1. The Vatican first issued official guidelines on exorcism in 1614 but, it wasn’t until 2014 when it because an official Catholic practice. That’s all thanks to Pope Francis, who thinks it’s a form of charity.
2. In 2006, the office of the Exorcism of the Archdiocese of Manila was created. It encounters about 3-4 cases of demonic possession on a daily basis.
3. There are four stages to demonic possession: manifestation is when a person unintentionally invites a demon in. Infestation looks like signs of haunting like unexplained noises in houses, apparitions, and the like. Oppression is when the demon affects its victim psychologically. And finally a full possession, when the person is so far gone that not only does the demon have full control over the mind and body of its host but becomes in league with it, as well.
4. The Catholic Church recognizes four signs of possession: when the person is able to speak a language unknown to him/her; when the person displays supernatural strength. When s/he is able to disclose secrets, usually other people’s sins, and finally aversion to religious objects.
5. For the Catholic Church, confession is much more powerful than exorcism. According to Father Jeff Quintela, Chief Exorcist of the Diocese of Antipolo, “confession is a sacrament, while exorcism is just sacramental. It only liberates the body, while confession liberates the soul.”
6. According to Fr. Quintela, about 80% of his cases are women. Why? Because the devil has a glitch with Mother Mary. “The devil is afraid of the Blessed Mother,” he says explains.
7. Here are the five personalities more susceptible to possession than others: People who open themselves to demonic influence—those who consult fortune tellers, feng shui masters, and the like—people who’ve actually sold their souls to the devil, curious to see what the devil can offer. Third are those where the demons are sent to the victim by way of curses or witchcraft. Anybody who has addictive tendencies and lets go to much are also vulnerable, and finally someone who is generally a threat to the spirit world with innate holiness.
8. You can protect yourself a myriad of ways: by praying, by going to confession, by giving up occult practices and finally, by reconciliation. “Ang taong may galit sa puso, kayang kapitan ng Diablo yan. At hindi siya bibitaw kung hindi mo pinapakawalan [ang galit]. It is only through love and forgiveness that exorcism can be solved,” Fr. Quintela says.
9. Exorcism is not a one-time event. It’s almost comparable to the rehabilitation of a drug addict: It requires maintainance. Every day, the victim needs to make a conscious decision to stay away from the devil. Some are required to go to mass, other, to go to confession regularly, and pray.
10. The purpose of the ministry of exorcism is to lead the person back to God. “Even if priests cannot perform exorcism, they can hear confession, which is more important,” Fr. Quintela says.
Photo: Rennell Salumbre/Manila Bulletin
H/T: Yvette Tan/Manila Bulletin
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