April 17, 2015

Vatican Exorcism Course Draws 170. Pope: The devil is real and we must learn to resist his temptations.

St. Peter's basilica
“The devil is a liar, the father of lies.”

- Pope Francis

As reported by Breitbart, "The tenth annual course on exorcism has gotten off to a bang in Rome, with a full house of 170 students eager to learn how to recognize and fight demonic possession..." While many in the West deny the devil's existence, Church officials, including Pope Francis, note the increase of demonic activity. Sponsored by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy and organized by the Sacerdos Institute, the course titled “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation” is taking place at the European University of Rome from April 13 to 18:
The course consists in a series of meetings aimed at giving priests, doctors, psychologists, teachers, and pastoral workers the instruments they need to recognize and deal with cases of demonic possession and distinguish them from disturbances of a psychological or medical nature. Father Pedro Barrajon, the director of the program, said that the exceptional interest in the course reflects a growing awareness of the activity of the devil in the world, and a concern on the part of bishops to have some of their men specially trained for dealing for this reality.
Three quarters of the 170 students are priests, with the other 25% being lay people.
Barrajon noted that years ago the action of Satan was downplayed so much that few bothered even to speak of demonic activity. For a while, he said, it was typical to explain away the many accounts of demonic possession in the gospel as well as the episodes of Jesus driving out demons, “attributing them to the ignorance of the age and a readiness to recur to supernatural causes to explain diseases like epilepsy or psychological disorders.”
While that may be true in certain cases, Barrajon said, “it certainly doesn’t eliminate the clear references to the activity of the devil throughout the gospels,” something that “is generally recognized now by scholars.”
“Jesus obviously believed in the devil,” he said. Pope Francis has spoken of the devil repeatedly, insisting that he is real and must be fought. This generation, the Pope said last October, “was led to believe that the devil was a myth, a picture, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists, and we have to fight him.”
[...]
According to Fr. Barrajon, the most common action of Satan in the lives of human beings isn't possession, but temptation, “something we all experience,” he said.  South and Latin American Catholics have a particular awareness of, and pay special attention to, the devil and the demonic effects of evil on our fallen world.  As the first Pope from the New World, many have been struck by Francis's frequent referencing of Satan.  Last year, Pope Francis said Satan exists in our present century and we must learn from the Gospel how to fight against his temptations. Read more about the “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation” course and the Sacerdos Institute at Breitbart.com

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