The ins and outs of exorcisms through the guidelines of the Diocese of Steubenville were explored at the Healing and Deliverance Ministry talk given by Franciscan University friars and staff Nov. 18 in Christ the King Chapel.
The talk was presented by the Rev. Shawn Roberson, TOR; the Rev. Daniel Pattee, TOR; the Rev. Nathan Malavolti, TOR; the Rev. Gregory Plow, TOR; Joseph Loizzo, director of the Wellness Center in the Finnegan Fieldhouse; and the Rev. Dr. Stephen Miletic.
They said explained that movies like “The Exorcist” leave out a few integral steps in deliverance.
An exorcism, they said, is about vanquishing the demons and the sanctification of the person.
This, unlike the portrayal in movies, happens over a period of time, “the ultimate goal of healing is reconciliation with our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Malavolti.
Healing comes through the sacraments, said Pattee. By participating in them, a person grows closer to Christ, he said.
The person grows in holiness, and “the devil is just horrified by holiness; he’s tormented by holiness,” said Pattee.
A person growing in holiness is taking proactive measurements against repossession, said Pattee.
Several frequently asked questions were addressed in the presentation, one of which was about the means of becoming possessed. The presenters said it is rare that a situation requires an exorcism, and possession is the highest level of demonic affiliation that requires an exorcism.
A person has to be “serious, willing, and repeatedly opening doors to evil,” said Plow or someone must be involved in “satanic ritual abuse,” which is seen in satanic cults.
Plow said, “The healing from repetitive sins can be brought about by not underestimating the sacrament of confession. Exorcism is a sacramental. Confession is a sacrament; we ought not to underestimate to power of the sacrament of confession in these instances of our lives.”
The men stressed the importance of who is allowed to perform exorcisms. Only a priest mandated by the bishop can perform an exorcism, they said.
“Father Michael Scanlan … was engaged in casting out a demon when it said ‘you can’t cast me out; you don’t have the authority of the bishop.’ He got the bishop’s permission and boom, it was out,” said Pattee.
During the talk they brought up Leil Lozano’s book “Unbound.” They pointed out certain activities within it should be avoided while others are beneficial in helping people.
“In operating within the diocesan guidelines, all prayer, guidance, spiritual aggression must be couched and phrased in the areas of healing, not deliverance,” said Plow.
They also clarified in the talk that through prayer a demon cannot transfer from the person you are praying for into you. Prayer and the rosary are powerful against evil, they said.
“If you’re in the mode of prayer, you’re like spiritual teflon, you have a shield around which is the shield of God. … God … has more power than every single demon, including Satan,” said Plow.
Guidance in situations like the aforementioned can be addressed to the Residence Life, resident assistants, who in turn will contact the friars. At the end of the talk the room was opened up for questions of which there were many.