According to the Vatican, demonic possessions are on the uptick. In order to meet the rising demand for assistance by those assailed by the demonic, the Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists will be holding a training course for Priests interested in fighting the demonic. According to The Guardian, the course will held at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome between 16-21 April.
The announcement of the upcoming Vatican course comes at a time when concerns over whether the rite of exorcism could be seen as a form of spiritual and physical abuse are being raised.
From The Guardian:
Last year, the Christian thinktank Theos reported that exorcisms were a “booming industry” in the UK, particularly among Pentecostal churches.
But some warn that “deliverance ministry” can be a form of spiritual abuse. Critics also say LGBT people and those with mental health issues are targeted for deliverance in the belief that their sexuality or psychiatric problems are the result of demonic possession.
For their part, the Vatican, as well as the Anglican and Orthodox churches, acknowledge that medical care and psychological assessment of anyone asking for exorcism is a must--mistaking a medically treatable condition for spiritual affliction doesn't help anyone. Of equal importance is the fact that, as part of an exorcist's training, it's reinforced that unwanted touching or unrequested exorcisms should not take place.
No matter where your beliefs (or lack thereof) fall on the issue of exorcism, having more trained exorcists rolling around out there will likely be a good thing for those who feel that their only recourse from torment or spiritual danger is through a cleansing rite. Desperation always draws sharks. As it stands, the shortage of recognized clergy that have been trained in the rites of exorcism has led to a cottage industry of shady independent exorcists practicing their craft across Europe, sometimes at a cost of up to 500 euros per session.
That's a high price for people to be forced to pay for help with their assumed or legitimate spiritual woes.