In 2004, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith requested that all Catholic dioceses appoint an official exorcist. Coincidentally, the Regina Apostolorum College, run by the Legionaries of Christ, opened a course for the training of exorcists that year.
“Regina Apostolorum,” was erected by the Congregation for Catholic Education on September 15, 1993. On July 11, 1998, John Paul II granted status of a Pontifical University and on September 3, 2004 it received the final decree of canonical status.
The movie "The Rite" is based on a book by an AP reporter named Matt Baglio, a non-practicing Catholic. Always on the look out for a good story, the reporter enrolled himself in the four-month course at the Legionaries college entitled, “Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation.” He wondered, “What kind of priest takes a course in exorcism?” “Are there any priests out there who still believe in the existence of the devil?”
One of his classmates was Fr Gary Thomas, a parish priest from San Jose California. Fr. Thomas was 50 years old at the time. The story of his real life experience as an "exorcist-in-training" is loosely followed in the movie. Fr. Thomas has praised the film for its "positive portrayal of the Church" and for its "witness to the power of faith." The movie, features Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and newcomer Irishman Colin O’Donoghue. Hopkins is a professed Christian, and O'Donoghue is a practicing Catholic who serves as a lector at his parish in Dublin.
Fr. Thomas also said that the intensely creepy trailers for the film are “deceptive” in the sense that they make it look like a “horror movie,” which he says is inaccurate.