Exorcisms

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  • Exorcisms

    I haven't been able to find a clear answer on this one, so I'll give it a shot here. Can nuns perform exorcisms? Thanks in advance.
    "I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray." - Prince

  • #2
    Re: Exorcisms

    Technically, I think only bishop-approved priests can do so (at least major rites like that in the Rituale Romanum), but you'll find laypeople of all sorts saying they can do different forms of it.

    It's been a while since I've seen it, but doesn't Ed Warren in The Conjuring (a non-priest demonologist), finally decide to do some exorcism himself when nothing else is working and everything comes up roses?

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    • #3
      Re: Exorcisms

      It would be extremely, extremely unorthodox for a nun to do an exorcism. As BillG noted only certain ordained ranking priests of the Catholic church can do exorcisms. Yep they're undeniably sexist.

      That is not to say you can't create a scenario where there is no other choice but for a nun to perform an exorcism.

      I wouldn't worry about the Catholic church calling foul unless you directly attack them. I mean you're already on their watch list as a heretic for asking this question.
      #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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      • #4
        Re: Exorcisms

        Originally posted by BillG View Post
        Technically, I think only bishop-approved priests can do so (at least major rites like that in the Rituale Romanum), but you'll find laypeople of all sorts saying they can do different forms of it.

        It's been a while since I've seen it, but doesn't Ed Warren in The Conjuring (a non-priest demonologist), finally decide to do some exorcism himself when nothing else is working and everything comes up roses?
        Great points! Forgot about The Conjuring.

        Originally posted by Ire View Post
        It would be extremely, extremely unorthodox for a nun to do an exorcism. As BillG noted only certain ordained ranking priests of the Catholic church can do exorcisms. Yep they're undeniably sexist.

        That is not to say you can't create a scenario where there is no other choice but for a nun to perform an exorcism.

        I wouldn't worry about the Catholic church calling foul unless you directly attack them. I mean you're already on their watch list as a heretic for asking this question.
        This is what I was looking for. Thanks! BTW, I've been on their watch list since 4th grade.
        "I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray." - Prince

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        • #5
          Re: Exorcisms

          FWIW, some Astral... whatever practitioners perform exorcisms. It's probably not relevant to your script but I find it interesting.

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          • #6
            Re: Exorcisms

            From Wikipedia:

            "Solemn exorcisms, according to the Canon law of the Church, can be exercised only by an ordained priest (or higher prelate), with the express permission of the local bishop, and only after a careful medical examination to exclude the possibility of mental illness."

            This is the factual information from my own recollection, as well.

            I am not a big fan of Wiki for doing proper research, but in this case I believe they have it right.
            We're making a movie here, not a film! - Kit Ramsey

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            • #7
              Re: Exorcisms

              When all else fails, create your own rare controversial theology book, passage etc... that makes anything possible.

              Must be thousands of movies that use the necronomicon as the source of their evil.

              The Prophecy invented a 23rd chapter for The Book of Revelations to setup a second war in heaven.

              Hollywood is populated by soulless atheists, only theology scholars are going to know you made stuff up.
              Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue

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              • #8
                Re: Exorcisms

                Along with the example from the Conjuring, I want to say The Last Exorcism had an evangelical pastor perform the exorcism and the 2nd one had a voodoo priestest. I wrote an exorcism script last year and did some research, borrowing a ton of books from my local library (a great resource).

                At the end of the day, you can do whatever you want.

                I had my poltergeist possessed nun turn the tables and perform a reverse exorcism/crucifixion on a priest who had questioned his faith in God. She was trying to get him to completely renounce his faith while driving spikes into his wrists.

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                • #9
                  Re: Exorcisms

                  Originally posted by ctp View Post
                  FWIW, some Astral... whatever practitioners perform exorcisms. It's probably not relevant to your script but I find it interesting.
                  Originally posted by billmarq View Post
                  From Wikipedia:

                  "Solemn exorcisms, according to the Canon law of the Church, can be exercised only by an ordained priest (or higher prelate), with the express permission of the local bishop, and only after a careful medical examination to exclude the possibility of mental illness."

                  This is the factual information from my own recollection, as well.

                  I am not a big fan of Wiki for doing proper research, but in this case I believe they have it right.
                  Thanks!

                  Originally posted by christopher jon View Post
                  When all else fails, create your own rare controversial theology book, passage etc... that makes anything possible.

                  Must be thousands of movies that use the necronomicon as the source of their evil.

                  The Prophecy invented a 23rd chapter for The Book of Revelations to setup a second war in heaven.

                  Hollywood is populated by soulless atheists, only theology scholars are going to know you made stuff up.
                  Originally posted by Pooh Bear View Post
                  Along with the example from the Conjuring, I want to say The Last Exorcism had an evangelical pastor perform the exorcism and the 2nd one had a voodoo priestest. I wrote an exorcism script last year and did some research, borrowing a ton of books from my local library (a great resource).

                  At the end of the day, you can do whatever you want.

                  I had my poltergeist possessed nun turn the tables and perform a reverse exorcism/crucifixion on a priest who had questioned his faith in God. She was trying to get him to completely renounce his faith while driving spikes into his wrists.
                  Good points. I just wanted to get a sense of the rules before deciding whether to bend, break, or re-invent them.
                  "I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray." - Prince

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                  • #10
                    Re: Exorcisms

                    No, nuns cannot perform exorcisms, neither can Protestant "preachers" - only a Catholic priest.

                    Recommended research:

                    Read Fr. Gabriele Amorth's book, "An Exorcist Tells His Story."

                    And also read the Exorcism of Nicola Aubrey, a Church approved exorcism which showed the falsehood of the Protestant sects, and was responsible for the conversion of THOUSANDS.

                    http://olrl.org/stories/exorcism.shtml
                    "Running down a dream, that never would come to me." Tom Petty

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Exorcisms

                      Originally posted by christopher jon View Post
                      Hollywood is populated by soulless atheists, only theology scholars are going to know you made stuff up.
                      Who cares who Hollywood is populated by? It's your audience that is going to know if you make stuff up. The majority of your audience in this country are not souless atheists.
                      "Running down a dream, that never would come to me." Tom Petty

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Exorcisms

                        Originally posted by Exponent5 View Post
                        No, nuns cannot perform exorcisms, neither can Protestant "preachers" - only a Catholic priest.

                        Recommended research:

                        Read Fr. Gabriele Amorth's book, "An Exorcist Tells His Story."

                        And also read the Exorcism of Nicola Aubrey, a Church approved exorcism which showed the falsehood of the Protestant sects, and was responsible for the conversion of THOUSANDS.

                        http://olrl.org/stories/exorcism.shtml
                        You're addressing the question from a Catholic perspective (and I am Catholic as well; a convert).

                        In a film, however, what matters is what works in the film. In both cases, the proof is in the pudding, and you happen to be in control of the pudding (for a while) as the screenwriter.

                        Whether it matters to the film that the Church says this or that is or is not possible depends on the degree to which the writer feels the need to be faithful to reality, and it also depends on what is actually going on at the time in the film.

                        For what it's worth, the Catechism says this (CCC 1673):

                        1673 When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called "a major exorcism," can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.

                        It references Can. 1172 from the Code of Canon Law, which says this:

                        Can. 1172 §1. No one can perform exorcisms legitimately upon the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local ordinary.

                        §2. The local ordinary is to give this permission only to a presbyter who has piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life.



                        So, to the OP: taken together, realize that this is all talking about who is allowed to perform the Rite as prescribed by the Church. Anyone else who claims to be performing a valid (Church-sanctioned) Rite of Exorcism would therefore be lying.

                        That does not mean that literally no one else is capable of driving out demons. It does not mean that only this Rite can exorcise demons. It just means that the Church says only certain people may validly perform this Rite. Just like your local butcher can't issue you a driver's license, and in fact neither can the DMV receptionist, irrespective of your actual ability to operate a motor vehicle and obey traffic laws.

                        What that means for you is that the nun would be in hot water if she (1) used that Rite and (2) claimed to be doing so validly. That does not mean, necessarily, that the nun or anyone else would be incapable of driving out a demon either in real life or in your film. Anyone can do anything with faith -- even St. Peter walked on water for a couple of seconds; they just can't claim Church-given authority where none actually exists. Does that make sense?

                        In case it might help you, I found this detailed description of the Rite. Also, here is an entry from the Catholic Encyclopedia. The text you're seeing there is over a century old, from 1909. In both of those cases, I can't find whether there's a nihil obstat, so both things could technically be inaccurate (and so could anything I have myself just said; I'm a nobody). Just remember the part about the pudding and keep your script's goals in mind.

                        And a friendly note, if you have part of a Mass in your script, even just a few lines, be aware there's a new translation of the Mass as of Advent 2011. I found a handy side-by-side (old vs new) comparison here.
                        "You have idea 1, you're excited. It flops. You have idea 99, you're excited. It flops.
                        Only a fool is excited by the 100th idea. Fools keep trying. God rewards fools." --Martin Hellman, paraphrased

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