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Catholic Dictionary




Formerly one of the minor orders leading to the priesthood, although the power to drive out evil spirits was never confined to any particular order. The office of exorcist originally included the right to lay hands on possessed persons, exorcise catechumens, and pour out the water at Mass. The office was abolished as a minor order by Pope Paul VI in 1972. But episcopal conferences may petition the Holy See to confer the ministry of exorcist if this would be useful or necessary for their territory.