Vatican Officially Endorses Exorcism

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 3 2014 1:39 PM

Vatican Officially Endorses Exorcism

166606041-pope-francis-attends-a-mass-in-the-papal-basilica-of-st
Pope Francis.

Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The Vatican has given official backing to exorcists by formally acknowledging the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 Catholic priests in 30 countries who claim to free demons from human bodies.

According to L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, this approval means that the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy has approved the IAE's statutes and recognized the group under canon law.

Advertisement

This move by the Holy See comes amid growing reports on the Catholic Church’s renewed interest in exorcism. Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis makes frequent references to the devil. Last year, many saw his laying on of hands on a man allegedly possessed by demons as an act of purgation.

The church believes that demonic cases are on the rise because more people are exploring the dark arts (black magic and a host of other “satanic rituals”) with the help of information readily available on the Internet. Across Italy and Spain, dioceses are schooling more priests in administering exorcism rites. Training more priests in this field is also part of the church’s effort to sideline self-proclaimed exorcists.

“Diabolical possessions are on the increase as a result of people subscribing to occultism,” Father Francesco Bamonte, the president of the Italy-based IAE, told the Telegraph. The church insists that many who claim to be possessed are suffering from psychological ailments like depression, and priests urge them to receive medical care. But in rare cases where a demonic possession is established (after the victim shows certain symptoms that meet the church’s criteria), consecrated priests and experts like Bamonte are authorized to perform what Bamonte describes as “a form of charity” to those who suffer. 

Irene Chidinma Nwoye is a writer and former Slate intern in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.