Demand for Catholic exorcisms rise

For those who think that the Catholic Church is becoming saner and more liberal, have a gander at this article from the Guardian (click on screenshot to read it). I’ve reported before on the frequency of exorcisms in the Church (see here for a number of posts), and on the unofficial Vatican exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, who died two years ago claiming to have exorcised 160,000 demons.

As is clear from the article, the Vatican has neither denied the existence of demons nor distanced itself from exorcism as a way to expel them. The report deals with Father Cesar Truqui of Mexico, and the many exorcisms he’s performed. While he admits that many of them don’t involve actual demons, but still provide some psychological relief for people (I’m willing to accept that), there are some true demonic possessions:

Despite what Hollywood would have us believe, Truqui says full-on demonic possession is very rare. The vast majority of people who see him have normal problems or mental illnesses, and he says he has sent people to seek psychiatric help. But he says 2-3% show signs of demonic “vexation”.

These people, he claims, are capable of feats of superhuman strength. Sometimes their voice changes and they growl or speak in tongues. He claims to have witnessed people with vexations who can suddenly speak in Hebrew or Aramaic even though they have never studied the languages. Some are obsessive and show knowledge of what Truqui calls “secret things”, like what a person who is not present is doing or wearing, and they are sometimes overwhelmed by feelings of discomfort when they are in places of worship.

“Most of the time, the people who see me are victims,” he says.

Truqui also spoke at length about Satan, who he described as a pragmatic foe. “The devil tempts the holy man in his holiness and the sinner in his sin,” he says.

And here are some other instances of the Hornéd One’s appearance as a malefactor:

In his decade working as a Roman Catholic exorcist, expelling demons from individuals who he believes are possessed or vexed by the devil, the Mexican priest says the oddest thing he witnessed was the sudden appearance of a “satanic nail” on a tabletop.

“There had been nothing on the table and then suddenly it was there, a rusted black nail. We all saw it. I wanted to keep it but then I thought, no, it’s like keeping a radioactive thing,” he said.

And these are clearly signs of Satan’s power:

[Truqui’s] subjects, he says, have problems that cannot be explained in normal medical terms. One, who he believes may have been cursed by her mother-in-law, feels an almost constant sensation of daggers entering her legs, knitting needles in her arms, and a clenched hand at her chin. Another was so obsessed by self-gratification that he masturbated 40 times a day. “Normally speaking it is humanly impossible … so that is a satanic thing,” says Truqui.

I’m not going to pronounce on the demonic implications of a high frequency of masturbation, but clearly the Church’s belief in demons and the ability of ritual to expel them is a delusion. Again, I’m willing to admit that a ritual may help people who are anxious or have mental health issues—what better placebo is there than a caring priest and your feeling that he really can cast out demons?—but I suspect that treatment by a health care professional, who doesn’t have to decide which aberrant behavior really does result from demons, is superior.

In the meantime, it’s been reported in several places, including USA Today and Newsweek, that this month the Vatican is holding a week-long conference in Rome to train priests how to expel demons. This is necessary not only because it takes skill to recognize and get rid of real demons, but also because private practitioners are horning in on the Vatican’s monopoly of de-demonizing. As the New York Post reports (my emphasis):

While many of the reported cases are actually related to psychological or spiritual problems, Palilla conceded, they must still be investigated.

But the church is concerned that many priests either haven’t learned or refuse to learn exorcism techniques.

“We priests, very often, do not know how to deal with the concrete cases presented to us. In the preparation of priesthood, we do not talk about these things,” Palilla said.

In France, the demand for exorcists has also soared, but independent contractors have taken up the jobs — charging $178 an hour — as the Catholic Church neglected training priests in the practice, The Economist reported.

Palilla warned against using an amateur exorcist because they “certainly make errors.”

Exorcism is recognized under the Catholic Church’s canon law and can only be performed with permission from within the church. The Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists was founded in 1990 and has licensed some 200 members across the world.

Note that the Vatican officially backs the practice of exorcism and supports the International Association of Exorcists. It’s also well known that Pope Francis, like Antonin Scalia, believes that Satan isn’t just a metaphor but a real figure, which he says is “a personal being who assails us.”

That is the Church’s beloved and liberal Pope, who still believes in a literal Satan. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

h/t: Grania


  1. Craw
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Ridiculous! Beyond ridiculous. I will perform exorcisisms for only $125 an hour. Family discounts. Leave a contact number.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      And, results guaranteed, or double your demons back!

  2. grasshopper
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    What stops the demons from coming right on back? Can a demon be killed? Are there 160,000 fewer demons in the world, or did they go just go next door? I can’t think it through. My mind is flabby. I need to exorcise it more.

    • Robert Bray
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Look for them at the Legion Hall

      ‘My name is Legion; for we are many’ (Mk 5:9)

    • Charlie
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, here is what Jesus Christ Himself says about demons (Matthew 12):

      43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

      So, for every demon cast out by a priest, it plus seven more will come back to possess the “clean house”. I wonder why priests do this to their flock? Seems mean.

  3. Claudia Baker
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    “In the preparation of priesthood, we do not talk about these things”

    No, we just learn how to turn wafers and wine into flesh and blood. Now, *that* is some real shit.

    Honestly, what a bunch of wankers they are. Join the 21st century, ffs.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink


      The requirement for exorcism has increased since Frankie became pope because he talks openly of believing in a literal devil and demons. He’s the first pope to endorse the exorcists’ society. In doing so, he has created both a belief and a huge demand.

      In his latest document to the faithful, I believe the devil gets a mention. (I haven’t checked yet.) That’s only going to increase demand for the services of exorcists even more. This is an absolute disgrace and Catholics should be ashamed and publicly denounce the practice.

    • dabertini
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Wafers? I believe they are crackers.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      No, we just learn how to turn wafers and wine into flesh and blood.

      wafers? Neat trick!

  4. glen1davidson
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    More priests need training to identify Satanic nails. OK, rust, OK, black, but do the nail heads spin? Do they fly at you?

    If I go out and try to buy Satanic nails, I need to know authentic Satanic nails.

    Glen Davidson

  5. Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.” Depending on what’s in the pipe, maybe that explains a lot of possessions.

  6. busterggi
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Its’ not original with me but the only thing worse than having an imaginary friend is having an imaginary enemy.

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    The only real question here is whether the Priest is being fooled by the “victims,” or whether he is in on it. It’s all juggling. We now longer accept these stories around witchcraft. No one should accept them in other circumstances.

  8. glen1davidson
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Another was so obsessed by self-gratification that he masturbated 40 times a day. “Normally speaking it is humanly impossible … so that is a satanic thing,” says Truqui.

    What’s the limit, and how do you know?

    Glen Davidson

    • Liz
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      I’m interested in what their answer is to this question. That sounds like, depending on the woman, very high but normal. Especially on days right before menstration. It might be a bit much but for both with someone and by oneself, I’d say 30-40, if it gets that high, that’s healthy. Women climax differently so maybe that’s why it doesn’t seem too high. It would be like 4 “sessions” x 7 occurrences. Something like that. Still a little high and very rare.

      • glen1davidson
        Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        I wasn’t serious, so I didn’t include the following:

        The claim a few years back was that a man “serviced” 100 women in a record-setting session. Presumably in less than 24 hours. One wonders what sort of checking went on, etc., but he must have managed to ejaculate at least 40 times.

        Exceptional for males, whatever the real number was, but I hardly think 40 times/day has to be any kind of miracle. I’m not sure why it should be credited to Satan, even if it was a miracle.

        Glen Davidson

        • grasshopper
          Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          Multiple orgasms are not so unusual. Why, just last year I had three orgasms in a row: one in March, one in April, and one in May.

        • Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          It’s quite possible the man serviced this number of women without achieving an orgasm with most of them. In fact, that would make much more sense as it’d eliminate any refractory period. Not this wouldn’t take some serious discipline and control to maintain that happy medium for that length of time…

          • BobTerrace
            Posted April 16, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

            That wouldn’t be my definition of a happy medium.

        • Liz
          Posted April 16, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

          Agreed that it isn’t a miracle. If the exorcisms aren’t successful, maybe Prophet Mboro (mentioned on this site) could cross over into Catholicism and try his hand at it.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 19, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          I vaguely remember seeing a video of that edition of “Record Breakers”. One of the few where Roy Castle didn’t blow his own trumpet.

  9. AC Harper
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Exorcist: “Do you want me to exorcise the demons in your house?”

    Atheist: “There’s no such thing as demons!”

    Exorcist: “Effective isn’t it?”

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      However, if you don’t pay the exorcist, your house gets repossessed.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink


      • Posted April 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Here’s a whole song with similar puns!

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted April 16, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          That’s pretty funny, but I wonder what it’d be like to live with the dude.

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    It’s well-documented that interest in demons escalated in the United States with the double whammy of the publication of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Exorcist” followed by subsequent films (both followed by “The Omen” which was not based on a novel.)

    However, the author of Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin, is not a believer in these things, and has mixed feelings about having contributed to this phenomenon, whereas the author of “The Exorcist”, William Peter Blatty is a true believer.

    Satan changes personalities from religion to religion. In the Old Testament, he is a prosecuting lawyer, but appears as a more demonic figure in the New Testament. Not until after the formation of the Christian Bible is he identified as a fallen angel. Nothing in the Bible identifies Satan with either Lucifer, the fallen angel in Isaiah, or the snake in the garden of Eden.

    Of course, one of the most destructive elements of this belief is the persecution of witches. Even if you believed in witchcraft, you could mount an impeccable case that there were never any witches in Salem, Massachusetts.

    The Catholic church is becoming liberal on some issues, but is not losing any supernaturalism.

    • Posted April 16, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think liberals are less prone to supernaturalism. Some self-identified atheists still believe in ghosts, psychics, etc.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted April 16, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Entirely agreed!!

  11. Ben
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    “For those who think that the Catholic Church is becoming saner and more liberal…”

    Until they change their stance on birth-control, I don’t see how ANYONE can think this…regardless of how “folksy” Francis can be.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      More liberal than in the Dark Ages, maybe.

  12. MP
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Man! I would give anything to be possessed by a demon that makes me masturbate 40 times a day.

    Any pointers?

    • BobTerrace
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      It’d get bloody sore, is all I can say.

      Be careful what you wish for. 😉


  13. ashdeville
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m quite proud that I escaped from the Roman Catholic church. They are the biggest nutters going.

    • AC Harper
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 3:09 am | Permalink

      Essentially (word used with its dictionary meaning) they still believe in magic. Without magic they have nothing so most of their ‘teaching’ is aimed at defending that magic.

      Astronomy has (mostly) beaten astrology, chemistry has (mostly) beaten alchemy, but the Roman Catholic Church soldiers on (other religions are available).

  14. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Whenever demonic possession or exorcism is reported on or discussed, the first thing that comes to my mind is Flip Wilson’s wonderful shtick, “the devil made me do it,” as can be seen here:

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink


  15. BobTerrace
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    You know the saying, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”.

    When your an exorcist, you find demons.

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    When I was a teenager, I had a Pontiac that, when you put on the turn signal, every damn light in the car — headlights, taillights, interior dome light, radio light — would take to blinking. I tinkered with it some myself, but couldn’t figure out the problem. I ended up taking it to a buddy’s dad, who owned a garage. After I described the problem, he fixed me with a long stare and said “Son, you don’t need a mechanic; you need an exorcist.”

    Dunno why, but this post made me think of that story.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 11:57 pm | Permalink


  17. Paul S
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Shame we can’t exorcise the Catholic Church.

  18. Posted April 16, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    … a demon in sheep’s clothing, sly ol’ dogs these priests, i suppose self exorcism are out of the question… two for the price of one.
    Be gone foul beast and take him with you!

  19. Craw
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Rises. Demand is singular.

    • Robert Bray
      Posted April 16, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      ‘Demand is singular.’ In more ways than one (plural).

  20. Jon Gallant
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    My friend Ed C. used to be one of those unlicensed exorcists that so disturb Holy Mother Church. I once assisted him in the exorcism of a ghost—a long dead, native Indian Chief who was troubling a suburban duplex. We made use of bells, candles, and other devices to convince the ghost to leave the premises, and he did. The young woman who inhabited the place reported that the Chief was gone. I think he accompanied us when we left, and he now haunts my basement.

  21. Agellius
    Posted April 16, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    The Church still believes Jesus rose from the dead, so, there’s that too.

  22. Posted April 16, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    C’mon down, folks! This week only, buy one 6-back of holy water and get your incense candle for free! Only at Bishop Mortimers’ emporium can you get your cruci-fix at these low-low prices!

  23. Posted April 16, 2018 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t God just a really powerful demon? A good exorcism should leave the subject an atheist.

  24. Posted April 16, 2018 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Instead of getting demons out of the children, the Catholic Church really needs to work on getting their priests out of the children.

  25. Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I was more annoyed by the fact that the Guardian reported this as if it were a serious news story.

  26. jaxkayaker
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    “Despite what Hollywood would have us believe, Truqui says full-on demonic possession is very rare.”

    Does Truqui think everything produced in Hollywood is meant to be documentary?

    • Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      The guy (by construction) believes in demons. One cannot be sure.

      I remember years ago encountering someone who thought _Men in Black_ was something like an “inadvertent documentary”.

  27. Roger
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    He’s got a point. Christ was the first exorcist. Jesus wouldn’t lie about that!

  28. Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Shoot, a fella could have a pretty good comedy routine in Vegas with all that exorcism stuff.

  29. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    160,000 demons?

    Suppose that was over a 50-year working life, that’s 3200 a year or nine a day, every day. More than one an hour (assuming an 8-hour day).

    Just where the hell did he *find* all these demons?


    • Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Also, any duplicates? Does driving off one from one person risk sending it to someone else?

  30. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The richest cult in the world, still preying/praying on the sick and suffering.

  31. Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Imagine working for a global company that has no female board members or female members of senior management. It never has, and it never will, because by its laws, women are not allowed to hold these positions. Therefore, ALL major decisions concerning the company, from its strategic initiatives to the composition of its corporate culture, are made by men. Women are allowed to work at this corporation, but only in very clearly defined and ultimately subordinate roles. And most if not all of these roles can be occupied by men as well.

    I actually can’t imagine such a company existing in the modern western world. I certainly can’t imagine western feminists being silent about such a company if it were to exist.

    So why aren’t Catholic women, many of whom identify as feminists, not walking out of the RCC in droves? Why is any self-respecting woman associated with this organization?

    I know this thread is about the RCC and demons, but frankly this is all I can think about whenever I see the Catholic Church. It is the gold standard of institutional sexism in the West, yet never seems to end up on the feminist radar.

    • Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Also, the corporation has its own wanna-be nation state, too.

  32. Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    These fairy tales skip over the core issue, namely, how can an omnipotent god have enemies/opponents? A god that can create hundreds of billions of galaxies each having hundreds of billions of stars with many hundreds of billions of planets … in one day, can’t rid himself of some pesky demons? He has to walk about and cast out individual demons one at a time? A god with tens of thousands of angels at his command? … Wait, why does an omnipotent god need helpers/messengers, aka angels?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

    • Posted April 17, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Why create an imperfect Universe in the first place? If he is perfect, the non-Universe state of things could not possibly have been improved upon. Certainly not by introducing imperfection.

  33. Vaal
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Well when you have even some of the smartest people in Catholicism writing stuff like this:

    Where people are turned essentially into cartoons of good or evil, to satisfy a doctrine of heaven and hell….and this is from a Philosophy professor!…you can never fully predict the hold religion will have on anyone’s mind.

  34. Park Bench
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I think/believe the Congress and the White house needs your help along with the Vatican…

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