The Diocese of Boise ordered an exorcist and prayer team to spiritually cleanse the former home of a priest awaiting trial for child pornography charges.
Father Thomas Faucher was arrested in February, evicted from his home, and currently awaits trial for 21 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child, a felony charge for possession of LSD, and two misdemeanor charges for possession of ecstasy and marijuana. The diocese put Faucher’s former home up for sale, but determined that it was necessary not only to physically clean the house, but also to exorcise it of demonic presence and influence before putting it on the market. (RELATED: Vatican Trains More Exorcists To Combat Rising Demonic Crisis)
“We bless houses all the time. I had our diocesan exorcist and his prayer team come and pray over the house,” said Father John Worster, pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, according to the Idaho Statesmen.
“We believe in demonic powers. We brought in the ghostbusters,” he added.
Worster had an exorcist and a 10-person prayer team, whom he referred to as “prayer warriors,” exorcise the house of spiritual darkness with the permission of Bishop Peter Christensen. While any ordained priest may perform an exorcism, in the Catholic Church they may only do so with the permission of a bishop so as to operate with the backing of the full spiritual authority of the church.
Worster’s goal, in this case, was to cleanse the property of any “spiritual filth” that held sway in the home because of its former occupant and his activities.
“It’s a relatively routine thing but evil is real, so we’re taking no chances. We prayed for the house and prayed in the house, just to be sure, and to reassure the public and new owners,” Worster said.
While the word exorcism conjures images of Hollywood tropes for many people, involving casting demons out of a person, the Catholic Church makes distinctions between what it calls minor and major exorcisms. The blessing of a house is usually considered to be the former.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, with regard to what exorcism is and is not, teaches:
When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing.
In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called “a major exorcism,” can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church.
Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness
Worster also said that the church also physically cleaned and renovated the house, which was apparently filthy enough to accommodate large mice.
“Our main goal is to turn the house over in good condition to the next owner. We’re painting, cleaning up the floors and cleaning carpet, even as we speak. Part of that is taking care of the spiritual side of things,” Worster told the Idaho Statesman.
Faucher is currently being held at Ada County Jail with bail set at $1 million. The diocese sold his home for about $250,000, according to Crux.
“If these allegations are true and proven in court, they are a betrayal of the trust we place in all ministers such as Father Faucher. Anyone who takes advantage of and exploits children for their own gratification is absolutely wrong. There are no excuses for such behavior by any one of our clergy,” said Christensen, according to Crux.
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