CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The demand for exorcisms is so high, the Vatican is training more priests to perform the sacred ritual. Fr. Vince Lampert of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis sat down with WKRC to discuss his experience.
Fr. Lampert pastors a parish in Brookville, Indiana. The parish is named after St. Michael, the archangel who battled demons. When Fr. Lampert isn’t shepherding his flock, he travels the world performing exorcisms. He was appointed to the position by the archbishop of Indianapolis after the archdiocese’s previous exorcist died.
“I always say I was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Fr. Lampert.
The power of Christ indeed compels Fr. Lampert to conduct his work. He attributes the increase in exorcisms to the decline of faith.
If someone is dealing with the demonic, it’s a matter of faith, so it isn’t just about casting evil out; it’s helping the person invite God into their life,” said Fr. Lampert.
Fourteen years ago when Fr. Lampert was trained to be an exorcist, he was one of 12 American priests approved by the Vatican to perform the ritual. Today, that number is more than 100.
“I think the Church is appointing more exorcists because if the Church doesn’t address the issue, then people may end up going other places for the help they’re seeking,” said Fr. Lampert.
The demand for exorcisms is so high, the Vatican hosted a summit in 2018 to train more priests. Fr. Lampert says he gets 2,000 requests for exorcisms per year. He estimates about 10 percent of those requests are worthy to be investigated.
“The most common misconception is that it’s pretty common, that it happens all the time and again. True cases of demonic possession are extremely rare,” said Fr. Lampert.
Fr. Lampert admits this all sounds strange, but the Church does have a protocol to determine if someone is instead mentally ill. That process of elimination includes having a physical and mental evaluation. If doctors can't find evidence that the person has a medical condition, then Fr. Lampert looks for the four signs of the demonic.
“There could be possession, infestation, the presence of evil in a location or object, demonic obsession, someone experiencing mental attacks, demonic vexation, someone experiencing physical attacks,” said Fr. Lampert.
After the demons are identified and driven out, Fr. Lampert says there’s still more work to be done with ongoing pastoral care and prayer. For Fr. Lampert, it’s the prayer that heals.