Monday, May 16, 2011

Book of Exorcisms

Deacon Michael Shirk has put together a Book of Exorcisms, published by Rene Vilatte Press, our jurisdiction's publishing concern. It is an exquisitely typeset, hardbound book. Here is purchase information:

The following is the Preface I wrote for it.

The Independent Catholic Christian Church, along with many other jurisdictions in the Independent Sacramental Movement, maintains the use of the traditional minor orders, including that of Exorcist, as steps in the journey toward the priesthood. One of our priests, Mother Sandra Hutchinson, as she prepared to be ordained an Exorcist, had this to say: “Of all the minor orders, this is the one that intimidates me the most. Evil is real, and this is a direct challenge to it. But God is real too, I know that. And I'm looking forward to it as well." And that sums up the order pretty well – we must acknowledge the reality of evil – in ourselves, in others, in the fallen world. But we must also acknowledge the sovereignty of God, recognizing that God is able to overcome evil. In Christ’s victory over sin, death, and evil through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, God has, once for all, triumphed over evil. The war is over – God has won, and evil has lost. But battles remain, and as those called to serve God in ordained ministry, we must be ready to confront evil in order to do the work God has called us to do, through the power and authority of Jesus Christ.

The rites in this book, which Deacon Michael Shirk has prepared, contain liturgical acts of exorcism. This book is intended to be given to the person being ordained as an Exorcist as the act of ordination. These rites are of two kinds: first, ritual exorcisms that take place during the blessing of certain created things, such as holy water, and the exorcisms that take place to prepare a person to receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism; and second, the extraordinary exorcism of a person who is obsessed or possessed by demons, traditionally called an “energumen”. In the Independent Catholic Christian Church, anyone who has been ordained to the minor order of Exorcist, and certainly all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, may perform the first class of exorcisms, the ritual exorcisms. The exorcism of an energumen should only be undertaken by a Priest under the direction of the Bishop, except in case of emergency.

We are grateful to Deacon Michael Shirk for compiling the rites in this book. It is my hope and prayer that this book may assist the clergy of this jurisdiction and others in confronting and ridding the world of evil.

+Timothy Michael Cravens Feast of St. Gabriel the Archangel, 2011

Presiding Bishop

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