Thursday, November 24, 2016

Exorcism Is On The Rise, Vatican Says

Exorcism seems to be on the rise.  Pope Francis frequently makes references to an actual devil in some of his speeches, and according to sources close to the Vatican, business is booming for exorcists. However, in 1999, the Vatican re-wrote its treatise on the rite of exorcism; the new differences mainly being a more closely-linked partnership with the scientific and medical community in determining legitimate possession.  In order for someone to be ruled officially possessed:
-person must be able to speak in foreign tongues otherwise unknown to the person
-person must have strength that should not be humanly possible
-possibilities of all other causes must have been eliminated
   The Vatican also emphasizes that incidents of possession where an exorcism is deemed necessary should be sheltered from media exposure.  This revision is arguably a response to ABC's 1991 live filming of an exorcism

However, most cases of possession are usually deemed to be non-supernatural, and priests have gone to jail when fail exorcisms result in the victim's death.  Nevertheless, the Vatican remains open to scientific investigation in this process, and even some in the medical community are speaking up about incidents that do not offer themselves to standard diagnostic explanations, like epilepsy and schizophrenia.  Note the following commentary from Dr. Neil Martin, head of neurosurgery at UCLA medical school.  After seeing video footage of a real-life exorcism done in Rome in 2015, he was at a loss:

"Absolutely amazing. There’s a major force at work within her somehow. I don’t know the underlying origin of it. She’s not separated from the environment. She’s not in a catatonic state. She’s responding to the priest and is aware of the context. The energy she shows is amazing. The priest on the right is struggling to control her. He’s holding her down, as are the others, and the sweat is dripping off his face at a time when she’s not sweating. This doesn’t seem to be hallucinations. She appears to be engaged in the process but resisting. You can see she has no ability to pull herself back.”