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.
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.