The International Association of Exorcists currently has 905 members Photo: ANSA

How Many Exorcists Are There in the Catholic Church and in Which Countries Do They Work?

At present, the International Association of Exorcists (IAE) has 905 members. It’s the only Association of Exorcists recognized officially by the Holy See. The number of priests approved by Bishops as exorcists is growing throughout the world. Also increasing are those associated to the IAE, which have quadrupled in 10 years.

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 23.11.2023).- Father Francesco Bamonte, President of the International Association of Exorcists, said to the 14th International Conference of the IAE that “exorcists are the witnesses, the voice and the ambassadors of Christ and of the Church to those suffering because of the Evil One, with the task and duty to proclaim to their brothers and sisters afflicted by the devil with his extraordinary action, that they are particularly loved by the Heart of Jesus, by His Mother and by the whole Church.” Today this work is carried out “in 58 countries around the world.”

The IAE arose out of the interest of Fathers Gabriele Amorth, Jeremy Davies and René Chenesseau. It was founded in 1993 with the hope of increasing the number of official exorcists in the whole world and to alert Bishops about the current problem, which they considered ignored or suppressed by some hierarchs in the dioceses.

Monsignor Karel Orlita, just elected new President of the IAE, explained to SIR Agency the essence of exorcists’ work: “We are not Catholic magicians; we help people on the path of faith.”

At present, the IAE has 905 members. It is the only Association of Exorcists recognized officially by the Holy See. The number of priests approved by Bishops as exorcists is growing throughout the  world. Also increasing is the  number of those associated to the IAE, which has quadrupled in 10 years.

Europe is the Continent most represented in the Association, with 70% of its members. Italy has 483 members, the United States has 62 and Mexico 48. There are few from South America, where Brazil stands out with 46. Six percent participate from Asia: three from China and two from Taiwan. Africa has only 13 members. The Association promotes formation projects, such as the creation of a basic course on the Ministry of Exorcism, which is imparted in Italy, Spain, Hungary, Ukraine, South Korea, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

The IAE elected Monsignor Karel Orlita as President, an exorcist, canonist and theologian from the Czech Republic, member of the Secular Institute of the Servants of Suffering. He was born in a small village of the Czech Republic. He stresses that “commitment in the formation of the priests is decisive: not a few Bishops — more desirous than ever to be able to have one or several committed exorcists in the pastoral care of deliverance from the extraordinary action of the Evil One –, complain that they do not have priests in their clergy that are apt to carry out the ministry of exorcist. It is not enough, they say, to have  a good theological formation and to be a good priest to be an exorcist: something more is needed.”

Monsignor Karel Orlita was born in a Christian family during the years of the Communist regime. He worked as a blacksmith when it was impossible to enter the Seminary. He was spied on by the Secret Police for his faith in Christ. Now he directs the IAE with a profound vision: “The Christians were responsible citizens and good workers. They contributed to the wellbeing of the Czech Republic and its moral stability. But Communism could not tolerate it. Our neighbours were in the pay of the regime, spying on us and informing about everything they saw. But, above all, they invented facts: we discovered this when, in the 90’s we finally had access to the archives. During that time, I felt called by the Lord. While the officials of the Party hated  the Church in the Czech Republic, God loved the men: in my family alone five vocations arose to the consecrated life.”

Regarding people who go to an exorcist, he says: “There are women and men of the faith that suffer an action that God permits, sometimes extraordinarily, by the Evil One. But there are also people who come to us as if we were good magicians, Catholic magicians. They don’t have a clear idea of an exorcist, who is a priest who carries out Christ’s ministry with the Bishop’s license.”

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Rafael Llanes

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