Guidelines for the Ministry of Exorcism



This valuable work was born from the listening, the experience and the work of the many members of the International Association of Exorcists (AIE). These Guidelines, this Vademecum, are made authoritative by the decisive contributions of the Congregation for the Clergy which examined and corrected them, making use of the contribution from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

This valuable work is a fruit of the hard work of the AIE President, Padre Francesco Bamonte, icms, together with the AIE Council Members.

Certainly, this book will assist all exorcists, particularly those who are beginning to exercise this important and delicate pastoral ministry of the Church and those who are more experienced exorcists. They will find in this vademecum a precious and valid instruments capable of guiding them and encouraging them to continue in this ministry of mercy, this ministry of compassion —- this ministry that is so close to the Heart of Jesus —- to assist our brothers and sisters who are suffering and are tormented and harassed by the devil and the evil spirits.

Certainly, this book will assist others to have a better and healthy understanding of this delicate and needed ministry, which is often misunderstood by so many and relegated as as ministry only belonging to the past… an archaic and taboo ministry.

I’d like to quote, His Eminence, Cardinal De Donatis, Vicar General of His Holiness, Pope Francis, for the Diocese of Rome, who said about the Book, “The present Guidelines will certainly help exorcist Priests, members of the A.I.E., to avoid, in the exercise of their munus, practices or methods which do not correspond to the norms with which the Church regulates the ministry of exorcism. The exorcist, in fact, cannot proceed at his own discretion, since he is working within the framework of an official mission which makes him in some way a representative of Christ and the Church. Therefore, in carrying out his ministry, he must know, understand and abide by the norms established by the Ecclesiastical Authority, which certainly include what concerns the proper celebration of the sacramental of the exorcism, but collectively regulate much more than the liturgical action alone, as the Guidelines continually highlight and reiterate.’

And on September 28, 2018, in the context of the International Conference of the AIE, Cardinal De Donatis said, “Dear exorcists, I remind you that the ministry entrusted to you makes you special collaborators of your Bishop and makes present the mission of the Apostles. The situations which present themselves to you in many cases offer you the opportunity to proclaim Christ to those seeking salvation and to call those who were lost to conversion. To you, people and families open their hearts; to you deep and painful wounds are revealed, and in your ministry, Jesus’ ministry is lived anew. Your welcoming and the delicacy with which you will know how to heal broken hearts are the ‘Good News’ that continues to resound in the world and its healing power appears even more evident where our incapacity as creatures appears bleaker. Much more than many Priests, you are witnesses of the power of the Lord, who acts through His Word and the laying on of your hands: cultivate this gift with great humility and where possible inconspicuously. I entrust your precious ministry to the Immaculate Virgin: may her heavenly protection accompany you, may she obtain for you from the Lord true wisdom and strengthen your heart in the serene faith of the Lord’s friends.”

I would like to quote our AIE President, Padre Bamonte, who wrote about this important work, “… the second purpose that the Guidelines can fulfill will be that of contributing to the initial formation of the candidates to the ministry of exorcist whenever their Ordinaries deem it appropriate to make use of our Association to assure them of well-founded principles and safe policies of conduct in the realization of this delicate and difficult ecclesial service.”

And at another instance, Padre Bamonte said in his presentation of the Guidelines, “… my thoughts cannot but go to Pope Francis. More than any other Bishop of Rome, in his teaching, made up of words and gestures that are so incisive in the people of God and in the hearts of the people of our time, he has frequently warned us against the ordinary action of the devil. For his repeated warnings, we should be grateful to Divine Providence, knowing from experience how dangerous the ordinary action of the evil one is not only for us, but also and above all for the victims of his extraordinary action, the suffering of which makes them more exposed and more fragile in the face of attacks of the devil. Therefore, accepting Pope Francis’ appeal, we make our prayer even more intense, seeking constant refuge in the protection of the Holy Mother of God and in the valid help of Saint Michael the Archangel, Prince of the Heavenly Host, so that we, those entrusted to our ministry and the Church may be preserved and defended by the attacks of “the liar from the beginning.” Even in the reading and study of these Guidelines, may our hearts remain united to the Successor of Peter, so that Jesus Christ, God and Lord, may increasingly become our thought, our love and our life.

As our AIE President, Padre Bamonte,  wrote in his Presentation to this Vademecum, I too hope and pray that these Guidelines will help all of us in the ministry and will help our Bishops and Conferences of Bishops in the training and formation of their new exorcists and more…

  • I am certain that these Guidelines will help both the new and more experienced exorcists.
  • It will surely help the new exorcists and those, our brothers, who may be appointed exorcists in the future by their Ordinaries.
  • I believe that this document will assist our Bishops and Conferences of Bishops in providing the necessary guidance and training for their exorcists and/or in the development of their own guidelines about this Ministry.
  • I pray too that the Seminary Formators and all those who are responsible for the training of permanent deacons, religious brothers and sisters, consecrated men and women, etc., will take advantage of this document in providing the needed training for our future priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters, etc., so that they will have a healthy and better understanding of this delicate and pastorally needed ministry that is often misunderstood.
  • And I pray that this Book will help everyone who wishes to better understand this much needed pastoral ministry.

All for the Greater Glory of God!
Ave Maria!

From Fr. Robert-Joel Cruz
Coordinator, AIE English Secretariat (Rome)