Father Pat Collins, a Catholic priest and trained exorcist, has put the Catholic Church on blast, calling for the appointment of more trained exorcists. Currently there is only a requirement of one priest trained in exorcism per diocese on the Emerald Isle.
That, Collins says, just isn’t enough.
The priest has been vocal in his fervent belief that the influence of “the Evil One” is becoming more pronounced. He further says that he receives myriad phone calls every day from people who believe that they or someone they know is suffering from possession.
Lest you think that was all he’s had to say on the matter, he went all in when he pronounced that the Catholic Church was out of touch with reality if they didn’t see Satan’s influence on the world growing, and he points to the internet among other culprits for spreading that influence.
“What I’m finding out desperately, is people who in their own minds believe – rightly or wrongly – that they’re afflicted by an evil spirit,” Frather Collins told The Irish Catholic newspaper. “I think in many cases they wrongly think it, but when they turn to the church, the church doesn’t know what to do with them and they refer them on either to a psychologist or to somebody that they’ve heard of that is interested in this form of ministry, and they do fall between the cracks and often are not helped.”
The quote has been picked up by several other newspapers and online news sources, including The Irish Times.
Distinguishing between the mentally ill and those actually suffering exorcism is a significant part of the training of an exorcist, but Collins insists that there must be more people prepared to follow through with the rite rather than sending so many away.
Collins has been in the public eye more than any other exorcist of the last several decades save for Gabriele Amorth, former president of the Internation Association of Exorcists, and he approaches his duties with a believer’s passion, encouraging those who have been through the rite to speak about their experiences, to tell their stories, though he himself will often decline to speak on the record.
So, why now?
Is it possible that instances of possession are indeed on the rise? Could it be that some form of hysteria is gripping his specific diocese in Ireland? Or is this a priest who has been far overworked and simply needs help?
It’s hard to say, but you can be assured we’ll be following the story closely and will report future developments.