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Priest performs exorcisms

By Makenna Mays, Staff Writer

While exorcisms may have once been a taboo topic in the Catholic Church, Father Vincent Lampert believes that is no longer the case as the topic seems to be becoming more popular.

“I think people are fascinated by the topic,” said Lampert.

Father Vincent Lampert, aside from being the pastor for both St. Peter's and St. Michael Catholic Church, he is also the designated exorcist for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

In 2005, the exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis died, and Lampert was selected by the Archbishop to be the replacement. In the fall of that year, Lampert went to Rome for three months where he trained and mentored on how to become an exorcist.

During his training, Lampert sat in on 40 exorcisms to receive firsthand knowledge on how to deal with someone who is up against forces of evil. In 2005, there were only 12 Catholic exorcists and today there are about 100.

Before an exorcism is performed, there is a protocol for determining whether or not someone is actually possessed. This begins with a psychological and physical examination to make sure the afflicted person's condition cannot be explained in the medical field.

Following this, Father Lampert would meet with the afflicted to determine if what they are facing is evil, and if so, what was the entry point for the evil in that person's life. The also look for extraordinary signs of demonic possession such as a person being able to speak and understand languages they shouldn't, abnormal strength, elevated strength and an aversion to anything of sacred nature.

“There's nothing magical about an exorcism, at its very core it's a prayer trying to bring a person into a deeper relationship with God,” said Lampert.

Hollywood portrayals of exorcisms may seem extreme, but there is a prescribed manner to how an exorcism is performed. The location is always determined first, and it is determined by the Church and is always a sacred space.

“I always jokingly tell people exorcisms are not performed in an abandoned house, on a dead-end street in a thunderstorm,” said Lampert.

That type of setting may make for a good movie, but in a reality, a priest is present, the afflicted person, a family member and people who are there simply to pray. Lampert said there is no such thing as exorcism tourism. People are not there just out of curiosity.

The process is quite lengthy, beginning with blessing the person with holy water to remind them of their baptism. A sacred scripture is read, specifically the accounts of Jesus casting out demons, and then the person is invited to renew their baptismal promises. Following this is a reading of Psalms, and then a minor exorcism prayer and a major exorcism prayer. These prayers can be repeated as many times as necessary.

Lampert said that extreme things that we often see in movies about exorcisms do sometimes happen in real life. This is because the demonic wants to play on a person's memory and imagination and instill fear.

“If you can instill fear in people then they're no longer going to focus on the power of God that's at work in the exorcism, they're going to be fixated on the power of evil,” said Lamp-ert.

During his training, Lampert recalls seeing someone levitate off a chair. However, what Lampert found more fascinating was the priest performing the exorcism was able to reach out his hand, place it on the head of the levitating person and gently push them back into the chair.

Surprisingly, going into situations such as these to not scare Father Lampert.

“I don't lose any sleep because I know the power of God is greater than the power of evil,” said Lamp-ert.

Lampert receives about 1,700 calls a year from people who believe they're afflicted by evil. Over the past 13 years, only six cases have been full-blown demonic possession. The Catholic Church recognizes four types of demonic activity; demonic possession, demonic obsession, demonic vexation and demonic infestation.

“My desire would be to help educate and train other ministers on how to minister those who believe they're dealing with evil,” said Lampert.