A televised exorcism
on the eve of Halloween is "just for show," but "demons are real," and the Catholic Church has "reformed and renewed" the ritual in recent years, the Rev. Thomas Petri tells Newsmax TV.
In an interview Friday with "Newsmax Now" host John Bachman, Petri, vice president and academic dean at the Dominican House of Studies, said the "live" TV exorcism in St. Louis being aired by the Destination America network is "wrong in so many ways."
Watch Newsmax TV on DirecTV Ch. 349, DISH Ch. 223
and Verizon FiOS Ch. 115.
Get Newsmax TV on your cable system — Click Here Now
"It's really silly what this television network and this program is doing," he said. "First of all, this house in St. Louis is not what inspired 'The Exorcist' movie… and this person who's doing this exorcism of this house [Bishop James Long, the founder of the Kentucky-based Paranormal Clergy Institute ]… he's not part of the Catholic Church. He's not a Catholic priest. This is really just for show, it seems to me."
"He was the national Elvis impersonating champion in the 1990s," Fr. Petri added. "He's not a priest and has no connection to the Catholic Church."
But the Catholic Church still performs exorcisms, Petri says.
"[T]he ritual for exorcism was reformed and renewed by the Vatican within the last decade or so," he said. "Demons are real."
The priest said the church "takes a cautious view" of those reporting to be possessed to make sure there's no mental illness or "psychological disorder."
"The right of exorcism really is about praying for the deliverance of a person from the oppression of the Devil and all of his evil spirits, his minions," he said.
Pope Francis, he adds, "actually preaches about Satan and the Devil much more than even Pope Benedict did."
"Interesting to note the archdiocese of Washington also has an exorcist team," Fr. Petri said.
"So perhaps there's also a lot of spiritual activity going on in our nation's capital."
© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.