(Zenit) The Making of a Modern Exorcist
Father Thomas expressed the belief that learning about exorcisms is today more necessary than ever, because there are more Catholics who are involved in paganism, idolatry and the occult (psychics, tarot cards, Ouija boards, crystals, Wicca, séances, and the like), so there are a lot of people who are opening a lot of doors to the diabolical.
Certain signs would indicate possible demonic activity in someone. For example, "if somebody was able to speak in a language that he had no prior competency in, or if someone would foam at the mouth or have a lot of rolling of the eyes," Father Thomas said.
Another sign of a diabolical attachment can be found "if the person were not able to walk into a church or be close to any Catholic sacramental: holy water, a crucifix, the sacrament of the Eucharist, the sacramental anointing of the sick, or someone wearing some kind of a Christian symbol. If these caused a reaction, it certainly would be a sign."
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
Ministry of the Ordained
Posted April 7, 2011 at 5:20 am
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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/35833/
1. Rob Eaton+ wrote:
Excellent. I think I remember reading of the Vatican course back in 2005 when it was first announced. I would love to see an intensive, college-credit course here in the states, and start doing some serious training for mainline clergy and laity. I think I’ll try to get in touch with Fr Gary. Anybody else interested?
April 7, 3:40 pm | [comment link]
2. Larry Morse wrote:
When I first read this, I thought it was a satire. As a serious endeavor, it is appalling, and invitation to witch hunting. And speaking in tongues as a sign of possession by a demon? Does anyone remember Pentecost?
April 7, 10:49 pm | [comment link]
Or is this really a parody and have I been fooled? Larry
3. Teatime2 wrote:
LOL, Larry. Anyone who’s spent any time with teen-agers has seen “a lot of rolling of the eyes.”
While I do not doubt the presence of evil and the diabolical, I think that genuine demonic possession is very rare. But there are a LOT of lonely and isolated souls who need love, help, and counseling, not exorcisms/exorcists.
April 7, 11:13 pm | [comment link]
4. Rob Eaton+ wrote:
April 8, 2:47 am | [comment link]
Take a deep breath.
Read it again. If necessary, remember that it is a NEWSPAPER ARTICLE, and not everything gets said or quoted correctly.
He didn’t say “speaking in tongues”, although the Enemy has been known to counterfeit the spiritual gifts—he said speak in a language that he had no prior competency in. I read “no prior competency” to mean a known earthly language that could be evaluated. The stereotypical occasion is when the possessed speaks some message in Latin, and the possessed never learned the language (became competent) before that occasion.
And certainly if you recognize the reality of such gifts given at Pentecost, you are also cognizant of the reality of Satan. So what don’t you like? The fact there was a novel that was made into a movie? Or that it is possible to train people to see tell-tale signs that need to be tested for the possibility of demonic possession—not that these signs in and of themselves guarantee such a discernment?
5. Rob Eaton+ wrote:
April 8, 3:24 am | [comment link]
What evidence do you have that makes you “think that genuine demonic possession is very rare?” Just wondering. Also please note that Fr Gary has a small team of mental health professionals who help determine an initial discernment of whether any given person may indeed not be possessed, but exhibit behavior of the possessed.
6. Larry Morse wrote:
Teatime is certainly correct if one is willing to believe in possession at all. I don’t. There is no credible evidence that it does exist. Yes the gospels speak of it often, but I doubt very much that the reports there are what they seem to be. Christ’s healing of the sick easily becomes possession if one does not know one disease from another. if the gospels reports of possession are objective truth, then the Jews of the first C were a breeding and feeding ground for demons like nowhere else. Poor Jews. But think how easy it is to confuse mental illness or epilepsy or Huntington’s chorea with possession if one does not know the difference.
April 8, 9:02 am | [comment link]
Mental health professionals? Shall we call in a “mental health professional” because someone refuses to go to church, rolls his eyes, balks at a crucifix, babbles, foam at the mouth, Possession? How would they know? The argument becomes circular: Foaming at the mouth is a sign of possession. X is foaming at the mouth. Is he possessed. Call in a “mental health specialist” and tell him that foaming at the mouth is a sign of possession. Specialist sees foaming at the mouth. Specialists are so called because they are more knowledgable that the laity and so must be right. Ergo, X is possessed.
These superstitions is very dangerous, for they rests their case on on presuppositions which cannot be tested. Are there witches? This is absurd. But if your milk goes sour when X waves her hand, and waving one’s hand when milk goes sour is a sign of witchcraft, then it follows that X is a witch. Post hoc propter hoc strikes again! And if witches really are in league with the devil we will do well to burn them, won’t we? For their powers far exceed man’s laws. Dangerous is actually an understatement.
You are free to believe in possession if you want, but to place other people in such psychosocial jeopardy on the grounds of long standing supersititions is unprincipled. Larry
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