The First Great Exorcism — Following Mexico, Should Ireland and Britain Be Next?

COMMENTARY: Faced with the activity of supernatural evil in our countries, what should be the response of faithful bishops, priests and laity?

Archangel Michael Defeating Evil by Raphael
Archangel Michael Defeating Evil by Raphael (photo: Wikipedia)

Homosexual activists have succeeded in persuading the ruling elites to use the power of the state, media and big business to successfully campaign for the legalization of same-sex “marriage.”

A government minister of Ireland, one of the most pro-life countries of the world, has announced with satisfaction the killing of 26 babies in 2014 as a result of Prime Minster Enda Kenny’s abortion law. These are the first “legal” abortions ever conducted in the Republic of Ireland. A majority in the U.K. House of Commons, which prides itself on promoting feminism, voted down a motion to protect baby girls from gendercide abortion. No wonder there is a sense among faithful Catholics that moral life is spinning out of control in Ireland and Britain.

The question is: Does the accelerating abandonment of morality and the riotous celebration of immorality, coupled with increasing hostility towards Christianity, especially the Catholic Church, indicate the activity of supernatural evil in both Britain and Ireland? Do these countries require an exorcism, along the lines of the one recently carried out in Mexico?

The most significant evidence that the devil is conspiring to bring these events about is the reversal of public morality, where good is now condemned as evil, and evil is celebrated as good. For example, during the referendum in Ireland, good people who defended marriage between a man and woman for the procreation and upbringing of children were pilloried in the media and meetings as wicked bigots.

Faced with the activity of supernatural evil in our countries, what should be the response of faithful bishops, priests and laity?


Did the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Fail?

On Aug. 15, 2013, Ireland was consecrated at the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock by the bishops of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Since this act, both abortion and same-sex marriage have been legalized to popular acclaim. So why didn’t the consecration of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary bring about hoped-for moral and spiritual transformation?

Looking at the incomplete defense of the faith by the bishops when faced with the challenge of abortion and homosexual acts, one possible explanation for this failure is that the Irish Church was just not in a position to make such a consecration. If reparation for sin was not at the heart of the consecration of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart, then the one intention necessary was absent. Reparation for offenses against God’s divine majesty is the fundamental message delivered by Our Lady of Fatima:

“Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners.”

There is a process of national healing based on the words and deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ that the Church needs to follow: proclamation of the kingdom; exorcism; repentance; atonement/reparation; consecration; catechesis; formation and going out into the world to proclaim the kingdom.


First Great Exorcism Conducted in the World

Therefore, I’m convinced that before an effective consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can take place, the Churches in Ireland and Britain need to take seriously the reality of supernatural evil at work in our countries. This is why I consider the news that a “Great Exorcism” has been conducted for the first time in the world, in Mexico, to be a very significant development for the entire Catholic Church.

It is reported that, on May 20, 2015, the cardinal emeritus of Guadalajara, assisted by bishops, priests and an exorcist, conducted a Magno Exorcismo (“Great Exorcism”) in the Cathedral of San Luis Potosí. According to Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez, the Great Exorcism “is a prayer asking God to drive away the enemy, to drive him away from these places. From San Luis, first of all, and then from all of Mexico.”

His Eminence further explained why he thought it necessary to conduct a Great Exorcism for the Archdiocese of San Luis and Mexico:

“The very grave situation we are living through in Mexico, whose root is very deep, beyond human malevolence; it is the devil, who is very connected to death. He is a murderer from the beginning. … Violence against young and old. … Abortions are performed, even when it is not legalized, but when a country, a Christian country, legalizes abortion, that is a tragedy. It is a very, very grave sin. It’s time for people to become more aware of the seriousness of the situation in Mexico. Acts of revenge, now occurring between assassins and the government; deaths here, deaths there, and deaths everywhere: This violence is nothing else but the devil, who is tearing us apart.”

Father José Antonio Fortea, the world-famous exorcist and author of Interview With an Exorcist, assisted the bishops and priests conducting the Great Exorcism. Father Fortea told Catholic News Agency, “This rite of exorcism, beautiful and liturgical, had never before taken place in any part of the world, although it had taken place in a private manner, as when St. Francis (exorcised) the Italian city of Arezzo.”

The exorcist identified the signs of supernatural evil present in a country that require this unique rite of exorcism, cautioning that conducting one exorcism would not be enough to rid Mexico of demonic evil:

“To the extent there is more witchcraft and Satanism going on in a country, to that extent there will be more extraordinary manifestations of those powers of darkness; to the extent sin increases more and more in a country; to that extent it becomes easier for the demons to tempt people: It would be a big mistake to think that by performing a full-scale exorcism of the country everything would automatically change right away. If with the power we’ve received from Christ we expel the demons from a country, this will certainly have positive repercussions, because we’ll make a great number of the tempters flee, even if this exorcism is partial. We don’t drive out all the evil spirits from a country with just one ceremony. But even though all will not be expelled, those that were removed are not there anymore.”


The Need for a Great Exorcism in Ireland and Britain

I propose that the schemes of Satan are so advanced in Britain and Ireland that the most effective act of entrustment of the Church and our countries to the power of Our Lord would be our bishops and priests conducting the rite of the Great Exorcism in the cathedrals of every diocese. It would be an act of humility on behalf of our bishops, which, in effect, says, to paraphrase Pope Francis, “We can’t safeguard the Church; we can’t cure the Church from the evils that attack us from within the people of God and that attack us from secular society.” Only Our Lord can defeat the prince of the world and his temptations to compromise with the spirit of the worldliness that is clearly at work within the churches in Ireland and Britain.

Pope Francis has taught urgently and persistently about the reality of the devil and the necessity for Catholics, especially priests, to take the activity of the devil seriously. My concern is: Do our bishops share Pope Francis’ belief in the devil? Do they also share his urgent pastoral concern to protect people from the activity of demons?

A couple of years ago, I was contacted by a friend who was attempting to help a family suffering from demonic oppression in southern England. She asked me if could put her in contact with an exorcist because no one in her diocese, bishop or priest, would help this family. The common response from the clergy they approached was one of disdain and condescension: “The Church doesn’t believe in the devil anymore!” I was able to help them get in touch with a priest willing to help. Without the leadership of the bishops about supernatural evil, the danger is that some faithful Catholics will unduly focus on the presence and activity of the devil without emphasizing the primacy of Christ’s love and victory.

I earnestly pray that the bishops and priests of Ireland and Britain take seriously the reality of the devil in our countries and that they follow the example of Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez, archbishop Cabrero, and the brave Mexican priests. In the meantime, let us follow Pope Francis’ recommendation in fighting the devil and pray the Most Holy Rosary:

“Mary accompanies us, struggles with us, sustains Christians in their fight against the forces of evil. Prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary — but listen carefully: the Rosary. Do you pray the Rosary every day? But I’m not sure you do [the people shout “Yes!”] … Really? Well, prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary, has this “suffering” dimension, that is of struggle, a sustaining prayer in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle.”

Deacon Nick Donnelly is a contributor to EWTN Radio’s Celtic Connections program and a columnist with Catholic Voice Ireland.

He is the author of Who Is the Devil? What Pope Francis Says, published by the Catholic Truth Society.

This article originally appeared in Catholic Voice Ireland and is republished with permission.

It has been edited for style and clarity.