I learn of this via Slashdot and a link to a recent Telegraph article about a surge in Satanism. The Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome has been hosting a six day conference on the topic of exorcism. Sounds like a waste of time and money to me.
The conference in Rome has brought together more than 60 Catholic clergy as well as doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers and youth workers to discuss how to combat the dangers of Devil-worship.
Organisers say the rise of Satanism has been dangerously underestimated in recent years.
“There’s been a revival,” said Gabriele Nanni, a former exorcist and another speaker at the course.
In theory, any priest can perform an exorcism – a rite involving prayers to drive the Devil out of the person said to be possessed.
But Vatican officials said three years ago that parish priests should call in professional exorcists if they suspect one of their parishioners needs purging of evil.
I raise my eyebrows at Nick Squires, the article writer, who apparently buys into the idea that there actually have been “genuine cases of possession by the Devil”, albeit few. Unless he was intentionally paraphrasing the former exorcist’s opinion? I suppose that’s possible. He’s also quoted as saying,
“we must be on guard because occult and Satanist practices are spreading a great deal, in part with the help of the internet and new technologies that make it easier to access these rituals,”
This idea would be more laughable if it weren’t for the sad fact that these beliefs are held by those the Church and its followers call authorities.
The Vatican’s chief exorcist claimed last year that the Devil lurked in the Vatican, the very heart of the Catholic Church.
Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron, scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained.
He claimed that the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries, were proof that the anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See. He said Pope Benedict XVI believed “wholeheartedly” in the practice of exorcism.
A biography about Armorth was published last March. Such a zany concept anyway, exorcism. I’ll never really understand why people want to believe this kind of thing is possible.