The book is not an exhaustive treatment of the subject of exorcism, but was written as a tool for exorcist priests or priests in formation to be exorcists.
It can also be used by bishops’ conferences and dioceses to help facilitate discernment “in cases of faithful who consider themselves in need of the ministry of exorcists, since this type of request is increasing,” Bamonte said.
In the book’s preface, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, said that “the exorcist cannot proceed at his own discretion, since he works within the framework of an official mission that makes him in some way representative of Christ and the Church.”
“The ministry of the exorcist is particularly delicate,” he says. “Exposed to multiple dangers, it requires special prudence, the result not only of right intention and goodwill, but also of a suitable specific preparation, which the exorcist is obliged to receive to adequately carry out his office.”
There is a “notable increase” in fascination with exorcism in the Western world, especially with demonic possession and the role of the Catholic exorcist “in the demanding task of freeing from it,” Bamonte pointed out.
“In some cultural circles, a peremptory description of Catholic exorcism continues as if it were a rough, violent reality, almost as obscure as the practice of magic, which we want to oppose, but, lastly, ending up putting it on the same level as occult practices,” he said.
The priest said it was impossible to understand this ministry without belief in Jesus and his Church.
“Pretending to understand Catholic exorcism without having a living faith in Christ and what he, in the revelation given to the Church, teaches us about Satan and the demonic world, is like wanting to deal with second degree equations without knowing the four basic operations of mathematics and their properties,” he stated.
This is why it is necessary “to always go back to the sources of our ministry,” he continued, “which does not arise at all from the fear of witches, from the desire to oppose magic or from the will to impose a specific religious vision at the expense of other different conceptions about God and the world, but solely and only from what Jesus said and from what he first did, giving the apostles and their successors the mission to continue his own work.”
The International Association of Exorcists includes around 800 exorcist members around the world. It was founded more than 30 years ago by a group of exorcists, led by Fr. Gabriel Amorth, who died in 2016. The association was formally recognized by the Vatican in 2014.