Currently, more and more frequently unauthorized people take up the ministry of freeing: common frauds and people, who exorcise against Jesus’ commandments and for money. Their actions bring dire effects. They are usually bioenergotherapists, psychics, charmers, witch-doctors. They often advertise in the internet and magazines. Their actions are in fact covertly occultism and spiritism. Do such “exorcisms” bear a real power of freeing? – No.
An exorcism carried out by unauthorised persons is becomes a source of sensational gossip and numerous misunderstandings, as well as, what is worse, serious threats not only for the soul, but for the body as well. Therefore, if recognition or an exorcist’s help is needed for a possessed person, turn only to Catholic priests, appointed for exorcists ministry in your diocese. Do not be afraid to ask your parish priest for help – often his help will be sufficient. Always avoid offering help outside of the Church and for money. Remember, that false exorcisms take place when:
- when they are conducted in the name of Jesus, but by unauthorised persons (lay “exorcists”, witch-doctors, bioenergotherapists, psychics and all others conducting exorcisms without a bishop’s permission).
- when they are conducted through the power of pagan deities, mysterious energies, pendulums and during pagan rituals, through magic, ghost incantation, etc.
- when they are conducted for profit – financial or through other goods,
- when they allegedly involve casting out spirits of the dead, fluids, space creatures, astral bodies, mysterious deities and energy.
What does the Bible say?
1. Many laymen undertaking exorcising justify themselves with a biblical quote:
“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us’. But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-40)
Who is against us? – Without doubt false exorcists, who consciously act in disobedience. The Code of Canon Law teaches that no one may lawfully exorcise the possessed without the special and express permission of the local Ordinary. (1172 § 1) Such permission is granted by the ordinary (usually the bishop) of the place to a presbyter who is endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life (1172 § 2) . An evil spirit – as practice shows – will not leave a possessed or tormented person if exorcisms are undertaken by an unauthorised person, a fraud, a “healer”. This also applies to priests, who – in disobedience or due to a lack of knowledge and prudence – conduct exorcisms over a possessed person without their bishops permission.
2. Self-willed attempts at conducting exorcisms over possessed people may have tragic results. The Holy Scripture contains the story of Jewish exorcists, who tried to invoke the name of Jesus over people possessed by an evil spirit,
“saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?’ And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.” (Acts 19:13-17).
This proves that not everybody has power over the evil spirit. To defeat Satan it is not enough to pronounce the Name of Jesus – it also takes real faith and preparation. The second conclusion: the devil’s aggression can painfully touch the people participating in such an “exorcism”, just as in the quoted excerpt!
3. The sole invocation of Jesus is no excuse for lay exorcists. The way they use it, it resembles incantations, using the Name of God in a magical way, which is not followed by any long-term pastoral help. Christ warns us in the Gospel: “On that day many will say to me:
‘Lord, Lord, did we not (…) cast out demons (…) in your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7: 22-23)
4. A lay exorcist will want to persuade that the victim is under devils influence at any cost. It springs from a sort of demonomania (or “spiritomania”), but also from the fact, that exorcisms constitute a mean of income. An exorcism, a blessing from a Catholic priest does not cost anything – moreover, there is a formal prohibition on accepting even the smallest gift! Jesus told his apostles:
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freele you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts.” (Matthew 10:8-10)
A freeing (even a remote one) conducted by internet exorcists does cost. With such “freeing”, spreading the Good News is out of the question, just as striving for an honest conversion of the tormented, which is the foundation of a real freeing.
5. Lay exorcists try to heal diseases through exorcisms, seeing the influence of an evil spirit in many illnesses, and thus offer their healing services. This leads to the stopping of medical therapies by the patients and, as a consequence, the worsening of the tormented person’s physical state. What must be emphasised is the enormous danger hiding in various, so called, “natural medicine” therapies operating by mysterious energies and powers, whose side effects nobody examines. It is a surrender to the workings of secret forces that cannot be examined by any apparatus, and whose use turns out to be, e.g. occultism.