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Think you’re overworked and underpaid? Try speaking with a Catholic exorcist in the Philippines.
According to a report at National Public Radio, the need for exorcists in the predominantly Catholic country has grown significantly. That growth has spurred the opening of a national Office of Exorcism in 2006.
Father Jose Francisco Syquia, a Rome-trained exorcist, is the chief exorcist for the Archdiocese of Manila. He said he has seen a steady increase in cases in the past decade, with 200 so far this year.
"At any given time we have at the minimum 30 cases," said Father Syquia, who says he has been driving demonic spirits out of people and houses for more than a dozen years. "And we’re only five exorcists."
He has asked the Philippines bishops conference to assign one resident exorcist to each of the country’s 86 dioceses. It’s important, he says, because many Filipinos will turn to occult practitioners when they cannot find a Catholic exorcist, leaving them with "spiritual openings" that allow demons to latch on.
Father Syquia spoke about the stress that many exorcists experience. An exorcism might last four hours, and in some cases, a priest must return several times. Demonic spirits don’t go quietly, and they often strike back against exorcists.
"You expect that there will be more, what we call, retaliations because you are jumping into enemy territory and retaking…what truly belongs to God," he said.