According to one exorcist working in Italy, the average time needed for a person to be freed from demonic influence in an exorcism is taking much longer than it did in even the recent past. He believes the prolongation can be attributed to a few basic elements: the high diffusion of atheistic attitudes in society at large; the reduction of the understanding of faith as merely an intellectual concept; and a growing lack of belief within the Church, even among priests and bishops, in the devil and his actions.
As reported by CNA, Fr. Francois Dermine, O.P., an exorcist of nearly 25 years remarked that “Though there are no set rules for how long it should take for someone to be liberated from demonic obsession or possession, some people can be liberated with very few blessings, though many require months. One blessing was enough – a blessing of one hour, two hours, three hours, six hours, but one blessing was enough to liberate one person of a possession. But now it’s different. It’s becoming very long.” Further, Fr. Dermine added, “I think the reason for that is our society is becoming more and more atheistic, people are going away from prayer and the sacraments so there are fewer defences against the devil. Another important but abnormal factor is a lack of faith within the Church itself, because during an exorcism, “the exorcist prays in the name of the Church. If within the Church, you have the clergy and also a certain number of bishops who do not believe in the devil or his actions, then the exorcist is deprived of the power of the prayer of the Church.”
Fr. Dermine also voiced concern that the practice of the faith is becoming more intellectual, but less spiritual, and is therefore at times being reduced to a sort of “moralism” void of actual belief.