Priests flock to Rome for exorcism courses as demand for ritual surges

Priests flock to Rome for exorcism courses as demand for ritual surges

The demand for exorcisms around the world has been growing with the decline of Christianity and some priests are so overwhelmed with requests for liberation from evil spirits they are being forced to rebuke demons by telephone.

The BBC reported that the course has been offered since 2005 and over the past 13 years, the number of priests attending has more than doubled.

'This course is useful because it prepares the priests who carry out exorcisms to have a complete vision, a multi-disciplined view of the situation'.

As well as licensed exorcists, theologians, psychologists, medical doctors, criminologists, and Church historians will also address the course participants.

Up to 250 people from 50 countries, a lot of them priests, will attend a week of lectures and talks on a range of topics including witchcraft in Africa, how to tell the difference between demonic possession and mental illness, and a step-by-step guide to casting out demons. Films and television programs are also a factor. As Breitbart News has reported, requests for exorcists in Italy has tripled in recent years, reaching an annual total of almost a half million, and other countries have witnessed a similar increase. "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.

"They call me and we speak and that's how I do it", Cardinal Ernest Simoni of Albania told the news agency after his lecture, adding that he reads prayers in Latin over the phone.

"Priests pray with people on the phone to calm them down, but if you are not there you can not control the physical aspects", Giuseppe Ferrari, an expert on demonic sects, told the BBC. Whether it is orthodox or correct, I couldn't say'.

The 89-year-old Simoni described one particularly aggressive exorcism he once performed on a woman he described as being at least 6 1/2 feet tall. "This is the power of God", he said.

According to Father Barrajón, the exceptional interest in the course reflects a growing awareness of the activity of the devil in the world, and a concern on the part of bishops to have some of their priests specially trained for dealing for this reality. They described victims speaking in gravelly growls, in languages that couldn't be understood, and vomiting nails and shards of glass.

'If you show them a holy object, like a rosary or a cross or a picture of the Madonna, they go into shock and start yelling'.

Speakers insisted that the devil is real, a belief shared by Pope Francis, who often references Satan in homilies and addresses. "I'm convinced that one must never converse with Satan - if you do that, you'll be lost".

The Rev. Jose Enrique Oyarzun, professor of theology and philosophy at the Regina Apostolorum University where the exorcism conference is being held, said there was "great confusion" about the devil. "This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable".