Friday, February 18, 2005

Vatican Debuts Exorcism, Devil Worship Classes

(from the Associated Press, Feb. 2005)

ROME -- Worried about the lure of the devil, a Vatican-linked university has launched its latest course offering: a class on Satanism, black magic and exorcism.

The class for clergy and seminarians at Rome's Pontifical Academy arose from alarm about what some religious officials see as Satanic practices among young people, especially in Italy.

In one case in Italy in January, members of a heavy metal band called "Beasts of Satan" were ordered to stand trial for their alleged role in three ritual killings.

A major theme of the first day's course was how to differentiate between a person who is possessed and someone who is simply suffering psychological

One of the teachers -- a specialist in youth culture and Satanism -- said the attraction to the occult often arises out of loneliness, isolation and emptiness.

The updated exorcism rite of 1999 -- first issued in Latin and contained in a red, leather-bound book -- is a reflection of the pope's efforts to convince the skeptical that the devil is very much in the world.

At the time, he gave a series of homilies denouncing the devil as a "cosmic liar and murderer."

Among the signs of possession by the devil -- according to church teaching -- are speaking in unknown tongues and demonstrating physical force beyond one's natural capacity.

It seems like the Vatican wants to take seriously what is often refered to as 'spiritual warfare' aginast the occult. My question is this: then why doesn't the Roman Catholic Church do away with occult practices within it's own teachings, such as praying to the dead?