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First day of school for aspiring Vatican exorcists

 
 
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 11:56 am
Quote:
First day of school for aspiring Vatican exorcists

Thu Oct 13, 2005

By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - It was the first day of school, so some students were understandably nervous. But then again, they were not taking just any course, but one run by a Vatican university to teach aspiring demonologists and exorcists.

"There is no doubt that the devil is intervening more in the life of man these days," Father Paolo Scarafoni told the students, most of them priests who want to learn how to tackle the demon if they should ever encounter him.

"Not all of you will become exorcists but it is indispensable that every priest knows how to discern between demonic possession and psychological problems," he said.

The four-month course, called "Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation," is being offered for the second year by Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University on Rome's outskirts.

The about 120 students from around the world will hear lectures on topics such as the pastoral, spiritual, theological, liturgical, medical, legal and criminological aspects of Satanism and demonic possession.

One planned lecture is called: "Problems related to exorcism and correlated issues."

One priest, who asked not to be identified, said he decided to take the course after a "very unsettling experience" while hearing the confession of one young member of his parish.

"Her voice changed, her face was transformed and she started speaking in a language that she did not know," he said. "I've met people who are suffering from this problem and it is not as rare as we might imagine."

So, will he be ready to wrestle with demons of the kind who may have possessed his parishioner in the confessional box?

"If, after this course, my superiors decide that it will be useful for me to become an exorcist, I will do it," he said.

REAL-LIFE EXORCISTS

Interest in the devil and the occult has been boosted by films such as this year's "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," and last year's "Exorcist: The Beginning," which was the sequel to the original "The Exorcist" in 1973.

But forget the films. The students will have several real-life and well known exorcists to teach them.

One is Father Gabriele Nanni, who attended Thursday's opening class and spoke to Reuters during a break.

"First thing is the priest has to know if the devil is at work in a person or if the problem is somewhere else," he said.

Nanni said there are four sure signs that pointed to demonic possession rather than psychological problems.

He listed them as:

"When someone speaks or understands languages they normally do not; when their physical strength is disproportionate to their body size or age; when they are suddenly knowledgeable about occult practices; when they have a physical aversion to sacred things, such as the communion host or prayers".

According to some estimates, as many as 5,000 people are thought to be members of Satanic cults in Italy with 17-to 25-year-olds making up three quarters of them.

In 1999, the Vatican updated its ritual for exorcism.

It starts with prayers, a blessing and sprinkling of holy water, the laying on of hands on the possessed, and the making of the sign of the cross.

The formula begins: "I order you, Satan..." It goes on to denounce Satan as "prince of this world" and "enemy of human salvation". It ends: "Go back, Satan."



Course, (in Italian, from the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University website)
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,377 • Replies: 23
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Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 12:05 pm
Yipes!
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 12:14 pm
And if that don't work, slip him five bucks.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 12:17 pm
<frowns>
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 12:17 pm
Sounds pretty good to me. Psychology 101 combined with a soup├žon of mumbo-jumbo. As I understand it, that's exactly how African witch-doctors work.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 01:17 pm
I hope they don't serve pea soup in the school cafeteria.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 01:39 pm
I hate pea soup.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 01:43 pm
Calm. calm, dys! They'll change the menu in the cafeteria!!!
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 01:47 pm
Quote:
Calm. calm, dys! They'll change the menu in the cafeteria!!!


Or "they" will change dys.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 03:33 pm
Oh my.
'Tis a new dark ages....
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 06:46 pm
dlowan wrote:
Oh my.
'Tis a new dark ages....


Ain't nuthin' new here, wabbit. The Roman church never moved out of the Dark Ages.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 06:51 pm
Did they say anything about burning witches? Maybe I won't be going to Italy next year.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 07:40 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
dlowan wrote:
Oh my.
'Tis a new dark ages....


Ain't nuthin' new here, wabbit. The Roman church never moved out of the Dark Ages.


They sure made a damn good try with Vatican II.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 08:07 pm
Vatican II was my pinacle, and then I ran away far.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2005 03:33 am
Yes, the current administration at the Vatican seem to be vaguely embarassed by Vatican II. You're right, Deb, the attempt at some sort of accommodation to the real world beyond the walls of St. Peter's was made by the Vatican II Council. It didn't go very far, though, and its results weren't all that successful. About the only visible result today is the Mass being celebrated in the vernacular, rather than Latin. (btw, I personally liked Latin a lot better. It had a kind of majesty that the local languages can't equal.)
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2005 05:06 am
Merry Andrew wrote:
(btw, I personally liked Latin a lot better. It had a kind of majesty that the local languages can't equal.)


That would suit me as well: I would know the texts, which isn't generally the fact now :wink:
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2005 05:10 am
Think about this, Walter:

In Latin, the priest says. "Ite misa est."
The congregation answers: "Dei gratia."
Sounds fine, doesn't it?

Now, instead, the priest says: "The Mass is ended."
The congregation answers: "Thanks be to God," with a collective sigh of relief.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2005 05:21 am
In German, it is said 'Go in peace' - which is an anachronism :wink:
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2005 05:22 am
Damn (I mean 'oops'), I missed the first day of school?!?!
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Oct, 2005 05:43 am
From the looks of your avatar, ma'am, you are more likely to be an exorcisee than an exorcist.
0 Replies
 
 

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