universal life church, ulc, get ordained, perform exorcism, minister robeMinisters ordained online have long performed weddings, baptisms, and funerals, but what about exorcisms? Does battling "demonic possession" have a legitimate place in church operations, or is it a dangerous throwback to medieval superstition? Writer and civil rights activist Eliyahu Federman has criticized the recent resurgence of the centuries-old practice, arguing that it mocks religion as well as modern-day medicine. His concerns force us as Universal Life Church to ask ourselves whether exorcism a legitimate religious sacrament.

Evil Spirits and Mental Illness

Contrary to the popular assumption that age-old church traditions are dying out, exorcism appears to be on the rise. According to Federman, a growing number of dioceses across Spain and Italy are granting ordained priests the authority to perform exorcisms, and the Pew Research Center reports that 68 percent of Americans believe the world is influenced by angels and demons. While the Catholic Church rejects most claims of demonic possession, it still regards a minority of claims as legitimate cases of possession, and it attributes the growing number of demonic cases to a growing interest in black magic, spirit boards, and paganism.

For Lederman, mental illness and the influence of popular culture are the more plausible explanations for the demonic possession phenomenon. Misdiagnosing mental illness as demonic possession has had tragic consequences, he argues. In 2003 church members killed an 8-year-old autistic boy during an exorcism in an attempt to rid him of a demon they believed was causing his disability. In 2010 relatives beat to death and drowned a 14-year-old English boy in an attempt to exorcise his evil spirit, and in 2013 a man was convicted of beating to death his two-year-old daughter in an exorcism ritual.

The Role of Ordained Ministers

When confronted with such cases, ordained ministers and the churches they belong to have a crucial decision to make: they can resort to methods mired in medieval superstition, or they can refer cases of demonic possession to the appropriate professionals. Sometimes this means offering their own services in the form of emotional and spiritual counselling and support, but often it means consulting a mental health professional with the knowledge and training necessary to diagnose and treat sufferers. Never does it mean physical or psychological abuse.

Indiscriminately diagnosing abnormal behavior as demonic possession has terrible consequences, and we should avoid it as ministers. But what about genuine cases? If there are genuine cases of demonic possession, how would we know, and how should we handle them?


The Huffington Post


  1. Kirk's Avatar Kirk

    Even Catholic Priests have to have folks checked out for mental illness before they get permission to perform exorcisms on people. The Chaplain in my National Guard unit had to get permission to perform an exorcism on a building after several attempts at performing blessings did not rid the property of the evil feeling presence. He said there are a lot of whoops to jump through before performing the exorcism on people. He also said that ghosts are some level of evil, so don't mess with them. Occasionally a friendly spirit may visit for helpful purposes, but ghosts are bad! Contact your local Catholic Church if you have ghost issues!

  1. Roy L. Patterson's Avatar Roy L. Patterson

    There is such a thing as a person being possessed with demons. One as a Christian Minister must be careful to determine if this is mental Illness or true Possession. Sometimes difficult to do. You should consult others with more experienced in the field before trying it yourself. Have yet to find of a real case.

  1. Debra R Torres-Reyes's Avatar Debra R Torres-Reyes

    Excorcism was a regular occurence at our small Evangelical Church. Scared the frick out of us children as we watched the ministers in my church commanding the devil to come out of the possessed person. Whether the person was really possessed or not, the demon growled and asserted its right to remain in the person. More common than not in Evangelical or Pentecostal Churches.

  1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

    it's one thing to bless a house/ object or perform a house cleansing ritual, but it a whole another matter when it come to performing any type of Excorcism on a living being. You can do only do far more harm and damage especially if you have no training as a mental health therapist, and isn't license and certified as one

  1. Father Matthew Rawcliffe 's Avatar Father Matthew Rawcliffe

    i have been threw training for such thing and i am now going threw seminary to join the priesthood i am catholic to obtain an exorcism the person should have a mental evaluation done and be given a clean bill of health after that a bishop must decide weather an exorcism is warranted in their situation. It is something that a trained team should do not only can it be dangerous for a minister not trained in such thing but it is also improper.

  1. James Watt's Avatar James Watt

    I already am a trained professional a pain management specialist physician American Board Certified also all specialists are Family Doctors first. A Minister is new to me but real Exorcism is not. You need to be Baptized but Catholicism not necessary all guidelines seem to have a Catholic viewpoint but in truth I am Anglican and as long as you are devout then this is enough. Always work alone- a weak person in the room will be attacked. That is my experience and once you have experienced it God does rush through you and you know things from Ancient Rome that a real living person doesn’t and cannot know. I observed it but didn’t obsess over it- just thought well that’s nice I’m am after basically just a copper wire it was God not me that did the Exorcism. I just went back to my job. Dr Watt.

  1. James Watt's Avatar James Watt

    One more thing when doing a real exorcism you don’t need accessories like Holy Water or even a crucifix although I did have a Bible even that’s unnecessary- because you have to be humble you are just a copper wire….in fact if a Priest has any haughtiness they are weak and will be attacked. It’s an incredibly interesting feeling having God go through you like that and if the Catholic Church says Gods Exorcism isn’t real then THEY are in the wrong. I have also read the Al -Jinn section of The Koran although when I did an exorcism I did it only in Latin. You must complete the prayer once you start and it will do all it can to stop you from finishing it. Al Jinn in The Koran is more modern but an ancient object that I did was older and evil since long before Mohammed even so I did Latin only.

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