Catholic priests are in more demand these days to perform exorcisms, as young people are trending toward the occult.
Father Vince Lampert, an exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said, “There has been a greater demand for people to call and talk to exorcists. From a faith perspective it may seem like the devil has upped his game, so to speak. I don’t think the devil has upped his game, but more people are inclined to play that game… Demonic possession is a possibility. It could happen but it’s extremely rare.”
Only last month, the International Association of Exorcists convened to discuss the impact of the occult and Satanism. Valter Cascioli, a spokesman for the group, claimed there has been an “extraordinary increase in demonic activity.”
Different manifestations of obsessing with the occult lead to different categories: “vexation” and “obsession” can be solved with counseling, according to exorcists; “infestation” indicates that the devil is being harbored at a particular site.
If demonic possession is suspected, an exorcism is planned on sacred ground, usually on church property, during the day. Lampert fasts, goes to confession, and attends Mass the day of an exorcism; the exorcism itself lasts roughly 30 minutes.
When Lampert hears of a problem, he requires the victim to visit a physician and psychologist. If neither can solve the problem, he counsels the individual until he and the sufferer are ready for an exorcism. Surprisingly, over half of the people coming to Lampert are not Catholic. He sends non-Catholics back to a minister of their own faith when the exorcism is completed.
Lampert’s assistant, Mary Chasteen, gets 600 phone calls and emails each year. She said, “The hardest phone calls are the mothers with schizophrenic children. Of course they’re desperate; of course they’re in pain. They hope it is demonic possession because it would be a cure.”
Father José Antonio Fortea, another exorcist, does not tell people to seek medical help first; he counsels the victim and prays. If symptoms appear, he believes that the person is indeed possessed. If no symptoms appear, then he sends them for medical help.
Chasteen concluded, “It should not be an occasion for drama. It’s a faith occasion.”