The Pope wants priests to use exorcists

Franco Origlia/Getty

Hundreds of priests attended an annual course sponsored by the Apostolic Penitentiary – a Vatican court dedicated to exploring the absolution of sin.

Pope Francis was in attendance, where he spoke at length on the subject of confession.

He offered some salient advice to Catholic priests engaging in confession: be sure to discern the difference between someone who is suffering from mental illness, and symptoms of demonic possession.

The Catholic Encyclopedia defines exorcism as:

...the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice.

Whenever these “confessors” recognise the presence of evil spirits, they are to refer to an exorcist, who is imbued with:

This sensitive and necessary ministry.

In 1999 the Vatican issued a 90-page updated leather-bound book called the De Exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam instructing priests on how to exorcise a demon from a practitioner.

Printed entirely in Latin, the book acknowledges psychiatric conditions, but also reiterates the idea that the Devil is a real being.

The Devil…goes around like a roaring lion looking for souls to devour.

This isn’t the first instance of Pope Francis’ Fire-and-Brimstone rhetoric.

In 2014 the Pope approved the status of the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests engaged in exorcism from 30 countries.

The pope has received pushback from conservatives in the Catholic Church and support from liberals for his seemingly radical ideas.

In 2013 he said that atheists can go to heaven; he also called for transsexuals and homosexuals to be embraced by the Catholic Church – a departure from the combative rhetoric of his predecessors.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)