We are to be about exorcism for the sake of the greater honor and glory of God, no? Is there any room in the exorcism ministry for seeking the oooohs and aaaaahs of others, even if those others are restricted to other exorcists? No.
However, time and again, some exorcists fall into the trap of keeping records, “studies” if you will, about cases of exorcisms which they have followed. Certainly, various “cases” are interesting, and make for good books and films. However, really, if each case has absolutely unrepeatable circumstances of people’s lives – and all cases are like this for the reason that people’s lives are so very different – is there any point to comparing cases, categorizing them? No.
Is it not an exercise in arrogance, thinking that one can outwit Satan by seeing how he acted with this person or that so as to apply this to another person, ultimately claiming in this way that you are crushing Satan by showing him how stupid he is? Is Satan’s tactic not to show you just how very stupid you are, so as to crush you? Will he not make it seem that there are similarities in case after case, needling into some vulnerable aspect of your personality, doing esoteric studies on you, ultimately showing you how he can reverse the conclusions of your studies on him during a low point in your life, making you feel that all you’ve done is a waste? How many exorcists crumble in this way! The sudden revelation of how prideful they’ve been is so terrible that taking this as an occasion to grow in humility seems impossible, which is yet a further fall into pride.
If you try to play a mind-game with Satan, he will win, every time.
Keeping records and doing studies does no one any good, and brings about harm to the individuals and to the Church. No one in their right mind wants to be a guinea pig for you, and would never do this if they were not in dire need of an exorcism. Their need gives you leverage to do your esoteric studies, but will this not add insult to injury for them? Will they not have a sense of being raped on whatever level? Yes, almost all candidates for exorcism will give you permission to record sessions, keep records, do incredibly invasive psychological studies from who knows what school or preparation, and so on. They are vulnerable. They will agree to anything. They are suffering like hell, quite literally.
If you take advantage of them when they are so low, as low as hell, you will have to contend with our Lord Himself. He would not want you doing an esoteric study of Him for the sake of your curiosity, seeing in some esoteric way how He dealt with Satan and His minions, and this for your benefit, by the way. He received the full frontal attack of all of hell on Calvary so as to be the One who is the living Power behind our words of exorcism. It’s His power, not our cleverness which does anything.
Do not esoteric studies trying to outwit Satan deny, in some way, the power of our Lord to do the exorcism? We mustn’t ever forget that exorcism is a very prayerful experience, an experience of the power of our Lord, an experience of His goodness and kindness, of His care for those for whom He died amidst the onslaught of hell. Just as scientific calculation cannot adequately measure the effects of mixing great intelligence with an utter lack of wisdom such as is suffered by Satan and his minions, so the power of the gentle goodness and kindness of our Lord cannot be measured if not simply on the shroud in which He was buried, and from which He rose from the dead.
Christ Jesus, The Exorcist, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, is alive, and He is not to be turned into an esoteric study of Satan which cannot but ignore Him!
Those for whom the Lord died deserve better than some exorcist, who is in love with his cleverness, doing esoteric studies on them. And there are some real candidates for exorcism, by the way, who will baulk before what they instinctively know to be your crossing over the line, and will not comply, and will continue to suffer, perhaps ending up in a very, very bad way. Don’t ever forget that. The Lord will hold you accountable, will He not?
But what if some busybody chancery official demands records of everything in some effort to show he himself is doing something bureaucratic and therefore worthwhile? This kind of request is, of course, ultra vires (beyond the capacities of power), and can be met with what it deserves. When the records are requested (probably they will never be requested again), send in memos of logistics of times and places. Those are the only things that should be in any records. I never once met up with such a situation, not in any (Arch)Diocese of any country anywhere, ever. But, if there is an insistence, this time from the local Ordinary, go and explain the situation to the local Ordinary, to whom only you are beholden for your mandate. Say that you haven’t been keeping records of what is often an internal forum situation and that none of this should be on paper. This conversation just won’t happen. But if it does… sigh… and there is an insistence, make the request that you simply render an oral account, insisting, on each point, that such things are private to such people and don’t belong on paper. You can add that there is a risk that people, once relieved of their suffering and again in their right minds, will remember your detailed record keeping, and sue the diocese for the removal of their records from the chancery files. Really, I don’t think any bishop is interested in being taken to task for abusing the trust of vulnerable people! You won’t have any trouble after that!
It is good to remind people – and this is quite disarming – that this is not about covering one’s backside, but that it is about our Lord’s very direct activity in people’s lives, about His goodness and kindness.