Jeremiah25, the links you gave really goes to show that there are people that take their religion to very extents of murder. It is always sad to hear
somethin about that.
You are right, it is sad. I think it bears pointing out that most of the deaths surrounding exorcisms that have taken place in fairly recent times
have not been officially acknowledged exorcisms (in the sense that when most people think of exorcism rituals, they picture the elaborate rituals of
the Catholic Church), but rather exorcisms performed by non-sanctioned exorcists in less well-known churches. In many cases, the unfortunate victim is
in reality suffering from some form of mental or physiological illness, whether it be autism, epilepsy or some other neurological disorder.
The exorcism rite as practiced and endorsed by the Catholic Church is actually quite difficult to obtain approval for. Typically, before a bishop will
approve an exorcism, they insist that the individual who is 'possessed' be thoroughly examined by trained medical and psychological personnel, in an
attempt to screen out those individuals who in fact suffer from a known and non-supernatural condition. Evidence of demonic possession can include:
speaking in languages that are unknown by the victim, displays of unnatural strength, an aversion to religious paraphrenalia and an unexplained
knowledge of aspects of stranger's lives. Only when the bishop is thoroughly convinced that the person is not suffering from a more mundane illness
or condition, that they are truly possessed, will an exorcism be approved.
As for the rite itself, in 1999 the Vatican announced the first update for the ritual since its inception in 1614. The mechanisms of the ritual remain
essentially the same, but there is a focus on seeking medical treatment and consultation prior to any exorcism being approved. Interestingly, Pope
John Paul II was said to have performed at least 1 and as many as 3 exorcisms personally during his papacy.
Also interesting is the fact that the number of trained exorcists is on the rise and the Vatican is now offering Catholic priests a new course in
exorcism at the Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum. And for those keeping score at home, highly (and I do mean highly) controversial exorcist
Bob Larson has declared that the demons of Melbourne, in my poor home nation of Australia, are the most vicious in the world.
Wikipedia - Exorcism
Wikipedia offers an excellent article on exorcism, including a look at exorcism in Islam and prominent exorcism-related deaths.
CNN - New Exorcism Ritual
This CNN article discusses the new changes to the rite made by the Vatican in 1999.
Free Internet Press - Exorcism Course
This article discusses the new exorcism course being offered to Catholic priests by the Vatican.
Bob Larson Down Under
Forgive me, but I was unable to find a news site that corroborated the Melbourne declaration (although I know it was carried at the time). This site
discusses controversial exorcist Bob Larson's claim that Melbourne hosts the world's most vicious demons.
[edit on 31/8/05 by Jeremiah25]