ROMAN Catholic exorcist Father Goodluck Smoko has taken a swipe at priests who have neglected the much sought after ministry of healing, deliverance and exorcism.

Fr Smoko said this has promoted an exodus of members to Pentecostal assemblies where they are proffered solutions to their problems through prophecy, deliverance and healing.

“It is very unfortunate that Catholics do not know that their church caters for all their needs. It’s high time Catholics should understand that this church believes in healing, deliverance and exorcism. I don’t blame (lay people) but I blame the priests; they should tell you everything about your church,” said Fr Smoko at public forum last Tuesday to mark 50 years of existence of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Ministry.

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal Ministry started in the United States when the Holy Spirit is said to have fallen on students and professors at Duquesne College in 1967.

They reportedly prayed for fellow students and cast out demons.

This year the Roman Catholic Church’s Archdiocese of Harare Social Communications hosted its first public explanation of the ministry which focuses solely on deliverance, healing and exorcism.

Fr Smoko said, “As faith diminishes, darkness increases because we are all spiritual beings, we are all searching for meaning and if we don’t find it in ways that the Church would promote, we will go search for ourselves.

‘‘And because of our flawed nature, we are drawn to things that, down the road, can do more harm than good.

“In order for a person to wear the armour of protection, one needs a moral, faithful, prayerful and sacramental life. So it takes action on our part: How do we conduct our lives? How do we engage and serve other people? Because part of our mandate as a baptised Christian is to be in service to one another.”

On ancestral, avenging and marine spirits, and spiritual spouses, Fr Smoko said due to ignorance a number of Catholics were moving to Pentecostalism and traditional healers.

He added that practices like tombstone unveiling ceremonies (kurova guva) clashed with Christian doctrine.

“All those practices were abolished when Jesus died on the cross, if we claim to be Christians we live likewise,” he said.

Event co-ordinator Fr Reki Mashayambombe urged Catholics to continuously read the Bible and other helpful texts to make informed Christian decisions.

“Healing, deliverance and exorcism are done by God through his appointed vessels and we are glad that in our church we have people who have the power to cast out demons and evil spirits,” he said.