TWO of the Catholic Church’s top exorcists have revealed you could be giving the Devil access to your body – with drinking, using porn and watching HARRY POTTER all blamed for a recent rise in exorcisms.
The unnamed priests told The Times that our obsession with all things supernatural and a decline in Christian practice has led to more and more people asking priests to exorcise demons from them or their homes.
However, they added that although drinking and watching porn weakens our defences against the devil, exorcists must take care to distinguish between demonic influences and people suffering from mental health problems.
The pair, whose comments follow the death of Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, are both exorcists in a Catholic diocese. Each of the 22 dioceses in England and Wales are instructed to appoint an exorcist by the Vatican.
One of the priests, an exorcist in the archdiocese of Southwark, said: “It’s true to say there is a greater interest in exorcisms.
“There are lots of reasons. Popular culture is full of the preternatural. Young people are watching things about vampires and Harry Potter and, however much people claim to have moved away from mainstream religion, there remains the need to believe in something invisible.
“It’s normal for humans to have a morbid fascination with the idea of a battle with evil and, to paint a caricature, the exorcist coming like a wizard to help.”
The priest, who covers the areas of Central London and Kent, added that exorcism is not as “glamorous” as films such as The Exorcist might suggest.
Meanwhile, “oppression”, where a demonic presence has partial control, is far more common than “posession”, which sees it take full control.
Symptoms include being able to predict the future, suddenly knowing a new language and becoming terrified of holy objects – but the Southwark priest claims he has only performed exorcisms on five per cent of candidates, which is only ten in the past year.
An exorcist in the archdiocese of Liverpool, in his seventies, also told The Times: “You have to distinguish between mental illness and demonic influence.
“Only when it is obvious there’s something other than mental illness going on would we get involved. Otherwise I would pray with them but say, ‘you should go and see your GP’.”
While Pope Francis has made efforts to restore belief in the Devil as a real figure in recent years, the practice of exorcism is not without controversy.
In 2008, Westminster exorcist Father Jeremy Davies said homosexuality and promiscuity could lead to demonic possession – while Satan tricked people into thinking abortion, gay marriage, contraception and IVF are acceptable.