Ireland urgently needs more exorcists to deal with rising cases of demonic possession and other evil phenomena, a priest has said.

Fr Pat Collins, a leading exorcist, said he was “baffled” Church leaders were not taking action as more people claim to be victims of demonic activity.

“It’s only in recent years that the demand has risen exponentially,” Fr Collins told the Irish Catholic. “What I’m finding out, desperately, is people who in their own minds believe – rightly or wrongly – that they’re afflicted by an evil spirit.

“I think in many cases they wrongly think it, but when they turn to the Church, the Church doesn’t know what to do with them and they refer them on either to a psychologist or to somebody that they’ve heard of that is interested in this form of ministry, and they do fall between the cracks and often are not helped.”

Fr Collins said that Church leaders were “out of touch with reality” if they thought there was no demand for exorcists.

In an open letter to the Irish hierarchy, he said growing apostasy within the Church had coincided with “increasing evidence of the malicious activity of the Evil One”.

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