Exorcism and the Catholic Church

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Although the Catholic Church strayed from exorcisms during Pope John Paul II, the practice has received renewed focus in recent years. Information has recently hit the news that Mother Teresa actually underwent an exorcism. Even the venerable Pope John Paul II performed exorcisms. According to the Italian news channels, he attempted an exorcism on a 19-year-old girl.

Compared to previous years, exorcisms are growing at an alarming rate in the United States. There are ten official exorcists known to be working in the United States. A decade ago, there was just one. These exorcists report experiencing supernatural behaviors like wounds, levitation and unusual scars.

For a Catholic exorcism, the ritual is planned out in advance and takes several hours to finish. It involves sacred objects, holy water and the cross. To carry out the exorcism, priests use a manual that was recently updated by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

In early July, the news began reporting on Pope Francis’ stance on exorcism. He has recently given his support to priests who exorcise demons. Altogether, there are 250 priests who are a part of the International Association of Exorcists. Pope Francis has stood out from previous popes due to his focus on personifying Satan and his works. Video footage from 2013 shows Pope Francis praying over a boy in a wheelchair. Within moments, the boy exhaled and slumped deeper into his chair. Although the incident was downplayed by the Vatican, further reports showed that Pope Francis used a prayer to rid the boy of evil.

Dealing with exorcisms is not new for Protestants and Catholics. In the United States, there are more Protestant exorcists than there are Catholic exorcists. Many Protestants who believe in exorcisms believe that it is a natural way to deal with evil. Unfortunately, the techniques used by some Protestant ministers has resulted in death. In 1997, a 5-year-old girl was forced to swallow ammonia and vinegar that ultimately killed her.