International Colloquium on the Ministry of Deliverance

by Michele Moran

In recent years ICCRS has organized theological colloquiums on prayer for healing (2001), the charisms of the Holy Spirit (2008), and baptism in the Holy Spirit (2011). In April 2014 the fourth colloquium was held in Rome, on the topic of deliverance ministry.

The choice of this topic came from a number of questions that were being sent to ICCRS about deliverance ministry. These were both theological and pastoral in nature. We recognised that there are cultural factors that have to be taken into consideration and that in some parts of the world guidelines are already in place from the local Bishops' conference. Therefore, it was decided to bring together a small international group of invited theologians and practitioners who are experienced in this ministry, to gain some insight together as to what should be the basic contents of a small ICCRS book on this topic.

So from 3rd-6th of April around 30 participants gathered in Rome. Dr Mary Healy, the chair of the ICCRS Doctrinal Commission, began by presenting a general overview. She looked at the context of where we find ourselves as a Church in a world that is witnessing a rapid de-Christianization.

She presented a brief overview of deliverance in Scripture, in the early Church, and among later theologians.

Participants from each of the continents shared their perspectives on deliverance ministry. Whilst there were some obvious cultural variations, there were also marked similarities. It was noted that even among clergy, there are some who are reluctant to believe in the reality of the devil. Conversely, sometimes in CCR there are people who have a tendency to overemphasise the devil and his power. We highlighted the need for this ministry to grow and develop and for people to receive adequate training and supervision.

An exorcist from the diocese of Rome gave an overview of the history of the development of the Rite of Exorcism and the difference between exorcism and deliverance ministry. Damian Stayne shared from his own experience about the role of lay people in deliverance ministry. Neal Lozano, the founder of the 'unbound' model of deliverance ministry, spoke about the relationship between deliverance and inner healing. The final part of our colloquium was to agree together the main topics that should form the basis of a future publication.