What branch of Christianity teaches its preachers how to perform exorcisms? I've always been interested in becoming a minister, but I've noticed that many churches do not believe that demonic activities exist. As a youth I was exposed to some demonic events (usually at night while lying down to sleep) and so I know such things exist. I found that whenever anything happened as soon as I'd pray it would stop/go away. I was raised very religiously. Anyway, please let me know what branch of Christianity recognizes such things and instills its ministers with the knowledge of how to perform exorcisms. I desire to help others and serve God by becoming a minister, but I don't want to waste my time and money going to college to become a minister in a branch of Christianity that doesn't even recognize the real existence of Satan and demons. Is it only the Catholic church that I should be looking into? I remember you used to have a website that had a rather lengthy exorcism prayer. Could you please tell me the prayer - I doubt that I will ever come across it again by chance, and it may be some day I will have the occasion to use it for good. Thank you for your time and help, I have respected and admired you greatly for many years. — Mark
Father David C. Trosch states: "Only Catholic priests who are both legally and morally ordained and are faithful to the teachings of Sacred Scripture, as validly understood through the legitimate moral authority of the Church, and who remain spiritually sound should attempt an exorcism."
In Mark 16: 17, Jesus Christ states: "Believers will drive out demons in My name."
Our Lord confronted Satan in the wilderness. He also cast out demons during His ministry on Earth. Indeed, these comprise the majority of His miracles in the Synoptic Gospels.
How can a Christian, therefore, not recognise the real existence of the Devil and his legion of demons if Christ did and, moreover, instructed us to cast out demons in His name?
The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in its traditional manifestation fully accepts such existence and consequently the requirement of exorcism. This embraces the traditional wing of such denominations as Anglo-Catholicism, Roman Catholicism, Old Catholicism, Eastern Catholicism, Western and Eastern Orthodoxy.
To exorcise means to deliver a person from the presence or influence of evil spirits. That the Devil, within the limits allowed by God, has retained a certain power over men even after the coming of Christ is clearly testified by Holy Scripture and the history of the Church. Jesus drove out demons from the possessed and He bestowed this power upon His apostles and disciples. In the early times of the Christian era many lay persons possessed this power as a charism.
It is in harmony with reason and faith to assume that the Devil has greater power over the unbaptised in consequence of original sin. For this reason, at a very early date, exorcisms were performed repeatedly over the catechumens in preparation for baptism. To perform these exorcisms and, in general, to exorcise persons possessed by or under the influence of evil spirits exorcists were ordained.
The rite speaks of exorcists as spiritual physicians endowed with the power of healing. This may also refer to bodily afflictions caused by the Devil; once the influence of the Devil is broken by the exorcism, the affliction ceases.
The other duties of the exorcist stood in close relation to this principal function of the Order of the Exorcistate. According to the usual interpretation of the instruction read to the ordinands, he was to direct persons under exorcism, and for that reason barred from Holy Communion, when to withdraw. Furthermore, it was his duty at sacred functions to administer the water for the washing of hands to the officiating priest. The latter ceremony symbolises purification from sin, hence a banishing of the influence of the evil spirits; it was fitting, therefore, to assign this duty to the exorcist.
A simple exorcism for priests or laity can be found on my website at this link where I also provide a solemn exorcism (as found in the Rituale Romanum) at this link.
Unless you are familiar and comfortable with Latin, I recommend the vernacular for such exorcism prayers and rituals.