Exorcism Requests Often Come from Practitioners of the Occult

23% Have Pathological Problems, Says Paris Archdiocese

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PARIS, FEB. 18, 2002 (Zenit.org).- More than 30% of the people who request exorcisms have engaged in activities such as witchcraft, the Paris Archdiocese revealed.

At last week´s annual meeting of French Catholic exorcists, the archdiocese outlined the profile of people who request the ritual.

The Paris Archdiocesan Service said that among individuals who request exorcism, 31% engage in witchcraft, spiritualism or related activities, and 23% suffer pathological problems such as delirium, hallucinations, obsessions, anxiety crises, suicide attempts or visions.

Eighteen percent suffer from family problems such as divorce or sexual abuse; 15% suffer from depression linked to loneliness, abortion, chronic unemployment, false guilt feelings, death tendencies or similar trends. Eighteen percent have religious problems such as possessions, pacts with the devil, curses and diabolical apparitions.

Father Henri Caffart, exorcist of the Arras Diocese, told the SIR Catholic agency that more and more individuals come to ask for his help, "after having asked for help from sorcerers, gurus and visionaries."

According to Father Maurice Bellot, exorcist of the Paris Archdiocese, "the more pagan the mentality, the greater the requests for exorcisms. They often ask me to exorcise them by telephone, or at least at home."

"Many even ask me: ´Father, why do you put conditions to an action that, after all, will not harm anyone and that moreover does not cost money. Are you a priest, yes or no?´" Father Bellot said.

He explained that exorcism is not a "religious placebo," and that "we must only take recourse to it when it is really necessary."