There are two different kinds of exorcism, which is defined as driving out or warding off demons and their influence.
- Major Exorcism - these are the kind of exorcisms that make good books. There is demonic possession or oppression of a person, place, or object. Only an authorized and trained priest or Bishop can perform a major exorcism. As Canon Law states -
Can. 1172 §1. No one can perform exorcisms legitimately upon the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local ordinary.
§2. The local ordinary is to give this permission only to a presbyter who has piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life.
- Minor Exorcism - these are, most commonly, performed in baptisms. Any priest or deacon can perform these kind of exorcisms.
A snip from The Rite of Baptism of Children:
We now pray for these children who will have to face the world with its temptations, and fight the devil in all his cunning. Your Son died and rose again to save us. By his victory over sin and death, cleanse these children from the stain of original sin. Strengthen them with the grace of Christ, and watch over them at every step in life's journey.A snip from the Scrutinies in the Rite of RCIA for the elect (adults to be baptized):
Father of life and God not of the dead but of the living, you sent your Son to proclaim life, to snatch us from the realm of death, and to lead us to the resurrection.There is no presumption that a person is possessed or oppressed by a demon when a minor exorcism is given. Rather, it is a preparatory prayer that we may be freed from the bonds of original sin, and thus the clutches of the devil's power. This helps us to live out the grace given in Baptism.
Free these elect from the death-dealing power of the spirit of evil, so that they may bear witness to their new life in the risen Christ, for he lives and reigns for ever and ever.
No you know, if you didn't before.