Thursday, October 12th 2023

Exorcism in Mexico

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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Exorcism in Mexico

On May 20th, 2016, in the Mexican City of San Luis Potosi, a secret ceremony was held. For this ritual, the world’s most famous exorcist Jose Antonio Fortea was flown in from Spain; he joined Juan Sandoval Iñiguez, the Archbishop Emeritus of Guadalajara, and a team of trained exorcists to do one of the largest, most unprecedented exorcisms in history: they were going to exorcize all of Mexico.

An exorcism on a massive scale is called an “Exorcismo Magno”—reserved for nations and dioceses—and this was one of the largest in history. Father Fortea, when interviewed after the ceremony, said that this form of exorcism was “useful in situations where great violence has been unleashed in a country”. In a country where 100,000 Mexicans had died in an ongoing conflict between the government and the narcos, an exorcism seemed appropriate.

*NOTE: This piece was written by someone who was raised Catholic. It’s written from the perspective of the liturgy of the Catholic religion on the practice of exorcism as seen by the church. It’s in no way an endorsement of the Catholic religion by Expat Insurance or its affiliates.

About Exorcism

Exorcism in Mexico

Mexico has more trained exorcists than any country—in part because it’s the largest Catholic nation on the planet. However, it’s also hard to ignore the fact that Mexican culture has been open to the notion of demons and the occult since long before the conquest.

Today, despite the large number of exorcists, it’s not easy to find someone to perform this ancient ritual. They’re called limpias (cleanings in Spanish) or liberaciones (liberations in Spanish). They tend to avoid the word "exorcism".

You can see videos of exorcisms in Mexico, where people blow old animal horns and pour oil on the possessed. You can see them screaming, having seizures, vomiting, writhing on the ground—even foaming at the mouth.

But according to Catholic tradition, this is necessary because the demonized person is fated to die shortly afterwards. Paul VI, who was Pope from 1963 to 1978, defined it as “a spiritual reality of an evil spiritual being, who is perverse, and corrupts human beings and the lives of men”.

Last year, the Vatican issued a new translation of the 16th century liturgy on the subject of exorcism. In this new document, places and objects are allowed to be exorcized—extending the scope of demonic possession. This document also expressly banned the public from viewing the ceremony.

What Is An Exorcism – The Facts According to the Catholic Faith

Exorcism in Mexico

. .

How Does a Priest Become an Exorcist?
  1. A priest can be appointed by the diocesan bishop to the office of exorcist, either permanently or for a particular occasion. In both cases the exorcist must work closely with the bishop and under his direction.
  2. The study of exorcism in the Catholic religion includes witchcraft in Africa, how to differentiate between "demonic possession" and mental illness, as well as a step-by-step guide to expelling demons.
  3. A priest can be appointed to the office of exorcist by the diocesan bishop, either permanently or for a particular occasion. In both cases, the exorcist must work closely with the bishop and under his direction. . .
What Is a Possession?
  1. A possession is a phenomenon by which a spirit inhabits a certain body. That spirit can not only be a person, but it can also be an animal or things. . .
What Is an Exorcism?
  1. An exorcism is a ritual in which the church orders the demon to come out of that person
  2. Exorcism is a sacramental, not a sacrament—meaning it was instituted by the church, not by Jesus Christ himself. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sacramentals are the “sacred signs instituted by the Church, whose purpose is to prepare men to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify the various circumstances of life”, there are exorcisms, along with blessings and consecrations as the most important. . .
Types of Exorcism
  1. Simple Exorcism: this is a rite that is performed on someone who is about to be baptized or initiated into the Catholic Church. It is done to free the person from original sin; Catholics believe that humanity is in a fallen state because Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and that all people need grace to be cleansed from their original tendency to sin.
  2. Major Exorcism: Clearing up all of Mexico is what most people consider a major exorcism. It is done by the bishop or a priest who has been appointed exorcist. . .
Who Can Practice Exorcism?
  1. To practice exorcism, the authorization of the bishop is necessary, which can be granted for a specific case or in a general and permanent way to the priest who exercises the ministry of exorcism in the diocese. . .
Main Causes of Demonic Possession
  1. You can be possessed by a demon if you’re participating in satanic rites like the Church of Santa Muerte.
  2. You can also be possessed through the consecration of a child to the devil by his parents.
  3. Or if a pact is made with Satan to worship him in exchange for material goods.
  4. You can be possessed if you’ve been cursed by someone affluent in the occult.
  5. Ouija-type spirit calling practices, or other means of divination, which implies the risk of the devil or a demon possessing the person.
  6. Continued blasphemy can entice the spirit of a demon to inhabit the body.


The Church of Santa Muerte – The Enemy of Exorcism

Exorcism in Mexico

An estimated 100,000 Mexicans have died in the narco battles of Mexico, and as such, it’s not hard to see why the Catholic Church believes that Mexico is possessed by demons. Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, has been paying close attention to the conflict in Mexico—for example raising the archbishop of Morelia to the role of cardinal because he condemned the narco violence throughout his diocese—or urging Argentina to avoid following Mexico’s example.

The Catholic Church blames the Cult of Santa Muerte and condemns the practice of worship of the Mexican cult of death for the violence that takes place across the whole of the nation. Every week, the Cult of Santa Muerte is condemned by the Catholic Church. The Cult of the Santa Muerte is the most important cult in Mexico with 8 to 10 million followers.

Beyond the deadly narco battles, the Exorcismo Magno also intended to expelling the demons borne from abortion throughout the nation—an abortion rate which has been steadily increasing since its legalization in Mexico City in 2007 and now throughout the whole country.

However, the Cult of Santa Muerte has been one of the main reasons that Pope Benedict XVI visited the industrial city of Leon in the Mexican state of Guanajuato (which is Mexico’s most Catholic state). Or when Pope Francis personally performed an exorcism on a Mexican parishioner. The Catholic journalist allowed to report on the exorcism quoted that the demon possessing the Mexican parishioner said:

"You are all stupid because she (the Virgin Mary) ran us out of Mexico and now you with your stupid laws have allowed sacrifice, human sacrifice, to return to Mexico. We don't want to say this, but she steps on our heads and forces us."

The exorcism of Mexico marks an eerie new development where whole nations are seen as possessed by demons.

. .

What Are the Essential Characteristics to Diagnose a Possession?
  1. The main characteristic of a possession is the vehement aversion towards God, the Virgin, the Saints, the cross, and sacred images.
  2. These are the criteria used to discern diabolical possession according to the new ritual of exorcism.
  3. If your eye moves like a marble, then you may be possessed by a demon.
  4. Aversion to Christian prayer can be a sign of possession.
  5. Another sign of possession is excessive physical strength by a body.
  6. Foaming at the mouth is known to be a sign of possession—though this dates back to human beings infected by rabies.
  7. Speaking in an unknown language—especially one similar to Latin.

timbaldwin_a_Catholic_priest_performing_an_exorcism_b9062fb7-aa7b-4a8e-804e-567c568f81dd.png . .

Who Determines If Someone Is under Possession or Not?
  1. There is a group of consultants made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, and doctors that reviews patients before they undergo an exorcism.
  2. As part of the protocol as described in Catholic liturgy, there is an evaluation in order to determine the true status of the person.
  3. Only after a meticulous medical, psychological, and psychiatric examination can the person be sent to an exorcist, who will ultimately determine if the person is indeed possessed.
  4. The Church determines whether a person is genuinely possessed by the devil, even if the same person claims it due to their own diagnosis or psychosis. . .
Steps of the Exorcism Ritual

The steps of an exorcism as outlined by the Catholic Church are as follows:

  1. Confession
  2. Taking God's Word
  3. Invoking the Saints. Performing the Litany of the Saints
  4. Anointing of the holy oil
  5. Laying on of hands
  6. Spell
  7. Placement of holy water
  8. Expulsion
  9. Repeating If Necessary . .
Key Elements In an Exorcism

The Catholic priest must also be garbed in the following

  1. Fur collar
  2. Crucifix of Saint Benedict
  3. Holy oil and holding a Bible . .
Does the Demon Also Possess the Soul of the Possessed?
  1. According to the Catholic faith, God will never allow possession of the soul. The Devil can only go as far as God allows him to test the faith of human beings. . .
Why Do Demons Possess People?
  1. According to the Catholic faith, demons possess people in hopes of causing suffering and angering God.
  2. Furthermore, the possession of the soul of a child—seen as the corruption of innocence—is what angers God the most.

. .

What to Do in a Possible Case of Exorcism?
  1. If you think you may be possessed by a spirit and believe you need to be exorcised, do not go looking for witches, shamans, or untrained priests for an exorcism.
  2. Instead, go immediately to the bishopric offices so that they can connect you with an exorcist priest and evaluate together with the group of consultants if it is a case of exorcism.

The Dangers of Exorcism

Exorcism in Mexico

Critics of this practice point out that epilepsy can cause seizures and vomiting. Schizophrenia can cause people to have visions and hallucinate. Most medical professionals feel that these are sick individuals, not people possessed by demons.

Things have gone wrong during exorcism rites. In Central Mexico, a priest was accused of torturing a young girl during an unsanctioned exorcism, when it was revealed that she had countless severe candle wax burns. An exorcism ritual in Mexico—not affiliated with the Catholic church in any way, but conducted by a local shaman—took the lives of 7 people when they suffocated in a sealed room filled with incense smoke. . .


Exorcism in mexico

Whether or not you’re a believer in the Catholic faith, it’s impossible to deny that this religion has shaped the cultural landscape of Mexico. As such, the more mystical aspects of Catholicism lay beneath the surface of this magnificent country.

At Expat Insurance, we are not attacking or defending these religious beliefs. We simply illustrate aspects of Mexican society and culture to better help other expats assimilate into this incredibly special country.

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