International Association of Exorcists (IAE) also reports dramatic increase in demonic activity
Father Pat Collins, an Irish priest and exorcist, in an open letter to the Irish Catholic, says Irish bishops need to train more priests, as “demon possessions” in Ireland have increased “exponentially”. Many are calling him, or sending e-mails requesting his services, and he needs back-up as it is getting more and more difficult to handle every request.
He says he is “baffled” the Church is not responding appropriately to the increase in demonic activities by training more priests to conduct exorcisms, and accuses anyone who cannot see the issue as someone who is “out of touch with reality”.
At the same time, the International Association of Exorcists (IAE) has also reported a significant increase in demonic activities worldwide, especially in the last few years. The issue has been so severe that back in 2014, this group of 400 Catholic priests and leaders even went so far as to declare a “pastoral emergency”.
Collins says, “It’s only in recent years that the demand has risen exponentially.” He adds that in the case of many people, they themselves believe that they are troubled by an evil spirit. But most times, he thinks they are wrong. And when they approach the Church, the Church, not knowing what to do, refer them to a psychologist or someone who is known to be interested in that type of ministry. “…and they do fall between the cracks and often are not helped,” he says.
However, the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth, in response to Collins says that reports of exorcisms are “very rare”, and no such cases of exorcisms in Ireland have been brought to the knowledge of the office in recent years. The spokesperson also adds that every diocese needs to have an exorcist who is well-trained, so that they may be able to differentiate between a mental illness and “true demonic possession.”
For the Catholic Church, it is critical that priests know the differences between signs of psychological illness and demonic activities. Seminars specifically for training priests as well as interested people in distinguishing between the two are often held. According to the rules of Catholic rite of exorcism, a person first has to rule out any psychological illness before resorting to the services of an exorcist.