In June, 2014, as reported by the National Catholic Reporter, an independent group of 250 Catholic priests, collectively known as the International Association of Exorcists (IAE), was officially recognized by the Vatican as a “private juridical personality.” This decree meant that the IAE members – who at the time were residents from 30 nations – could continue to perform exorcisms, although not in the “name of the Catholic church.” Though not fully sanctioned by the Vatican, this recognition brought accountability to the IAE, as the Catholic church does have very precise rituals and rules concerning exorcism which, for the protection of all involved, must be perfectly adhered to.
One caveat to the process is that the demonic possession must be real, and “not some kind of emotional of psychiatric disturbance,” like a psychosis. That’s a question that Father Francisco Lopez Sedano, the “national coordinator emeritus of exorcism for the Archdiocese of Mexico” has faced many times.
This 80 year-old priest, as reported by the Catholic News Agency, has been exorcising demons for forty years. He’s seen individuals bark, scream, take the form of a snake wiggling on the ground, demonstrate supernatural strength, and exhibit disease symptoms that their physicians say don’t exist. These are not due to a psychiatric meltdown, according to Fr. Sedano, but activities and “injuries outside the control of clinical medicine.” In his four decades of practice, Fr. Sedano claims to have exorcised demonic forces 6000 times. He believes his work is a divine calling, and is Biblically demanded:
“The three mandates are to carry the word of God, heal the sick, and cast out demons.”
Fr. Sedano is not afraid of these encounters, and looks to Jesus, whose Hebrew name is Yahshua, as his model. For example, Yahshua commanded unclean spirits to come out of a lunatic bound with chains. He also had the authority to command a group of demons named Legion to leave a man and enter into a herd of swine. These are just two examples that Fr. Sedano takes to heart.
The devil, says Fr. Sedano, is a person who enters people “because they allow him too.” He states it is possible for these unseen forces to cause hate, distrust, desperation, or “anything negative.” A door to demonic possession can be opened, he warns, if one engages in witchcraft, speaking to the dead, astrology, magic, sorcery, any superstition practice and/or divination. (RELATED: See similar themed news at Prophecy.news)
According to Fellowshipoftheminds.com, as of July, 2016, there were 50 members of the IAE residing in the United States, and the need for their services is increasing. Board-certified psychiatrist Richard Gallagher, M.D., who is a professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College, has done a few hundred consultations to help pastors, priests, and other clergy members try to “filter episodes of mental illness,” which Gallagher says is the cause of most cases from, “literally, the devil’s work.” He is convinced that there are cases in which he has seen up close evidence that there is “no other explanation” other than demonic possession. (Follow more news of the unexplained at Unexplained.news)
Whether it is the work of consultation with exorcists, or doing the actual work of a deliverer, both Fr. Sedano and Dr. Gallagher share an important motive in common. They do not want to mock or shame a person who may be suffering an unseen or misunderstood malady. Dr. Gallagher sums it up this way:
“For any person of science or faith, it should be impossible to turn one’s back on a tormented soul.”