Exorcism the Truth – 90% of people who believe they are “possessed” are not but need professional Psychological help. 80% Were sexually abused – According to Rev Gary Thomas a Vatican certified exorcist.
In the event that a person is deemed to be possessed, Thomas said when performing the solemn rite of exorcism, he always has a Catholic medical doctor, a clinical psychologist and a psychiatrist on hand.
Exorcism (from Greek ἐξορκισμός, exorkismos – binding by oath) is the practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or an area they are believed to have possessed. Depending on the spiritual beliefs of the exorcist, this may be done by causing the entity to swear an oath, performing an elaborate ritual, or simply by commanding it to depart in the name of a higher power. The practice is ancient and part of the belief system of many cultures and religions.
Requested and performed exorcisms had begun to decline in the Western world by the 18th century due to advancements in medical understanding, and occurred rarely until the latter half of the 20th century when the public saw a sharp rise due to the media attention exorcisms were getting. There was “a 50% increase in the number of exorcisms performed between the early 1960s and the mid-1970s”. (wikipedia)
I recently watched a troubling TV documentary called “The Teenage Exorcists” which followed an American (Brynne Larson) and her televangelist dad and two friends tour the world performing public and private exorcisms (for hard cash no doubt).
The Teenage Exorcists “performed” exorcisms on camera with a variety of clearly psychologically disturbed people, the question I asked myself at the time was who was the more disturbed the exorcist or the person who believed they were possessed?
With programs about the Occult like Supernatural, Grimm, American Horror Story,gaining a growing following how can you separate fact from fantasy?
There is a growing output of films about Demons, Possessions, Vampires, Zombies, which puts a distorted “Hollywood” view out to the gullible public. Unfortunately a percentage of people with deep seated psychological issues watch this rubbish and believe they are possessed and seek out an Exorcism.
What they should be seeking out is a qualified clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, I believe these TV Exorcists do incredible harm. The Vatican quite rightly licences its Exorcists and only carries out an Exorcism in exceptional circumstances and always with qualified mental health and medical people on hand.
According to the Vatican guidelines issued in 1999, “the person who claims to be possessed must be evaluated by doctors to rule out a mental or physical illness.” Most reported cases do not require an exorcism because twentieth-century Catholic officials regard genuine demonic possession as an extremely rare phenomenon that is easily confounded with natural mental disturbances. Many times a person just needs spiritual or medical help, especially if drugs or other addictions are present. After the need of the person has been determined then the appropriate help will be met. In the circumstance of spiritual help, prayers may be offered, or the laying on of hands or a counseling session may be prescribed.
Signs of Possession
Signs of demonic invasion vary depending on the type of demon and what it wants to do. Signs include:
- Lack of appetite.
- Cutting, scratching, and biting of skin.
- A cold feeling in the room.
- Unnatural bodily postures.
- The possessed losing control of their normal personality and entering into a frenzy or rage, and/or attacking others.
- A change in the person’s voice.
- Supernatural strength not subject to that person’s build or age.
- The possessed speaks in another language which they had never learned before
- Violent rejection toward all religious objects or items.
- Antipathy towards entering a church, speaking Jesus’ name or hearing scripture.
Rules of exorcism
- Must be done by a priest with the proper authorization and should have the proper knowledge to perform an exorcism.
- It should never be broadcast in media but treated with the utmost discretion.
- More than one person should be present, preferably family members.
To become an Exorcist you must be a Roman Catholic priest and have permission from your bishop to join the International Association of Exorcists.
The body, which meets in secret every two years was founded in 1993 by Father Gabriele Amorth, the official exorcist of Vatican City in the Diocese of Rome, with the aim of increasing the number of official exorcists worldwide.
Since 2005, Catholic priests can sign up to learn how to cast away evil spirits from the possessed at the Vatican-backed college, the Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum in Rome.
It runs a two-month course to teach the “spiritual, liturgical and pastoral work involved in being an exorcist.”
According to Father Giulio Savoldi, Milan’s official exorcist, requirements include “the supernatural force – the presence of God – and then suggest that the man picked to do this kind of work be wise and that he should know how to gather strength not just from within himself but from God.” The Roman Catholic’s new Exorcism Rite, which was updated in 1999 for the first time since 1614, stresses the importance of distinguishing who is really in need of an exorcism.
Father Savoldi Exorcist said: “Those studying to become exorcists should also study psychology and know how to distinguish between a mental illness and a possession. And, finally, they need to be very patient.” He said the priest who undertakes the office should be himself a holy man, of a blameless life, intelligent, courageous, humble. He should avoid in the course of the rite anything resembling superstition and he should leave the medical aspects of the case to qualified physicians.
I hope the teenage exorcists and those who seek exorcism take note of Father Savoldis words of wisdom