Monday 24 October 2016

There is an emergency shortage of qualified exorcists - says Vatican-endorsed psychiatrist

Daire Courtney

Published 29/09/2016 | 18:21

Exorcism came under the spotlight under John Paul II's papacy
Exorcism came under the spotlight under John Paul II's papacy

A scientific adviser to the Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists has said the lack of qualified exorcists is a “serious emergency”.

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Valter Cascioli, a qualified psychiatrist, claims there has been an increase in interest in Satanism among young people, leading to a desperate need for more qualified exorcists.

“There is a growing interest in Satanism and young people are more at risk. In the current socio-cultural context, with widespread superstitious practices, there has been an increase in requests for help from people directly or indirectly affected by the action of the evil one,” he told Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Cascioli has called for the establishment of a permanent training facility where priests can learn to perform exorcisms.

“There doesn’t exist a training institution at university level. We need an interdisciplinary approach in which science collaborates with religion, and where psychiatrists work with demonologists and exorcists.”

Cascioli acknowledged the past confusion between possession and psychological conditions, and urged priests to work with medical professionals to avoid this confusion so that psychiatric illnesses can be treated properly.

The upper echelons of the Catholic hierarchy had been critical of exorcists for a long time, but exorcism was made an official Catholic practice by Pope Francis in 2014.

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