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Catholic Church: Decline of Religion Means We Need More Exorcists

The organizers of a conference on exorcism said that the decline of religious belief and the growth of secularism has “opened the window” to Satanism, black magic and belief in the occult. The six-day conference titled Exorcism and Prayers of Liberation was organized early May in Rome to train approximately 200 Roman Catholic priests from over 30 countries how to cast out evil from individuals who believe they have been possessed by the devil. The Church referred to the get together as a multi-disciplinary approach to exorcisms and invited psychiatrists, doctors, sociologists as well as criminologists from across the world.
According to Giuseppe Ferrari, one of the organizers of the conference, there is an increasing need for priests to be trained to perform exorcisms because the number of people tempted to experiment with paganism, black magic and the occult seem to be on the rise.
“We live in a disenchanted society, a secularized world that thought it was being emancipated, but where religion is being thrown out, the window is being opened to superstition and irrationality… The abandonment of religion inevitably leads people to ask questions about the existence of evil and its origins,” said Ferrari.
A total of 250 priests have been trained to serve as exorcists in Italy alone but the organizers are hoping to train many more in the near future.
“Just in the dioceses of Rome, around a third of calls that are received are requests for the services of an exorcist,” said Cesar Truqui, a priest and exorcist from Switzerland and a member of the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative Catholic order.
In popular culture, exorcisms are often associated with priests clad in black, holding aloft silver crucifixes while attempting to rid wild-eyed, frothing victims of demonic possession. While the Church did play down the more lurid associations, it did insist on the devil’s existence and the need to fight it on a daily basis.
“Exploring the theme of demonic possession does not mean causing general paranoia, but creating awareness of the existence of the Devil and of the possibility of possession… It happens rarely but you can fight it with God, with prayer, with Marian devotion,” said Truqui.
Allegedly, demonic possession manifests itself in individuals shaking uncontrollably, babbling in foreign languages and vomiting pieces of metal or shards of glass. Those thought to be possessed are often compelled to undergo the official Catholic ritual of exorcism, wherein a consecrated priest invokes the name of god and other saints to cast out the apparent demon from within the victim. Despite his progressive image, Pope Francis too has frequently alluded to the devil in his public addresses and homilies.

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