“The Exorcist” movie 1973
A well-intentioned young priest called me and asked for my thoughts. He was helping a fully possessed, young woman who was having problems finding an exorcist. He voluntarily stepped in and began praying regularly over her using prayers of minor exorcism, not using the solemn Rite. Technically, this sounds okay since he was not doing a solemn exorcism or saying the official Rite of Exorcism….but….
Then the young woman began complaining of not being able to sleep at night. So, before she went to bed, the priest prayed over her and she fell into a sound sleep. Eventually he began praying over her every night before she went to bed, so she could sleep. What’s wrong with this picture?
It might be somewhat surprising but I have run into at least four different situations in which young, well-intentioned priests ended praying nightly over possessed young women so they could sleep. Fortunately, in each of these situations, when this was discovered, it was halted immediately.
An old exorcist wisely cautioned me years ago to watch out getting too emotionally close to possessed women. He knows of priests who have done so and, even if the relationship did not become sexually acted out, the inappropriateness itself was an opening to Satan. The Evil One will use that to gain access to the priest. The priest himself could become oppressed, and even possessed, as a result. I have seen this happen.
The real fight is an exorcism is not the session itself. Satan knows he loses in a face-to-face fight with the Church which is filled with the power of the risen Lord. Rather, Satan is a master of hidden manipulations.
Typically an exorcist is an older priest. Even then, he needs to be careful about setting solid boundaries in this sometimes dangerous ministry. If a younger priest is selected, he should be closely supervised by an older exorcist. Satan is a cunning adversary and not to be underestimated.