How often do you deal with demons? For one Irish priest, the answer is all the time. He’s requesting backup in the form of more exorcists for the Catholic Church, citing a “dramatic increase” in demonic dilemmas.
Father Pat Collins wrote a letter urging bishops to train more priests to be exorcists so that the Church can keep up with the demand.
“(I)t’s only in recent years that the demand has risen exponentially,” Collins told The Irish Catholic…
Collins said that he was “baffled” that the bishops haven’t trained more exorcists for Ireland, and added that anyone who doesn’t see the need for more exorcists is “out of touch with reality.”
“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,” Collins said.
Collins acknowledges that some of these people falsely believe they are possessed by demons, which means that a rise in “possession” could actually be a rise in something else (perhaps mental illness or a decline in treatment for said illnesses). If that’s the case, then the last thing we need are more exorcists who would exacerbate the problem by feeding it. Or am I just out of touch with reality?
Collins isn’t the only exorcist claiming that the increase in demonic activity has risen in recent years — and he isn’t the only person saying it in Ireland, either. It turns out several exorcists around the world are desperate to remain relevant, or to get more funding for their ceremonies that haven’t been validated by science despite thousands of years of valiant efforts.
Collins’ comments are on par with those of other exorcists throughout the world, including the International Association of Exorcists (IAE), a group of 400 Catholic leaders and priests, which has reported a dramatic increase in demonic activity in recent years.
In 2014, the IAE said the levels of demonic activity throughout the world had reached what they considered a “pastoral emergency.”
The emergency sounds more like a decline in people who believe their nonsense rather than an increase in spirits “possessing” them.
Over the past several years, we’ve seen young people leaving religion in droves, and older religious people becoming less fundamentalist about their beliefs, as Newsweek pointed out.
The number of Catholics in Europe is dropping as young people leave the church and become more secular.
“Adult millennials, defined by the Pew Research Center as people between the ages of 18 and 33, are leaving the Catholic Church rapidly. A 2013 study by the Barna Group, a Christian polling firm, revealed that 65 percent of Catholic-raised young adults say they are less religiously active today than they were at age 15,” a 2014 Pulitzer Center report revealed.
But exorcisms are still occasionally performed in majority-Catholic countries like Ireland and Italy. A 2016 documentary, Deliver Us, about modern-day exorcists, reveals how much the profession has changed over the years. For example, it shows a priest performing an exorcism via mobile phone. In the film, priests complain about being “bombarded by possessed people.”
We know there isn’t really a rise in demonic possession, because such a thing doesn’t exist, so what is happening?
Considering the exorcism industry has thrived in the past due to fictional dramatic films, unchecked mental illness, and people desperate to blame their problems on the supernatural, this may be a public relations move more than anything else. These priests want to feel needed, and they live in a world where more and more people are realizing they can get by just fine without them.
(Image via Shutterstock)