For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.—Ephesians 6:12
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Orthodontists have national conventions, as do lawyers and computer salespeople. So why not exorcists? At the end of his weekly general audience Wednesday Pope Benedict greeted Italian exorcists who, he disclosed, are currently holding their national convention.Read the full text of the article here.
The Pope encouraged them to "carry on their important work in the service of the Church."
Problem was that until the Pope spoke few people outside the inner circle knew that a convention of Beelzebub-busters was going on, presumably in Rome.
And where were they holding it? In a church, a hotel, a graveyard?
"They try to keep these things quiet," said a Catholic professor who has dealings with exorcists...In 1999, the Vatican issued its first updated ritual for exorcism since 1614 and warned that the devil is still at work.
The Book of Occasional Services of the Episcopal Church has a page on exorcisms, which says
The practice of expelling evil spirits by means of prayer and set formulas derives authority from the Lord himself who identified these acts as signs of his Messiahship.It goes on to say that these rites were under the authority of Bishops from early times and your Bishop should be consulted if one thinks an exorcism is needed.
My only brush with exorcism is a few house blessings I have done after some very evil things had taken place. It was felt (in a very real way) that Evil still clung to the place. I can say that in those times and places the prayers proved quite effective at dispelling the residue of evil.
Church Growth through Exorcism
When I was in seminary, a New Testament professor from Taiwan told me a classmate of his was growing a large church in that country through the ministry of exorcisms. It was a ministry his classmate did not even believe in until he found himself called to do an exorcism and was led by a lay person who had battled evil spirits before. The classmate could only report that while not all epileptics and persons suffering from mental illness, etc. need exorcisms, there is a need to pray ourselves of the demonic.
The Devil and the Seminarian
As another seminary professor related, "A Baptist committee was interviewing a new seminary graduate with an eye toward ordination. A committee member skeptical of book-learned religion asked the seminarian, 'What do you think of the Devil?' He replied, The Devil is not real, if that's what you are asking. He's just a mental construct to help us put words to our understanding of Evil.' Later as the committee deliberated, several persons cited that answer as a reason not to ordain as you can't have a minister who doesn't believe in the Devil. An retired pastor who had been quiet until this juncture spoke up and said, 'Go ahead and ordain him. Within a few weeks at his first church he'll meet the Devil in person and that'll straighten out his theology.'"
Can there be angels without demons
What do you think of this? Today we Christians and the culture in general tend to treat the demonic with a great deal of skepticism. Yet we want to allow for the ministry of angels. Can you be open to the angelic without the demonic? Or have we closed ourselves off to part of the deeper reality of our world?
That evening many demon-possessed people
were brought to Jesus.
All the spirits fled when he commanded them to leave;
and he healed all the sick.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church