Expert Answer Forum
What can a priest do to help someone who is under the influence of the Evil One? QUESTION from Rev. Fr. D. G. Taurasi, Pastor March 18, 2000 Dear Brother,
As a priest, I frequently come across people who, while not diabolically possessed in the canonical sense, are, indeed, under the influence of the Evil One. Short of an Exorcism, which requires an investigation, and the delegation of the Bishop, what can we priests do to help our people who are afflicted in this way? I know some priests, who bless oil with a prayer of exorcism, and anoint such people as a sacramental. Would you recommend this to priests? Thank you for your help.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 23, 2000 Dear Father:
I have been waiting all week to answer this GREAT question!!!!
This is a wonderful question, but one which include much sadness.
In my opinion, every seminarian should have at least one full year of Spiritual Warfare. The first semester would be an introduction to Spiritual Warfare. It would include basic information such as I teach my workshop: Hope, Help, Victory, except expanded to include a full 18 week semester.
This semester would thoroughly educated the student in the various aspects of the occult, satanism, and the New Age. It would include teaching on worldview: Catholic Worldview vs. the new age worldview. It would include the first aid information about how to help people who are demonized.
But, priests, by virtue of their priesthood, are not mere first aiders. The parish Priest needs to be prepared to be First Responders and maybe even medics. Then referrals can be made if the case needs a doctor, to use the medical analogy.
The second semester would train the seminarians in practical techniques and methods of spiritual warfare counseling and prayer.
Much of the class outline for this plan of education I have already created and have taught.
I just wish it would be taught in the seminaries.
I am willing to conduct workshops for priests and deacons on this, but as I have no standing in the Church that would not be possible I suppose. That is a shame, because I have the information, expertise, experience, and knowledge to do it, and I don't know of anyone providing this training. Ah well.
Yes, a priest SHOULD use the Sacrament of Anointing when applicable, and the sacramental of oil in other cases. With the oil, pray a prayer of exorcism (the prayers listed in our Catalog of Spiritual Warfare prayers can be used by priests too, however there are some particular things a priest can pray that the laity cannot.) We must remember, however, that even a priest cannot pray imprecatory commands or talk with demons to gain information and the like unless he has been commissioned by the bishop to perform a canonical exorcism.
But there are powerful prayers the priest can say for his people, anoint them with oil, and of course the priest can also use the Seven Steps to Freedom Counseling Program that was originally devised by Neil Anderson and I modified for use with Catholics.
Do not be afraid of praying over your people. Of raising your hand with a blessing and an exorcism prayer from even behind the screen in the confessional, of anointing your people with Holy Oil.
There was a time when I felt that there was a particular bondage of Satan that was on me that I could not get rid of by myself. While talking with my priest-spiritual director I asked him if he would lay hands on me and pray a simple exorcism. He didn't really know for sure what to do, so I instructed him on what to pray for the simple exorcism and also task him to give a priestly blessing. He took his stole and with it in hand, placed his hands on my head (he was standing behind me while I sat in a chair). He prayed the exorcism prayer and gave me a blessing. As he was praying he told me that he could smell the odor of sulphur float quickly by him.
Priests need to be willing to do this sort of thing and not be afraid.
Priests are the Alter Christos (if I got that Latin right), they stand in place of Christ. They have NO BUSINESS shying away from this sort of thing out of fear. But most do from my experience.
But fear is bread of ignorance and lack of training. I wish I could create a training course that seminaries would accept. If priests were so trained in what I will called practical Spiritual Warfare (this is separate from the theological studies on demonology, angels, good and evil and the like. There should be at least another year of studies on the theological side geared specifically with spiritual warfare in mind), the body of Christ could be much healthier.
Yes, Father, use Holy Oil, pray appropriate simple exorcism prayers. Bring the power of the ministry of the Church as a Priest to bear upon these situations.
And if you need help, advice, information, call me.
God Bless you and your ministry.
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