Christ’s victory over evil is perpetuated in the action of the Church
Quite often, questions about the Exorcisms and their exercise in the life of the Church come to the Catholic Church. For clarification to be offered safely, on this occasion we consider it important to refer to official documents, including to guide the listening and reception of the liturgical texts offered for the next Sunday (cf. Gn 3,9-15, Mc 3,20- 35). The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers us the necessary security, as does the Rite of Exorcisms.
Illustrative photo: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com
The starting point for such an understanding is the mystery of Christ himself: “The whole life of Christ is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes first of all from the blood of the cross. But this mystery is active throughout the life of Christ: already in his Incarnation, by which, by becoming poor, he enriches us with his poverty; in the hidden life that, by his obedience, repairs our insubordination; in the word that purifies his hearers; in the healings and in the expulsion of the demons, by which he “taketh upon us our infirmities, and beareth with our diseases” (Mt 8:17); in the Resurrection, by which he justifies us “(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 517). We know that “the coming of the Kingdom of God is the defeat of the kingdom of Satan: ‘If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out devils, then it is because the Kingdom of God has come to you'” (Mt 12, 28; 3,20-35). The exorcisms of Jesus liberates men from the power of demons. And they anticipate Jesus’ great victory over ‘the prince of this world’. It is through the cross of Christ that the Kingdom of God will be definitively established: ‘God reigned on the tree’ “(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 550).
The victory of Christ is perpetuated in the action of the Church. “When it asks publicly and with authority, in the name of Jesus Christ, that a person or object be protected from the action of the evil one and subtracted from its domain, it is spoken of exorcism. Jesus practiced it and it is from him that the Church obtains the power and commission to exorcise. In a simple form, the exorcism is made in the celebration of baptism. The solemn exorcism, called ‘great exorcism’, can only be done by an elder and with the bishop’s permission. It must be done with prudence, observing strictly the rules established by the Church. The purpose of exorcism is to expel demons or to free others from the devilish power, and this in virtue of the spiritual authority that Jesus entrusted to his Church. Very different is the case of diseases, especially psychic, whose treatment depends on medical science. Therefore, before proceeding to exorcism, it is important to be sure that it is a diabolical presence and not a disease “(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1673).
According to the Exorcism Ritual, the ministry of exorcising the possessed depends on the express permission of the bishop, to be granted only to a priest endowed with piety, wisdom, prudence, and integrity of life. This one, in the first place, does not easily believe that someone who suffers from some illness, especially psychic, is possessed of the devil. Also do not immediately accept that there is possession when someone claims to be peculiarly tempted, to be desolate or to be tormented, because anyone can be deceived by their own imagination. Be still careful not to be deceived by the arts and frauds that the devil uses to deceive, in order to persuade the possessed not to submit to exorcism. The exorcist should also consult, as far as possible, experts in medical and psychiatric science, who are sensitive to spiritual realities (cf. Exorcism Ritual, 13-19). The rite, when celebrated, will never be organized as a “spectacle” for those present, thus exclude any presence of means of communication. Once the exorcism is over, neither the exorcist nor those present will divulge any news about it.
It is essential to distinguish between the cases of devil’s attack and the credulity with which some people think they have been subjected to malice, bad luck or curse, which would have been cast by others, often even driven by ignorance. Do not refuse help, guidance and prayer in such cases, but do not resort to exorcism. Also do not refuse the spiritual help of a priest or a deacon, using special prayers and supplications.
There are also the so-called minor exorcisms, prayers that can be made by delivering evil, presided over by a priest. One of the constant appeals of this rite says: “Holy Creator, I have benignly assisted the Catholic Church and strengthened her with your exalted power against the attacks of the enemies, renew in your love and in your grace the spirit of your faithful whom you consecrated, that in you glorify the Father and his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ” The priest prays: “In the name of Jesus Christ our God and Lord, and through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the Archangel Michael, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and all Saints, trusting in the authority that confer the sacred ministries, received from the Church, I will dare to safely repel the attacks of the devilish insider. ” And all may say, “God is risen, they scatter their enemies and flee before them those who hate him. As smoke melts, so they dissipate; as the wax melts into the fire, so do sinners perish in the sight of all. This is the Cross of the Lord: flee, adversary forces. He defeated the Lion of Judah, a descendant of David. May your mercy descend upon us, for in you we hope!”
Every believer has at his disposal prayers to be used in the battle against the powers of darkness, as follows: “God, Holy Father, who, by the grace of filial adoption, you have made me a son of the light, grant that I may not be enveloped by the darkness of the devil, but always remain in the splendor of the freedom which I received in the baptismal rebirth. Amen.”
Bishop Alberto Taveira
Bishop Alberto Taveira was Rector of the Provincial Seminary of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte he was also an Episcopal Vicar for the Pastoral and Professor of Liturgy at Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais. In Brasilia, he assumed the coordination of the Southern Vicariate of the Archdiocese, in addition to the various activities as Auxiliary Bishop, among others. On December 30, 2009, he was appointed Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Belém, Pará, Brazil