For Halloween, We Spoke with a Real-Life Exorcist
By October 12, 2022 0 3033•
At first glance, Father Vincent Lampert, 59, seems to be a typical neighborhood parish priest. He’s assigned as the pastor of St. Peter and St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Churches in Brookville, Indiana. Ordained on June 1, 1991, he grew up on the west side of Indianapolis, briefly studying political science before transferring to Saint Meinrad Seminary to study for the priesthood. He received his Master of Divinity degree from the Benedictine monks who own and operate the Saint Meinrad Archabbey.
What makes Fr. Lampert unique, however, is that he’s an exorcist.
And he’s been one for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis since 2005. Back then, there were only 12 exorcists in the United States. Today, there are well over 100 working to help expel evil spirits from the possessed, in the name of Christ. “My role as an exorcist is to investigate cases of possible extraordinary activity of the devil and to make the determination if the Rite of Exorcism needs to be called into play,” he said.
Lampert received his exorcism classroom training at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. In practice, he has assisted in over 40 exorcisms with Father Carmine de Filippis, who mentors exorcists in the Diocese of Rome.
While most exorcists remain silent regarding what they do, Lampert has been one of the most outspoken real-life exorcists of the modern era. As an expert on the topic, he has spoken out about differences between exorcisms authorized by local bishops versus fee-based, “private exorcists” who work independently from the church. True exorcisms are conducted by the church and have no monetary costs involved (the church sees exorcisms as a ministry of charity to help anyone in need).
A particularly famous case Fr. Lampert was consulted on involved a house owned by paranormal investigator Zak Bagans of The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. Fr. Michael Maginot, pastor at St. Stephen Martyr Church in Merrillville, Indiana had permission from his Bishop Dale Joseph Melczek to work with Fr. Lampert. Despite multiple prayers and blessings, the house was demolished in 2016. You can read more about that home at Catholicnewsagency.com.
“Demons play on a person’s memory and imagination,” Fr. Lampert said. “They strive to instill fear in all those involved in an exorcism so that the focus will be on them and not on the power of God at work in this particular prayer of the church.”
Fr. Lampert has witnessed what he called “many theatrics of the devil,” like eyes rolled to the back of the head, foaming at the mouth, movements of a serpent, levitation, and countless bodily contortions. “The tricks of the devil do not scare me because I know that the power of God is greater than the power of the devil,” Lampert said.
When Lampert gets called to perform an exorcism, he follows the Seven Steps of the American Protocol for Exorcism, which include:
- A thorough physical exam by a qualified medical doctor with appropriate specialists consulted as needed.
- A thorough exam by a qualified clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, identifying all areas of concern (note: the experts offer opinions but it’s ultimately up to the exorcist about final determination if an exorcism should be performed).
- A life history of the person affected, identifying where the entry point of evil may have originated.
- Normalize the spiritual and sacramental life of the energumen (which means a person believed to be possessed by the devil or spirit).
- Inventory of the four extraordinary signs of demonic possession from the Rite of Exorcism.
- Careful compliance with diocesan legal and canonical processes.
- Compiling the case and sending a letter to the bishop requesting permission for a major exorcism. The governing spirit rests with the local bishop and he will make the final decision as to whether a major exorcism should be performed.
Dealing with so much evil, Lampert tries to stay balanced. “I don’t think it is a good idea for a priest to do this ministry exclusively,” he said. However, “pastoring two churches and being involved in the lives of my parishioners helps me maintain a positive outlook on life and to be filled with joy.”
In case you’re worried about the devil creeping into your life, Fr. Lampert identified eight ways a person can open a doorway to allow evil in: occult ties, entertainment, curse, dedication to a demon, abuse which creates emotional wounds that may cause a person to seek help from the wrong sources, a life of habitual sin, inviting a demon in and broken relationships.
Given we are The Georgetowner and the movie The Exorcist was shot in our own backyards, I had to ask Father Lampert how accurate the 1973 film was. He called it “fairly accurate,” but said “the main deficiency is that it, like most programs about exorcism, focuses on the devil.”
Fr. Lampert ended our chat saying, “People have a great fascination with the devil because he represents the dark side of the spiritual world — the true focus must always be on the power of God.”