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Exorcism (see real exorcism video) (from Late Latin exorcismus—to adjure) is the practice of evicting demons or other evil spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed. The practice is quite ancient and still part of the belief system of many religions. The person performing the exorcism, known as an exorcist, is often a priest, or any individual thought to be graced with special powers or skills. In Christianity, exorcisms are performed in the name of Jesus Christ. A Distinction is made between a formal exorcism, which can only be conducted by a priest during a Baptism or with the permission of a Bishop, and "prayers of deliverance" which can be said by anyone. In general, possessed persons are not regarded as evil in themselves, nor wholly responsible for their actions.

What is Exorcism?

Exorcism is (1) the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice; (2) the means employed for this purpose, especially the solemn and authoritative adjuration of the demon, in the name of God, or any of the higher power in which he is subject (an angel, a saint, the Blessed Virgin etc.). In short, it is a ritual performed by a Catholic priest to expel the devil from a person, place or thing.

The word, which is not itself biblical, is derived from exorkizo, which is used in the Septuagint (Genesis 24:3 = cause to swear; III(I) Kings 22:16 = adjure), and in Matthew 26:63, by the high priest to Christ, "I adjure thee by the living God. . ." The non-intensive horkizo and the noun exorkistes (exorcist) occur in Acts 19:13, where the latter (in the plural) is applied to certain strolling Jews who professed to be able to cast out demons. Expulsion by adjuration is, therefore, the primary meaning of exorcism, and when, as in Christian usage, this adjuration is in the name of God or of Christ, exorcism is a strictly religious act or rite. But in ethnic religions, and even among the Jews from the time when there is evidence of its being vogue, exorcism as an act of religion is largely replaced by the use of mere magical and superstitious means, to which non-Catholic writers at the present day sometimes quite unfairly assimilate Christian exorcism. Superstition ought not to be confounded with religion, however much their history may be interwoven, nor magic, however white it may be, with a legitimate religious rite.

In the early church the casting out of demons was widely accepted and an exorcism could be performed by anyone. Why then has this practice changed? It has been found that in severe cases if the one who is casting out the demons is not experienced or grounded in faith and does not have sufficient spiritual protection it can be harmful for both the victim and the so called exorcist. We find in Matthew 17:20-21 a case in which the apostles could not cast out a demon from the epileptic demoniac. Jesus rebuked them for not being prepared and told them only through prayer and fasting could this demon be cast out.

There are several types of exorcism in the Roman Catholic Church:

  • Baptismal exorcism - blessing an infant prior to baptism to cleanse it of evil resulting from original sin;

  • Simple exorcism - blessing a place or thing to rid it of evil influence;

  • Real exorcism - performing the Rite of Exorcism to rid a human being of diabolical possession.

A "real exorcism" is what most of us think of when we think of exorcism. In this case, the priest-exorcist is dealing with a human being who is possessed by the devil or a demon who is inhabiting this person's body.

According to the Church, telltale signs of demonic possession include:

  • Speaking or understanding languages which the person has never learned (different from "speaking in tongues," which is considered a sign of religious ecstasy, not possession);

  • Knowing (and revealing) things the person has no earthly way of knowing;

  • Physical strength beyond the person's natural physical makeup;

  • A violent aversion to God, the Virgin Mary, the cross and other images of Catholic faith.


History of Exorcism


Exorcism among the Jews

There is no instance in the Old Testament of demons being expelled by men. In Tobias 8:3, is the angel who "took the devil and bound him in the desert of upper Egypt"; and the instruction previously given to young Tobias (6:18-19), to roast the fish's heart in the bridal chamber, would seem to have been merely part of the angel's plan for concealing his own identity. But in extra-canonical Jewish literature there are incantations for exorcising demons, examples of which may be seen in Talmud (Schabbath, xiv, 3; Aboda Zara, xii, 2; Sanhedrin, x, 1). These were sometimes inscribed on the interior surface of earthen bowls, a collection of which (estimated to be from the seventh century A.D.) is preserved in the Royal Museum in Berlin; and inscriptions from the collection have been published, translated by Wohlstein in the "Zeitschrift für Assyriologie" (December, 1893; April, 1894).

The chief characteristics of these Jewish exorcisms is their naming of names believed to be efficacious, i.e., names of good angels, which are used either alone or in combination with El (=God); indeed reliance on mere names had long before become a superstition with the Jews, and it was considered most important that the appropriate names, which varied for different times and occasions, should be used. It was this superstitious belief, no doubt, that prompted the sons of Sceva, who had witnessed St. Paul's successful exorcisms in the name of Jesus, to try on their own account the formula, "I conjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth", with results disastrous to their credit (Acts 19:13). It was a popular Jewish belief, accepted even by a learned cosmopolitan like Josephus, that Solomon had received the power of expelling demons, and that he had composed and transmitted certain formulæ that were efficacious for that purpose. The Jewish historian records how a certain Eleazar, in the presence of the Emperor Vespasian and his officers, succeeded, by means of a ring applied to the nose of a possessed person, in drawing out the demon through the nostrils — the effect of the ring being due to the fact that it enclosed a certain rare root indicated in the formulaæ of Solomon, and which it was exceedingly difficult to obtain (Ant. Jud, VIII, ii, 5; cf. Bell. Jud. VII, vi, 3).

Exorcism in the New Testament

Assuming the reality of demoniac possession, for which the authority of Christ is pledged, it is to be observed that Jesus appealed to His power over demons as one of the recognised signs of Messiahship (Matthew 12:23, 28; Luke 11:20). He cast out demons, He declared, by the finger or spirit of God, not, as His adversaries alleged, by collusion with the prince of demons (Matthew 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 19); and that He exercised no mere delegated power, but a personal authority that was properly His own, is clear from the direct and imperative way in which He commands the demon to depart (Mark 9:24; cf. 1:25 etc.): "He cast out the spirits with his word, and he healed all that were sick" (Matthew 8:16). Sometimes, as with the daughter of the Canaanean woman, the exorcism took place from a distance (Matthew 15:22 sqq.; Mark 7:25). Sometimes again the spirits expelled were allowed to express their recognition of Jesus as "the Holy One of God" (Mark 1:24) and to complain that He had come to torment them "before the time", i.e the time of their punishment (Matthew 8:29 sqq; Luke 8:28 sqq.). If demoniac possession was generally accompanied by some disease, yet the two were not confounded by Christ, or the Evangelists. In Luke 13:32, for example, the Master Himself expressly distinguishes between the expulsion of evil spirits and the curing of disease.

It is implied in Christ's answers to the Pharisees, who accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, that some Jews in His time successfully exorcised demons in God's name: "and if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?" (Matthew 12:27). It does not seem reasonable to understand this reply as mere irony, or as a mere argumentum ad hominem implying no admission of the fact; all the more so, as elsewhere (Mark 9:37-38) we have an account of a person who was not a disciple casting out demons in Christ's name, and whose action Christ refused to reprehend or forbid.

Christ also empowered the Apostles and Disciples to cast out demons in His name while He Himself was still on earth (Matthew 10:1 and 8; Mark 6:7; Luke 9:1; 10:17), and to believers generally He promised the same power (Mark 16:17). But the efficacy of this delegated power was conditional, as we see from the fact that the Apostles themselves were not always successful in their exorcisms: certain kinds of spirits, as Christ explained, could only be cast out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:15, 20; Mark 9:27-28; Luke 9:40). In other words the success of exorcism by Christians, in Christ's name, is subject to the same general conditions on which both the efficacy of prayer and the use of charismatic power depend. Yet conspicuous success was promised (Mark 16:17). St. Paul (Acts 16:18; 19:12), and, no doubt, the other Apostles and Disciples, made use of regularly, as occasion arose, of their exorcising power, and the Church has continued to do so uninterruptedly to the present day (see The Truth about What Really Happened to the Catholic Church after Vatican II).

Ecclesiastical Exorcisms

Besides exorcism in the strictest sense — i.e. for driving out demons from the possessed — Catholic ritual, following early traditions, has retained various other exorcisms, and these also call for notice here.

Exorcism of the Possessed
We have it on the authority of all early writers who refer to the subject at all that in the first centuries not only the clergy, but lay Christians also were able by the power of Christ to deliver demoniacs or energumens (possessed people), and their success was appealed to by the early Apologists as a strong argument for the Divinity of the Christian religion (Justin Martyr, First Apology 6; Dialogue with Trypho 30 and 85; Minutius Felix, Octavius 27; Origen, Against Celsus I.25; VII.4; VII.67; Tertullian, Apology 22, 23; etc.). As is clear from testimonies referred to, no magical or superstitious means were employed, but in those early centuries, as in later times, a simple and authoritative adjuration addressed to the demon in the name of God, and more especially in the name of Christ crucified, was the usual form of exorcism.

But sometimes in addition to words some symbolic action was employed, such as breathing (insufflatio), or laying of hands on the subject, or making the sign of the cross. St. Justin speaks of demons flying from "the touch and breathing of Christians" (Second Apology 6) as from a flame that burns them, adds St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures 20.3). Origen mentions the laying of hands, and St. Ambrose (Paulinus, Vit. Ambr., n. 28, 43, P.L, XIV, 36, 42), St. Ephraem Syrus (Gregory of Nyssa, De Vit. Ephr., P.G., XLVI, 848) and others used this ceremony in exorcising. The sign of the cross, that briefest and simplest way of expressing one's faith in the Crucified and invoking His Divine power, is extolled by many Fathers for its efficacy against all kinds of demoniac molestation (Lactantius, Divine Institutes IV.27; Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word 47; Basil, In Isai., XI, 249, P.G., XXX, 557, Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 13.3; Gregory Nazianzen, Carm. Adv. iram, v, 415 sq.; P.G., XXXVII, 842). The Fathers further recommend that the adjuration and accompanying prayers should be couched in the words of Holy Writ (Cyril of Jerusalem, Procatechesis 9; Athanasius, Ad Marcell., n. 33, P.G., XXVII, 45). The ancient rite of exorcism as given in the Roman Ritual fully agrees with patristic teaching and is a proof of the continuity of Catholic tradition in this matter.

Baptismal Exorcism
At an early age the practice was introduced into the Church of exorcising catechumens as a preparation for the Sacrament of Baptism. This did not imply that they were considered to be obsessed, like demoniacs, but merely that they were, in consequence of original sin (and of personal sins in case of adults), subject more or less to the power of the devil, whose "works" or "pomps" they were called upon to renounce, and from whose dominion the grace of baptism was about to deliver them.

Exorcism in this connection is a symbolical anticipation of one of the chief effects of the sacrament of regeneration; and since it was used in the case of children who had no personal sins, St. Augustine could appeal to it against the Pelagians as implying clearly the doctrine of original sin (Ep. cxciv, n. 46. P.L., XXXIII, 890; C. Jul. III, 8; P.L., XXXIV, 705, and elsewhere). St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Procatechesis 14) gives a detailed description of baptismal exorcism, from which it appears that anointing with exorcised oil formed a part of this exorcism in the East. The only early Western witness which treats unction as part of the baptismal exorcism is that of the Arabic Canons of Hippolytus (n. 19, 29). The Exsufflatio, or out-breathing of the demon by the candidate, which was sometimes part of the ceremony, symbolized the renunciation of his works and pomps, while the Insufflatio, or in-breathing of the Holy Ghost, by ministers and assistants, symbolised the infusion of sanctifying grace by the sacrament. Most of these ancient ceremonies have been retained by the Church in her rite for solemn baptism.

Other Exorcisms
According to Catholic belief demons or fallen angels retain their natural power, as intelligent beings, of acting on the material universe, and using material objects and directing material forces for their own wicked ends; and this power, which is in itself limited, and is subject, of course, to the control of Divine providence, is believed to have been allowed a wider scope for its activity in the consequence of the sin of mankind. Hence places and things as well as persons are naturally liable to diabolical infestation, within limits permitted by God, and exorcism in regard to them is nothing more than a prayer to God, in the name of His Church, to restrain this diabolical power supernaturally, and a profession of faith in His willingness to do so on behalf of His servants on earth.

The chief things formally exorcised in blessing are water, salt, oil, and these in turn are used in personal exorcisms, and in blessing or consecrating places (e.g. churches) and objects (e.g. altars, sacred vessels, church bells) connected with public worship, or intended for private devotion. Holy water, the sacramental with which the ordinary faithful are most familiar, is a mixture of exorcised water and exorcised salt; and in the prayer of blessing, God is besought to endow these material elements with a supernatural power of protecting those who use them with faith against all the attacks of the devil. This kind of indirect exorcism by means of exorcised objects is an extension of the original idea; but it introduces no new principle, and it has been used in the Church from the earliest ages.


What is Possession?


Possession is when Satan enters and takes over the physical and mental capabilities of a victim, however, the soul and will remains free. Satan acts through the victim without the victim's consent, thus the victim is morally blameless. Satan does not act alone when he possesses an individual. He works side by side with many evil spirits such as spirits of lust, hate, destruction, suicide, revenge, anger, anxiety, desperation, death, torment, etc. Such an example is found in Luke 8:30 the case of the possessed man in the territory of the Gerasenes: "Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "Legion," because many demons had entered him".

Descriptions of demonic possessions often include erased memories or personalities, convulsions, "fits" and fainting as if one were dying. Other descriptions include access to hidden knowledge (gnosis) and foreign languages (glossolalia), drastic changes in vocal intonation and facial structure, the sudden appearance of injuries (scratches, bite marks) or lesions, and superhuman strength. Unlike in channeling or other forms of possession, the subject has no control over the possessing entity and so it will persist until forced to leave the victim, usually through a form of exorcism.

Man is in various ways subject to the influence of evil spirits. By original sin he brought himself into "captivity under the power of him who thence [from the time of Adam's transgression] had the empire of death, that is to say, the Devil" (Council of Trent, Sess. V, de pecc. orig., 1), and was through the fear of death all his lifetime subject to servitude (Hebrews 2:15). Even though redeemed by Christ, he is subject to violent temptation: "for our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places" (Ephesians 6:12). But the influence of the demon, as we know from Scripture and the history of the Church, goes further still. He may attack man's body from without (obsession), or assume control of it from within (possession).

Satan's army of evil, torment many unknowing lost souls to the point of destruction of others and of themselves. Today a more favorable climate exists for cases of possession and obsession then ever before. Our world has become a playground of pornography, sex, money, material possessions, drugs, and alcohol. There are so many instruments to spread these Satanic messages such as television, video games, Internet, radio, music, and even the clothing we wear; thus our children are exposed to a multitude of temptations and are wide open to evil. The "predominant" Gods of of this age we live in include money, television, music, thrill seeking, and sex. Unfortunately, the "cure"-exorcism, is considered an "ancient" ritual and is snubbed by most religious leaving many victims to suffer indescribable torments, and in some instances, even suicide.


Cases of Possession


Among the ancient pagan nations diabolical possession was frequent, as it is still among their successors. In the Old Testament we have only one instance, and even that is not very certain. We are told that "an evil spirit from the Lord troubled" Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). The Hebrew rûah need not imply a personal influence, though, if we may judge from Josephus (Ant. Jud., VI, viii, 2; ii, 2), the Jews were inclined to give the word that meaning in this very case. In New-Testament times, however, the phenomenon had become very common. The victims were sometimes deprived of sight and speech (Matthew 12:22), sometimes of speech alone (Matthew 9:32; Luke 11:14), sometimes afflicted in ways not clearly specified (Luke 8:2), while, in the greater number of cases, there is no mention of any bodily affliction beyond the possession itself (Matthew 4:24; 8:16; 15:22; Mark 1:32, 34, 39; 3:11; 7:25; Luke 4:41; 6:18; 7:21; 8:2). The effects are described in various passages. A young man is possessed of a spirit "who, wheresoever he taketh him, dasheth him, and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away, . . . and oftentimes hath he [the spirit] cast him into the fire and into waters to destroy him" (Mark 9:17, 21). The possessed are sometimes gifted with superhuman powers: "a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling in the tombs, and no man now could bind him, not even with chains. For having been often bound with fetters and chains, he had burst the chains, and broken the fetters in pieces, and no one could tame him" (Mark 5:2-4). Some of the unfortunate victims were controlled by several demons (Matthew 12:43, 45; Mark 16:9; Luke 11:24-26); in one case by so many that their name was Legion (Mark 5:9; Luke 8:30). Yet, evil as the possessing spirits were, they could still help testifying to Christ's Divine mission (Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:24, 34; 3:12; 5:7; Luke 4:34, 41; 8:28). And they continued to do so after His Ascension (Acts 16:16-18).


Demonic Possession in the Bible


The Bible gives some examples of people possessed or influenced by demons. From these examples we can find some symptoms of demonic influence and gain insight as to how a demon possesses someone. Here are some of the biblical passages:

  • Matthew 9:32-33: "And when they were gone out, behold they brought him a dumb man, possessed with a devil. And after the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke, and the multitudes wondered, saying, Never was the like seen in Israel."

  • Matthew 12:22: "Then was offered to him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, so that he spoke and saw."

  • Mark 5:1-20: "And they came over the strait of the sea into the country of the Gerasens. And as he went out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the monuments a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling in the tombs, and no man now could bind him, not even with chains. For having been often bound with fetters and chains, he had burst the chains, and broken the fetters in pieces, and no one could tame him. And he was always day and night in the monuments and in the mountains, crying and cutting himself with stones.

    "And seeing Jesus afar off, he ran and adored him. And crying with a loud voice, he said: What have I to do with thee, Jesus the Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not. For he said unto him: Go out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him: What is thy name? And he saith to him: My name is Legion, for we are many. And he besought him much, that he would not drive him away out of the country.

    "And there was there near the mountain a great herd of swine, feeding. And the spirits besought him, saying: Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And Jesus immediately gave them leave. And the unclean spirits going out, entered into the swine: and the herd with great violence was carried headlong into the sea, being about two thousand, and were stifled in the sea. And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city and in the fields. And they went out to see what was done: And they came to Jesus, and they see him that was troubled with the devil, sitting, clothed, and well in his wits, and they were afraid.

    "And they that had seen it, told them, in what manner he had been dealt with who had the devil; and concerning the swine. And they began to pray him that he would depart from their coasts. And when he went up into the ship, he that had been troubled with the devil, began to beseech him that he might be with him. And he admitted him not, but saith to him: Go into thy house to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had mercy on thee. And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men wondered."

  • Mark 7:26-30: "For the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophenician born. And she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. Who said to her: Suffer first the children to be filled: for it is not good to take the bread of the children, and cast it to the dogs. But she answered and said to him: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat under the table of the crumbs of the children. And he said to her: For this saying go thy way, the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come into her house, she found the girl lying upon the bed, and that the devil was gone out."

  • Luke 4:33-36: "And in the synagogue there was a man who had an unclean devil, and he cried out with a loud voice, Saying: Let us alone, what have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying: Hold thy peace, and go out of him. And when the devil had thrown him into the midst, he went out of him, and hurt him not at all. And there came fear upon all, and they talked among themselves, saying: What word is this, for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they go out?"

  • Luke 22:3: "And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve."

  • Acts 16:16-18: "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain girl, having a pythonical spirit, met us, who brought to her masters much gain by divining. This same following Paul and us, cried out, saying: These men are the servants of the most high God, who preach unto you the way of salvation. And this she did many days. But Paul being grieved, turned, and said to the spirit: I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to go out from her. And he went out the same hour."

In some of these passages, the demon possession causes physical ailments such as inability to speak, epileptic symptoms, blindness, etc. In other cases, it causes the individual to do evil, Judas being the main example. In Judas case, he opened his heart to evil—in his case by his greed (John 12:6). So it may be possible that if one allows his heart to be ruled by some habitual sin, it becomes an invitation for a demon to enter. In Acts 16:16-18, the spirit apparently gives a slave girl some ability to know things beyond her own learning. The demon-possessed man of the Gadarenes, who was possessed by a multitude of demons (Legion), had superhuman strength and lived naked among the tombstones. King Saul, after rebelling against the Lord, was troubled by an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:14-15; 18:10-11; 19:9-10) with the apparent effect of a depressed mood and an increased desire to kill David.

Thus, there is a wide variety of possible symptoms of demon possession, such as a physical impairment that cannot be attributed to an actual physiological problem, a personality change such as depression or aggression, supernatural strength, immodesty, antisocial behavior, and perhaps the ability to share information that one has no natural way of knowing. It is important to note that nearly all, if not all, of these characteristics may have other explanations, so it is important not to label every depressed person or epileptic individual as demon-possessed. On the other hand, western cultures probably do not take satanic involvement in people's lives seriously enough.

In addition to these physical or emotional distinctions, one can also look at spiritual attributes showing demonic influence. These may include a refusal to forgive (2 Corinthians 2:10-11) and the belief in and spread of false doctrine, especially concerning Jesus Christ and His atoning work (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 John 4:1-3).

From missionaries' experiences, demon possession also seems to be related to the worship of heathen idols and the possession of occult materials. Scripture repeatedly relates idol worship to the actual worship of demons (Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalm 106:37; 1 Corinthians 10:20), so it should not be surprising that involvement with idolatry could lead to demon possession.

Based on the above scriptural passages and some of the experiences of missionaries, we can conclude that many people open their lives up to demon involvement through the embracing of some sin or through cultic involvement (either knowingly or unknowingly). Examples may include immorality, drug/alcohol abuse that alters one's state of consciousness, rebellion, bitterness, and transcendental meditation.

There is an additional consideration. Satan and his evil host can do nothing the Lord does not allow them to do (Job 1-2). This being the case, Satan, thinking he is accomplishing his own purposes, is actually accomplishing God's good purposes, as in the case of Judas' betrayal. Some people develop an unhealthy fascination with the occult and demonic activity. This is unwise and unbiblical. If we pursue God, if we are clothing ourselves with His armor and relying upon His strength (Ephesians 6:10-18), we have nothing to fear from the evil ones, for God rules over all!


How Do People Become Possessed by Demons?


Demonic spirits are also referred to as evil spirits and are depicted in the bible as fallen angels. These are the angels who took side with Lucifer (Satan) in his rebellion against God. (Rev. 12:4)

Specialists in the area of demonology have categorized the state of demon possession into two groups: "Demonic oppression" and complete "Demonic possession."

Demonic oppression is said to be a mild to severe harassment by demonic spirits which often comes as a result of doors that have been opened in an individual's life through voluntary sin which leads to manipulation in different areas of that life by evil spirits.

A complete demonic possession on the other hand is a state in which one or several demonic spirits have gained access to the body of an individual and then proceeds to takes full control over the person's will. In such a condition, the demonic spirits uses the body of the individual to express its personality and to carry out its evil intent.

How do demons enter?
Demonic spirits gain access into the life of an individual through what is known as a door way. A door way is a vulnerable area in the life of a person that becomes open to the access of evil spirits whether through voluntary or involuntary means.

These doorways can stem from different level of involvement in the occult, traumatic occurrences, taking of drugs, generational curse, and different situation which triggers intense negative emotional reactions. A persons voluntary sins can also have an affect if a person is to become demon possessed. In most cases of demonic possession, a steady prayer life (like praying the fifteen decades of the Rosary each day), and the abstaining from sins, especially mortal sins (fornication, masturbation, heresy, pride, anger, etc.), is for most people enough to free themselves from the demonic influences.

Nature of Demonic spirits
Demonic spirits are merciless beings that will not hesitate to try and take advantage of the lives of humans with every opportunity they get. Whether it is through a willful act that creates an open door in the life of an individual, or through a traumatic experience... a Demonic spirit will seek to take full advantage of those moments and will try to gain access in the life of a person.

Dabbling in the occult is by far the quickest way for demons to gain entrance in the lives of humans. This is because most occult activities involve having direct contact with demonic spirits. Whether it's dabbling with Tarot cards, Ouija board, Necromancy, Witchcraft, or any other means of consulting evil spirits, will certainly open up the door way to demonic bondage.

Using drugs also increases susceptibility to demonic invasion in a person's life. Because drugs disrupt the coherent state of the mind and will open up an individual to be controlled by Demonic spirits. By use of drugs is a person putting himself into a state in which he can see and have access to demonic entities. In the Apocalypse (e.g., chapter 9, verse 21) the word sorceries is used. It's from the Greek "pharmakeia," which includes the use of drugs to achieve hallucinations, as part of witchcraft, evil arts, etc. The point is that there is a biblical connection between drug use, and sorcery (access to evil spirits). It's therefore no surprise that people who are using drugs see evil spirits. A person who uses drugs is definitely opening himself up to becoming possessed.

Involuntary entry point of demons
In instances where demons enter the life of an individual through involuntary means, are usually during those times when a person goes through a traumatic experience, which causes intense negative emotional reactions that are above normal. This can be an overwhelming response to an experience which causes one to be completely overcome by fear, deep depression, deep sorrow, very deep emotional pains and different negative emotions which are above normal.

Anger
Anger is also another emotion which demons tend to feed off, especially when a person decides to dwell on being angry by choosing to hold on to whatever is making them angry. This will open the door for demonic spirits to come in and influence them to do different deeds by further fueling their anger into rage.

Generational curse
A generational curse is also another involuntary way in which demons enter into the life of an individual. As mentioned in the bible that God will visit the iniquity of the parents on to the children and their children's, children. This is often evident when a child grows up and seems to inherit bad habits, addictions or conditions from their parents or past relatives they may even have never met.

This could be drug addiction, addiction to alcohol, many different addictions and different sicknesses and diseases. It could be something that is passed on to only one individual in the family, or something that every member of the family seems to have inherited.

Demonic spirits have been around for many years and are still constantly going around looking for their next target. As the Bible says, the Devil goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. To guard ourselves from demonic oppression and possession, we have to stay clear away from the occult and drugs and mortal sins. Also don't dwell too much on negative emotions. For instances where we feel overwhelmed, it's important to seek counseling and if necessary, seek also godly spiritual help.

How Do Evil Spirits Enter Us?

Evil spirits enter us through many ways as indicated in the examples below.

Those Cursed or Held Guilty by Original Sin
In some cases, evil spirits enter an apparently innocent victim or a victim held guilty by original sin. The victim may be an unborn baby who is cursed from the mother's womb. The curse can be from original sin or from a jealous relative, friend, enemy, or even the child's own parents.

In reality, there are no such thing as an "innocent victim" with regard to demonic possession. Excluding those victim souls God allows to be possessed and tormented for the sake of their own and the salvation of others, only those people who are actually guilty of mortal sin (or even deliberate venial sin) can become possessed by evil spirits. All unbaptized infants and adults are held guilty through original sin and are under the dominion of the devil until they have received baptism. This is the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 11, Feb. 4, 1442, ex cathedra: “Regarding children, indeed, because of danger of death, which can often take place, when no help can be brought to them by another remedy than through the sacrament of baptism, through which they are snatched from the domination of the Devil [original sin] and adopted among the sons of God, it advises that holy baptism ought not be deferred for forty or eighty days, or any time according to the observance of certain people…” (Denz. 712)

Here comes a good example from St. Bridget's revelations about the efficacy of baptism against the influences of the Devil:

Christ describes why a three year old boy is tormented by a demon: “Even though the boy is born by the seed of the father and mother, the devil still has the greatest power over him, for he is not reborn through the true baptism, but is only baptized in the way that women are accustomed to baptize, who do not know about the words of the Holy Trinity. That is why the boy may be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; then he will be cured.”

Also see How to Baptize and the Steps to Convert

Victims of demonic oppression/possession may also include children who are not loved, who are mistreated or abused or rejection by other children, siblings, parents, etc. The abuse can range from sexual abuse, mental abuse, or physical abuse.

Those who Choose Evil
In other cases, an evil spirit may enter us because of involvement in evil practices such as the occult. The occult is any practice that involves ceremonies, rituals, chants, magic, or activities that are obviously not God centered. These activities or rituals can change the course of nature, the lives of those who are involved in such practices, and of course, the so-called innocent victims.

  • The Ouija board is a popular occult board game and there is also Dungeons and Dragons. Satan's main target in Dungeons and Dragons game is our youth. With Dungeons and Dragons, the most powerful and successful players are those who use magic. There is a Dungeons Master Guide that even teaches new beginners how to communicate with the dead, cast spells, and learn to chant. In fact, most if not all role-playing and fantasy games includes the evil practice of magic--in addition to being extremely violent games (for example, having as one of their main plot going around killing people or creatures by magic and by the use of weapons); all such and like games (see evil video games) are therefore evil and forbidden to play and find enjoyment in. They also invites demons into one's soul.

  • The use of magic revolves around evil spirits, psychic abilities and contacting spirits. Magic is a power that does not involve God. It is a power that is derived from such things as voodoo, sorcery, witchcraft, primitive religions and Satanism. Most witches who use magic swear that they do not worship Satan but worship the gods and goddesses of nature (The gods and goddesses of nature are hardly Jesus Christ! Of course they worship Satan! Do not let someone who practices this occult practice tell you otherwise!). Many of these individuals are unknown because they blend in quite well. They can be found attending religious services in every denomination and they practice their magic on the side. If someone tells you white magic is ok--don't believe them.

  • Use of occult/new age tools such as crystals, divination, astrology, tarot cards, crystal balls, reincarnation, pendulums, Yoga, Transcendental Meditation.

  • Those who make a pact with Satan or attend Satanic services or rituals.

  • Going to Séances, fortune tellers, Horoscopes, or spiritualist meetings for the purpose of contact the dead.

  • Those who use or abuse alcohol or mind changing drugs such as LSD, cocaine, marijuana (see Smoking and Drugs). If someone tells you using drugs is ok--run away from them.

  • Sex out of wedlock, adultery, homosexuals (also the homosexual orientation), masturbation, foreplay, sensual kisses and touches, giving consent to impure and illicit thoughts, contraception, Natural Family Planning (NFP).

  • Those who have an abortion.

  • Those who try to commit suicide or have suicidal tendencies.

You can renounce a spirit through personal deliverance prayers (see Exorcism Prayers) but in order for you to achieve freedom you must be spiritually prepared by making a commitment to God. You must stop any and all sinful acts (see Spiritual Information You Must Know About to be Saved and Ten Commandments) and confess your sins. If you don't stop leading a sinful life, being temporally freed from the might of the devil for a little while while on earth will benefit you absolutely nothing in the end--and for eternity. Before you can renounce evil in your life you must want to change and follow God where ever He leads you.


Signs of Possession


The Extraordinary Activities of Satan Defined - The following is taken from Fr. Gabriele Amorth's second book "An Exorcist More Stories." Fr. Amorth's book is published by IGNATIUS released in 2002. Fr. Amorth is a member of the Vatican II Sect. The boundaries between one category and another are not clear-cut, because there is a lot of mingling and compounding of symptoms.

External Pain - deals strictly with physical suffering. This includes the beatings, scourging, and injuries caused by inexplicable pushing, falling objects, and so on, that we read about in the lives of many saints, such as the Curé of Ars. Saint Paul of the Cross, and Padre Pio. These occurrences are not as rare as we may think, and the demon's activity is usually confined to external activity; internal activity, if any, is only temporary and limited to the duration of a particular disturbance.

Diabolic Possession - is the gravest form of demonic activity, which allows a continuing presence of a demon in a human body. The evil symptoms do not have to be continuous but can alternate between periods of crisis and periods of rest. Possession implies intervals of temporary suspension of mental, intellectual, affective, and volitive faculties. Symptoms can include the knowledge of languages unknown to the victim, superhuman strength, and the ability to know the occult or someone else's thoughts. Typically, there is an aversion to anything sacred, often in conjunction with blasphemy. There are also frauds who pose as demoniac; therefore, we need to be extremely wary.

Diabolic Oppression - is a ransom discomfort. We must remember that symptoms and gravity differ greatly case by case. This oppression can strike health, job, affections, relationship with others, and so on. Its symptoms include unexplainable rages and a tendency to complete isolation. Oppression can affect both individual and groups (even very large groups).

Diabolic Obsession - causes an almost split personality. Our will remains free, but it is oppressed by obsessive thoughts. The victim experiences thoughts that may be rationally absurd but of such a nature that he is unable to free himself. The obsessed person lives in a perpetual state of prostration, with persistent temptations to suicide. We must be aware that the temptation to commit suicide is also present in diabolic possession and diabolic oppression. [Suicide is a mortal sin and one must never give in to this diabolical deception.]

Diabolic Infestation - In this case, the malefic activity is directed toward places (houses, offices, stores, fields), objects (cars, pillows, mattresses, dolls) and animals, therefore it only indirectly affects man. Origen tells us that the early Christians resorted to exorcisms in these situations.

Diabolic Subjugation - The term indicates a voluntary pact--implicit or explicit--with Satan, by which we submit to the lordship of the demon. There are also involuntary times with the evil one; these cases fall into the preceding categories, especially the most severe: possession.

How Does One Become Possessed?

Below, Fr. Amorth explains that there are four principal causes that may cause one to fall victim to these evils.

Pure Divine Permission
Clearly, nothing happens without divine permission, but God never wills evil, suffering, or temptation. He gave us freedom and allows the existence of evil, but knows how to turn it into good. When he gives the demon his permission to torment us, he does so to strengthen us in virtue, as in the biblical example of Job, as well as of many blesseds and saints. We must keep in mind that sometimes diabolical harassment in itself has nothing to do with the state of grace of its victims. [However, in almost all cases people definitely become possessed or obsessed by demons because of mortal sin.]

Subject to a Curse
Here, too, the victim is innocent [may be innocent if it is only oppressed, that is, tempted or harassed,] but there is culpability on the part of whoever casts and/or commissions the curse. [Generally, no one ever actually becomes possessed by a demon unless they are living in, and are guilty of, mortal sin.] By the word curse, I mean the intention of harming others through demonic intervention. This can be achieved in many ways: malefice (or spell), binding, evil eye, malediction, and so on. The matter is serious, but we need to be on guard against misconceptions. By their nature, curses lend themselves to all sorts of abuses, especially when we consider the current escalation in the number of frauds, suggestions, manias, and more.

Grave Hardening of Sin
Judas Iscariot is the classical Gospel example. The many individuals who abandon themselves to sexual perversions, violence, and drugs fall into this group. The heinous crime of abortion aggravates this situation; its terrible repercussions are clearly seen during exorcisms, because to liberate a victim who is guilty of abortion usually requires a very long period of time. Due to the current devastation of the family and the laxity of morals, the repercussions that stem from the scourge of abortion are much more common than in the past. When we take all these factors into account, we can understand why the number of individuals stricken by evil ailments has multiplied.

Proximity to Evil Places or Persons
This includes attending spiritualistic session, dabbling in magic, or consulting magicians, witch doctors, and some card readers; also, practicing the occult, belonging to satanic sects, or practicing in rites that climax with black masses, and so on, put us at great risk.

To this category we can add the influence of mass media, such as pornographic shows and violent horror movies broadcast by many TV stations. We witness the effects of the widespread presence of rock music, culminating in satanic rock performed in what we could easily refer to as "churches or rock", such as stadiums, parks, and discothèques. We should not be surprised that, today, there is an explosion of these activities: a decline in faith life is directly connected to an increase in superstitions. I will not tire or repeating that members of the clergy have done nothing to oppose, or at least warn against, all these evils, because they are completely ignorant even of what the Bible explicitly says on the subject [expect nothing but indifferentism and laxiety from the faithless non-Catholic Vatican II heretics, whether they be called priests or laymen]. This forth category has greatly contributed to the increase in evil ailments in the last decades, especially among the young. Taken from (An Exorcist More Stories by Fr. Gabriele Amorth).


Exorcist


(1) In general, any one who exorcises or professes to exorcise demons (cf. Acts 19:13); (2) in particular, one ordained by a bishop for this office, ordination to which is the second of the four minor orders of the Western Church.

The practice of exorcism was not confined to clerics in the early ages, as is clear from Tertullian (Apology 23; cf. On Idolatry 11) and Origen (Against Celsus VII.4). The latter expressly states that even the simplest and rudest of the faithful sometimes cast out demons, by a mere prayer or adjuration (Mark 15:17), and urges the fact as a proof of the power of Christ's grace, and the inability of demons to resist it. In the Eastern Church, a specially ordained order of exorcists (or of acolytes, or door-keepers) has never been established but in the Western Church, these three minor orders with that of lectors as a fourth) were instituted shortly before the middle of the third century. Pope Cornelius (251-253) mentions in his letter to Fabius that there were then in the Roman Church forty-two acolytes, and fifty-two exorcists, readers, and door-keepers (Eusebius, Church History VI.43), and the institution of these orders, and the organization of their functions, seems to have been the work of Cornelius's predecessor, Pope Fabian (236-251).

The fourth Council of Carthage (398), in its seventh canon, prescribes the rite of ordination for exorcist; the bishop is to give him the book containing the formulae of exorcism, saying, "Receive, and commit to memory, and possess the power of imposing hands on energumens (a person thought to be possessed by an evil spirit), whether baptized or catechumens"; and the same rite has been retained, without change, in the Roman Pontifical, except that instead of the ancient Book of Exorcisms, the Pontifical, or Missal, is put into the hands of the ordained. From this form it is clear that one of the chief duties of exorcists was to take part in baptismal exorcism. That catechumens were exorcised every day, for some time before baptism, may be inferred from canon of the same council, which prescribed the daily imposition of hands by the exorcists. A further duty is prescribed in canon 92, viz: to supply food to, and in a general way to care for, energumens who habitually frequented the Church. There is no mention of pagan energumens, for the obvious reason that the official ministrations of the Church were not intended for them. But even after the institution of this order, exorcism was not forbidden to the laity, much less to the higher clergy, nor did those who exorcised always use the forms contained in the Book of Exorcisms. Thus the Apostolic Constitutions (VIII.26) say expressly that "the exorcist is not ordained", i.e. for the special office of exorcist, but that if anyone possess the charismatic power, he is to be recognized, and if need be, ordained deacon or subdeacon. This is the practice which has survived in the Eastern Schismatic "Orthodox" Church.

As an example of the discretion allowed in the West, in the use of the means of exorcising, we may refer to what Sulpitius Severus relates of St. Martin of Tours (Dial., III (II), 6; P.L., XX, 215), that he was in the habit of casting out demons by prayer alone without having recourse to the imposition of hands or the formulae usually employed by the clergy. After a time, as conditions changed in the Church, the office of exorcist, as an independent office, ceased altogether, and was taken over by clerics in major orders, just as the original functions of deacons and subdeacons have with the lapse of time passed to a great extent into the hands of priests; and according to the later discipline of the Catholic Church, it is only priests who are authorized to use the exorcising power conferred by ordination. The change is due to the facts that the catechumenate, with which the office of exorcist was chiefly connected, has ceased, that infant baptism has become the rule, and that with the spread of Christianity and the disappearance of paganism, demonic power has been curtailed, and cases of obsession have become much rarer. It is only Catholic missionaries labouring in pagan lands, where Christianity is not yet dominant, who are likely to meet with fairly frequent cases of possession.

In Christian countries authentic cases of possession sometimes occur and every priest, especially if he be a parish priest, or pastor, is liable to be called upon to perform his duty as exorcist. In doing so, he is to be mindful of the prescriptions of the Roman Ritual and of the laws of provincial or diocesan synods, which for most part require that the bishop should be consulted and his authorization obtained before exorcism is attempted. The chief points of importance in the instructions of the Roman Ritual, prefixed to the rite itself, are as follows:

  • Possession is not lightly to be taken for granted. Each case is to be carefully examined and great caution to be used in distinguishing genuine possession from certain forms of disease.

  • The priest who undertakes the office should be himself a holy man, of a blameless life, intelligent, courageous, humble, and he should prepare for the work by special acts of devotion and mortification, particularly by prayer and a fasting (Matthew 17:20).

  • He should avoid in the a course of the rite everything that savours of superstition, and should leave the medical aspects of the case to qualified physicians.

  • He should admonish the possessed, in so far as the latter is capable, to dispose himself for the exorcism by prayer, fasting, confession, and communion, and while the rite is in progress to excite within himself a lively faith in God's goodness, and a patient resignation to His holy will.

  • The exorcism should take place in the Church or some other sacred place, if convenient; but if on account of sickness or for other legitimate reasons, it takes place in a private house, witnesses (preferably members of the family) should be present: this is specially enjoined, as a measure of precaution, in case the subject is a woman.

  • All idle and curious questioning of the demon should be avoided, and the prayers and aspirations should be read with great faith, humility, and fervour, and with a consciousness of power and authority.

  • The Blessed Sacrament is not to be brought near the body of the obsessed during exorcism for fear of possible irreverence; but the crucifix, holy water, and, where available, relics of the saints are to be employed.

  • If expulsion of the evil spirit is not obtained at once, the rite should be repeated, if need be, several times.

  • The exorcist should be vested in surplice, and violet stole.

Procedure of the Exorcist

The appendix of the Roman Ritual has the longer rite of exorcism and states that the exorcist should "Superpelliceo et stola violacea indutus," (wear an alb and a purple stole) right before the part of the prayer that begins "Ecce crucem domine, fúgite partes advérsae." The priest is instructed to "imponat extreman parte stolae ejus" (having made the sign of the cross over the victim, place the ends of the stole around this person's neck).

One may have two normal sized stoles sewn together in order to have a very long stole to extend from the priest to the victim's neck. It is truly amazing how the blessed stole calms and controls the possessed person. Certainly one initially may encounter violent reactions, but that is to be expected. The stole not only symbolizes, but demonstrates the power of the priesthood. Jesus binds the evil spirits with the use of this sacramental.

The Ritual next instructs the priest to place his right hand on the head of his victim. Of course, the imposition of hands was used by Jesus to heal the sick. The church mimics this use in the Sacrament of the Sick and in other ways. Jesus blessed children in this way. It has been noted by many individuals that hands of the priest's calm or burn them. If an assistant priest is present, they also may place hands on the person's head. A Bible containing both the Old and New Testaments should be on hand when questioning and commanding the demons to respond. After invoking the Holy Spirit, there is surprising response and confirmation, which are keys to opening up and freeing the person. For example, a woman who had been a war orphan revealed through scripture that she was not baptized. Another woman opened the Bible to Tobias where it stated that she was not married in the church. A couple opened the Bible to the Old testament reading on abortion, which confirmed, at some point to unforgiven sin. Others opened to a passage focusing on a generational curse. While still others read a verse on incest in the family. One girl indicated the story of Jacob and Essau. Her twin brother was murdered at three months of age. She was the second to be born and like Jacob became the first through infanticide. Others have indicated a need for greater humility, faith and fasting. The Rite of Exorcism uses passages from Jn. 1:1-14; Mk. 16:15-18; Lk. 1:17-20; Lk. 11:14-22; also use what ever passage the Holy Spirit inspires. This can hasten along deliverance and yield many crucial answers to the puzzle. It is always good to have on hand a collection of prayers that may be said both by the exorcist and those assisting. The Raccolta has a fine collection, as do other prayer books.

The rules for exorcism state that one should have relics of the saints at hand. Not all relics are of equal worth. First class relics are to be preferred. The greater the sanctity of the saint the more powerful the cure. One can tell by the reactions of the demons which relic gives better results.

According to the Act of the Apostles, handkerchiefs that were touched to Saint Paul and carried back to the sick curing them (remember the sick woman who was cured by touching the hem of Jesus?). The shadow alone of Saint Peter healed many. Although the Blessed Sacrament is the Body and Blood of Jesus, True God and True Man, and not any mere sacramental, it is an excellent practice to use it to bless the sick and possessed. The rules of exorcism in number 13 of the Roman Ritual states, "Sanctissima vero Eucharistia super caput obssessi, aut aliter ejus corpori ne admoveatur, ob irreverentiae periculum" (The Blessed Sacrament should not be placed on the head or any other part of the body of the possessed persons, due to the possibility of desecration). This rule or admonition need not apply in those cases where there is no danger or irreverence, that is cases in which the person's actions are nonviolent.

It is truly astounding to observe how many days (when proper use of the Blessed Sacrament is applied to the body of the possessed), can be taken off the whole length of time needed to dislodge the demons. It shortens the process. It may be wise in other cases for the priest himself to carry around his neck the Blessed Sacrament in a Pyx. This may prove at times, necessary for protection.

A Franciscan named Father Dominic Szymanski (1899 - 1951) (a one time companion of Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941)) was working with a Benedictine priest, when Fr. Dominic asked the Benedictine if he was wearing the medal of St. Benedict. The Benedictine responded, "Yes, I am." Father Szymanski told him that he saw the devil in the form of a blue light going around him in circles, and that the evil spirit was unable to touch him because he was wearing the medal.

The St. Benedict medal can be pinned to the clothes of infants who are agitated, pregnant mothers or anyone who wants protection from evil. The use of the scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Rosary are two other sacramentals effective against the attacks of the demons. The blessing of the rosary states, "Nos eriperes de potestate diaboli" Our Lord Jesus Christ through His life, death and resurrection has "snatched us from the power of the devil." Abundant graces are granted through proper recitation of the rosary, "Ab omni hoste visibili et invisibili et ubíque in hoc sáeculo liberetur" (from every enemy both visible and invisible and everywhere in this lifetime be freed). St. Dominic freed a heretic from 15,000 devils, when the man had blasphemed the Blessed Mother and the Rosary. St. Dominic preached on the fifteen mysteries of the rosary and asked the faithful to pray and meditate. For every mystery, 1,000 demons left him in the form of burning coals until he was delivered. The rosary is the chain that Our Lady uses to bind Satan. It is often seen in a possessed individual, that the demon is irritated and they complain that the rosary burns them and they often destroy the rosary.

Another medal of great importance which was used in the conversion of the worldly Jew, Alphonse Ratisbone, propagated by Maximillian Kolbe, and used by the founder of the Legion of Mary-Frank Duff-is the Miraculous Medal (Medal of the Immaculate Conception of Mary). While placing the medal around the neck, the Presider prays, "Ut piisima et Immaculáta caelórum Domina vos prótegat atique defendat'' (May the Holy and Immaculate heavenly Lady protect and defend you). Our Lady promises special graces to those who wear this medal around their neck. The same is true for the scapular. If worn with faith, "They shall not suffer the eternal flames of Hell" [provided they die in state of grace] and "shall be delivered from Purgatory on the Saturday after their death."

Then there is the crucifix, which should always be present. The victim will often stare at the cross and be forced to look away. The cross is symbolic of the defeat of Satan through the death of Christ. The long prayer for Solemn Blessing of the Crucifix, "Ut quóties triúmphum divínae humnilitátis, quae supérbiam nostri hostis dejecit" and (how often the divine humility has triumphed casting out the pride of our enemy). "Dignáre respícere, bene + dícere et Sancti + ficáre hanc creaturm incensi, ut omnes languores, omnesque imfirmitates, atque insidiar inimici, odorem ejus sentientes, efffugiant, et separatur a plasmate tuo; ut num quam lædatur amorsu antiqui serpentes" (Deign to care for bless and sanctify those being inflamed by passion and weakness, any sickness, deceits of the foe and suspicious resentments felt by them. Be cast out and driven away from your creature) and "Numquam lædatur a morsu antiqui derpentis" (Never to be hurt by the bite of the ancient serpent).

The following are selected paragraphs pertaining to the instruction of the Exorcist as indicated in the Old Rite - Rules of the Roman Ritual of Exorcism.

(RULE 1) The priest who with the particular and explicit permission of his Bishop is about to exorcise those tormented by Evil Spirit, must have the necessary piety, prudence and personal integrity. He should perform this most heroic work humbly and courageously, not relying on his own strength, but on the power of God; and he must have no greed for material benefit. Besides, he should be of mature age and be respected as a virtuous person.

(RULE 5) Let the exorcist note for himself the tricks and deceits which evil spirits use in order to lead him astray. For they are accustomed to answering falsely. They manifest themselves only under pressure--in the hope that the exorcist will get tired and desist from pressuring them. Or they make it appear that the subject of Exorcism is not possessed at all.

(RULE 6) Sometimes, Evil Spirit betrays its presence, and then goes into hiding. It appears to have left the body of the possessed free from all molestation, so that the possessed thinks he is completely rid of it. But the exorcist should not, for all that, desist until he sees the signs of liberation.

(RULE 10) The Exorcist must remember, therefore, that Our Lord said there is a species of Evil Spirit which cannot be expelled except by prayer and fasting. Let him make sure that he and others follow the example of the Holy Fathers and make use of these two principal means of obtaining divine help and of repelling Evil Spirit.

(RULE 20) During Exorcism, the exorcist should use the words of the Bible rather than his own or somebody else's. Also, he should command Evil Spirit to state whether it is kept within the possessed because of some magical spell or sorcerer's symbol or some occult documents. For the exorcism to succeed, the possessed must surrender them. If he has swallowed something like that, he will vomit it up. If it is outside his body in some place or other, Evil Spirit must tell the exorcist where it is. When the exorcist finds it, he must burn it.

In order for Satan to be driven out of the possessed, the exorcist must be humble. He must rely on God and only God for his answers and direction. Sometimes God forces the demon inside the possessed to reveal truths. However, the exorcist must be careful not to believe all that the demon possessing the victim might say. The demon will reveal exactly what the exorcist wants to hear even though it is not the truth, in order to side track him. The exorcist, out of his own curiosity, should not ask questions to the possessed regarding matters other than the exorcism at hand. Only through much prayer, fasting and humility of the exorcist along with the willingness of the victim, and of course, the grace and Will of God, can one be freed of this affliction.


Sacraments


When praying with a person for healing and deliverance, it is helpful to use sacramentals. The use of sacramentals affects cures and expels the enemy.

The use of blessed olive oil is particularly effective, because it contains the prayer of exorcism at the very beginning. "Exorcizo te, creatura olei" (I exorcise, creature oil). "Omis virtus adversarii, omnis exceritus diaboli, omnis incúrus, omne phatasma Satanæ eradicare" (All power of the adversary, all diabolical armies, all hostile attack, eliminating every satanic apparition). "Uf fiat ómnibus, qui eo usuri sunt, salus menti et corporis" (and all who would use this would have health of mind and body). Further into the prayer, it states that all those who are sick would be free of "Ab omni languore" (all weakness, languor, listlessness), "omni qui infirmitate" (all sickness) and "insidiis inimici liberéntur", (freed of any snares of the enemy). And "cunctae adversitates separéntur a pusmate tuo" (all of the opposing powers that separate your creature from you).

Quite often, when using the sacramental, a person blessed or having consumed the blessed oil will have a reaction. This sacramental is very much hated by evil spirits and sometimes cures diseases and states of depression and oppression.

An amber colored glass of blessed oil and an identical glass containing holy water were placed in front of a year and a half-old child. The child refused the blessed oil, whereas she always chose the holy water. This experiment was repeated two dozen times, and despite not being able to see the contents, the child would not touch the oil. A four-year-old boy, in a guttural voice said, "I'm going to destroy that blessed oil," despite his not knowing that the exorcist had blessed the household kitchen oil. Another instance using blessed oil involved a high school student with a high fever. After administering the oil, his fever instantaneously disappeared.

For people who may not be candidates for the sacrament of the sick, this sacramental can be used, even if they are not in the state of grace.

Another sacramental feared by demons is holy water, which one can be sprinkled with or drink. "Benedictio aquae in vigilia Ephipaniae Domini" (The blessing of water in the vigil of the Epiphany of the Lord) contains multiple exorcisms and should be used if time allows, especially in the case of a solemn public exorcism. The blessing in the Roman Ritual is titled, "Benedicto auri, thuris et myrahae in Festo Ephiphaniæ" (Blessing of gold, frankincense and myrrh on the Feast of Epiphany). The blessing on the Feast of the Epiphany also has the longest blessing of water and contains all of the exorcisms of the water and salt. This blessing seems to be more effective than just an ordinary blessing (salt should also be included).

Incense is very annoying to evil spirits. It is also good to have blessed candles, especially if blessed on the Feast of St. Blaise.

Another sacramental that is especially efficacious against the devil is the Medal of St. Benedict. Priest should use the long form of the St. Benedict prayer, which contains a prayer of exorcism. This is the only medal in the Roman Catholic Church that has an exorcism prayer on the medal. It begins: "Exorcizo vos, numísmata,…" (I exorcise you medal) Once petitioning the Holy Trinity to eliminate all the power of the enemy. Then "Ut fiant ómnibus, qui eis usuri sunt, salus mentis et corporis" (That all those who would use it would have health of mind and body). The medal itself has initials inscribed that form a prayer of exorcism as indicated below.

The Medal of St. Benedict, Back

In the angles of the cross are found these four letters: C.S.P.B. They stand for the words: Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti --"The Cross of the Holy Father Benedict."

On the vertical bar of the cross itself are found the letters: C.S.S.M.L., and on the horizontal bar of the cross: N.D.S.M.D. They signify: Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux, Non Craco Sit Mihi Dux --"May the holy Cross be my light. Let not the dragon be my guide."

Round the margin of the Medal, beginning at the right hand on top, are the following letters: V.R.S.N.S.M.V.--S.M.Q.L.I.V.B They stand for the verses: Vade Retro, SThe Medal of St. Benedict, Frontatana! Nunqum Suade Mihi Vana. Sunt Mala Quae Libas; Ipse Venena Bibas. --"Begone, Satan! Suggest not vain things to me. Evil is the cup thou offerest; Drink thou thine own poison."

In most instances, the medal produces a tranquilizing effect when worn. Some individuals experience the opposite--a burning sensation.

Blessing and imposition of the scapular of Saint Michael the Archangel is another practice very much feared and detested by evil spirits. This scapular takes the shape of a shield with one cord being black and the other blue. On the shield we read the words "Quis et Deus" ("I am like God"). This was Michael's reply to Lucifer, who stated "non serviam" (I will not serve). Michael means "Quis ut Deus" (Who is like unto God).

Blessing of the Medal of St. Benedict

The exorcism prayers below in both English and Latin can be said by any priest or layman.

English version

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord

R. Who made heaven and earth.

In the name of God the Father + Almighty, who made heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health or soul and body. In the name of the Father + Almighty, of his Son + Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy + Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire. R. AMEN

Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless source of all good things, we humbly, ask that, through the intercession of St. Benedict, you pour out your blessings + upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform good works, be blessed by you with health of soul and the help of your merciful love, resist the temptations of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and holy in your sight. This we ask through Christ our Lord. R. AMEN

The medals are then sprinkled with holy water.

Latin version

V. Adjutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini

R. Qui fecit cælum et terram.

Exorcízo vos, numísmata, per Deum + Patrem omnipoténtem, qui fecit cælum et terram, mare et ómnia, quæ in eis sunt. Omnis virtus adversárii, omnis exércitus diáboli et omnis incúrsus, omne phantásma sátanæ, eradicáre et effugáre ab his numismátibus: ut fiant ómnibus, qui eis usúri sunt, salus mentis et córporis: in nómine Pa + tris omnipoténtis, et Jesu + Christi Fílii ejus, Dómini nostri, et Spíritus + Sancti Parácliti, et in caritáte ejúsdem Dómini nostri Jesu Christi, qui ventúrus est judicáre vivos et mórtuos, et sæculum per ignem.

R. AMEN

Kýrie, eléison. Christe, eléison. Kýrie, eléison.

V. Dómine, exáudi oratiónem meam.

R. Et clamor meus ad te véniat

V. Dóminus vobíscum.

R. Et cum spíritu tuo.

Orémus.

Oratio

Deus omnípotens, bonórum ómnium largítor, súpplices te rogámus, ut per intercessiónem sancti Benedícti his sacris numismátibus tuam bene + dictiónem infúndas, ut omnes, qui ea gestáverint ac bonis opéribus inténti fúerint, sanitátem mentis et córporis, et grátiam sanctificatiónis, atque indulgéntias (nobis) concéssas cónsequi mereántur, omnésque diáboli insídias et fraudes, per auxílium miscericórdiæ tuæ, stúdeant devitáre et in conspéctu tuo sancti et immaculáti váleant apparére. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

R. AMEN.


Finding Help


We receive e-mails at this site from all over the world. The majority of the e-mails are from people who are in some sort of bondage to Satan or have friends or family members who are suffering. Many of the requests we receive are from people in search of an exorcist living close to them. We are often asked if we can help locate or recommend an exorcist. We do not have a list of exorcists. There is a good chance that those individuals seeking an exorcist do not need one (see Signs of Possession). In most cases these individuals need deliverance prayers. Deliverance prayers do not require an Exorcist.

Self-Help
If you are seeking help, you must first start by ridding yourself of those things that prevent God from working in your life. In most cases, the bondage we are in is due to the lifestyle we live. God gave us the Commandments because He loves us and He wants us to be with Him in Heaven one day. If you do not follow the commandments that God established then there is only one other rule to follow-the self-destructing rule of Satan.

When you do not live by God's rules the door is wide open for Satan to enter into your life. Are you willing to change your lifestyle? If you are willing to change there is hope for you. If you are not willing to change you may never find help. Reflect on the questions below. Do not become alarmed if many of these questions pertain to you. Confess your sins and work at eliminating them from your life. Ask God for help.

  • Do you give God time in prayer everyday? Do you read Holy Books everyday?

  • Are you involved with the occult, horoscopes, séances, Ouija Board, Dungeon's and Dragons or play other immoral or violent mortally sinful video games?

  • Have you mocked God, use his name in vain?

  • Do you wish harm to come to someone who has hurt you or who has annoyed you.

  • Do you read bad books or see bad movies/series that are anti-God or occult oriented or are otherwise ungodly, unchaste, violent or bad?

  • Do you listen to ungodly or sinful songs or watch these immoral music videos on the television?

  • Are you involved with new age practices such as yoga, crystals, Transcendental Meditation?

  • Do you go to church every Sunday (if you have a non-heretical Catholic Church in your area)? Do you neglect church so that you can participate in a sports related activity or so that you can sleep-in? Where are your priorities? Are they God centered or "ME" centered? Do you keep the Sabbath (the Sunday) holy?

  • Is your lifestyle not of God? Do you have sex out of marriage, are you committing adultery, do you approve of abortions?

  • Are you a homosexual? Do you masturbate (also in marriage)? Do you practice Contraception or Natural Family Planning (NFP)? Do you commit sexual sins with your spouse within the holy sacrament of marriage (foreplay, sensual kisses and touches, impure thoughts)?

  • Do you fantasize about sex? Are your thoughts chaste? Do you read romance novels or bad, sensual magazines or newspapers (any magazine that contains immodest women)?

  • Do you dress modestly so as not to arouse the opposite sex.

  • Do you steal? Do you you take away from people what are theirs? Have you given back what you have stolen?

  • Do you lie to get out of jams? Do you find pleasure in saying negative things about people or do you speak about them behind their back?

  • Are you jealous of what other people have? Are you greedy and selfish? Do you feel bad about giving to others or about not getting something that someone else got instead?

  • Are you a proud person? Do you have high and prideful thoughts about yourself? Do you admit to being wrong when you are wrong? Do you make corrections when you have done or taught wrong? Are you ashamed of humility and of being humbled? Do you understand that no proud or prideful person can ever be saved or be pleasing to God? (Please read these words from Our Lord to gain true humility and fear: The Prophecies and Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden)

  • Do you trust in God or do you trust instead in the material world around us?

Help for Family and Friends
Many people are concerned for friends and family members and want to find them help (which is a pious thing to do). The big problem is that the majority of your friends and family members do not want help. They are very comfortable in their lifestyles and in most cases there is not any room for God. Freedom cannot be found for those who do not want help. The best course of action is to pray. Have as many people you know pray so that they may be converted.


Prayers



St. Michael the Archangel Prayer

(Latin version) Sancte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio contra nequítiam et insídias diáboli esto præsídium. Imperet illi Deus, súpplices deprecámur: tuque, princeps milítiæ cæléstis, Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos, qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in mundo, divína virtúte, In inférnum detrude. Amen

(English version) Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen


Prayers of Deliverance

Kyrie eleison. God, our Lord, King of ages, All-powerful and All mighty, you who made everything and who transformed everything simply by your will. You who in Babylon changed into dew the flames of the "seven-times hotter" furnace and protected and saved the three holy children. You are the doctor and the physician of our soul. You are the salvation of those who turn to you. We beseech you to make powerless, banish, and drive out every diabolic power, presence, and machination; every evil influence, malefice, or evil eye and all evil actions aimed against your servant...where there is envy and malice, give us an abundance of goodness, endurance, victory, and charity. O Lord, you who love man, we beg you to reach out your powerful hands and your most high and mighty arms and come to our aid. Help us, who are made in your image; send the angel of peace over us, to protect us body and soul. May he keep at bay and vanquish every evil power, every poison or malice invoked against us by corrupt and envious people. Then, under the protection of your authority may we sing, in gratitude, "The Lord is my salvation; whom should I fear? I will not fear evil because you are with me, my God, my strength, my powerful Lord, Lord of peace, Father of all ages."

My Lord, you are all powerful, you are God, you are Father. We beg you through the intercession and help of the archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel for the deliverance of our brothers and sisters who are enslaved by the evil one. All saints of heaven come to our aid. From anxiety, sadness and obsessions--We beg you. Free us, O Lord from hatred, fornication, and envy--We beg you. Free us, O Lord from thoughts of jealousy, rage, and death--We beg you. Free us, O Lord from every thought of suicide and abortion--We beg you. Free us, O Lord from every form of sinful sexuality--We beg you. Free us, O Lord from every division in our family, and every harmful friendship--We beg you. Free us, O Lord from every sort of spell, malefice, witchcraft, and every form of the occult--We beg you. Free us, O Lord Lord, you who said, "I leave you peace, my peace I give you," grant that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we may be liberated from every spell and enjoy your peace always. In the name of Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Prayers against Every Evil

Spirit of our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Most Holy Trinity, Immaculate Virgin Mary, angels, archangels, and saints of heaven, descend upon me. Please purify me, Lord, mold me, fill me with yourself, and use me. Banish all the forces of evil from me, destroy them, vanquish them, so that I can be healthy and do good deeds. Banish from me all spells, witchcraft, black magic, malefice, ties, maledictions, and the evil eye; diabolic infestations, oppressions, possessions; all that is evil and sinful, jealousy, perfidy, envy; physical, psychological, moral, spiritual, diabolical ailments. Burn all these evils in hell, that they may never again touch me or any other creature in the entire world. I command and bid all the powers who molest me by the power of God all powerful, in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary to leave me forever, and to be consigned into the everlasting hell, where they will be bound by Saint Michael the archangel, Saint Gabriel, Saint Raphael, our guardian angels, and where they will be crushed under the heel of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.


Prayers for Inner Healing

Lord Jesus, you came to heal our wounded and troubled hearts. I beg you to heal the torments that cause anxiety in my heart; I beg you, in a particular way, to heal all who are the cause of sin. I beg you to come into my life and heal me of the psychological harms that struck me in my early years and from the injuries that they caused throughout my life. Lord Jesus, you know my burdens. I lay them all on your Good Shepherd's Heart. I beseech you--by the merits of the great, open wound in your heart--to heal the wounds that are in mine. Heal the pain of my memories, so that nothing that has happened to me will cause me to remain in pain and anguish, filled with anxiety. Heal, O Lord, all those wounds that have been the cause of all the evil that is rooted in my life. I want to forgive all those who have offended me. Look to those inner sores that make me unable to forgive. You who came to forgive the afflicted of heart, please, heal my own heart. Heal, my Lord Jesus, those intimate wounds that cause me physical illness. I offer you my heart. Accept it, Lord, purify it and give me the sentiments of your Divine Heart. Help me to be meek and humble. Heal me, O Lord, from the pain caused by the death of my loved ones, which is oppressing me. Grant me to regain peace and joy in the knowledge that you are the Resurrection and the Life. Make me an authentic witness to your Resurrection, your victory over sin and death, your living presence among us Amen.


Rosary Prayer

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Please consult the How to Pray the Rosary section. The Rosary Prayer will be the most powerful prayer against the attacks of the demons. You must not neglect to Pray the Rosary everyday, especially all fifteen decades, if you can do so.

Regarding the Holy Rosary, Sister Lucia of Fatima told Father Fuentes in a famous 1957 interview:

"Look, Father, the Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary, we will save ourselves. We will sanctify ourselves. We will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls."





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