On Monday, March 7th, one of the few Vatican trained exorcists in the United States came to speak in Newman Hall at the St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Father Vincent Lampert is a Catholic priest and official exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He came to speak about what exorcisms are and answer questions. Lampert trained in performing exorcisms during a three-month visit to Rome in 2006. There, he participated in 40 exorcisms.
There are many types of demonic activity, including possession. But Lampert says that demonic activity is actually very rare. Many of the cases he encounters are actually attributable to other factors such as mental illness.
“I probably spend more time debunking than doing actual exorcisms,” Lampert says.
Lampert first works with experts such as physicians and psychologists to find explanations for cases other than demonic activity. Then, he must send a report to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis before he can gain permission to perform an exorcism.
Lampert said it’s good to have a sense of humor in order to cope with the work of an exorcist. He said he has known four individuals to have left the priesthood due to experiences they have encountered as exorcists.
According to Lampert, there must be an “entry point” for demonic activity. People are bothered by demonic activity if they in some way turn towards evil or perhaps even accept a demon willingly. Demons can influence a person’s physical reality through actions such as altering one’s imagination. Demons can also cause changes in the body through means such as a voice change or bodily contortions. However, demons cannot possess a human’s soul.
Lampert said that it is important for a person affected by demonic activity to reconnect with their faith of choice. He said an exorcism “is not a time to proselytize people” and the goal is to help people develop a closer relationship with whatever faith they choose whether it is Catholicism or not.
Lampert said that most people don’t have to worry about demonic activity but it’s important not to develop a fascination with or practice in evil, Satanism, or dark arts.
“Evil, it’s hold over us, is what we give it when we live in fear,” Lampert said. “When we dispel fear and live in truth, we won’t have anything to worry about.”