"It's really got to be fought by prayer."
He explained the differences among those three categories: "Oppression and Obsession are very painful and damaging states of demonic interference, but less controlling than Diabolic Possession. In effect, the control in oppression and obsession are from the outside, while the demonic control in possession is from the inside."
In any case, such a scenario would contribute to what Msgr. Brankin and others say is a growing need for exorcists. The Tulsa priest says he gets several calls for help each week.
“We had seven calls yesterday,” he told Tulsa World.
The uptick can be attributed to the increasing secularism in society, Bishop Slattery affirmed in the Tulsa World article. When he arrived in Tulsa 20 years ago, he said, the diocese was getting about one call a year concerning demonic activity. “But in the last few years, we’re seeing more demonic activity,” he said, a trend he attributes to a society that has turned to Ouija boards, witchcraft, astrology, fortune telling and other occult practices that “open the door to the demonic.”
“There’s a lot of that now. As people stop going to church, this will happen,” he said.
Msgr. Brankin’s first foray into the field of exorcism was more than four years ago, when Bishop Slattery asked him to look into a particularly troubling case—even before Msgr. Brankin was commissioned as an exorcist. He found the person crouched in a corner of a room, but even stranger was the fact that the demon in the person immediately recognized him as a priest—and that he had not been given the authority to exorcise it.
“That scared me,” Msgr. Brankin said.
Months later, after undergoing exorcism training in Rome, working with an experienced exorcist, and being given faculties as an exorcist, he returned. This time, he said in an interview with Aleteia, the demon said, “So now you have faculties. You still won’t be able to do….”
“And he used an expletive,” Msgr. Brankin recalled. “Demons are constantly laughing at the exorcist. ‘You don’t have the strength, you don’t have the power. I have the right to stay here. She belongs to me.”
The victim was successfully exorcised and is living a healthy Christian life, Msgr. Brankin said.
John Burger is news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.