As already pointed out in other occasions, in recent times the dioceses of Countries such as Italy have seen an increase of the request of information about the presence and the activities in the territory of exorcists by people who consider themselves afflicted by the evil one. Discussing the reasons of this phenomenon and the actual need for exorcistic intervention in individual cases, falls outside the scope of this note.
As International Association of Exorcists, we are calling for attention on the concomitant increase of “offers of exorcism” by self-declared exorcists, who often use the Internet not only to advertise their “profession“, but also to exercise it from “a distance“.
Beware of fraudsters
In all these cases, whether they are self-declared exorcists that operate by direct contact with the people and the places to be “exorcised” (blessing, imposing hands, performing other rites), whether they are supposed exorcists who operate through the Internet (giving advice and blessings electronically or by sending by mail or courier “suitable” material to cast out evil spirits and malignant influences), you shall know with all certainty and without exceptions that these are unauthorized persons, false and fraudsters, who exploit the pain and the credulity of people, taking advantage of religious ignorance and of the superficiality of which, unfortunately, many today are victims.
How to recognize them
The criteria to distinguish these fraudsters do not refer to the appearance with which they occur, nor to what they declare. Indeed, they often portray smiling faces, sober ways, saturated environment of sacred images or representations of good angels, etc.; and they also show that they act for good will, to be believers in God, to be good Christians, to have the help of good spirits or even of saints, etc.
The criteria to distinguish these fraudsters instead make reference to the lack of generosity with which they operate and to the absence of an official mandate from the Church in order to be able to operate. First of all, about the absence of gratuitousness, perhaps not immediately, but certainly later, these fraudsters will request money. If not as a tariff, at least as an offer, sooner or later the request will arrive. It is not excluded, in some cases, the risk that these people try to exploit their customers, as well as economically, also sexually, on the pretext that this kind of acts serve to expel evil. The Catholic Church, in its doctrine, has always taught that the ministry of the exorcist must be exercised for free and among the criteria to discern the suitability to exercise the exorcist ministry has always pointed the one of being “alien from any greed of human goods“. Moreover, the Catholic Church warns its exorcists from saying or making the slightest act that can generate even one bad thought in themselves and in others.
Without a mandate
The decisive criterion for recognizing criminals and fraudsters, however it is the absence of an official mandate by the Church, i.e. a special and expressed license by a diocesan Bishop. This mandate to exorcise, then, is always reserved to a priest. No one can presume to dedicate themselves to cast out demons and to prevent their extraordinary malignant action without having received a specific vocation and without this vocation being recognized and confirmed by the Church. And nobody can exercise the task of exorcist without Christ, through his Church, has given this mandate.
Probably these statements will not be understood by some people (and perhaps will also be misunderstood), in particular by those Catholics who, as Pope Francis would say, have a “soft” faith in Christ; but as the International Association of Exorcists we cannot, for the good of all, especially those suffering, abstain from warning men and women from falling into the hands of those so-called exorcists that, in reality, are no other than fraudsters.
Because in this case the resulted damage would not only be unnecessarily losing money, but making an act of superstition, which could aggravate the evil, if already present, or introduce it.
Note issued by the International Association of Exorcists, presided by Father Francesco Bamonte