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Old 05-03-2020, 02:12 AM
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What's the Difference Between an Exorcism and a Prayer of Exorcism?


First some background on how I came across this question. About 30 years ago, when I was just out of HS, I was interested in religious materials. I guess I can tell you, I was only a semi-practicing R. Catholic, even at that time. But some of the material I found very interesting too. It was all from this mail order company, JMJ was the name, I seem to recall.

Anyways, one thing I got was a rite of exorcism. It was a little pamphlet. If you read it closely, you can tell it is based on the 68th Psalm. I don't know how or why. But it is obvious it is. (Here, read it for yourself (I should point out that it is the Protestant version of the Bible I am referencing).)

But what they said in the introduction to the pamphlet, I found rather interesting. They said, if you request the official version of this exorcism (perhaps you think you are possessed), you have to consult a bishop, yada, yada, yada. But you can, if you want, say it as your own private prayer of exorcism, in your own name (it said), and at your own discretion.

What exactly is the difference between an official exorcism and a private prayer of exorcism in the RC Church? I mean there must be some difference, or they wouldn't allow private individuals to do it. Are you allowed to hold a crucifix and use holy water.? Do you have to say it quietly, or can you say it out loud?

I grew up with 12 years of Roman Catholic education, and I thought I knew almost every doctrinal point. But this one just has me more confused.

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Old 05-03-2020, 09:00 AM
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Uninformed opinion from a recovering Catholic. All exorcism are prayers for exorcism. The demons are not driven out by your strength but by your sincerity in calling on the Power of Christ.
Roman Catholic tradition places a lot of emphasis on the hierarchy. Therefore it goes without saying that a Bishop, being clearly more experienced and trained on proper sincerity, should be performing the procedure.
You can do your own electrical work but calling in a licensed electrician makes it much less likely your house will burn down.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:46 PM
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The Catholic church does have a rite of exorcism. But, recognising that most people who seek an exorcism are often in need of medical interverntion more than spiritual, they are quite chary about celebrating it. It is celebtrated by a priest, and each celebration is supposed to be authorised case-by-case by the bishop of the diocese or his delegate, and he's not supposed to authorise it unless the person seeking it has already been medically examined, and had whatever medical and psycholigical supports and interventions are recommended, and the medics don't think their continuing distress is a manifestation of mental illness.

But, yeah, the actual text of the rite is published and is freely available. Catholic or not, if you want to celebrate it yourself or get a friend to do it for you rather than getting a priest involved, there is nothing to stop you.
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Old 05-04-2020, 07:35 PM
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That might be the least appropriate use of the word "celebration" ever...
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Old 05-04-2020, 08:33 PM
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What shall I do this slow day, exorcise or exercise? How many calories burn off during an exorcism? Is there an Exorcist's diet or exercise plan? If I exorcise a Scientologist, will anyone notice? Will misspoken words lead to a reverse exorcism? Oops...
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by digs View Post
That might be the least appropriate use of the word "celebration" ever...
Just as "holiday" is a secularization of "holy day," "celebrate" is a secularization of the word to perform sacred rituals. The performance of sacred rites was frequently employed at feasts and came to indicate the happy rejoicing accompanying Christmas, Easter, the end of wars, the crowning of kings, etc. From there it came to indicate general festivities surrounding an event such as a birthday.
Celebrating an exorcism is simply a return to the earlier form of the word. It always meant to perform an act amid throngs of people, but the idea of the happiness associated with expelling maleficent demons, it was natural to use celebrate to indicate rites of exorcism.

Last edited by tomndebb; 05-06-2020 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:04 PM
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Worth pointing out that funerals are also celebrated, and the person who conducts a funeral is the celebrant.

The word comes from the Latin celebrare meaning to assemble, to gather a crowd, usually for ceremonial or ritual purposes, often involving honouring or distinguishing someone. Ceremonials and rituals are often joyful, but they don't have to be. The word is related to the Latin celeber meaning famous, well-known, honoured or notorious, which is of course the sense that the English adjective celebrated has.

In churchy useage all rites, rituals and ceremonials, however glum, are "celebrated", and the person who presides at them is the "celebrant". And this sense spills over into non-churchy usages; in Australia we have licensed civil celebrants who celebrate non-religious weddings and often non-religious funerals, naming ceremonies, etc.
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by RioRico View Post
What shall I do this slow day, exorcise or exercise? How many calories burn off during an exorcism? Is there an Exorcist's diet or exercise plan?
Just get on a Hymnfast regimen.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:29 AM
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As a demon myself, I can say the prayers don't bother me. In fact, they are somewhat flattering because I'm receiving so much attention. The Rite of Exorcism, however, pisses me off. They are constantly splashing me with water and pressing crosses into my forehead. I end up soaking wet with an ugly welt. They think they are driving me out with their strength but, in reality, I leave of my own accord because they are annoying the shit out of me.
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