But if we accept, as I do, that there is definitely no such thing as demonic possession — and, therefore, that this all crazy talk — we should take pause, and consider the effect that a push for exorcisms might have on vulnerable Catholics: the mentally ill, the developmentally impaired and the psychologically traumatized.
In this light, the new exorcism push seems like an effort to demonize (quite literally) mental illness and psychological trauma. Indeed, some of the so-called symptoms of demonic possession — hearing voices, speaking in strange voices, feeling watched or haunted or possessed — seem a lot like psychiatric symptoms,,,
According to Pope Francis, priests devoted to the ministry of exorcism “manifest the Church’s love and acceptance of those who suffer because of the devil’s works.”Pope Blesses Work of Exorcists
Francis wrote these words in a message addressed to Father Francesco Bamonte, the president of the International Association of Exorcists, which is holding a convention in Rome this week. Vatican Radio has reported that more than 300 exorcists from around the world have participated.
This was the first conference to be held by the International Association of Exorcists since the Vatican formally approved its statutes this past June 13.
Father Bamonte said that the approval of the organization was “cause for joy not only for the association, but for the whole Church” and said that “God calls some priests to this important ministry of exorcism and deliverance” to be able to “accompany the persons with humility, faith and charity.”