A surge in demand for exorcisms in France by people who are merely anxious or trying to save their relationships has created a kind of private exorcism industry where self-made “priests” charge hundreds of dollars for their services.
The Daily Mail is reporting on the phenomena being experienced in France that has seen a rise in anxiety among the populace due to the recent terror attacks. This, coupled with the Catholic Church’s strict policy about performing exorcisms only on persons who have been determined to actually need one rather than mental health services, is spurring a kind of cottage industry to meet the demand.
One exorcist, named Jean Clement, who claims to be an ordained priest, told the Telegraph that he performs as many as four exorcisms a week, almost double what he used to do. The ritual he uses can cost up to $360 and last up to two hours.
Father Georges Berson, who is one of only two priests in Paris who is authorized by the Church to carry out exorcisms, said no real practitioner would charge money.
“’The false priests and the false exorcists and so on – they ask for money, a lot of money.”
For example, he knew of one woman who spent more than $60,000 on charlatans in a bid to be rid of her depression.
“When someone is really possessed, we deal with it,” Father Berson said. “Once the devil was inside a woman and he spoke to me in Dutch, perfect Dutch with an Amsterdam accent. He said he didn’t want to go back to Hell. Afterwards I spoke to the woman in Dutch and she couldn’t understand a thing. She asked me if it was German.”
The demand for exorcisms has indeed risen on both sides of the pond.
The Mail interviewed Father Vincent Lambert of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis who said the reason behind the surge in demand is because people are more susceptible to the devil.
“The problem isn’t that the devil has upped his game, but more people are willing to play it,” Father Lambert explained.
In the 12 years since he has been serving as an exorcist, the number of trained exorcists has grown from 12 to 50.
What’s behind the surge in demand?
Father Lambert believes a rise in pornography and drugs is somewhat to blame for the increase, as is wavering faith in the Church because it creates a void that allows evil to enter.
The best way to avoid the problem of being conned by a phony exorcist is to avoid needing an exorcist in the first place. We do this by striving to remain in a state of grace, which means we are free of mortal sin; to have a daily prayer life; and to avoid dabbling in the occult and the New Age.