The Devil In America

The Devil In America

America’s Roman Catholic bishops held a conference last weekend to train more priests in how to conduct exorcisms. There is a shortage of U.S. priests who know the rite.

We commend the Church for this quick response to the mid-term election results.

The conference was motivated by an increased demand for exorcisms, driven by an influx of Third World immigrants and a rejection of psychiatry, according to Illinois Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, the meeting’s organizer. We we wonder if simple lack of access to medical services is a factor.

The training seems to have emphasized diabolical triage. “The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite,” according to Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, archbishop of Houston. Practitioners look for violent reactions to holy water, super strength, aversion to the name of Jesus or Mary and speaking in tongues. The latter may be problematic, as this is a major feature in the worship of a growing number of Catholic Pentecostals.


“For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived,” Laurie Goodstein, New York Times.

“Catholic Church needs exorcists,” Todd Venezia, New York Post.

“American exorcist plies his lonely trade,” Daniel Burke, Religion News Service.

“Bishops’ upcoming exorcism conference responds to queries about rite,” Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service.


 “Exorcism – Revised rite,” John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter.

 “How Exorcism Works,” Julia Layton,



Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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One Response to “The Devil In America”

  1. M. Bouffant Says:

    Liked the image, so I stole it!


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