Cellular Exorcism: Beating the devil in the 21st century
Rome (Reuters) : About 200 exorcists gathered on Monday for a week-long course of cast out demons, including by cellphone exorcism if necessary, in the middle of increased demand for the service among Roman Catholics.
Participants, majority of them priests, will attend lectures and talks on a range of topics counting witchcraft in Africa, how to differentiate between demonic possession and mental illness, and a guide to casting out demons step-by-step.
Cardinal Ernest Simoni of Albania drew strong interest in the first session by citing the use of cellphones in exorcisms.
Although no official figures are available, Catholic Church officials say the number of demonic possessions is on the rise.
The 89-year-old Simoni told Reuters after his address, explaining how he would read the prayers of exorcism in Latin over the phone just as he would if performing the lengthy rite in person, “They call me and we speak and that’s how I do it.”
An organizer of the “Course on Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation” at the Vatican-approved Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in Rome Professor Giuseppe Ferrari said, “The number of exorcisms has definitely increased over the years, as the requests to carry out exorcisms has increased.”
Father Benigno Palilla, an exorcist for the diocese of Palermo, told Vatican Radio in February that he had performed about 50 exorcisms in the past two and a half years.