I got this AP report from Rex Wockner:
Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.
The two-day training, which ends today in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
“Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult,” DiNardo said before the conference, which is open to clergy only. “The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite.”
Signs of demonic possession accepted by the church include violent reaction to holy water or anything holy, speaking in a language the possessed person doesn’t know and abnormal displays of strength.
The full exorcism is held in private and includes sprinkling holy water, reciting Psalms, reading aloud from the Gospel, laying on of hands and reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Some adaptations are allowed for different circumstances. The exorcist can invoke the Holy Spirit then blow in the face of the possessed person, trace the sign of the cross on the person’s forehead and command the devil to leave.
Hmm, just like that — PRESTO — the church reentered Medieval times. How, exactly, is this church still relevant on moral issues? And, do we really need more Catholic priests blowing people…in the face.
If you ask me, I’d say the Catholic Church is in need of a serious exorcism.