It’s exorcism time again

This month, you get the chance to attend the “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation” course held at the Vatican.

The annual course, “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation,” is designed for priests and lay persons interested in learning how to recognize a case of demonic possession when they see one – and what to do about it.

This year’s session will run from April 13-18 at Rome’s Regina Apostolorum University, and will feature interventions by a wide range of experts in the field of exorcism from priests – including practicing exorcists – medical professionals, psychologists lawyers, and theologians. It’s sponsored by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy and organized by the Sacerdos Institute.

I understand priests and theologians focusing on exorcism, after all, fighting the devil is part of their job description. Lawyers will be necessary to cover the asses of any asses who perform these ridiculous exercises.  But how any self-respecting medical professional would associate themselves with such bizarre behaviour is beyond me.

Combining the medical and the theological into a single individual might be part of the answer.

Italian Dr. Porxia Quagliarella, a psychotherapist and theologian, is one such expert who is consulted in exorcism cases. She was invited to speak at the conference on the sociological and psychological aspects of exorcisms.

“I collaborate with a priest exorcist … when it’s not clear if there are diabolical problems or if they are psychological,” she explained, “because there are psychological problems, types of hysteria that resemble the (diabolical) situation, or, for example, a narcissistic personality, which therefore have problems of another kind.”…

Of 10 cases referred to her, only 2 met with her diagnosis of possession. She gives a couple of examples of instances of mentally ill individuals, but none of possession. I wonder if I should ask every mental health professional I see if they think possession of on their list of diagnoses?

There are some indicators to look for.

But one factor that seems to be a common foundation for people coming under the sway of the Devil is “deep wounds in their lives and, above all, in their family,” particularly where “parents have made really bad choices” and in doing so “have invited evil influence into their home.”

He lists such things as “marital infidelity, abortion, doing things that break the family apart.”

The problem is becoming an epidemic.

“It’s becoming a pastoral emergency,” Cascioli told CNA. “At the moment the number of disturbances of extraordinary demonic activity is on the rise.”

The rise in demonic activity can be attributed to a decreasing faith among individuals, coupled with an increase in curiosity and participation in occult activity such as Ouija boards and seances, Cascioli said.

And they want us to take them seriously.

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