INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- FOX’s new devil-ish drama, "The Exorcist," premiered Friday night. It shows depictions demonic possession as evil spirits invade and take over victims’ souls. We wanted to know what’s real about "The Exorcist" and what’s real far-fetched.
We watched the hour-long show with a real exorcist, Father Vince Lampert with Saint Malachy Church in Brownsburg. Father Vince is the exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He’s one of the 50 appointed exorcists throughout the country, representing the Catholic church.
“Exorcism is a prayer, that’s really what it is. It’s a prayer for one who is afflicted by evil,” he said.
The power of prayer is used to summon out spirits and defeat the demons.
“They’re real," he said. "They do happen but maybe not as frequently as people believe.”
In his 11 years, Father Vince has fielded thousands of calls for help from all over the world, but he’s trained to not believe every person who claims to be afflicted.
“The exorcist is actually trained to be a skeptic,” he explained.
We wanted Father Vince’s take on FOX’s new series. The show is set in Chicago and profiles two priests as they try to help people possessed by demons.
“It speaks to truth of the reality of evil. It speaks to the truth that evil needs to be combated,” he said.
It shows eyes rolling in the back of head, people foaming at the mouth, and unknown voices growling. Father Vince says those are signs of demons lashing out and he’s seen it all when he’s performed exorcisms.
“It’s a common occurrence and it’s to be expected because the prayers of the church are commanding the demon to reveal itself, because only once it reveals itself will the battle against it begin,” said Father Vince.
According to Father Vince, how evil is portrayed on the show is fact. The fictional part is how the evil is dealt with.
“One would not be tied down with shackles or anything like that because if one was really possessed with superhuman strength, that wouldn’t do anything,” he said.
Catholic exorcisms are always performed in a sacred place, not in rundown buildings as featured on the show.
“I jokingly tell people an exorcism is never performed in an abandoned house on a dead-end street during an electrical storm. The devil doesn’t get to decide where he will be defeated, the church will decide that,” said Father Vince.
During an exorcism granted by the Catholic Church, Father Vince tells us he blesses the afflicted person with holy water, sings hymns, reads scriptures and prays to cast out the evil.
“The demons are reminded that they have been defeated once and they will be defeated again so they should not resist,” said Father Vince.
In one scene, one priest aggressively claims that he is taking care of the situation. Father Vince reassures that he is never the one responsible for relief.
“I mean, I don’t have any special powers or abilities as an exorcist. All the power rests with God,” he said.
A person must go through a lengthy process, including several evaluations before an actual exorcism is performed by the Catholic Church. The bishop must grant permission to do so. There are other faiths that also recognize and perform exorcisms as well.