When it comes to exorcisms, the Catholic Church is considered the Christian denomination with the most expertise. In fact, the Vatican has a school for exorcists of all faiths that is busier than ever.
The Catholic Church has long been considered to have the most expertise when it comes to conducting exorcisms, a ritual for expelling demonic influence, harassment, oppression, or possession.
At the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church offers a one-week course on the rite of exorcism entitled the “Course on Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation,” Grunge reports.
Since 2018, somewhere around 250 priests from over 50 countries have attended the Vatican’s annual exorcism course, according to the BBC. The one-week course is a bargain at around $400.
Although the course was initially intended for Catholic priests only, meeting the increased demand for exorcisms in a world that has seen a rapid rise in demonic activity has put pressure on the church to provide more inclusive training.
Since 2019, the Vatican began offering the course to members of the clergy from a number of faiths, including Anglican, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, and Pentecostal Churches.
The church stresses that exorcists must distinguish between the truly possessed and those who are suffering from mental illness or hysteria. Officials of the Roman Catholic Church say only one in every 5,000 reported cases is an actual demonic possession, Catholic Culture reported.
Further, the church specifies that there are different ways in which evil spirits operate. One form is called diabolical obsession, while another is diabolical possession.
“Diabolical obsession is not the most frequent way the spirit of darkness exerts his influence,” Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez said at a presentation on exorcism, Catholic Culture reported. “Obsession has sensational features, in which the devil in a certain way takes over the physical powers of the possessed person.”
Cardinal Estevez listed the following signs of possession, which may include: “speaking many words in unknown languages or understanding them; revealing distant or hidden things; displaying strength beyond one’s condition, together with a vehement aversion to God, Our Lady, the saints, the cross and sacred images.”
The go-to manual for conducting exorcisms has been the Ritual Romanum, written by Pope Paul V in 1614. But in 1999, the Vatican issued a revised rite, the “De Exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam” (“Concerning Exorcisms and Certain Supplications”), a 90-page updated manual for battling the demonic.
However, many of the clergy have complained that the revised version has altered the ritual in ways that have weakened its effectiveness.
You can find a copy of the Traditional Catholic Rites Of Exorcism on Amazon.