Exorcist Diary #62: Exorcists Attacked by Clients' Demons
In the famous German exorcism of Anneliese Michel, one of the priests involved reported smelling a "variety of stenches" and became nauseated just reading a letter from the possessed woman. At night, he felt "sorely oppressed" until he invoked the intercession of Padre Pio and it lifted.
It is not uncommon that exorcists, particularly those with some spiritual sensitivities, will experience demonic symptoms when working with possessed people. The demons are enraged that an exorcist has come to cast them out and viciously attack, within the parameters of what God allows. Typically, the exorcist is protected from serious harm, but he may experience some harassment.
The experience of harassment and its symptoms can actually be very helpful. It helps the exorcist know the person really does have a demonic problem and that the problems are not just psychological. Also, the symptoms he experiences in the harassment may give him some information about the type of demons involved and what to target during subsequent sessions. Finally, the modest suffering of the priest as a result will likely, in God's providence, be of some spiritual aid for the final liberation of the afflicted soul. Thus, it is part of his ministry.
Exorcists are protected. Otherwise there would be none; Satan would kill them all. But they can experience some demonic harassment related to specific cases. This is a grace, albeit at times, a difficult one.