Exorcists say real Satanic possession is rare
Two Italian exorcists preparing priests and seminarians to respond to reports of demonic possession have affirmed that the devil is real and can possess people, but it does not happen as often as many people think.
About 120 seminarians and priests have signed up for a course at Rome's Regina Apostolorum university, run by the Legionaries of Christ, which began yesterday.
Catholic News Service reports that the intention of the course is to help priests judge whether particular reports of possession require referring to a psychologist or diocesan exorcist, or a simple prayer.
"Satanism is in fashion right now. It is being spread particularly through music and through the clothes musicians wear," said Fr Paolo Scarafoni. "People today find it easy to attribute strange phenomena or suffering to the devil. There are long lines of people standing at the doors of exorcists."
Fr Francesco Bamonte, a noted exorcist in Rome, told the students he was fortunate to work with a team of priests and a psychologist "who screen all the requests for exorcism. Otherwise I would not have time for the people who really need me."
The priest, a member of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, said "several hundred" people approach his team each year thinking they are possessed.
After counseling, he said, "I do maybe 20 exorcisms each year."
Real possession by devil not that common, exorcists say during lesson (Catholic News Service 17/2/05)
Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Aposolorium
Rome's chief excorcist warns parents against Harry Potter (CathNews 4/1/02)
Pope has performed three exorcisms to ward off devil (CathNews 2/02)
Vatican offers exorcism courses (CNN/Associated Press 17/2/05)
Know thine enemy (The Guardian/Associated Press 17/2/05)
Know thine enemy (The Guardian 17/2/05)
18 Feb 2005