PDA

View Full Version : Priests and Exorcisms



Nuwanda
10-21-2013, 07:56 PM
I'm having trouble finding some information on google. Perhaps I'm not asking the right questions...sometimes I feel google is more like the Iching, always waiting for the proper question to be asked.

Anyway, I'm looking on information about exorcisms and how much a priest needs to know about demonic symbols, such as the Sigil of Lucifer from Grimorium Verum, or The Seal of Murmur.

Would it be plausible that my priest character might have a regular correspondence with a high priestess of Theistic Satanism? Are there books that will detail the rituals and how many exorcisms the average priest goes through a year?

I do have a contact with a Liberal Catholic Priest, but as most people "needing an exorcism" are referred to a psychologist, I've actually stumped him on these questions. He has given me direction to a few documentaries on the exorcisms and suggested reading Blatty's The Exorcist and has cautioned that it is It is 'the rare bird who actually has the Catholic Rite of Exorcism performed to rid him or her of demons'.

I'm hitting a lot of road blocks with social media when I do google. Mostly horror movies pop up and I'm not seeing much on the actual study and preparation for it.

Any understanding would be appreciated!

Update:
I've stumbled upon two more books about the act of exorcism: Interview with an Exorcist and The Rite (I've seen the movie with Mr. Yum Yum) but I'm still unsure how much this will tell me about their studies of demonology and the other questions posed above.

evilrooster
10-21-2013, 10:49 PM
I have Volume II of the Roman Ritual (the actual book priests worked from) from 1952. Alongside instructions for various types of burial and blessings, it has a chapter on exorcism. The chapter has introductory notes in English, a rubric in English and Latin, and the ritual itself in English and Latin.

(If you want your character to have one: the book itself is black, clothbound, about 14cm x 22cm x 3.5 cm, with gilt edges and rounded corners. The lettering on it is gold, in a font that looks like it dates back to the 1930's. The volume has a single faded red-gold marker ribbon. The paper is thick -- not onionskin -- and makes a pleasing rustle as the leaves are tunrned.)

A little Googling of distinctive phrases leads me to this pdf (http://www.sadena.com/Books-Texts/Roman%20Rite%20of%20Exorcism.pdf), which looks to have the same text as the English translations in my book.

Nothing in the book would help a priest decide that an exorcism was needed, which is where I would expect the demonic symbols would come in. The principle of exorcism is that it's not the demon's symbols that have power, but the evil spirit itself, and that the priest is helping the possessed person to drive it out with prayer, scripture, faith, and the sign of the cross.

evilrooster
10-21-2013, 10:54 PM
The language in the rite is beautiful, by the way:


I adjure thee, therefore, thou profligate dragon, in the name of the spotless † Lamb, Who walked upon the asp and the basilisk and tread underfoot the lion and the dragon, depart from this man †(on the brow), depart from the Church of God †(signing the bystanders).

I have always wanted to find a place to use "profligate dragon", preferably as an insult.

But I digress.

Chris P
10-21-2013, 10:56 PM
I was told by a priest that there are criteria that must be met to determine a true possession, such as absence of mental illness, speaking in tongues (the priest said it needed to be an actual language that the possessed would have no way of knowing, and not just gibberish), and levitation. Where he went to get his list of criteria, I don't know. I'm 99% sure it's not in the catechism.

The subject is fascinating! I wish I knew more about it.

evilrooster
10-21-2013, 11:02 PM
I was told by a priest that there are criteria that must be met to determine a true possession, such as absence of mental illness, speaking in tongues (the priest said it needed to be an actual language that the possessed would have no way of knowing, and not just gibberish), and levitation. Where he went to get his list of criteria, I don't know. I'm 99% sure it's not in the catechism.

The translated rubric from the rite says:


Especially, he should not believe too readily that a person is possessed by an evil spirit; but he ought to ascertain the signs by which a person possessed can be distinguished from one who is suffering from melancholy or some other illness. Signs of possession are the following: ability to speak with some facility in a strange tongue or to understand it when spoken by another; the faculty of divulging future and hidden events; display of powers which are beyond the subject's age and natural condition; and various other indications which, taken together as a whole, pile up the evidence.

(The rubric also suggests a kind of post-exorcism interview to find out how different parts of the ritual made the possessed person feel, in order to refine the emphasis for future exorcisms.)

Siri Kirpal
10-21-2013, 11:27 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I've recently edited a memoir by someone who went through multiple exorcisms, but not the Catholic variety. Based on it, I don't think the exorcist had a whole lot of knowledge.

The author is on AW (sometimes). Her name here is writer2author. (I think that's right.) You could contact her. Or if you would like, I could contact her and ask if it's okay to share the memoir with you.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Kylabelle
10-21-2013, 11:33 PM
I once knew a (non-Catholic) priest who himself did exorcisms. He had talked with Catholic priests about this, and he said he was told there is a problem among them with lack of enough exorcists to do the needed work. He said it is because doing exorcisms takes a great toll upon their health.

I am passing this on simply for whatever value it may have. I suspect the Rooster's book of Rites is the best source of actual facts. Yet I also have no doubt whatever that doing such rites does indeed take quite a toll, spiritual protection or no.

FWIW.

Nuwanda
10-22-2013, 01:03 AM
Thank you everyone! You've all been helpful! It seems that from the answers given, my character would have to do his own research in demonology if he wished to be more educated on what he was up against and that the preparation is that of spiritual warfare and not necessarily a Winchester understanding of demons? Is that right?

The book of rites seems fascinating! I saw it mentioned briefly on wikipedia & I've downloaded the pdf. Thank you! I think mentioning his health post exorcism is also important! I will also contact writer 2author. :)

melindamusil
10-22-2013, 01:59 AM
You mentioned that your character is corresponding with a Satanic priestess. Is he specifically contacting her for advice about exorcisms, or is it a more general thing? If he is just an amateur anthropologist/sociologist and fascinated by other religions, maybe he just contacts her because he wants to learn more about her beliefs. (At least in the beginning of their relationship - after they've gotten to know each other better, then maybe he can ask more specific questions.)

The other possibility is that he gets to know her entirely outside of a religious context. They first met while they were both volunteering at a soup kitchen, or she's a friend of a friend, or they're cousins...

Kylabelle
10-22-2013, 01:59 AM
Thank you everyone! You've all been helpful! It seems that from the answers given, my character would have to do his own research in demonology if he wished to be more educated on what he was up against and that the preparation is that of spiritual warfare and not necessarily a Winchester understanding of demons? Is that right?

The book of rites seems fascinating! I saw it mentioned briefly on wikipedia & I've downloaded the pdf. Thank you! I think mentioning his health post exorcism is also important! I will also contact writer 2author. :)

I'd say, from what I have observed, it's more like spiritual hand-to-hand combat. And it can be extremely intense.

I agree, your character would need supplemental research if understanding demon sigils and the like is needed for his success.

GeorgeK
10-22-2013, 10:53 AM
(the priest said it needed to be an actual language that the possessed would have no way of knowing, and not just gibberish).

Right, glossolalia involves real languages, although perhaps dead ones, but should be interpretable by those who hear them, like you said, not gibberish.

Try (it's been a long time but I want to say,) "Demons, The Answer Book."

Nuwanda
10-22-2013, 09:05 PM
Thanks for suggesting "Demons, the answer book."

I want to be able to do this character & his task justice. Even more so the High Priestess he corresponds with. She's a minor character that may only appear through emails but I want to make sure she's not painted wrongly. I don't know much about Satanism either, but through someof the research that I've done, it has been misrepresented & I think it might be plausible for an old Catholic Priest to consider her a colleague. I'm also worried they'll become caricatures if I don't dig deep into these religious histories...even if I don't use half the stuff I read!

Paramite Pie
10-22-2013, 11:45 PM
^^Personally I'd find it hard to imagine a Catholic priest would correspond with a Satanist (even a real, non-caricature one), things must be dire if he's seeking outside help, especially from non-Christian.

A non-Catholic take on demons would not be regarded highly in a spiritual context and would at the very least be seen as conjecture. Some aspects of Satanism were born from the Gnostic movement of early Christianity but even that does it no favours in the eyes of the Church.

Of course this is just one Priest and not the entire Church. He may have his reasons for consulting with this woman but he would likely refuse to refer to her as a Priestess (and if he did he wouldn't capitalise the 'P'). Perhaps he's on the fringe of the Church and is already being ostracized by other members, requiring him to seek help elsewhere?

Has this odd couple relationship begun prior to the book or during?

shakeysix
10-23-2013, 12:03 AM
I was in college when "The Exorcist" came out. Our psych/ anthropology teacher was a priest. The class might have been Dogmatic Theology. It was a looong time ago. The priest had some familiarity with the book and with the case the book was based on. He told us the main character was a boy, not a girl, etc. He also had some familiarity with the ritual. We talked about it for several periods. He affirmed the ritual though had never witnessed it. I believe he might have known Blatty. His whole take on the thing was "Weird shit happens but very, very rarely. Mother Church can't always protect the innocent. Do not dabble." I cannot imagine him taking up a correspondence with a Satanist.

Funny thing I cannot for the life of me remember his name. Connor--Conroy-- Cooley--Cochran? I do remember vividly the impersonation he used to do of a Neanderthal Man.

At the time I was familiar with Blatty but from a comical autobiography he had written about his mother and his experiences as an overseas worker in Lebanon. When I read "The Excorcist" his own mother was fairly clearly the model for his character's mother.

The book always struck me as a bit of an over the top seance trick. I am sure some of those things happened but not all of them. Just my humble opinion--s6

RN Hill
10-23-2013, 07:03 AM
You may want to double-check this, but I did a little research into exorcisms a couple of years ago, and from what I remember, priests generally go through training to perform exorcisms, and not all priests choose to do so?

You might find this article interesting: http://www.charismanews.com/world/39693-catholic-church-s-top-exorcist-claims-he-sent-160-000-demons-to-hell It might explain a bit more about how the Catholic Church view exorcisms, anyway. :)

I'm assuming, of course, you're referring to Catholic rituals . . . other denominations have some very interesting takes on demons and exorcisms. :)

Mark Moore
10-23-2013, 05:36 PM
A few months ago, the priest at my church talked about exorcism during his homily. I don't remember many specifics, but he confirmed the rite does exist but also it is exaggerated in movies to make it more interesting. He mentioned priests would likely recommend mental evaluation from a professional first. Also, if the person is complaining about the air conditioner turning on and off on its own, the priest would recommend checking the settings.

GeorgeK
10-23-2013, 06:11 PM
There are many different groups that call themselves and are called by others, "Christian." In the same way, there are many different groups that call themselves and are called by others, "Satanist." I have met many Southern Baptists and Evangelicals who insist that Catholics are not Christians and that their horns are shaved off when they are born. That's obviously idiotic are wrong, but nevertheless there are people who believe it and they've obviously never picked up a book on history or science. The point is that just because someone is called something doesn't necessarily mean they are that something according to the common vernacular.

If you want to read about Satanism, you might start with the writings of Anton LaVey.

There are Satanists who bask in evil and chaos. That's the image that churches throughout history ascribe to all of them.

There are Satanists who regard Lucifer as God's first child and the ultimate prodigal son. Some refer to them as Luciferians as they actually try to be good people and pray for Satan's redemption, contrition, conversion back to good and return to Heaven as God's first child, Lucifer.

There are Satanists who don't believe any of it but want an excuse to party and have rituals for fun and social interaction. (That's more of the LaVey type)

I could easily see a priest maintaining a correspondence with the second 2 types, particularly if the priestess was an old friend or relative. She could be his sister. Both felt the religious calling but to different sources. He might not tell his bishop, or he might sell it as, "There's hope for her yet!"

Hendo
10-23-2013, 09:46 PM
I saw something on the news about this a year or two ago. If I remember correctly the segment was on the fact that there were very few Bishops (they didn't mention Priests) who were qualified to perform an exorcism and that more were going to be trained to perform the rite since they didn't have enough in the Church. The lack of qualified Bishops/Priests could explain your difficulty on locating solid information. I'd imagine they're a pretty tight lipped group.

Chris P
10-23-2013, 10:04 PM
Hendo reminded me: the priest I talked to said an exorcism can only be performed with the permission of the bishop.

evilrooster
10-24-2013, 12:17 AM
Hendo reminded me: the priest I talked to said an exorcism can only be performed with the permission of the bishop.

That's correct. The Rite says the priest should be "expressly and particularly authorized by the Ordinary" to perform exorcisms.

In the Catholic context, the Ordinary -- the person who ordains what should be done -- is usually the local bishop. The exceptions are generally people who are not-quite-bishops but performing the role, or people in charge of places that are not-quite-sees. Plus the Pope, who is Ordinary for the whole church. But for the vast majority of exorcisms, yes, it'll be the bishop's permission you need.

(Same as you need it to do anything priestly in the parish. You can't hear confessions or hold public Mass without episcopal permission. I was part of a group that, unbeknownst to me, was doing the latter. It got very political and unpleasant very quickly when the bishop found out.)

So if your priest is Catholic and corresponding professionally with a Satanist, he either needs to have a very sympathetic/pragmatic bishop or not tell his superiors. Which can cause him trouble, and can thus be a nice source of tension for your character if you need it. (How about if the evil spirit figures out that he hasn't told the Ordinary that he's been getting help from outside the organization? Nice potential for dialog during the exorcism there.)

Nuwanda
10-24-2013, 03:20 AM
If you want to read about Satanism, you might start with the writings of Anton LaVey.

There are Satanists who regard Lucifer as God's first child and the ultimate prodigal son. Some refer to them as Luciferians as they actually try to be good people and pray for Satan's redemption, contrition, conversion back to good and return to Heaven as God's first child, Lucifer.

There are Satanists who don't believe any of it but want an excuse to party and have rituals for fun and social interaction. (That's more of the LaVey type)

I could easily see a priest maintaining a correspondence with the second 2 types, particularly if the priestess was an old friend or relative. She could be his sister. Both felt the religious calling but to different sources. He might not tell his bishop, or he might sell it as, "There's hope for her yet!"


^^Personally I'd find it hard to imagine a Catholic priest would correspond with a Satanist (even a real, non-caricature one), things must be dire if he's seeking outside help, especially from non-Christian.

A non-Catholic take on demons would not be regarded highly in a spiritual context and would at the very least be seen as conjecture. Some aspects of Satanism were born from the Gnostic movement of early Christianity but even that does it no favours in the eyes of the Church.

Of course this is just one Priest and not the entire Church. He may have his reasons for consulting with this woman but he would likely refuse to refer to her as a Priestess (and if he did he wouldn't capitalise the 'P'). Perhaps he's on the fringe of the Church and is already being ostracized by other members, requiring him to seek help elsewhere?


I have read that, about them seeing Lucifer as God's child & I really liked that angle of compassion. Thank you for the book recommendation also!

I'm still trying to figure out their exact relationship (how it began) but I'm leaning towards them developing a fondness for each other via emails. They enjoy each others minds and all that healthy debate, which for my priest could lean into territory he's been down before & needs to avoid. So there's another subplot for my subplot characters! Excellent questions that I need to address!

Nuwanda
10-24-2013, 03:28 AM
That's correct. The Rite says the priest should be "expressly and particularly authorized by the Ordinary" to perform exorcisms.

In the Catholic context, the Ordinary -- the person who ordains what should be done -- is usually the local bishop. The exceptions are generally people who are not-quite-bishops but performing the role, or people in charge of places that are not-quite-sees. Plus the Pope, who is Ordinary for the whole church. But for the vast majority of exorcisms, yes, it'll be the bishop's permission you need.

(Same as you need it to do anything priestly in the parish. You can't hear confessions or hold public Mass without episcopal permission. I was part of a group that, unbeknownst to me, was doing the latter. It got very political and unpleasant very quickly when the bishop found out.)

So if your priest is Catholic and corresponding professionally with a Satanist, he either needs to have a very sympathetic/pragmatic bishop or not tell his superiors. Which can cause him trouble, and can thus be a nice source of tension for your character if you need it. (How about if the evil spirit figures out that he hasn't told the Ordinary that he's been getting help from outside the organization? Nice potential for dialog during the exorcism there.)

Good suggestion! He is already hiding a rather large secret from The Church, so this may be a breaking point for him. If he cares for this secret, and this woman (regardless of how he cares for her) it'll definitely screw with his since of purpose within The Church. He's also a Northern Irish priest so politics already add a level of stress for him too but I don't know how deeply I want to touch on that aspect since he is a subplot.

Nuwanda
10-24-2013, 03:29 AM
I saw something on the news about this a year or two ago. If I remember correctly the segment was on the fact that there were very few Bishops (they didn't mention Priests) who were qualified to perform an exorcism and that more were going to be trained to perform the rite since they didn't have enough in the Church. The lack of qualified Bishops/Priests could explain your difficulty on locating solid information. I'd imagine they're a pretty tight lipped group.

Do you remember the program title? Is there a chance I might find it on YouTube?

citymouse
10-24-2013, 08:53 PM
This is a fascinating thread! It is true that bishops can permit 'qualified" priests to perform the rite of exorcism, however, those are in cases of suspected possession. Most Catholics don't realize it but, in reality, priests perform an exorcism every time they baptize someone. The priest prays 'I adjure thee, thou unclean spirit, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: depart and keep far from this servant of God. He himself is commanding thee, accursed reprobate, He who walked with sure foot upon the waters and extended His hand to the drowning Peter, therefore accursed fiend, acknowledge thy defeat and cede the honor to the living and true God... withdraw from this servant of God because he had deigned to choose this soul for Himself.' It's not as dramatic as the movie. The ritual goes on but you get the picture.

evilrooster
10-24-2013, 11:47 PM
Most Catholics don't realize it but, in reality, priests perform an exorcism every time they baptize someone. The priest prays 'I adjure thee, thou unclean spirit, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: depart and keep far from this servant of God. He himself is commanding the, accursed reprobate, He who walked with sure foot upon the waters and extended His hand to the drowning Peter, therefore accursed fiend, acknowledge thy defeat and cede the honor to the living and true God... withdraw from this servant of God because he had deigned to choose this soul for Himself.' It's not as dramatic as the movie. The ritual goes on but you get the picture.

That language is from the Tridentine rite, but that's not exactly mainstream Catholicism. The standard baptismal rite (http://www.ibreviary.com/m/preghiere.php?tipo=Rito&id=103) has two possible exorcism verses, neither of them like that in tone:


Almighty and ever-living God,
you sent your only Son into the world
to cast out the power of Satan, spirit of evil,
to rescue man from the kingdom of darkness,
and bring him into the splendor of your kingdom of light.
We pray for this child:
set him (her) free from original sin,
make him (her) a temple of your glory,
and send your Holy Spirit to dwell with him (her).
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

or



Almighty God,
you sent your only Son
to rescue us from slavery of sin,
and to give us the freedom
only your sons and daughters enjoy.

We now pray for this child
who will have to face the world with its temptations,
and fight the devil in all his cunning.

Your Son died and rose again to save us.
By his victory over sin and death,
cleanse this child from the stain of original sin.
Strengthen him (her) with the grace of Christ,
and watch over him (her) at every step in life’s journey.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

The change in language is one reason that many Tridentine Catholics dismiss the validity of the rituals of the modern church ("Novus Ordo"). I won't get into the ins and outs of that -- it's really off-topic -- but the language you quoted above is not used in the majority of baptisms.

citymouse
10-25-2013, 12:23 AM
ER,
Yep that is the old ritual. In my diocese the Tridentine rites are common. And as baptism, like matrimony and the sacrament of the sick, is a 'private devotion' parents may opt for the old ritual. Some do, some don't.

LBlankenship
10-25-2013, 05:43 PM
Just for a different POV, have you looked into Pentecostals and other charismatic Protestant splinter groups? They have their own ideas about possession and casting out demons.

It might be interesting for your priest, and more likely than him talking to Satanists.

Nuwanda
10-25-2013, 10:24 PM
Just for a different POV, have you looked into Pentecostals and other charismatic Protestant splinter groups? They have their own ideas about possession and casting out demons.

It might be interesting for your priest, and more likely than him talking to Satanists.

Thanks for the tip! I will look into it.