US bishops publish English language translation of Church’s exorcism ritual
The first official English-language translation of priests’ exorcism manual has been released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“Exorcisms and Related Supplications” is limited to bishops, though exorcists, other clergy, scholars and seminary professors also can obtain a copy with the permission of a bishop as reported by the Catholic News Service (CNS) and the Catholic Herald.
The executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship Fr Andrew Menke said making it available in English “should make it easier for a bishop to find a priest who can help him with this ministry” as so few have Latin these days.
“Given that there’s less facility in Latin than there used to be, even among priests, it opens the door to more priests to do this. Until now, not only did the priest have to be wise and holy, but he also had to have strong facility in Latin,” Fr Menke told Catholic News Service.
“It makes it easier for a priest who might otherwise be a good exorcist but who would be intimidated by a requirement to use a Latin text. Having it available in the vernacular means he can concentrate on prayer and on the ritual, without needing to worry about working in another language.”
The revised text draws from rituals used by the Catholic Church for centuries. The USCCB approved the English translation in 2014. The Vatican gave its approval, of the translation earlier this year.
“The first and foremost reason for an exorcism is to rid the person of the demon. And whether the person understands what’s being said or not is irrelevant on one level. They just want to be free of this oppression,” said Fr Menke.
“But at the same time, exorcists have told me that for some people it can be a big help to hear words that they understand, words that are consoling, words that remind them of the power of Christ over the demons.
“There’s a certain confidence that comes from hearing these words,” he added.
The exorcist chooses which language to use. Under canon law, Canon 1172, only those priests who receive permission from their bishops can perform an exorcism after proper training.
Bishops automatically have the right to perform an exorcism and can share that authority with other priests.