In a recent article from The Telegraph, Father Vincent Lampert explains why the number of practicing Roman-Catholic exorcists has recently increased four-fold in the United States. The primary culprit that he cites is a wave of paganism in the US that is both unprecedented and at full force. This phenomenon inevitably opens avenues for evil to make a foothold and inhabit the body and mind. Exorcists are the ghost-busters called to clean out the mess, and they’re in higher demand than any time in modern US history.
Fr Lampert, an exorcist trained in Rome, claims that his job as an exorcist is to be a skeptic, not a shaman or magician. He has a staff of medical doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists to consult with, who allow him to tell the seekers whether he thinks their symptoms are indeed demonic possession. Only 1 out of 5000 cases brought to him are genuine possession; most are demonic vexation, demonic obsession or demonic infestation or medical/psychological issues. Half of his calls are from non-Catholics and a significant number are even from non-Christians. According to Fr Lampert’s experiences, to perform an exorcism on a non-Christian will often do more harm than good.
When a demon inhabits a person’s body, he will often attempt to drive the person to suicide, in which case the person’s soul can be taken straight to Hell. This world is a complex place, often inspiring and sometimes frightening. Fr Lampert observes that humour has always been a coping mechanism for fear. “If you downplay it and make fun of it, you can convince yourself more and more that evil is not real…”