March 18, 2011

‘Fear’ is not in the archdiocesan exorcist’s vocabulary

By Sean Gallagher

Live your faith, and don’t fear the devil.

That’s the succinct advice of Father Vincent Lampert, the exorcist of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

“As a people of faith, if we’re praying, going to Mass, receiving the sacraments, Satan is on the run,” he said.

Father Lampert acknowledged that people he ministers to as an exorcist can exhibit unusual behavior or that strange things can happen when he is around them. But he said this doesn’t distract him from his ministry.

“My role as an exorcist is not to get fixated on the antics of the devil, but to help people really see the face of God in their lives,” Father Lampert said. “That’s why some of the trickery that you’ll see if someone is really possessed—some of the speaking in strange voices and odors and drop in temperature and body contortions—it’s all meant to be a distraction and to see if [the evil spirit] can instill fear in the exorcist.

“Because if you give in to fear, then you will quit praying. And then evil wins.”

He noted that some exorcists do not publicize their ministry, but said he has not chosen this path for a good reason.

“It has never been a priority of mine [to remain anonymous] because if people don’t know where to turn to get what they need, then they’ll continue to turn to these other psychics and whatnot,” he said.

This option, Father Lampert said, only increases a person’s problems.

“You cannot turn to evil to combat evil,” he said. “Sometimes people will turn to people that [call themselves] professional ghost hunters or psychics, that type of thing. But if it’s not of God, it’s not a good thing.”

With God and the ordinary means of the life of faith that he has provided in the Church, no one has anything to fear from the devil, Father Lampert said.

“If we’re doing the right things—praying, receiving the sacraments and going to Mass—we already have the proper defense to deal with evil,” he said. “It’s perhaps when we’re not doing those things or maybe just going through the motions, and not fully appreciating them and the spiritual graces that we receive, that we can become more vulnerable to the attacks.” †

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