The pandemic has been good for the exorcism business. An Italian Catholic priest who is a trained exorcist said the demand for exorcism has risen as the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns have “made people more vulnerable to the idea that Satan or some evil entity has taken over their lives.”
“We have seen an increase in the request for exorcisms, because the pandemic has made people more vulnerable to the idea that Satan or some evil entity has taken over their lives,” Father Gian Matter Roggio says. “People have fallen into poverty, they found themselves suffering from anxiety and depression. They feel that their lives are no longer in their own hands but in the hands of a malign force. It’s a big crisis.”
Catholic Online clarified that not all suspected cases of demonic possession are genuine, saying mental illness could be confused with possession: “This is why many exorcists work with doctors and mental health professionals to provide people with the help they need. However, demonic possession is real, and in such cases an exorcism is warranted.”
Catholic law allows priests who have received permission from their bishops to carry out an exorcism, but only after proper training. Two of the United States’ most active exorcists said in 2016 that there was a growing demand for their services as a result of more unchurched Americans seeking help with demonic oppression, possession and other dark spiritual activity.
“We’re gaining all sorts of knowledge, but there’s still that emptiness within us that is being filled with addictive behavior such as drugs and pornography,” Father Vincent Lampert of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis said at the time.
The first official English-language translation of a ritual book on exorcisms was released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2017, detailing practices that get rid of demons and prayers against the “powers of darkness.”
“Given that there’s less facility in Latin than there used to be, even among priests, it opens the door to more priests to do this,” Father Andrew Menke told Catholic News Service at the time. “Until now, not only did the priest have to be wise and holy, but he also had to have strong facility in Latin.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice