BTW, I do know that exorcism has been a rite of ecclesiastics, but vampire hunting, per se, the church has generally left to the Van Helsings of this world. Incidentally, it appears the official Catholic position on vampires is that they are mythical.
What you call the official Catholic position
is actually the liberal position held by most modernists in the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church, prior to which you would find the reverse to be true. Traditional Catholics, like their Eastern Orthodox counterparts, mostly susbscribe to the existence of vampires as I understand them, ie
predatory demonic manifestations requiring blood to sustain their materialisation.
The overwhelming majority of chroniclers of vampires, authors on vampirism, pursuers of vampires and vampire exorcists down the centuries have been clergy in all the mainstream denominations.
The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks and Romans had tales of demons and spirits that are considered the same phenomenon as modern vampires. The entity we know today is best identified with that found in early 18th century Southeastern Europe when traditions of the multi-ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published. In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings, but they can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by a victim being bitten by a vampire, though being bitten as a cause is considered the exception rather than the rule. Belief in vampires became so pervasive that in some areas it caused panics and mass vampire exorcisms where graveyards squelched with blood. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in most cultures, the term vampire
was not popularised until the early 18th century following the influx of vampire reports from areas where vampire cases were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas
in Greece and strigoi
in Romania. Vampires are recorded in England as far back as the 12th century in Historia Rerum Anglicarum
by William of Newburgh (1136-1208) which tells of "the extraordinary happening when a dead man wandered abroad out of his grave.""If ever there was in the world a warranted and proven history, it is that of vampires: nothing is lacking, official reports, testimonials of persons of standing, of surgeons, of clergymen, of judges; the judicial evidence is all-embracing."
- Jean Jacques Rousseau, “Lettre à Mgr. de Beaumont, Archevêque de Paris,”
(Annex to the Contrat social) Librairie Garnier Frères, Paris, p489.