"There is a void," he said, "so they want to learn what is not taught to them but should be taught."
In the past, it was common for a theological curriculum to include courses on angels, demons, and their influence. "It was very important for moral theology and also for the theology of exorcism, but now it does not exist anymore," Dermine said.
"So it's a sign that within the Church faith in these things is not as strong as it was before."
However, the exorcist said that while it is crucial that priests be instructed on the topic, it is important not to dwell on the devil too much, in order to avoid superstition.
Fr. Dermine also voiced concern that the practice of the faith is becoming more intellectual, but less spiritual, and is therefore at times being reduced to a sort of "moralism" void of actual belief.
"Our faith is becoming more and more intellectual. We have to inform the person, we have to instruct the person with catechism, it's very important. I myself am a Dominican, I am a moral theologian, I teach theology, I believe in formation," he said, while emphasizing that "problems cannot be solved only through information."
Faith, he said, is above all "a mystery of salvation; we have to be saved from something, from someone, and this someone is also the devil."
Because of this, simply changing our behavior is not enough, because "this is a sort of moralism; but our faith is not a moralism."
Moral principles are important, but they are not the full picture, he said, explaining that Christ came to save men from sin and death, and from the actions of the devil, and because of this, it is important to know the devil and how to fight him.
Speaking of the qualities needed in an exorcist, Fr. Dermine said he believes being an exorcist is a "vocation within a vocation," and as such, is not something priests should strive for, because it is a call from God.
Rather, he said exorcists ought to be appointed by their bishop, without trying to pursue the job themselves.
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A strong personal prayer life is also something essential for an exorcist, he said, and stressed that someone called to this role is not a "super priest", but is "a person named by the Church, and that's all."
Fr. Dermine said the majority of exorcisms he performs are not full on possessions, but are rather blessings or prayers of liberation for people who have opened the door to the devil through actions such as fortune telling or the reading of tarot cards, or who have been attacked by the devil or cursed in some way.
He pointed to a growing superstitious and "magical" mentality in global society, saying dappling in spiritualism and occult practices can open the door to demonic activity, and make it easier for the devil to take hold of a person or influence their life.
It is important for exorcists to know the difference between someone with a genuine charism who receives spiritual gifts from God, and a medium, who is a person that may have the ability to predict or foretell past or present events, but whose abilities do not come from God.
In the case of mediums, many "think it's normal to have these phenomena, but it's not normal," he said, adding that "many times these people have a lot of problems, but they don't understand why they have these problems," so they come to an exorcist for help.
For those who have opened the door to the devil through occult activities, "we must try to convince these people to renounce these phenomena, which is not always easy because many of these people feel important because they have these paranormal phenomena, but they pay a very heavy price for these faculties."