What does the Rite of Exorcisms call him?

September 12, 2018
Priest Exorcism


What does the Rite of Exorcism call him?


The list of condemnatory names for the devil contained in the three prayers in the original 1614 Rite of Exorcism (and its 1952 revision) is nothing short of impressive.  The inventive and aggressive terms that the Church uses to describe the fiend are not for show and even less for mockery; they are meant to expose his evil and thus to manifest the Church's power over him and break his pride.  The use of condemnatory terms against a powerful adversary is also a kind of psychological warfare that helps the human exorcist gain an edge over a powerful spiritual being.  Some of these names come from Scripture, while others are simply the fruit of the Church's long experience in fighting the ancient enemy of the human race.  The names and terms listed below are all direct quotes from various parts of the ritual.

In the prelude to the first exorcism prayer:  fugitive and fallen tyrant, that spirit of evil, noonday demon, the beast that lays waste [the Lord's] vineyard, that reprobate dragon, unclean spirit, this cruel demon.

In the first exorcism prayer:  the wicked enemy, and every phantom and diabolical legion, Satan, thou enemy of the faith, thou foe of the human race, the carrier of death and the robber of life, the shirker of justice and the root of all evil, formenter of vice, seducer of men, traitor of the nations, the instigator of envy, the font of avarice, the source of discord, the exciter of sorrows, unclean spirit, the ancient enemy, the archenemy of the earth, the wicked tempter, the mighty adversary, evil spirit who hitherto terrorized over us.

In the second exorcism prayer: thou ancient serpent...along with thy ravaging followers, transgressor, seducer full of deceit and perfidy, enemy of virtue and persecutor of the innocent, horrible creature, monster, profligate dragon, the asp and the basilisk [ie., two types of lethal serpents], the lion and the dragon, unclean spirits.

In the third exorcism prayer:  every unclean spirit, every phantom, every encroachment of Satan, ye accursed, O evil one and...thy followers, thee and thine angels, the prince of accursed murder, author of lechery, leader in sacrilege, model of vileness, teacher of heretics, inventor of every obscenity, O evil one...accursed one.

In Pope Leo XIII's exorcism (added to the ritual in 1925): the princes and powers...the rulers of this world's darkness, Satan's tyranny, the dragon, the ancient serpent, the demon, Satan, hostile powers, every unclean spirit, every devilish power, infernal adversary, legion, every diabolical group and sect, cunning serpent, accursed dragon and every diabolical legion, Satan, founder and master of falsity, enemy of mankind, accursed spirits, enemies of holy Church.

By Rev Thomas J. Euteneuer "Exorcism and the Church Militant" page 20.