Exorcism is going multi-denominational. Where once those competing for the souls of followers would burn each other as heretics and spur decades-long wars, different Christian denominations are now rallying together to battle a resurrected threat.
And that’s no less than Satan himself.
The Roman Catholic Church has for the first time opened up its annual exorcism class in Rome to representatives of all major Christian faiths. The Pontifical University of Regina Apostolorum is a Vatican-affiliated university in Rome has been conducting the increasingly popular annual exorcism conventions for Catholic priests for the past 14 years.
But now the doors of the 14th Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation Course has been thrown open to groups once considered heretical and demon-infested only a few short centuries ago.
Now some 250 Catholics, Lutherans, Greek Orthodox and Protestant priests have assembled to arm themselves with the sword of the holy word to battle Satan amid the souls of their parishioners.
It is itself a dark art, born of a dark age.
The Catholic Church, however, insists demonic possession is on the rise.
In 2014, it formally recognised the ancient ritual of exorcism under Canon Law at gave official approval to the formal creation of the International Association of Exorcists.
It blames the secularisation of society (separation of religion and state) along with the increasing popularity of competing religions, tarot readings, astrology, the internet and atheism for opening the demonic floodgates.
And the best way to fix this, it believes, is to tackle the ‘possessed’ head-on.
© Pontifical University
Sword of the Spirit
“We are called to fight against the Devil with all our might and determination,” keynote speaker and Catholic priest Jose Enrique Oyarzun addressed the assembled exorcists in Rome.
In this enlightened age, the practice sounds odd to many.
And that’s the problem, exorcists insist.
Speaking in lost tongues. Vomiting weird objects. Unexplained wounds. Writhing. Shaking. Shrieking abuse.
While there is rarely evidence beyond the anecdotal, exorcism practitioners insist their behind-closed doors experiences are very real.
And it’s a threat Pope Francis himself has been keen to highlight, making regular references to the power of the Devil in his sermons.
“He is evil, he’s not like mist. He’s not a diffuse thing, he is a person. I’m convinced that one must never converse with Satan – if you do that, you’ll be lost,” the Pope recently told a Catholic news service.
Now, the Pope has a spiritual army of his own at his command.
The International Association of Exorcists counts some 400 priests among its members worldwide. And the death of its most famous demon hunter, Father Gabriele Amorth, in 2016 served only to inspire a surge of fresh applications.
But they’re not enough.
So the Catholic Church is seeking a source of fresh recruits.
Shield of Faith
When it comes to skewering Satan, there are problems of doctrine.
Not all the Christian faiths believe the same things. And they’ve put each other to the torch and started wars over such serious matters in the past.
Why not now?
“This is the first time that different denominations have come together to compare their experiences on exorcisms,” Spanish priest and theologian Pedro Barrajon, one of the convention’s organisers, told media in Rome.
“The idea is to help each other, to establish best practices if you will. The Catholic Church is most associated with exorcisms because of films like The Exorcist and The Rite, but we are not the only church that performs them. Expelling the devil goes back to the earliest origins of the Christian Church.”
It’s a spiritual battle winning secular attention.
The Italian government also apparently takes the alleged possession crisis seriously.
Its education ministry this year offered its teachers the option of attending an intensive 40-hour “exorcism and prayers of liberation” crash-course as a sideline to the convention in Rome. At the cost of 400 euros ($A640) each, every attending teacher was promised to be taught how the ancient rite should be “correctly practiced”.
The move attracted ire from the Italian opposition parties who insisted the education system had more to worry about than training teachers in magic.
“With all the problems in Italian schools, the ministry is trying to bring back the Dark Ages,” opposition, centre-Left MP said Laura Boldrini said.
“Schools need to prepare young people for the challenges of the future. And what does the education minister do? He promotes exorcism courses. (Meanwhile) schools are not safe, gyms are not fit to be used and teachers are not properly paid.”
© Pontifical University
Breastplate of Righteousness
Father Barrajon, 61, told the conference in Rome that non-Catholic denominations were less structured in their exorcism rituals. “Some of the other churches are more creative, they don’t use a precise format,” he said.
And that could present a problem: perhaps any harpies inhabiting a human body won’t be entirely evicted.
Which is why they want priests to attend demonology school.
Participants attending the conservative Legionaries of Christ religious order run university study such subjects as “The Symbology of Occult and Satanic Rituals” and “Angels and Demons in the Sacred Scripture”.
The need to get it right, according to the exorcists, is pressing.
Last year, exorcist Benigno Palilla told Vatican Radio that there were some 500,000 cases of possession appearing in Italy each year.
But there are rising concerns about the validity of the priestly practice.
Some faith healers have been accused of sexually molesting their possessed patients.
One case in Palermo saw a priest and soldier arrested after using the pretext of “expelling demons’ to touch the genitalia of women.
In another Italian case, an underage girl was sexually abused by a 69-year-old practitioner, her boyfriend and her mother. “He convinced the girl she was the victim of strong ‘negative forces’ and consequently convinced her to undergo ‘purification rites’ consisting of sexual intercourse, sometimes in a group,” Italian police said at the time.
Pope Francis said shortly before the convention that priests entrusted with the “delicate and necessary ministry” of being an exorcist must be chosen with “great care and great prudence.”
Belt of Truth?
The broader Catholic Church admits to being dubious about most claims of possession.
Its officers publicly state the majority of such claimants are, in fact, mentally ill. Instead of priests, they should be seeking medical attention to address physical health issues.
But Pope Francis has recently adopted a more urgent tone.
In March, he reportedly told a group of priests they “should not hesitate’ to refer confession-box cases of possession to an exorcist.
“They could also have spiritual disturbances, whose nature should be submitted to careful discernment,” Pope Francis said, “taking into account all the existential, ecclesial, natural and supernatural circumstances.”
The exorcism convention, however, concedes there may be complicating medical issues at hand and included talks on medical psychology, criminology, pedophilia and pornography.
Pope Francis himself has acknowledge that “epilepsy, for example, could easily be confused with demonic possession”.
But this, he wrote, should not lead to the conclusion “that all the cases related in the Gospel had to do with psychological disorders and hence that the devil does not exist or is not at work.”
So the worldwide Catholic Church continues to leave open the possibility that what its followers perceive to be Satanic possession may be the real supernatural deal.
During last year’s exorcism convention, Cardinal Ernest Simoni insisted Satan’s touch was unmistakeable. He had himself witnessed possession, he said.
“It’s important to differentiate between psychopathic illnesses, neurasthenia, pathologies,” the Cardinal said during a keynote address. “Satan you can recognize.”
Who and why he removed 10 pages from the Devil’s Bible?
One of the largest medieval manuscripts is the so-called Codex Gigas, also known as the Devil’s Bible, because it has a large image of the Devil on one of the pages .
The weight of the book is 75 kg, its width is 49 cm and its height is 89 cm. It is estimated that it would take at least 30 years for one person to write and draw the whole book.
According to legend, however, it took only one night to do so for an unknown monk living in the 13th century AD. The same monk was imprisoned in a cell for violation of discipline and vows, and a much more severe punishment awaited him. In an attempt to avoid punishment, the monk decided to surprise the superiors with a book that described ” all the knowledge of the earth .”
To write this book, the monk turned to the Devil himself for help. In exchange for his soul, the Devil created the Codex Gigas overnight.
Initially, the Devil’s Bible was stored in the monastery in Podlazice, in the territory of modern-day Czech Republic, near the town of Chrudim. After a while it was moved to the monastery in Brumov. In 1648, it was stolen by Swedish soldiers and taken to Sweden as a prey. In 1649 the manuscript was placed in the Royal Library of Stockholm, where it is still preserved.
There are 310 pages in the Devil’s Bible, but there were 320 pages before. So, 10 pages were taken and what was written in them is still unknown to anyone.
It is officially believed that the statutes of the Benedictine monastery are written on these 10 pages, but many conspiracy theorists are sure that no one would extract the written rules of the monastery from such a huge and valuable book, and that the missing pages clearly contain much more important information.
For example, the prophecies about the Apocalypse. Or, the so-called “devil’s prayer”, the reading of which, under certain conditions, is described on the vanished pages to summon the Devil. At the same time, the sheets did not just fall out of the bound book because of old age and decay. They have been deliberately removed. They were cut off from the Codex and this is evident from the cropping of these pages.
None of the historians knows when and by whom these pages were removed. In the 16th century, one of the mystics of the Paracelsus Circle became interested in the Code, and in 1590, his student visited the Brumov Monastery to study it.
The Code also attracts the attention of the Holy Roman Emperor – Rudolf II, who sought occult information in it. He even ordered the Codex to be transported to his Prague Castle. Then the legend of the Devil’s Bible began to spread. Most probably, it was Rudolf II who tore these pages, finding in them the occult records he needed.
Another oddity of Codex Gigas is that no one has even tried to rewrite this book. In those centuries, when printing was not yet invented, important manuscripts were constantly rewritten to reproduce.
Moreover, even more voluminous and complex texts have been rewritten than the Devil’s Bible.
Black Cats and Witches
In some areas where people live, black cats that are completely black in fur, are a rarity, and this factor adds to their mysterious trait. Also, in the night, a black cat can be practically invisible, so people in the darkness see just the two eyes of the cat, which can be a pale shade of green, orange, or yellow or be amber colored.
Many superstitious people were terrified, thinking an invisible creature or demon with 2 eyes or simply 2 floating, glowing eyes were staring at them in the dark. Black cats were the traditional and most common creatures that lived with witches even though witches had other animals around them, at times, as rats, dogs, ferrets, birds, frogs, toads, and hares. These small animals were often kept in pots or baskets lined with sheep’s wool and fed various things including milk, bread, meat, and blood. Often, such animals would have the same affectionate nick names or common names that parents give their children.
When a person, for example, an old lady, especially a person who lives alone, has, for example, a pet black cat; there are people who strangely talk to their pets as though they are human beings and can understand every word. Centuries ago, when belief in witchcraft was very strong, many people that saw and heard a person talking to an animal seriously wondered if the animal was a spirit or demon in animal form that attends and obeys its master- a witch. The occult name for such an animal is called a familiar. There are other reasons that can make people further wonder if a person is a witch; as that person being unnaturally mean; highly aggressive; hateful in personality, and if such a person were also very ugly, it would add to their resentment by others.
The American author, Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) wrote a short horror fiction story called “The Black Cat” that would reinforce the idea of a black cat having supernatural powers. In that story, a black cat gets its revenge against its owner who has abused it, then horribly mutilates it, and later kills it.Once, in the 1970’s, there was an occult supplier who sold, among many other things, tall candles in the shape and color of a black cat. The sales pitch was that the black cat, being a symbol of bad luck, when burned in candle form would destroy that black cat image and this became a ritual for good luck.For many, many years, black cats have gotten a bad rap; a really unfair, undeserved reputation of being evil and harmful to humans. Some people, over the years, tried to undo; reverse this situation by claiming that black cats are actually good luck. In certain parts of Europe, for instance, black cats are looked upon as actually bringing good luck.
Some folks, centuries ago, thought that at times a witch’s familiar or familiars was a person or people that , from the power of witchcraft, got turned into an animal or animals as punishment for somehow angering a witch.Black cats began to develop an association with evil in the minds of various people, centuries ago, from the extreme worry that any black cat there was could be a demon in disguise. Many people developed a great fear, distrust, and revulsion to all black cats and would chase them away, at times even throwing small objects as stones at the animals.Various people began to believe that the black cat, from its demonic significance, brought bad luck, especially if a black cat crosses your path.
Satanic pacts to create “immortal guerrillas” in Colombia?
For many years Colombia has been hit by a dangerous guerrilla that has not been eliminated, why? The reason could be more macabre than many think: Satanic covenants.
People who, in one way or another have had contact with the guerrillas, tell how they have witnessed guerrillas who are shot, get up and continue fighting armed, some with a simple machete.
Although it sounds like something impossible, it is a speech that is repeated constantly among the interviewees. One of the most chilling stories tells us how, during a night like any other, a squad of paramilitaries was awakened and taken to a hill in the jungle.
In front of them lay a boy who was, if anything, 16 years old. The women were trained on the other side and the commander, with a machete in hand, called one of them and handed it to him, ordering him to behead him.
The woman said she could not do it and, in a threatening voice, the commander shouted: “He who does not serve to kill, serves to be killed.”
With nothing else to do, the woman dropped the machete on the supplicant boy, but could not finish the work. The commander took the machete and with a certain blow, beheaded the young man in front of everyone.
Without hesitation, he got up and exclaimed: “Welcome to the ACC, I am commander 030 and I must deliver three thousand souls to the devil.”
“Commander 030” was one of those immortal soldiers who, based on satanic covenants and sacrifices, had obtained eternal protection. To this myth are added declarations of United States military factions that have faced the Colombian guerrillas.
Some say they shot them with AK47 rifles and saw how, without any protection, they received the bullets and they did not pass through them.
They simply did not harm them beyond a bruise. Other more extremists say they have seen them become invisible, heal at great speeds and disappear from one moment to another.
Many communities that live in nearby areas where the guerrilla is alive, tell how these people use prayers, rituals, sacrifices and satanic pacts.
These stories are supported by the latest findings made by the Colombian and US military, where they have found “picket houses” with prisoners, still alive, dismembered.
Some captured say that this is part of one of the many satanic rituals and pacts they perform for their protection. Sounds really amazing and macabre at the same time.
But many of these guerrillas have been seen killing soldiers armed with guns using a simple machete, which leads us to really think about the chances of this being real …
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