‘Stealth’ exorcisms needed in the US

‘Stealth’ exorcisms needed in the US

If you plan on exorcising an entire country – something that happened recently in Mexico – don’t go shouting about it before you start attacking demons with crucifixes, holy water and mumbo-jumbo invocations.

Why? Because there is usually backlash in the form of scepticism and ridicule, according to Father Gary Thomas, pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Saratoga, California, and the exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose.

In this report the priest also said he was cautious about the idea of exorcising an entire country.

I’m not really sure about the efficaciousness of that. I think there are too many implications we cannot back up if we start saying we are going to exorcise a country.

According to Father Thomas, demonic activity has been increasing in the United States because people are choosing to be dissuaded away from God and opening portals such as New Age and witchcraft that are gateways to the demonic.

When faith becomes thin and Satan and agents of Satan move in, there are going to be effects. It was Pope Benedict XVI who said that as faith diminishes, superstition increases.

Msgr John Esseff, a priest for 62 years in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and an exorcist for more than 35 years, is also lukewarm about national exorcisms.

Instead, he said exorcisms could be performed diocese by diocese, and he encourages each bishop to do so.

Every bishop is the chief exorcist of his own diocese. Anytime anyone with the authority uses his power against Satan, that is powerful. Every priest and bishop has that power.

During the exorcism of a diocese, Esseff explained that the bishop calls on the power of Jesus over every court, every single institution, every individual and every family.

The whole country would have such power if bishops would exorcise their dioceses.


In 2013, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, above, performed a “minor” exorcism at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield in response to the governor’s signing same-sex marriage into law.

He said the prayer service was “not meant to demonize anyone”, but was “intended to call attention to the diabolical influences of the devil that have penetrated our culture.”

And Father Patrick (not his real name), a parish priest and also an exorcist for his US diocese explained that there are differences when exorcising a place rather than a person.

With a person, an exorcist investigates to identify the true nature of the problems. With a place, the exorcist looks at a territorial battlefield where good angels have lost their authority because power has been given over to demons through rejection of God’s authority.

According to him, exorcising a place is done to re-establish God’s authority.

We want to shift superiority over an area to the angels, but there is still the ground-level [response] that needs all the priests to engage in battle, too.

Father Patrick said that he has seen holy priests turn their parishes around when the angels were called upon and God was given authority.

• The top illustration was taken from Wikihow’s hysterical  “How to perform a Christian exorcism” which advises:

Know the symptoms of demonic possession. Some of them are: blaspheming, a phobic-like repelling from all things Christian, such as hating churches, the Blessed Sacrament, Bibles, holy water, rosaries, etc …

One illustration in the article implies that an evil spirit might be a woman in burqa.


22 responses to “‘Stealth’ exorcisms needed in the US”

  1. Broga says:

    Out of a choice selection of prime quality bullshit I really did enjoy the comment that as faith diminishes superstitious increases.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    Bonkers. And perhaps what really needs exorcising is Paprocki’s wardrobe sense as the devil has clearly had a diabolical influence on what he sees in the mirror. While he no doubt believes his golden regalia afford him some kind of power and influence, I for one see somebody who doesn’t know a dunce’s hat from a hole in the ground.

  3. Vanity Unfair says:

    “It was Pope Benedict XVI who said that as faith diminishes, superstition increases.”
    Superstition is faith in something in which I have no faith.

    ‘Bishop Thomas Paprocki … performed a “minor” exorcism … in response to the governor’s signing same-sex marriage into law.
    He said the prayer service was “not meant to demonize anyone”…’
    Well. obviously not; it was meant to de-demonize everyone.

    “…Father Gary Thomas, … the exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose… said he was cautious about the idea of exorcising an entire country…
    Msgr John Esseff, …an exorcist for more than 35 years, is also lukewarm about national exorcisms.
    Instead, he said exorcisms could be performed diocese by diocese…”
    In other words, there is a limit to their god’s power. And why doesn’t JHWH know what is needed anyway?

    “During the exorcism of a diocese, Esseff explained that the bishop calls on the power of Jesus over every court, every single institution, …”
    I still think that the USA Constitution will prevent that.

    “With a person, an exorcist investigates to identify the true nature of the problems. With a place, the exorcist looks at a territorial battlefield where good angels have lost their authority because power has been given over to demons through rejection of God’s authority.”
    So, people are more powerful than their god. Interesting.

    All the references in this article presume that the bishops and exorcists are RCs. I happen to think that C of E (Episcopalian) bishops are every bit as effective in exorcism services as any RC bishop.

  4. 1859 says:

    This report reads like a bad Walt Disney script. Replace ‘bambies’ for ‘angels’ – a candyfloss dream world of goodies and badies, princesses and witches, spells and incantations. It is a heap of bullshit so high it could eclipse the sun – and yet there are fruitcakes crawling all over it. I really need to learn how to ignore this stuff that religions pump out – for the sake of my own sanity.

  5. David Tucker says:

    I think there are too many implications we cannot back up if we start saying we are going to exorcise anyone

  6. barriejohn says:

    The trouble with all you people is that you are reading the wrong books!

    “Catholics who have faithfully followed the precepts of their religion, and have lived a life of good health and happiness, are nicely positioned to experience even greater happiness in heaven. Anyone who bats three for three, especially given these stakes, must be doing something right.”

  7. RussellW says:

    ‘Who are you gonna call?”

  8. Robster says:

    Exorcising an entire country? That must be like those extremely silly mormons baptizing dead people into their peculiar church like organisation in secret. C’mon Catholics, I’m sure you can out stupid those nutty mormons.

  9. barriejohn says:

    Exorcising an entire country?

    Surely, if it works, the solution is to exorcise the whole world, in which case Satan’s power will be immediately destroyed and all will become believers and be on their way to heaven. Simples!

  10. Ex Patriot says:

    These are the same idiots who had shit fits over the Golden Compass and Harry Potter. If any thing is pure superstition it is their damned religion, actually all religions

  11. sailor1031 says:

    “…as faith diminishes, superstition increases”

    These idiots never listen to themselves. They are full of “faith” and superstition at the same time. As their faith grows so does their superstition, disproving their own theses. I long since gave up getting my irony meter repaired – what’s the point?

  12. Broga says:

    My long dead, and much loved, Scot’s granny had an unshakeable belief in the devil. When I was of an age to ask for evidence she produced it. When my granddad had to go to the stables in the middle of a December night he heard chains rattling. Apparently the devil was draped in chains. Also it was very cold. When the devil is around the temperature drops.

    The stables had lots of chains the horses could move. It was the middle of December and so very cold. I see this as the way beliefs were formed, with utter conviction supported by “evidence”, in our superstitious and gullible past.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Broga: I’m going to let you in on something. When I was a Christian, a favourite trick of ours when anyone denied the existence of God was to ask them: “Do you believe in the devil?” The answer was almost invariably “Yes”, because there is so much sorrow and suffering in the world that people instinctively feel that there must be some malevolent influence at work, and who fits the bill better than old Lucifer? Of course, rational minds can see that if “God” is omniscient and omnipotent, HE must be the one responsible for all this “dysfunction”, but the general public don’t seem to get that. High time for the teaching of logical thinking in our schools, methinks!

  14. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Definitely. Logical thinking would also be the best way of putting a brake on all the religions including the rampaging Islam. However, our lords and masters don’t want their own beliefs tested.

    None of my family, back in rural Scotland in the 1940’s, attended church apart from weddings and funerals. Not even my devil fearing granny. However, all the children in my very extended family were despatched to church and to Sunday school.

    My favourite, and heavy drinking, uncle gained some notoriety because he drank in the company of the RC priest. In Presbyterian remote rural Scotland RCs (often referred to as papists) were seen as followers of a strange and dangerous cult. The Pope was a hate figure viewed in Iain Paisleyite terms. If I hadn’t had access to books I don’t know how I would have freed my mind.

  15. dennis says:

    1859 exactly, trying to hold on to my sanity with these delusional faith trodden humans. not sure I am succeeding. they get more incredulous every day.

  16. Peterat says:


    What Father Gary needs is more excercise and less exorcise! Looks like he has all the muscle tone of a canned ham! (Apologies to anyone with a penchant for pig-in-a tin!)

  17. Trey says:

    This is one reason why people don’t like religion. I am a conservative Christian and anyone that talks about exercising demons has a screw loose somewhere.

  18. Exorcism needs to be banned legally because

    Many exorcisms are performed in secret to avoid ridicule and media attention which endangers the allegedly possessed. The exorcist is protected by this secrecy if he is just a charlatan with a screw loose.
    Legally permitting it is giving religious people special treatment, special rights, because of their faith in exorcism and demons. They get away with distressing and tormenting the allegedly possessed who imagine that the demon goes berserk during the exorcism. The abuses that take place during exorcism would not be tolerated in any other field. Some atheists believe in memes – ideas that are like computer viruses and infect your mind such as religion. An atheist would not be allowed to upset a victim of possession by religious memes through administering a secular exorcism.
    Demonic possession is not a recognised mental illness. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not recognise possession by demons as medical diagnosis. It is not therefore a recognised psychiatric disorder. However there is a form of delusion called demonomania or demonopathy in which people think they are demons possessing a body. They mistake themselves for the demons. Those who suffer this illness have dissociative identity disorder. Around 30% of sufferers have demonomania or demonopathy. In possession, the person often claims to be the demon and acts accordingly.
    There are no peer reviewed medical articles or journals that advocate exorcism.
    When many parts of the world legally prohibit the teaching of creationism as if it were a scientific theory in schools (it is banned in England and Wales for example) it is mind-boggling how schools can be allowed to teach that demons possess people and exorcism evicts them.
    Diagnosis is a problem – many people with mental illness have been mistakenly diagnosed as possessed. Some exorcists admit they are not sure if the person is mentally ill or possessed and still proceed with an exorcism. It is accepted that you can be mentally ill and possessed at the same time. Diagnosis in medicine based on what symptoms the person reports and are observed by others only if there is no way to get hard evidence – such as in a poor country. With exorcism, the diagnosis is based purely on what the victims and their friends or family say. Those people are rarely educated the right way or unbiased – they are not great witnesses. And as they will get away with it, they feel they can lie and exaggerate. And if people fear a demon in their midst their imagination will run away with them. Exorcisms were far more common in the past because people did not have the tools for diagnosing anything properly never mind possession or a need for an exorcism. Overall, the belief has hurt and harmed. There is tremendous pressure on people who realise that a family member is not really possessed to say nothing against any exorcisms that are performed on her or him – they don’t want to look like insane fanatics and fools who are responsible for what the family member is suffering as a result of belief in possession and exorcism.
    Individuals with a known history of diagnosed psychotic and psychiatric symptoms will still be subjected to exorcism if the priest and the Catholic doctor decides that her or his problems are down to some force other than the illness.
    It is odd that very evil people are not asked to undergo exorcism – it only happens when people act deranged. This is because vulnerable people are targeted by religion for its own ends and because evil people are often too smart to be fooled by religion. Surely if a person was possessed they would be acting evil rather than deranged!
    Exorcism is fanaticism as is proven by the Church’s opposition to Freudianism and Jungianism and modern psychiatry because of its stress on learning to love yourself so that you can use this learning to love others. The Church claims to co-operate with psychiatry in order to determine if a case may require an exorcist. How can it when it does not even really believe in psychiatry? It claims an infallibility for itself that it does not imagine any medical discipline to have.
    Unlike medicine which is carefully regulated, each religion invents its own rules about exorcism. It is irresponsible to put mental treatment in the hands of non-professionals as is done when the exorcist steps in.
    Consent to exorcism raises problems. The demon is thought to simulate the person so if the person objects to exorcism it will be assumed it is the demon talking. Thus the person will be ignored and exorcised against her or his will.
    Nobody can prove it is a demon at work – if anything paranormal is happening could it be a psychic illness? Treating it as a demon will worsen the problem. If people have psychic ability, then perhaps the entity is part of them. Perhaps the demon is an artificial personality created in the subconscious by psychological and psychic forces. To abuse the demon is to abuse the person. Also, if the problem is the subconscious then merely to assume that it is a real demon at work and to treat the person accordingly is abuse.
    People with mental health problems may suffer because of belief in demons. If you doubt your sanity, imagine how upsetting it will be if you start to feel you are possessed. Even going to Mass and hearing the readings from the gospel about Jesus’ exorcism can put this terrible suggestion in your mind.
    Exorcisms sometimes cause a violent reaction in the person – how can you know that it is a demon doing this and not the ritual or the person’s delusion that they have a demon?
    Exorcism tends to be private which increases the chance of abuse and harm. It prevents regulation.
    If psychiatry is unable to find out what is wrong with the person, that does not prove that the person is possessed. Arguments such as, “I don’t know what is wrong therefore it is probably a demon”, show that you want to believe the person is possessed – you want to use the victim to make a religious point. No decent or sane psychiatrist would approve of exorcism or facilitate it.
    Some possessed people have been diagnosed as mentally ill. Their possession is considered to be a separate issue from their illness. Where can the line be drawn? It is hard enough to do that without bringing demons and the supernatural into it.
    Exorcists believe that somebody cursed the victim or the victim invited the demons in. You need proof before you can say things like that. Exorcism endorses the slander of accusing somebody – even if the identity is unknown – without proof that anybody was to blame.
    Where do you draw the line with belief in possession and exorcism? You write a poison pen letter. Why not say your pen was possessed and wrote that letter? What about the dangerous doctrine of Cen? Cen is when the spirit of a dead person steals your body and pretends to be you. It can lead to a child being put to death for his father’s crimes.
    Exorcism can be a very long process bringing great trauma and worry to the victim and her or his family and friends and it does not always succeed. Often a demon is allegedly put out and when the person seems possessed again it is insisted that the demon was put out and returned. That claim is a cop-out. Exorcists cannot be trusted no matter how kindly they seem to be. Fortune-tellers are great charmers too.
    When the demon “returns” the victim is typically blamed not the exorcist.
    Exorcists sometimes believe in beating up the victim to get the demon out. Some who believe that the person and not just the body is taken over rationalise this abuse.
    Your mere belief in possession or exorcism is enabling those who carry out extreme and cruel forms of exorcism. Promoting a religion that believes in exorcism is enabling it too. And so is giving that religion money.
    Exorcists claim to be performing an act of love for the victim – real love is based on evidence what is best for the person. It is not based on the guess that demons exist and that demons possess the person. It is not based on the guess that some demons though naughty might actually be tolerable. Though Christendom claims to love its neighbour by not accusing without proof it is happy to accuse demons without proof. Those who do not have the guts to hate and abuse the people around them like to target fantasy entities such as demons and fairies and ghosts instead. The bad side of human nature will always out. People regarded as good love God because they think he hurts others and protects them – thus they find peace in the misery of others. People need demons to hate and curse. It unleashes the bad energy they would unleash on other people otherwise. Exorcism is based on the principle: It is okay for me to take beliefs very seriously when there is little or no suitable evidence in their favour. Where do you draw the line with a principle like that? Real love respects principles for principles serve not only truth but us as well.
    Exorcists deny that you need extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims – but surely they should put more emphasis on evidence that a case of possession is not authentic before deciding that it is? Even the most ardent believer has to confess that there must be cases of possession or miracles which are fraudulent or deceptive but which were never found out or may never be. You never really know 100% if something is supernatural. Many have faked possession usually to get attention. You cannot be as sure that a demon is in a person and to be blamed for what she or he does, as you are that Hitler was evil. And you need to be – accusing on insufficient evidence says something about you.
    Some victims seem to recover after exorcism by the placebo effect. This effect can be achieved other ways without exorcism. Friendly doctors who listen to their patients are the best catalyst for the placebo effect. Exorcism is about ritual and scary. Any talking or friendliness happens outside of it. The placebo effect in exorcism can backfire – the person might get worse if not better. Doctors telling a white lie to trigger the placebo effect is nothing compared to exorcism which is a big issue and presupposes a whole world view. It is a religious placebo effect not a medical one and should not be tolerated.
    Exorcists believe that though demons will possess people, they much prefer tempting people to sin. This leads to the evil notion that if temptation comes from a supernatural source then there is nothing we can do about it. Why encourage X to avoid temptation if temptation is not coming from within her or him?
    Matthew 7:15-20 has Jesus stating clearly that good fruits are unmistakeable. An exorcism that takes time to work is hardly an unmistakable sign from God and a good fruit. Jesus said the false prophets do enough good to pass for sheep but they cannot get grapes from thorns – their followers might be fine people but just not good enough. Catholic exorcisms are not delightful and imply that God prolongs the agony. They are marks of a false religion.

    Conclusion: Ban exorcism. The concept of possession gives evil people a way to avoid being found guilty even if they are caught. If this is unlikely to happen that is not the point – the point is the principle. Violating the principle says yes to it happening. If found guilty, they may still tell themselves that they are not guilty. A person who can lie to themselves like that is going the right way about being a good person who can be still do shockingly evil things.