Now Hiring: Exorcists

The Catholic Church in America is short of exorcists — there may only be 5 or 6 in the entire nation. While the office had been all but forgotten in the years following Vatican II, contemporary need is bringing it back in a big way, and some of the bishops are responding:

Bishops in America are sponsoring a two-day conference on exorcism in response to a growing interest in the rite and because of a shortage of trained exorcists nationwide.

The Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism, on November 12-13, will be attended by 56 bishops and 66 priests….

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There’s this small group of [exorcists] who say they get requests from all over the continental US,” Bishop [Thomas] Paprocki said.

“Actually, each diocese should have its own resource [person]. It shouldn’t be that this burden should be placed on a priest when his responsibility is for his own diocese,” he said.

Of course, not everyone is on board with the new interest in exorcism. Writing in the National Catholic Reporter in July, Richard McBrien dismissed the conference as “embarrassingly dumb.” 

For more information on the subject of demonic activity, I recommend Tom Hoopes’ in-depth piece, “The Dark Backward: Demons in the Real World.” It was one of the most popular and controversial articles in the history of Crisis Magazine.

  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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