Image Courtesy of Zachary Lichter
By Zachary Lichter
On Thursday, April 21 Father Vincent Lampert, a priest and exorcist from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, spoke at CUA on Tap.
The talk began with Daniel Taylor emceeing the event and giving an overview of Lampert’s life. Lampert grew up in Indianapolis and studied at the University of Indiana Bloomington Campus. He then was ordained in 1991 and was appointed in 2005 to be the exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 2005. He wrote a book called Exorcism: The Battle Against Satan and His Demons, which was published in 2020. He is currently a priest at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Brookville, Indiana and at St. Peter’s in Franklin County, Indiana. Lampert is one of the few exorcists who is made known to the public. There are currently twelve dioceses that have an exorcist and there are over 125 priests in the United States that are appointed to be exorcists. Every bishop in a diocese is considered to be an exorcist, and the bishop sometimes appoints priests to be exorcists. An exorcist is not allowed to do work outside their diocese.
As an exorcist, Lampert’s job is to perform exorcisms on people who may be possessed by demons, the devil, or evil spirits. In terms of performing an actual exorcism, Lampert will have the person sit in a chair in the middle of the room, as he stands directly in front of the person. Family members will be on one side and anyone else praying will be on the other side. The exorcism begins with Lampert blessing the person with holy water, reminding them that we are created in the image and likeness of God, calling upon the Lithium Saints and Mary. He then reads from the Book of Psalms, gospel passages to cast out demons, the prologue of the Gospel of John, and the Renewal of Baptismal Rights if the person was baptized before. All of these procedures are to manifest the demon. These procedures are also being done so Lampert can invoke the Holy Spirit. The goal of an exorcism is to not be afraid of evil but instead to have a relationship with God. Most of the people who Lampert says have had exorcisms are people who have either turned away from the Catholic faith or consider themselves to be atheists.
“People should stay with their Catholic faith because the snares of the devil are very powerful,” said freshman theology and religious studies major and philosophy and Italian studies minor Andrea Suarez. “The Catholic faith is full of the things that can save us like God, the saints, and the Virgin Mary. We have all this protection that guarantees that we are saved from the devil.”
Lampert mentions that the devil’s purpose is to destroy civilization and to drive us away from God. The devil has this four stage plan starting with deception by inverting his reality and truth and creating this crisis where we have a redemption towards Jesus. The devil also creates division by making us feel overwhelmed or frightened, whereby he will lead us to eternal death. Divorce, the breaking of the family, and pornography are three examples of how the devil creates divison. Fr. Lampert additionally said that the devil creates diversion by having us worship a false God, breaking the first commandment. Then finally Lampert said that the devil creates the feeling of discouragement, causing people to be lazy.
Lampert mentioned that people can end up being possessed in places like a haunted house, where evil spirits try to create lives in the people who they possess. There are physical signs if someone is physically under attack by a demon. Signs include bodily contortion, change of voice, change of physical appearance, and a change of temperature. What is also important to keep in mind is that the person who may be possessed should get a medical and physical evaluation before getting an exorcism. Before the exorcism happens, a questionnaire will be done by the exorcist so they can try to normalize and spiritualize the demon.
Lampert concluded that there are eight ways in which people fall into the path of the devil. The first is falling into the occult by using a Ouija board, seeing a physic, or knocking on wood. The second is entertainment with Hollywood tricking our imaginations. The third is a curse with a demon or fallen angel. The fourth is dedication to a demon. The fifth is abuse, when people turn away from the Church. The sixth is habitual sin, when people turn to a life of sin. The seventh is anger and resentment from a broken relationship, and the final is inviting a demon by praying freely. The best practices to protect ourselves from the devil is to maintain fidelity to God, remain with the gift of the Holy Spirit, going to Mass, going to confession, reading the Bible, and having blessed objects around you.
“I thought he spoke the truth really well,” said senior biochemistry major and Resident Minister Victoria Lising. “His authority as an exorcist, his ability on how much prayer is important and the ordinary things we do. It was interesting to how the exorcism takes place and how it could be mental or spiritual.”
The event ended with a Q&A for Fr. Lampert and a blessing of the rosaries and holy water that were on the tables.