Catholic priest calls on Ireland’s bishops to train more exorcists and address “the malicious activity of the evil one.”
An Irish Catholic priest and exorcist has requested support from Ireland’s bishops as the number of exorcism requests has skyrocketed as he’s noticed an increase in demonic activity around the country.
In an open letter Father Pat Collins urged Ireland’s bishops to train more priests to deal with the demand for exorcisms. In an interview with The Irish Catholic he said “(I)t’s only in recent years that the demand has risen exponentially.”
The priest said he is “baffled” that Ireland’s bishops have not trained more exorcists. He added that anyone who doesn’t see the need for more exorcists is “out of touch with reality”.
The concerned priest said:
“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.
“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.”
In his open letter to the Irish bishops, Collins wrote:
“...there has been increasing evidence of the malicious activity of the evil one.”
“I can’t judge from my own subjective experience because people see on the internet that I’m supposed to be an exorcist, so I get an inordinate number of calls from people, and emails, all I can say is I have that reputation, but it’s only in recent years that the demand has risen exponentially.”
Collin’s claims are backed up by the views of other exorcists including the International Association of Exorcists (IAE). This is a group of 400 Catholic leaders and priests who have also reported a dramatic increase in requests recently. In 2014 the IAE said the levels of demonic activity in the world had become a “pastoral emergency”.
According to a spokesperson for the Bishops’ Conference at Maynooth every diocese in Ireland is required to have a trained exorcist who is trained in recognizing the difference between demonic possession and mental illness.
The spokesperson said:
“Exorcisms are very rare, and this office has not been made aware of any cases of ‘exorcism’ in Ireland in recent years.”
In a 2013 interview, Father Fiontán Ó Monacháin, secretary to the Archbishop of Tuan, explained the current process in place, in Ireland’s 26 dioceses, for dealing with claims of demonic position.
"When someone approaches us with a request for an exorcism, they usually approach their parish priest first," he said.
"If it's a spiritual problem, the priest would usually say prayers or celebrate Mass in the house, or give a special blessing using holy water.
"If that doesn't work and if they are still suffering, a formal exorcism may be necessary. And if that's the case, there are priests in the country who are trained in that field."