A retreat center that some have billed as Europe’s only center dedicated to performing exorcisms is being planned to be built in a village in the northwest of Poland, the Washington Post reports.
Father Andrzej Trojanowski, the priest leading the project, says he plans to build a “spiritual oasis.”
"This is my task, this is my purpose -- I want to help these people," said Father Trojanowski, who has worked as an exorcist for four years, according to the Washington Post. "There is a group of people who cannot get relief through any other practices and who need peace."
"This is a service which is sorely needed," said Jankowski, who holds a doctorate in spiritual theology. "The number of people who need help is intensifying right now."
Father Wieslaw Jankowski, a priest with the Institute for Studies on the Family near Warsaw, will also serve the new center. He said that priests at the institute realized they needed an excorcist on staff after they encountered an increase in people suffering from evil.
Father Jankowski said typical cases included people who turned away from the Church, embracing New Age therapies, alternative religions, or the occult. He said internet addicts and yoga devotees were also at risk.
According to Father Trojanowski, he sees as many as 20 people a week who are under the influence of evil.
"My remedy is based on spiritual means, which cannot be replaced by any pharmaceutical remedies," said Father Trojanowski. "I do not stop at the level of just treating symptoms. I'm very much interested in the soul of a person. As a priest, I keep asking questions a doctor will never ask."
Exorcists consider only a small fraction of people to be completely possessed by demons, displaying supernatural strength or revulsion towards sacred objects and speaking in exotic languages. Such cases require a direct confrontation with demons.
Usually, priests perform “soft exorcisms,” praying to rid people of evil influences controlling their lives. They are also careful not to treat people suffering from mental illness, regularly consulting with psychologists and physicians.
The center is to be built on church land in Poczernin, a village twenty miles outside the town of Stettin. There, afflicted people could check in for a few days and receive care.
Local residents worried the center would not have adequate security.
"People are worried about the potential for crazy people coming here," said Ksawery Nyks, 50, a longtime resident, the Washington Post reports.
Romnalda Banach, 46, said she didn’t think the center would harm the village. "Every person, if he or she needs help, should be able to get it somehow," she said.
Father Trojanowski suggested newspaper reports sensationalized the center, which is still in its planning phase.
"The media call it an exorcism center, I call it a spiritual retreat," he said, according to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.