Covid blamed for rise in ‘demonic possessions’ as Catholic Church opens exorcism center in Philippines
- The St. Michael Center for Spiritual Liberation and Exorcism opens in Manila
- The center will train priests and be a place where exorcisms will be performed
- Father Jose Francisco Syquia said he receives 10 reports of demons every day
The Catholic Church is building a center for exorcisms in the Philippines after an apparent surge since the pandemic.
The St. Michael Center for Spiritual Liberation and Exorcism in Manila will be the first of its kind in Asia, training priests in the art of expelling demons and providing a special venue for the rituals to be performed.
Father Jose Francisco Syquia, director of the archdiocese and chief exorcist, said he receives about 10 reports of mental disorders a day.
Father Jose Francisco Syquia (pictured), director of the archdiocese and chief exorcist, said he receives about 10 reports of mental disorders a day
The St. Michael Center for Spiritual Liberation and Exorcism in Manila will be the first of its kind in Manila (shown in design plans).
The church said mental, emotional, spiritual and physical stress caused by the pandemic made for a perfect storm for possessions and demonic encroachment.
The Archdiocese said: “As a result of more than seven years of prayer, planning and fundraising, this will be the first of its kind in Asia, if not the world.”
Father Syquia added: “This center will serve those who have become addicted to the devil and are therefore the poorest of the poor and are usually overlooked.”
The center has a chapel, as well as rooms for counseling, exorcisms, and interviews.
Father Syquia says that “full possession” accounts for only 20 percent of all exorcisms, with the majority being performed on people who are “physically molested” by the evil spirits.
He believes witchcraft and an unhealthy family life can contribute, and there’s been a “sharp rise” in the last three to five years.
Exorcisms may only be performed by Catholic priests who have undergone extensive training and received approval from a bishop.
The center has a chapel, as well as rooms for counseling, exorcisms, and interviews
The Philippines has the third largest Catholic population in the world after Brazil and Mexico.
The Vatican first offered a course on exorcisms in 2005, and the new center is expected to train priests from around the world.
Groundbreaking took place last month and it is not yet known when construction will be completed.
It will serve as the headquarters of the Philippine Association of Catholic Exorcists (PACE), which reports to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Father Syquia previously said he received text messages from demons after performing exorcisms.
He said a woman he saw floating after being possessed sent threatening messages on his office phone.
The priest spoke to the woman and her companion, and the phone was in another room.
The messages claimed that he was a sinner and a liar and that he would not be able to remove the evil spirits from their bodies.
Father Syquia said: “The devil has power over everything electrical. For example, if that place is infested and they want to know they’re present, the lights will usually flicker. If I’m giving a lecture and using a certain device, the devil would easily turn it off because he’s an expert on all things electrical.’