Possessed by demons? Satan got ya? Who ya gonna call?

Well, you might start with your local Catholic church.

The Vatican has recently ordered bishops to form teams of priests in each diocese trained to fight demonic possession.

However, it has not been confirmed that the Pontiff also plans to renounce Galileo and re-establish the Church's belief in the geocentric model of the universe.

Vatican Exorcist-in-Chief, 82-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth announced the new initiative.

"Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on," he said.

"Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil. You have to hunt high and low for a properly trained exorcist.”

He said that Benedict XVI wants to restore a prayer seen as protection against evil that was traditionally recited at the end of Catholic Masses. The prayer, to St Michael the Archangel, was dropped in the 1960s by Pope John XXIII.

The Vatican is particularly concerned that young people are being exposed to the influence of Satanic sects through rock music and the Internet

The Catholic Encyclopedia defines exorcism as:
(1) the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice; (2) the means employed for this purpose, especially the solemn and authoritative adjuration of the demon, in the name of God, or any of the higher power in which he is subject.

In 1999 the Vatican issued its first update to the exorcism ritual since 1614 in an effort to bring the church up to date with modern science and urged church-approved exorcists to consult with modern medicine where needed. At the time it was made clear that belief in the devil was not optional. Belief in Satan is a tenet of the Catholic faith.

Modern medicine asserts that the behaviour of those termed “possessed” by the unsophisticated and superstitious is caused by identifiable physical and mental conditions. Prominent among them is Tourettes Syndrome (TS). Initial symptoms of this malady are involuntary facial “tics,” grimaces and upward eye rolling progressing to spontaneous vocalizations such as throat clearing, grunts, growls, shrieks and barks.

About 60% of TS cases exhibit verbal outbursts of sexual, scatological or blasphemous nature. “Forbidden” sexual, aggressive or sacrilegious thoughts intrude – all the symptoms portrayed so convincingly by actress Linda Blair in the wildly popular 1973 William Friedkin film “The Exorcist” based on William P. Blatty’s novel of the same name. (of which more in a moment)

Other possibilities are epilepsy, schizophrenia and migraine.

Psychological issues like low self-esteem and narcissism can cause a person to act out the role of "possessed person" in order to gain attention. According to sociologist William Cuneo in his study “American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty” a remarkable increase in reported cases of supposed demonic possession and a resulting demand for exorcism was observed after the release of the Friedkin film.

Successful exorcisms where the patient is “cured,” and there are some, are said to be the result of a placebo effect.

With all the scientific evidence regarding the physical and psychological causes of “possession,” why then the current emphasis on traditional possession and exorcism by Benedict XVI?

It appears that Benedict XVI, a conservative cleric if there ever was one, may be attempting to slow or even halt the movement to a more liberal and contemporary church initiated by Pope John XXIII with Vatican II in 1962.

He is said to be a firm believer in the existence of evil ever since he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the oldest Vatican department that deals with promoting and safeguarding Roman Catholic beliefs.

Also, statistics show that the Church is losing membership (and priests) in industrialized countries. In order to maintain numbers it must seek recruits in those areas where the population is still susceptible to magic and superstition – Central and Latin America and particularly in Africa where witchcraft, spiritual possession and exorcism are already established as part of folk religion.

In the meantime, you may want to make sure that your neighbourhood priest has his crucifix, bible and aspergillum at the ready. Just in case you have to call him.

Barry L. Bayerstein – Dissociative States: Possession and Exorcism
Barry L. Bayerstein - Neuropathology and the Legacy of Spiritual Possession

Update: According to UPI, either the Vatican is doing a complete about face or the good Father Amorth has a few mea culpas in his future.

Vatican denies exorcist expansion

Published: Dec. 29, 2007 at 9:33 AM
VATICAN CITY, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The Vatican is denying reports it plans to install more exorcists around the world so possessed people can get help quickly."Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of ordering local bishops to bring in garrisons of exorcists to fight demonic possession,'' Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters in Rome Friday.

On Thursday, the Roman Catholic Web site Petrus said the pope planned to install more exorcists in every diocese next year and reintroduce a prayer during mass to St. Michael the Archangel, believed to be the prime protector against evil, The Telegraph in Britain reported Saturday.

Paolo Scarafoni, a priest at Vatican University who teaches how to recognize and expel Satan, said exorcists increasingly are in demand because devil worship has become so common, reported ANSA, the Italian news agency. "Priests are being bombarded," Scarafoni told ANSA.
© 2007 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.


Scott Little said...

That silly Pope B. I am sure he doesn't want anyone to compare him to say...a nazi???? Thanks for the kind comment on my site. I will in return blogroll you as well! Nice site.

Anonymous said...

Well, demonic possession would explain quite a few things about our current administration!

Anonymous said...

I know how bad it is because i am possessed by satan myself.Sometimes I go mad and attack my friends and family but I am not in control.Someone out there please help me learn to control it.