NEW YORK -- 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 Saturday 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, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
"Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult," DiNardo said in a phone interview before the conference, which is open to clergy only...
...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.
This is truly good stuff. Who knew it was so easy? Shake a little water, a little blow..., say "scram." I know of teenagers who were harder to get to move out.
I get the faith thing, I really do. Don't have it, sadly or not, but I get it. But this? Believing in possessions and little rituals to treat it? Really? I simply can't connect such belief with sanity. I mean, geez, people, we're talking Satan here. Beelzebub, the dark one, evil disincarnate. Why would he waste his time possessing a person if it were so easy to force him out? Is some priest, maybe even a little tired from a hard day's child molesting, more powerful than The Devil himself? After a two-day course? That's all it takes?
A two-day course. And they're serious! Doesn't it make the whole possession/devil belief a little embarrassing? Even more than it already was?