Mail from a priest: “It finally dawned on me that the dysfunction could be demonic.” Then a short rant from @FatherZ

A priest sent an interesting email, in the wake of what I wrote HERE about the need to perform exorcisms of all church properties.   I short, I wrote:


If I were a diocesan bishop, I would immediately go through my entire cathedral and chancery and residence and exorcise the places using the older, traditional Roman Ritual.

If I were a diocesan bishop, I would tell pastors of parishes and chaplains of schools, etc., whom I trusted to do it right, to do the same in their places, church, sacristy, rectory, school, all around the grounds.   Otherwise, I would send delegated priests to all the other parishes, etc., to carry out the exorcisms.

If I were a diocesan bishop, I would pronounce an exorcism over the entire diocese entrusted to my care.

If I were a diocesan bishop, I would go to the four corners of the diocese and pronounce the exorcism again at each spot and also say Masses at each, Pro Remissione Peccatorum, Pro Defensibus Ab Hostibus, Ad Poscenda Suffragia Sanctorum, Pro Gratiarum Actione.

Repeat annually.


What did the priest send me?

So just a note in response to your post on exorcisms. I started a school at my parish. From day 1 it’s been a slog. Nothing seemed to go right in spite of many prayers, good planning, and sufficient financial backing.

The strangest problems would occur and once we handled one, there would be another.

In February, we were on the verge of closing because people were pulling out so fast. But it didn’t make sense. The problems seemed almost . . .coordinated.

It finally dawned on me that the dysfunction could be demonic.

I consulted the diocesan exorcist who encouraged me to do an exorcism on the building. So that’s what I did while assisted by my parochial vicar: old rite, in Latin, blessed salt and all.

Wouldn’t you know it, things immediately smoothed out. We got a new principal who is perfect for us, our enrollment numbers started going up again for next year, and we raised an incredible amount of money to keep the doors open.

I don’t know for sure what caused the oppression (I do have some suspicions), but praised be Jesus Christ and the power he has given to his Church!

Indeed.  Laudetur Iesus Christus.   This is entirely consistent with what I’ve heard in parallel situations.

FATHERS!   Do not underestimate the power granted to the priest through the rites of the Church.  Blessings and Deprecatory Prayers and Exorcisms are mighty tools.

After I suggested to bishops and priests to say deprecatory prayers from the Roman Ritual during one of the last big hurricane threats to the East Coast, some priests wrote to say that they had done them. Then the hurricane changed coarse and didn’t strike land as the projected course suggested.

Once during flood season I suggested that the bishop and priests use the Ritual’s prayers against floods.   I received a note from a priest that they did it and the flood subsided before the projected time.

Once I myself watched on TV radar coverage a massive storm with confirmed tornadoes dropping right and left.  On the map, that even had time stamps of the arrival of the threats on a path, it was barreling down on where I was.   So, I got out the Rituale, put on my stole, and standing on the porch recited the prayers into the face of the wind, commanding the storm.  Finished, I returned to the TV and watched as an astonished weatherman remark that he had not seen anything like what was happening.  On radar you could see the really ugly core of the storm split in half and go around my address.

One of the reasons why we consecrated bells the way we did is so that they could be rung against storms and in times of need, to call God’s help down onto communities.  Here’s but one of the puissant prayers in the “baptism” consecration of a bell:

O God, who through the blessed Moses, the law giver, Thy servant, didst command that silver trumpets should be made, through which when sounded by the priests at the time of sacrifice, the people, reminded by their sweet strains, would make ready to worship Thee, and assemble to offer sacrifices, and encouraged to battle by their sounding, would overcome the onslaughts of their enemies; grant, we beseech Thee, that this vessel, prepared for Thy Holy Church, may be sancti+fied by the Holy Spirit, so that, through its touch, the faithful may be invited to their reward. And when its melody shall sound in the ears of the peoples, may the devotion of their faith increase; may all the snares of the enemy, the crash of hail-storms and hurricanes, the violence of tempests be driven far away; may the deadly thunder be weakened, may the winds become salubrious, and be kept in check; may the right hand of Thy strength lay low the powers of the air, so that hearing this bell they may tremble and flee before the standard of the holy cross of Thy Son depicted upon it, to Whom every knee bows of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confesses that the same our Lord Jesus Christ, swallowing up death upon the gibbet of the cross, reigneth in the glory of God the Father, (Philippians 2, 10), with the same Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end. R. Amen.

You would be surprised at how long and complex the rite is for the consecration of a bell.  Greg DiPippo has an informative piece about the rite at NLM.  They are “baptized”, as it were.  They are washed with holy water, anointed with the Oil of the Sick and Sacred Chrism, filled with smoke from burning thyme (or really thymiama, the recipe for which -equal parts of galbanum, stacte, frankincense and onycha) is, given by God to Moses, is a little hard to make now… but that’s another story), frankincense and myrrh, and then solemnly given a name.  Bells speak to us.  They speak with joy and they call us to joy, prayer and action.  They mourn when we mourn.  Their silence can be deafening.

And that’s just BELLS.

That’s the sort of thing that bishops and priests can do!

Have we as Catholics forgotten so very much of our identity and our Tradition?

This is one of the reasons why I bang on about the recovery of our Catholic Tradition and its reintegration into our regular daily lives, not just occasional events.   It’s a whole way of life, that integrates the rhythm of the Church’s calendar with its seasonal and festal blessings, days of penance and petition, processions of rogation and exaltation, weaving our sacred times with our daily needs.

Blessings, Deprecatory Prayers, Exorcisms.   They aren’t as amazing as the Sacraments, but they are just the tools we need for certain jobs.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. AAJD says:

    The Byzantine tradition also has wonderfully elaborate rituals for the blessing of bells, which are taken most seriously, especially in Ukraine and Russia. And as for exorcising places, I have heard seen the results of that up close in Europe, and heard stories over the years from Orthodox priests about the power of doing so. In one case a little child was haunted by an “orange man” who reportedly followed her about the house for months, terrorizing her waking and sleeping. After investigation, the priest thought to ask if a ouija board has been used, and sure enough the child’s uncle had been fooling around with one in the basement. The priest ordered the board burned and the house exorcised and blessed, and the “orange man” was never seen again.

  2. JARay says:

    I find all of this most inspiring. As it happens I did receive Minor Orders which, of course, includes Exorcist. As I understand it, when I left the Seminary my Minor Orders were revoked and so I lost the charism of exorcism but reading the comment above from “Robert-Caritas” makes me think that maybe, just maybe, that charism has not been lost to me. I do possess a copy of the Latin Rite of Exorcism. I must look at it again. One never knows!

    [Do not be so imprudent, not to say foolish and even stupid, as to attempt anything of the sort. Leave the rites alone and call a priest.]

  3. The repentance and conversion of Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz, began when he heard the ringing of monastery bells from his prison cell in Poland, where he was awaiting execution. He reconciled with the Church and died with the Sacraments.

  4. JonathanTX says:

    Coincidentally, there is a Colombian bishop who will dropping holy water on his entire town by military helicopter in a few weeks:

  5. Kmom says:

    Alas, where I live, the bells of the Cathedral have been replaced by recordings. How can that be good?

  6. I live in tornado alley in north Texas close to the Oklahoma line. Concerning floods, tornadoes and straight line winds…dear laity, burn your blessed palm and pray your prayer against storms. Just as storms have gone around Fr. Z, we have seen it happen many times or the storms just stop abruptly. We do have a storm shelter and I still prepare to go into it, but I start burning the blessed palm and praying the prayer when I first find out what is coming. Make use of the sacramentals provided by God and His Church!

    Prayer Against Storms

    Jesus Christ a King of Glory has come in Peace. +
    God became man, + and the Word was made flesh. +
    Christ was born of a Virgin.+
    Christ suffered.+
    Christ was crucified.+
    Christ died.+
    Christ rose from the dead.+
    Christ ascended into Heaven. +
    Christ conquers. +
    Christ reigns. +
    Christ orders. +

    May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning.+
    Christ went through their midst in Peace, +
    and the Word was made flesh. +
    Christ is with us with Mary. +
    Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the
    Generation of Juda, the Root of David, has won. +

    Holy God! + Holy Powerful God! + Holy Immortal God! +
    Have mercy on us.

  7. The Masked Chicken says:

    With regards to private exorcisms by the laity,here is a comment by the CDF, under Cardinal Ratzinger.

    EWTN also has good commentary. I am just passing these on for consideration. It is always prudent to consult an expert experienced exorcist when dealing with these sorts of things. It would be good for every diocese to have one.

    The Chicken

    P. S. I miss the button that would let one view a comment before it got posted. I hope when the WordPress expert Fr. Z is looking for is found, he will figure out a way to re-add that feature.

  8. The Masked Chicken says:

    I was afraid the html code for the links wouldn’t work, sigh. If one googles, “Ratzinger exorcism,” these should be the first two websites listed.

    The Chicken

  9. justjoe says:

    Do you know any exorcists in the Cleveland area (216) you might recommend? Or is there a traveling exorcist, a sort of Paladin, if you will, who might hop a plane and visit an afflicted person/home/family? Expenses covered up front naturally. ( Or does the diocese have exclusive jurisdiction in such matters? I understand such authorities and rights are actually critical – what is loosed is loosed and what is bound is bound – and such.)

    [You should work through a local priest appointed by your bishop. Contacting the chancery would help, or contact a solid parish priest whom you know to believe in these things.]

  10. Zephyrinus says:

    Dear Fr. Z.

    Thank you very much for this magnificent Article. You encapsulate so much that is missing in today’s Liturgy in The M0dern Catholic Church.

    May God continue to Bless you and Encourage you in your Life as a Priest.

    The Faithful need devoted Priests, such as you, to continue to lead us on against so many trials and tribulations.

    May The Blessed Virgin Mary, Comforter of Priests, watch over you.

    in Domino.


  11. Hidden One says:

    Please forgive my silly question, but the traditional consecration of bells is still in the Rituale approved for use under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, correct?

    [Oh, yes! Bishops can use the all the books as they were before the Council. They can consecrate bells with the traditional rite. As a matter of fact, THEY SHOULD, because the text in the so-called “Book of Blessings” doesn’t actually bless the bells! It asks God to give blessings to the people who might hear the bells. That’s a huge difference. That’s the modernist attempt to destroy the distinction between a constitutive and an invocative blessing.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  12. APX says:

    I used to be a probation officer and I kept holy water and blessed salt in my desk for this very purpose. God only knows the demonic things that got dragged into my office by my clientele. I often wondered if I sprinkled them with holy water on their way out if they’d stop re-offending.

    I believe you’re on to something. At work some years ago our one POS till in the drive-thru really lived up to its acronym meaning something else than what the manufacturer intended. It would always freeze up and crash at the most inconvenient times. The amount of anger that it would invoke was absolutely astounding. One day a small St. Benedict medal found its way into someone’s change and it sat in the cash drawer for weeks. I noticed during those weeks the till actually worked and stopped freezing and crashing. Then one day it was gone and right on cue, the freezing and crashing started back up.

  13. Scott Woltze says:

    A certain archbishop who is known for his love of the TLM had his cathedra secretly exorcized a couple years back. Why in secret? Because he knew many of his priests would think him a loon if it were made public. In fact, he waited till the cathedral rector was out of town on vacation. Why an exorcism? Because the cathedra was stolen in the 90s by a few satanists and desecrated. It was recovered a couple weeks later, and the faithless clergy simply re-installed it and rejected any notion that it needed to be cleansed in any way. The diocese went bankrupt less than a decade later due to sex abuse claims.

  14. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    In reference to Mssrs. JARay, Caritas, and Wolze, I perceive a commonality that I think I have seen in some spiritual fads now and then. I am not saying that exorcism is a fad, not by any stretch of the imagination. When the sacred ministers of the Church do not sate the people’s need for the sacred and transcendent, that need will out in strange ways. Reiki, laity assuming the orans position, and laity desiring to say exorcisms all fall into this bucket as far as I am concerned.

  15. MissBee says:

    Father, when I read your comments about the power of blessed bells, I could only think of this video of Notre Dame’s bells. Played this over my car’s stereo and it was …powerful

  16. Gab says:

    Deliverance Prayers: For use by the laity, Fr Chad Ripperger.

  17. ALL: A reader commented (and I deleted) a suggestion to use “Unbound”. Do NOT.. NOT… use “Unbound”.

    He did, however, add:

    I would also recommend in the strongest possible way the website This site was established by a group of Catholic priest-exorcists, among them Fr. Chad Ripperger. They offer a daily set of prayers that anyone can say to free oneself from demonic influence. I have been using these prayers since Easter and have experienced remarkable results. The prayers are available in various languages including Latin. PAX.

    Even so, friends, I would be extremely wary of any of this. My first suggestion, always, is use of SACRAMENTS, which are greater than sacramentals.


    Make GOOD Communions!

  18. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I forgot about blessed palms on our recent night of fifteen tornadoes, and I didn’t have any blessed Candlemas candles to be a “thunder candle.” But I did pray one of the traditional lay prayers against storms. And the tornado did go around my mom and dad’s house, and my little brother’s house. On the other side of town, it went around a motherhouse of sisters and a Protestant seminary.

    And I think the Epiphany chalk house blessings have been graced things for me and those around my apartments.

    Of course, God is not a vending machine, and His will is sometimes hard to see. There were churches that got blown away, but their congregations seem to have been given great graces by God in exchange. He allowed hard things to occur, but then He brought blessings and love.

    Still, I’m not too proud to beg, when there is danger. He told us Himself to ask the Father for what we need.

  19. Muzhik says:

    FWIW, on my website dedicated to the Chaplet of Reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus, in my downloads section, I have both a download of a house blessing/exorcism that the laity can use, as well as a pamphlet with the prayers needed for a priest to bless and exorcise salt and water, as well as oil, for use at home. The house blessing is to be used only to bless/exorcise the place where you live, and only if you are the owner or lessee of the place (i.e., your name is on the rental contract). This gives you authority over the place and over the “things” and “entities” in it.

    I cannot emphasize this enough. I recall reading about a Protestant prayer group who were essentially running a deliverance ministry. In their city was a prison, and every time they drove past it they could feel the evil and hate emanating from it. Based on their experiences in their deliverance ministry, and believing that as Bible-believing Christians God gave them authority over all demons, they started praying frequently as a group for the demons to be expelled from that prison. In less than a year they saw results: one of the members had come down with an illness that doctors could not define or treat, and two of the married couples each got divorced.

    The problem is that they did not have any authority over that prison — neither the lands nor the buildings nor the people therein. Demons are legalistic, and by attempting these prayers claiming authority they did not have, they opened themselves to demonic attacks.

    P.S. Father, please delete this portion if you do not want this link in your comments section:

  20. maryelangdon says:

    I read a story several years ago about the Blessed bells which also stated that the first bell ever to be erected and not consecrated and blessed is in America, in Philadelphia, and is called the Liberty Bell.This is bc the Masonic forces were behind it.Same with the Statue of Liberty.That also is a masonic figure.

  21. Filiolus says:

    Fr. Z, is what Robert_Caritas says about individuals saying those prayers true?

    [I think not, and it verges on the dangerous. I removed his comment.]

Comments are closed.