As the Roman Catholic Church faces the biggest clerical sex abuse scandal yet, demand for Catholic-style demon busting is reaching new kinds of heights. Exorcism is a booming industry, with French exorcists charging up to €500, and the Vatican struggling to keep up.
According to a new report from the business intelligence site Compelo, and some extra sleuthing from PJ Media, at least 66600 people have downloaded exorcism apps on their smartphones, seeking to cast out demons without the help of a priest. If the recent Catholic Church scandal makes people wary of men of the cloth, these apps may become even more popular.
In April, about 200 exorcists-in-training arrived in Rome for a week-long class on casting out demons. One of the teachers, 89-year-old Cardinal Ernest Simoni of Albania, led a session on casting out demons over cellphone. He did not mention the separate exorcism apps, however.
Compelo’s James Walker discussed four different supernatural apps, three of which involve exorcism directly. These apps have a surprisingly large clientele.
1. Exorcism and Deliverance.
The app “Exorcism and Deliverance” is free on the Google Play app store, and was created by a developer operating under two names: appsmuseum and Missionaries of Christ. According to the Adroid App Store, the Exorcism and Deliverance app has been installed more than 10,000 times. It has 206 user reviews and a four-and-a-half-star rating — not too shabby.
The app claims to offer prayers that priests and “ordinary people” can use to “defend themselves and others against evil.” It also offers information on the varieties of demonic attacks and their symptoms.
“Nice! Be aware! The devil exist!” wrote Along Maria in a review that received 26 “likes.”
“Download it,” ordered Maylene Rapadas in a review that received 14 “likes.” “Most are powerful prayers! Informative…Confession is also must in order to fight evil using this prayers and knowledge and do not delve on the occult or watch evil can easily travel and transfer.”
This app, created by Codigo JDM based in Girona, Spain, has been installed more than 50,000 times. It also has a 4.5 star rating, and 290 reviews. The app contains information on exorcism, a compendium of prayers, and an image of the Saint Benedict Medal, a symbol that supposedly has power against demons.
3. Exorcism against Supernatural.
This Polish app has been installed more than 1,000 times, although it only has a 4-star rating and 33 reviews.
“This application can help you performing real Latin exorcism with audio and text tips,” the description explains. “Professionally recorded high quality Latin pronunciation of the exorcist with mysterious music background from our studio.”
A reviewer by the name of Alex Roberts quipped that the app “didn’t work.” He added, “Crowley is now in my house,” a reference to a demon who becomes the “king of hell” in the CW TV show “Supernatural.”
4. The Archangel Michael.
While Compelo’s James Walker did not include this app, “The Archangel Michael” has been downloaded more than 5,000 times, and it has a 4.5-star rating, although only 16 people have reviewed it.
The app mostly consists of prayers such as “Saint Michael Novena,” “Short Exorcism Prayer to Saint Michael,” “Consecration to Saint Michael,” and the “Saint Michael Chaplet.”
Saint Michael is traditionally the leader of God’s angel armies, and he appears in Revelation 12 and Jude 1, where the Bible says Michael will fight Satan.
Another app merely titled “Exorcism” didn’t make it into the Compelo report either. While the app has only 10 reviews and a 4-star rating, it has been downloaded more than 1,000 times.
This exorcism app claims to include “Devil’s activity,” “4 types of curses,” “Symptoms,” “Exorcism prayer,” “Catholic Prayers against evil,” and a “Video gallery.”
The curse element seems new. At least one Google user had a bad experience, however. “Advertisements pop up every five seconds, this causes constant distractions, and makes it impossible to use the app,” the anonymous user posted.
While Roman Catholicism has gotten a bad rap, the Bible certainly suggests demons are real, and Jesus Himself carried out exorcisms. None of this sanctions the torture, abuse, and even killing that has happened in the name of casting out demons, but it should make Christians pause before dismissing the idea of exorcism outright.
These apps have been downloaded at least 67,000 times, and the more superstitious should note this means more than 66600 downloads, rather fitting for the Devil’s number being 666.