Major and minor exorcisms

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner


In Paul Turner’s Blog on March 9, 2016

Q:  Are the prayers of exorcism in the scrutinies the same as the minor exorcisms in the catechumenate stage?
A:  No, the ones during the scrutiny are the major exorcisms, and the others are minor. The major exorcisms take place during mass, normally on the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent. The minor exorcisms may take place outside of mass, though they may also be done during mass. They may be part of an anointing with the oil of catechumens, or the catechumens’  dismissal from the mass. The minor exorcisms are done during the period of the catechumenate; that is, from the rite of acceptance into the order of catechumens until the rite of election. A priest or a deacon is authorized to perform these exorcisms.


Q:  I have found a discrepancy that I hope you can clarify for me. On your March 9, 2016 blog post about major and minor exorcisms, you note that the difference is the Scrutinies from the three Sundays in Lent are the major exorcisms while those that may be celebrated in a catechetical session are the minor exorcisms. In your book Guide for Celebrating Christian Initiation of Adults, it is written in the Minor Exorcism section that a major exorcism is used in cases of demonic possession and the minor exorcism is strengthening of a catechumen in that Catechumenate phase. So, could you tell me whether the major exorcism is the rite used to remove a demon or the three Lenten Sunday Scrutinies, please?

Thank you very much!


A:  Thanks for catching this. My book is correct, not the blog post.  Here is a good link from the USCCB: