This month the Vatican will gather a wide range experts in the field of exorcism with the aim of shedding light on demonic possession from both theological and scientific perspectives.
The annual course, “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation," is designed for priests and lay persons interested in learning how to recognize a case of demonic possession when they see one – and what to do about it.
This year’s session will run from April 13-18 at Rome’s Regina Apostolorum University, and will feature interventions by a wide range of experts in the field of exorcism from priests – including practicing exorcists – medical professionals, psychologists, lawyers, and theologians. It’s sponsored by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy and organized by the Sacerdos Institute.
According to Breitbart News Network, one of the primary objectives of the course will be to help priests and lay people distinguish demonic possession from psychological or medical conditions.
The sessions will also examine a series of other related issues, including occult practices, Satanism, and nihilism among young people.
Pope Francis has frequently warned against thinking of the devil as merely “a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil."
“The devil exists and we must fight against him," the Pope said in an Oct. 30 homily, adding that the battle against temptation is not with small, trivial things, but with the principalities and ruling forces of this world, rooted in the devil and his followers.
In a separate homily, the pontiff stressed the importance of knowing how to discern the presence of evil in our lives.
Catholic experts have noted that occult activity and the resulting need for exorcisms has reached a critical level.
The International Association of Exorcists (AIE) met for their 12th annual conference in Rome last October. According to AIE spokesperson Dr. Valter Cascioli, an increasing number of bishops and cardinals asked to participate in the conference due to an increase in demonic activity.
“It’s becoming a pastoral emergency," Cascioli told CNA. “At the moment the number of disturbances of extraordinary demonic activity is on the rise."
The rise in demonic activity can be attributed to a decreasing faith among individuals, coupled with an increase in curiosity and participation in occult activity such as Ouija boards and seances, Cascioli said.