Church blames in­ter­net for boom in ex­or­cisms

Taranaki Daily News - - World -

VAT­I­CAN CITY: De­mand for ex­or­cisms is boom­ing as a re­sult of a de­cline in Chris­tian faith and the in­ter­net pro­vid­ing easy ac­cess to black magic, the oc­cult and Satanism, a Vat­i­can con­fer­ence has been told.

So many peo­ple are now ask­ing to be lib­er­ated from the Devil’s ma­lign clutches that some Catholic priests have taken to say­ing prayers of lib­er­a­tion – a first step to ex­or­cism – over the phone, the con­fer­ence for ex­or­cist priests has heard.

‘‘There are priests who carry out ex­or­cisms on their mo­bile phones. That’s pos­si­ble thanks to Je­sus,’’ said Car­di­nal Ernest Si­moni, an Al­ba­nian who was once tor­tured and im­pris­oned by com­mu­nist au­thor­i­ties but con­tin­ued to per­form fre­quent ex­or­cisms.

His com­ments took some ex­perts by sur­prise, with priests point­ing out that con­duct­ing an ex­or­cism re­motely would not be wise, be­cause peo­ple who are pos­sessed of­ten writhe around vi­o­lently and have to be re­strained to stop them harm­ing them­selves.

‘‘Priests pray with peo­ple on the phone to calm them down, but if you are not there, you can­not con­trol the phys­i­cal as­pects,’’ said Pro­fes­sor Giuseppe Fer­rari, one of the event or­gan­is­ers.

More than 250 priests, the­olo­gians, psy­chol­o­gists and crim­i­nol­o­gists from 51 coun­tries gath­ered at a Catholic uni­ver­sity in Rome yes­ter­day for the start of the week-long con­fer­ence, the only one of its kind in the world.

The con­cept of de­monic pos­ses­sion may be re­garded by ag­nos­tics and athe­ists with scep­ti­cism, even de­ri­sion, but it is a sub­ject of the ut­most se­ri­ous­ness for the Catholic Church.

This is the 13th time the an­nual con­fer­ence has been held at the Regina Apos­tolo­rum pon­tif­i­cal uni­ver­sity, and the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants grows ev­ery year.

A be­lief in black magic and Sa­tan was in­creas­ing – and with that, the need for ex­or­cisms, del­e­gates said.

In Italy, it is claimed that over the past decade the num­ber of peo­ple ask­ing for ex­or­cisms has tripled to half a mil­lion. The coun­try now boasts around 300 ex­or­cist priests, with hun­dreds more in other parts of the world.

The Vat­i­can in­sists that ev­ery Catholic dio­cese in the world must have a priest trained as an ex­or­cist.

‘‘De­mand is grow­ing, ab­so­lutely,’’ said Fr An­thony Bar­ratt, a Bri­tish priest based in Al­bany, New York State. ‘‘I think it is partly due to the in­ter­net, which makes [Satanism] so ac­ces­si­ble. Films and tele­vi­sion pro­grammes are also a fac­tor.’’

– Tele­graph Group

PHOTO: AP

‘‘There are priests who carry out ex­or­cisms on their mo­bile phones. That’s pos­si­ble thanks to Je­sus,’’ says Car­di­nal Ernest Troshani Si­moni.

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