According to an article, by Nick Rees, in The Daily Telegraph, the Catholic Church conducted a conference in Rome to combat the dangers of Satanism.
A conference for demon-busters?
This is, apparently, not a joke. There were Catholic clergy, doctors, psychiatrists, teachers and social workers – ostensibly grown adults with college educations – all gathered together in a coordinated effort to do something about the insidious, dangerous, threat of devil worship.
Traditionally, any priest could perform exorcisms to cast The Devil out of a possessed person but 3 years ago the Vatican decreed that such supernatural purging should be left to professional exorcists.
I guess parish priests aren’t up to the task. Do grown adults really believe people can be literally, physically, possessed by The Devil? Do they really believe that The Devil’s possession of a victim is so potent that only a professional exorcist can force him out? What does it take, I wonder, to become a professional exorcist? If parish priests aren’t up to the task, where does one start their quest to specialize in demon-busting?
One such specialist is Father Nanni of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He says that one should first have a “moral certainty” of an actual possession before calling in the big guns. In case you’re not sure how to identify such moral certainty, look for freaky changes in behavior or voice. Apparently, moral certainty is not an oxymoron within the church but I suspect it has become cliché with overuse.
Sudden glossolalia (speaking in tongues) often accompanies possession, so the professional exorcist must be careful to ensure he’s not mistakenly exorcising a Pentecostal charismatic. A mistake like that could lead to some really bad publicity. I guess that’s one of the reasons the Vatican requires exorcisms be performed by professionals.
The professional exorcist knows the intricacies of his craft and is undaunted by victims that “scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained”. A real pro is even prepared for supernatural phenomena like vomiting “shards of glass and pieces of iron”.
According to the Vatican’s chief exorcist, demon possessions are so insidious that Satan even lurks in the clergy and the Vatican itself. That’s right: the Anti-Christ is attacking the Holy See. As proof of this, Father Gabriele Amorth pointed to the sex abuse scandals that have engulfed the Church. Need I say more?
Exorcism is serious business at the Vatican and is “wholeheartedly” endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI.
Scary. Isn’t it?