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Can one perform an exorcism on oneself? What is needed to perform a proper exorcism, ward off demons, cleansing and blessing a house or area?

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    Seriously, if you think you need an exorcism go to a priest. If your priest doesn't think you need one listen to him. – DJClayworth Aug 12 at 0:05
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    @DJClayworth What if a priest makes an error in judgment? – Ken Graham Aug 12 at 0:45
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    It is much less likely that the priest will make an error of judgement than a person who wants to perform his own exorcism without training or advice. – DJClayworth Aug 12 at 1:15
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Only priests duly authorized can perform exorcisms (can. 1172). The Church forbids laymen from doing exorcisms themselves because they are not priests, do not have proper authority, and will only further endanger themselves.

Laymen can pray Pope Leo XIII's full St. Michael the Archangel prayer, part of which is in the Rite of Exorcism of the Roman Ritual (PDF pp. 780ff.):

O glorious Prince of the heavenly host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel angels, who were powerless to stand against thee, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast forth, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast forth upon Earth, and his angels were sent with him.

But behold! the ancient enemy of mankind and a murderer from the beginning has been fiercely aroused. Changing himself into an angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay, and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity.

Be favorable to Thy Church, the Bride of the Lamb without spot, whose enemies have filled to overflowing with gall and inebriated with wormwood. They have laid profane hands upon Her most sacred treasures. Where the See of the most blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth has been constituted as a light to the nations, there they have placed a throne of their abomination and impiety; so that when the Pastor struck, they may prevail to disperse the flock.

Therefore, most invincible Leader, be with the people of God against this spiritual wickedness and bring about victory. Thou art venerated by Holy Church as Her guard and patron; Thou art glorified as our defender against the impious powers of earth and of hell. Unto thee the Lord hath handed over the souls of the redeemed to be placed in happiness above. Entreat the God of peace, to obliterate satan beneath our feet, lest he prevail further to hold men captive, and to injure the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that the mercy of the Lord may swiftly overtake us, and apprehend the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan, and send him bound into the abyss, so that he may seduce the nations no more. Henceforth having been confided to thy escort and protection, we sacred ministers by our authority [if recited by a layman, or cleric who has not yet taken up the order of exorcist, say instead, "by the authority of Holy Mother Church"], do undertake to repel the infestations of diabolical deceit in the Name of Jesus Christ, Our God and Lord.

℣. Behold the Cross of the Lord, depart from us, our adversaries.

℟. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, root of David, has conquered.

℣. Let Thy mercy be upon us, Lord.

℟. As much as we hope in Thee.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray

O God, and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we invoke Thy Holy Name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency so that, through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate ever-Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Michael the Archangel, of blessed Joseph, the Spouse of the same blessed Virgin, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, Thou may deign to offer us aid against satan, and all the other unclean spirits, who wander through the world to injure the human race and to destroy souls. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Or the shorter version:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

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Can one perform an exorcism on oneself?

The only prayer of exorcism a layperson may say is a simple prayer of exorcism. Solemn exorcisms are reserved to priests in the Latin rite.

A layperson may only say an exorcism prayer (of St. Michael the Archangel) if recited in private.

In a general sense, the laity may and indeed are encouraged to pray for the deliverance of those tormented by Satan and all the unholy angels.

Fr. Gabriele Amorth in one of his books on the subject of exorcism stated the the best remedy against diabolical possession is a good sacramental confession!

In the Roman Catholic Church, only a priest or higher rank prelate may perform an exorcism over a possessed person. A priest may only perform an exorcism over a possessed person with the permission of the local ordinary or bishop. This permission may be on a case by case necessity or may be general as was the case in the life of St John Vianney.

Not all exorcisms involve a possessed person and an exorcist is often aided by members of the community during an exorcism. And there is the fact that there are different types of exorcisms which the laity may freely pray.

One can read the rules involved in performing a Major Exorcism here. Rule 19, for example states:

While performing the exorcism over a woman, he ought always have to assisting him several women of good repute, who will hold on to the person when she is harassed by the evil spirit. These assistants ought if possible be close relatives of the subject, and for the sake of decency the exorcist should avoid saying or doing anything that might prove to an occasion of evil thoughts to himself or others.

However, Pope Leo XIII has given permission to use a simple exorcism that may be used by the laity "whenever the action of the devil is suspected, causing malice in men, violent temptations and even storms and various calamities."

Years ago the Simple Exorcism for Priests or Laity by Pope Leo XIII was published in a little flyer form which was available in many parish churches. I am still in possession of a few of these copies and have been unable to find more in the last few years. This exorcism is intended to curb the influence of the devil in places or things. The following article shows exactly what was is on the flyers that I have.

A Simple Exorcism for Priests or Laity

Exorcism Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Most glorious Prince of the Celestial Host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the conflict which we have to sustain against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places (Eph. 6.12). Come to the rescue of men whom God has created to His image and likeness, and whom He has redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. It is thou whom Holy Church venerates as her guardian and protector; thou whom the Lord has charged to conduct redeemed souls into Heaven. Pray, therefore, the God of Peace to subdue Satan beneath our feet, that he may no longer retain men captive nor do injury to the Church. Present our prayers to the most High, that without delay they may draw His mercy down upon us. Seize the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit, that he may no more seduce the nations (Apoc. 20.2-3).

Exorcism

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, strengthened by the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, [and powerful in the holy authority of our ministry]*, we confidently undertake to repulse the attacks and deceits of the devil. *Lay people omit this text

Psalm 67

Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.

As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish away: as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord! Flee, bands of enemies. R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Offspring of David, has conquered. V. May Thy mercy descend upon us. R. As great as our hope in Thee.

(The crosses (†) below indicate a blessing to be given if a priest recites the Exorcism; if a lay person recites it, they indicate the Sign of the Cross to be made by that person.)

We drive you from us, whoever you may be, unclean spirits, Satanic powers, infernal invaders, wicked legions, assemblies, and sects. In the name and by the virtue of Our Lord Jesus Christ †. May you be snatched away and driven from the Church of God and from the souls redeemed by the Precious Blood of the Divine Lamb †.

Cease by your audacity, cunning serpent, to deceive the human race, to persecute the Church, to torment God's elect, and to sift them as wheat †. This is the command made to you by the Most High God †, with Whom in your haughty insolence you still pretend to be equal †. The God Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2.4). God the Father commands you †. God the Son commands you †. God the Holy Ghost commands you †. Christ, the Eternal Word of God made Flesh, commands you †. He Who to save our race, outdone through your malice, humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death (Phil. 2.8). He Who has built His Church on the firm rock and declared that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her, because He dwells with Her all days, even to the consummation of the world (Matt. 28.20). The hidden virtue of the Cross requires it of you, as does the power of the mysteries of the Christian Faith †. The glorious Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, commands you †. She who by Her humility and from the first moment of Her Immaculate Conception crushed your proud head. The faith of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and of the other Apostles commands you †. The blood of the Martyrs and the pious intercession of all the Saints command you †.

Thus, cursed dragon, and you, wicked legions, we adjure you by the living God †, by the true God , by the holy God , ¡by the God Who so loved the world, as to give up His only-begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him may not perish but may have life everlasting (St. John 3.16). Cease deceiving human creatures and pouring out to them the poison of eternal perdition. Cease harming the Church and hindering her liberty. Retreat, Satan, inventor and master of all deceit, enemy of man's salvation. Cede the place to Christ in Whom you have found none of your works. Cede the place to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church acquired by Christ at the price of His Blood. Stoop beneath the all-powerful Hand of God. Tremble and flee at the evocation of the Holy and terrible name of Jesus; this Name which causes hell to tremble; this Name to which the Virtues, Powers and Dominations of Heaven are humbly submissive; this Name which the Cherubim and Seraphim praise unceasingly, repeating: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, the God of Hosts.

V. O Lord hear my prayer. R. And let my cry come unto Thee. V. May the Lord be with thee. R. And with thy spirit.

Let Us Pray.

God of Heaven, God of earth, God of Angels, God of Archangels, God of Patriarchs, God of Prophets, God of Apostles, God of Martyrs, God of Confessors, God of Virgins, God who has power to give life after death and rest after work, because there is no other God than Thee and there can be no other, for Thou art the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, of Whose reign there shall be no end. We humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy glorious Majesty and we supplicate Thee to deliver us from all the tyranny of the infernal spirits, from their snares, their lies, and their furious wickedness. Deign, O Lord, to protect us by Thy power and to preserve us safe and sound. We beseech Thee through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

V. From the snares of the devil, R. Deliver us, O Lord.

V. That Thy Church may serve Thee in peace and liberty, R. We beseech Thee to hear us.

V. That Thou would crush down all enemies of Thy Church, R. We beseech Thee to hear us.

(Holy water is sprinkled in the place where we may be.)

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

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