people?
The demons hate God. Man is made in God’s image. Therefore, they hate man. Possession is one of their tools for harming humans.