“The Other Exorcists”: Contemporary Exorcism Practice among Roman Catholics, Independent Catholics, and Non-Catholics


William Samuel Chavez (University of California, Santa Barbara)

The Catholic Church’s recent institutional support of its office of exorcist is, in large part, a response to the discursive fear of Satanic cults and larger narratives of religious declension. Contemporary exorcism practice in America is further defined by the changing belief systems of those involved within this socio-religious drama. The types of supernatural beings defeated in ritual become a crucial point of analysis, as many of my exorcist-interviewees evaluate the Church’s ability to theologically explain/combat the strange entities that assault its members. Those non-Roman Catholic practitioners that step in and join the fight are also included within this discussion.

Part of 61-03 Religious Expressions of Faith, Trauma, and Critique, Saturday, October 23, 8:30 am–10:00 am