There was a rumor going around that Pope Benedict was contemplating or working on a document about exocists. According to law, dioceses must have an appointed exorcist. I suspect many dioceses don’t.
There is a news item today from apcom. My translation:
Città del Vaticano, 28 December: The Pope is not preparing any instruction to oblige bishops to institute in every diocese a stable number of exorcists to combat the presence of Satan, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office made clear. "There is no initiative of the Holy Father in this regard at either the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or the Congregation for Divine Worship", said Fr. Lombardi when asked for an explanation by journalists after this news appeared on some news outlets.
If the Holy Father isn’t asking for such a document, then perhaps he should.
On the other hand, let us not forget the role of… yes… Summorum Pontificum.
The Motu Proprio also freed up the use of the older form of the Rituale Romanum. The rite of exorcism is part of the Rituale.
No priest may attempt an exorcism without permission from proper authority, usually the diocesan bishop. After the production of the rather meager new rite of exorcism some years ago the older Rituale could only be used with explicit permission as well. Now, however, it would seem reasonable that all priests who have permission to attempt exorcisms would have the free choice of either the new rite (though I can’t fathom anyone actually wanting that) or the older rite.
UPDATE: 30 Dec 07 19:29 GMT
London, December 29 (ANI): The Vatican’s chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, has revealed that Pope Benedict XVI is setting up exorcism squads to deal with the rampant growth of Satanism.
He says that the decision in this regard has been taken in the wake of rising concerns among Church chiefs over growing worldwide interest in Satanism and the occult.
According to him, each Bishop will be provided with a group of priests who are experts in fighting demonic possession. Hundreds of priests will be trained as exorcists for the purpose, he says.
"You have to hunt high and low for a proper trained exorcist. Thanks be to God that we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head on," the Sun quoted him as telling Catholic website Petrus.
Pope Benedict XVI, who became leader of the Catholic Church in 2005, is said to be a firm believer in the existence of evil ever since he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the oldest Vatican department that deals with promoting and safeguarding Roman Catholic beliefs.
Father Amorth says the Pope had asked all the exorcists to help fight evil powers during a meeting last year.
"I remember a meeting we exorcists had with the Holy Father last year, in which he implored us to follow our mission as exorcists," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Father Amorth has also revealed that the Pope is contemplating reinstating use of the prayer said to St Michael the Archangel, which was abolished in the 1960s, because it is believed to be the prime protector against evil.
"The prayer is useful not only for priests but for lay people. For example if a lay person knows someone who is possessed and there is no exorcist available they can intervene by saying this prayer, commanding the demon to leave that person," he said. (ANI)
UPDATE: 30 Dec 07 19:36 GMT
VATICAN CITY, Dec. 29 The Vatican is denying reports it plans to install more exorcists around the world so possessed people can get help quickly.
"Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of ordering local bishops to bring in garrisons of exorcists to fight demonic possession,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters in Rome Friday.
On Thursday, the Roman Catholic Web site Petrus said the pope planned to install more exorcists in every diocese next year and reintroduce a prayer during mass to Mark the Archangel, believed to be the prime protector against evil, The Telegraph in Britain reported Saturday.
Paolo Scarafoni, a priest at Vatican University who teaches how to recognize and expel Satan, said exorcists increasingly are in demand because devil worship has become so common, reported ANSA, the Italian news agency. "Priests are being bombarded," Scarafoni told ANSA.