During the summer of 2009, I took it upon myself to join Twitter. I saw it as an opportunity to share experiences, thoughts, and work-related interests– and rightfully so, as that is precisely what a “microblogging” platform is designed to provide. As my work progressed and eventually led to multiple radio and television appearances, as well as some magazine articles featuring my work, my Twitter following quickly grew. It was at this time that the nature of my Twitter account started to change from a microblogging medium to a dynamic Q&A forum. It was obvious that people were thirsting for clarity pertaining to theological, metaphysical, esoteric, and paranormal content, but these are not strictly regulated disciplines, and the majority of them do not benefit from any sort of significant academic accreditation. This produces an environment where people feel they are free to believe whatever they want, regardless of whether or not there exists a more concrete data collection to work with. I then saw it as my responsibility to help bring intelligibility to these areas that I have dedicated my life to pursing. I have built functional models on this material and my years of field-experience/education makes me well-qualified. I was happy to answer any and all questions coming in to my Twitter account as a result, and I did.
In time, however, this started to become a 24-hour a day job and the increasing success of this teaching outreach led to more forms of negative exposure. First, we had to deal with a regular and cyclical bombardment of trolling/lurking encounters and then later forum posts on Roman Catholic websites that served to damage my reputation and the ministry for which I worked so hard to build over the last decade. Also during this time, the exorcism outreach was suffering financially. While we did conduct a few successful fundraisers through Twitter, it soon degenerated into a situation where a great majority of donors would make a monthly pledge, but then quickly retract it a few months later without explanation. This eventually resulted in the closure of the Mission Church (our base of operations for the Atlanta Division of the Order of Exorcists) and now the entire exorcism ministry itself is at risk.
A quick analysis of the situation led me to seriously consider what I was doing. Exactly what good were all of these countless hours I have spent on Twitter, answering questions, doing for the ministry? The ministry continues to not have enough monthly income to function properly and the questions keep rolling in on Twitter at a greater rate than ever before. In fact, many of these questions are inappropriate for social media and it is clear that people are asking them as a means to avoid paying for professional assistance, taking advantage of my professional accessibility without feeling any obligation, whatsoever, to help the ministry that they, themselves, are seeking help from.
This cannot continue.
While I do fully understand that many people in spiritual crisis cannot afford the extreme costs involved in helping them get better, they also need to understand that running a ministry is also exceptionally expensive for the institution. We are only here, able to help, because most of us have sacrificed our own financial resources and well-being so that the ministry may continue. But this too can no longer go on.
My Twitter following is now almost at 14,000 people. There is absolutely no reason that exposure at this level should leave us with a struggling ministry. In fact, if everyone who had a question and received my answer supported this ministry with a nominal monthly pledge, the ministry would be flourishing today, rather than floundering.
I cannot be here for you if you cannot be here for this ministry.
While it would be nice to derive some reasonable salary for my pastoral work and actually hire my staff rather than maintain them as volunteers, I don’t seek donations for this ministry for myself or for them. I primarily seek it for our clients who do need this help and many of which cannot afford to pay everything (or anything) associated with their resolution process.
So it is, in light of recognizing the extreme necessity in changing how this ministry’s social media service is conducted, we are now implementing the following plan of action:
- We estimate that the ministry requires between $200,000 – $300,000 a year to function optimally, but we are realistic. We have never once come close to this budget and do not expect that we ever really will. So, realistically, we estimate that increasing our monthly revenue by $2,000 a month should allow the ministry to continue at an absolute minimum level. As of today, we are then starting a new fundraiser that hopes to make up for this deficit.
- To those who donate $10 a month or more, you are invited to join our private (troll-free) Sponsors page on Facebook (see below). This is where you can continue to ask your questions and engage me in dialogue without threat of being under constant attack by hostile internet personalities and those that don’t respect what this ministry is trying to do.
- If we reach our goal of $2,000 a month (AND MAINTAIN IT), I will continue to spend significant amounts of time reading comments on Twitter and answer appropriate questions in concise responses. If we don’t reach that goal or the goal falls under due to, once again, donors making pledges and then later backing out of them, I will return to using Twitter as I did in 2009 when I started– as a microblogging device, to get news about my work and life out to the public. While I may engage a comment here or there, it will not be at the constant level that it currently is right now.
Putting this decision in your hands gives you the following options:
- Become a donor for $10 a month or more by clicking the donation button below. Be sure to check the monthly donation box.
- Once you donate $10 a month or more, feel free to request membership in the private Sponsor’s page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/supportnicholean. To verify your pledge, you will be asked a few questions concerning your donation. You must answer these questions and have an active pledge to join this page and remain connected to this page. The page will be strictly monitored for any kind of troll activity. Any hostile activity will result in a permanent and immediate ban from the page. Users can also report posts to the moderators. Moderators will also check to make sure all members’ pledges are up to date. If there isn’t an active monthly pledge on file, you will, sadly, be removed from the page. (IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to join this page, donations must be in the form of a monthly pledge. If you wish to give a one-time amount, please divide that by 12 months and offer that as the monthly pledge for the year, which must match or exceed $10 a month. If you wish to make a significantly large donation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss).
- If you feel you need a more professional and personal form of assistance, you may request a pastoral counseling appointment here: https://esotericcatholic.org/pastoral-counseling/. Please note that these are very limited and there is usually a waiting list. Priority is always given to clients who are willing to commit to a regular and weekly counseling schedule.
- If you need the help of the Order of Exorcists, please note that this service is always free, but it only is able to function because of past donations. Even this free service needs your support if you can afford it. Because of financial, staffing, and volume constraints, we are only able to take a few cases a year. To have your case considered, you may fill out your intake form here: https://esotericcatholic.org/investigation/
- If your interest is of a metaphysical, paranormal, and/or esoteric nature, I would encourage you then to consider becoming a student of mine. I teach a live weekly webinar on this content. Students get to interact with me and ask me any questions they like in a real-time virtual classroom environment. This is also a completely troll-free environment. You may get more information about this program and sign up here: https://esotericcatholic.org/seminars/.
- As for the ultimate fate of the general @ExorcistBishop Twitter account, it will continue in some form no matter what happens. Again, if we reach and maintain our $2,000 a month goal (I will post fundraising results on a regular basis), my Twitter account will largely remain what is has been (although any kind of trolling will result in immediate blocking of the offending account). If we don’t reach or lose the goal due to retracted donations, I will be using it in a more ordinary capacity. Those who want questions answered can use one of the many other services outlined above.
It is my sincere hope that this course of action offers all of you a satisfactory solution to the many complications that I have presented here today in this article. I certainly do not want to discourage honest question asking and sincere, thoughtful discussion. But these things must be handled in an appropriate way, serving also to build up the work of this ministry and not detract from it further.
Feel free to ask me any questions you have about this new course of action and I will do my best to respond.
Sincerely in Christ,
+Bryan D. Ouellette, SOSM
Holy Nicholean Catholic Church
Order of Exorcists