Irish priest slams Catholic Church over lack of exorcists

A well-known priest and exorcist in Dublin, Ireland, has slammed the Catholic Church for sending demon-possessed individuals to psychologists instead of holding exorcism rituals to help them.

(REUTERS / Laszlo Balogh)A priest of the Russian orthodox church holds up a cross during a mass in a small Catholic chapel, their temporary place of worship, near the village of Zalavar, Hungary, September 21, 2017.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic newspaper, Fr. Pat Collins said the last few years have seen an exponential rise in the demand for exorcisms. He then urged the Catholic Church to appoint more priests under this ministry, saying each diocese needs to have at least one trained exorcist, The Irish Times relayed.

"What I'm finding out desperately, is people who in their own minds believe – rightly or wrongly – that they're afflicted by an evil spirit," Fr. Collins told the Catholic newspaper. "I think in many cases they wrongly think it, but when they turn to the church, the church doesn't know what to do with them and they refer them on either to a psychologist or to somebody that they've heard of that is interested in this form of ministry, and they do fall between the cracks and often are not helped."

Last year, Catholic affairs writer Alessandra Nucci said the Catholic Church has neglected the ministry of exorcism for a long time even though there has been a rise in the demand for them. The International Association of Exorcists in Rome said there are around 100 licensed exorcists in France alone, but many of them are inactive, The Economist reported.

Philippe Moscato, a French exorcist, earns 155 euros for an hour's work which consists of assessing a place, lighting a candle, reading out words from a manual, and blessing each room. He usually gets three or four requests for such rituals every week.

Other independent exorcists such as Jean Clement make up to 500 euros for performing a ceremony that supposedly releases a place from harmful "waves." Jean de Paracol, on the other hand, specializes in helping small businesses afflicted by black magic.

The Economist suggested that TV programs depicting exorcism rites may be part of the reason why the demand for such rituals is increasing. It can also be attributed to the more convenient way of finding practitioners online.