Earlier this year, the Holy See’s Chief Exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth claimed, “The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences. He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, or even appear to be sympathetic. At times he makes fun of me. But I’m a man who is happy in his work.” He also said that the 1973 film The Exorcist gave a “substantially exact” impression of what it was like to be possessed by the Devil.
“People possessed by evil sometimes had to be physically restrained by half a dozen people while they were exorcised. They would scream, utter blasphemies and spit out sharp objects.
From their mouths, anything can come out – pieces of iron as long as a finger, but also rose petals,” said Father Amorth, who claims to have performed 70,000 exorcisms. “When the possessed dribble and slobber, and need cleaning up, I do that too. Seeing people vomit doesn’t bother me. The exorcist has one principal duty - to free human beings from the fear of the Devil.”
Old Nick finds work for idle hands, and this week sees the National Congress of Exorcists in Poland, as increasing numbers of Poles struggle with Satanic possession, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Since 1999 the number of Polish exorcists has surged from 30 to over a 100, despite the influence of the Catholic Church waning in an increasingly secular Poland.
Exorcists attribute the increase in their numbers to growing scepticism in psychology in the wider Polish population, and people looking for spiritual reasons for mental disorders.
In recognition of modern science, however, exorcists now work in tandem with psychologists in order to distinguish between psychiatric problems and the work of the devil.
But while some cases of Satanic work are difficult to diagnose others manifest themselves in shocking circumstances explained exorcist Father Andrzej Grefkowicz.
“An indication of possession is that a person is unable to go into a church, or, if they do, they can feel faint or breathless,” he said.
“Sometimes if they enter a church they are screaming, shouting and throwing themselves on the ground.”
The national congress comes as part of a policy by Poland’s Catholic Church to lift the veil on what was once a secretive practice. Frustrated by the Hollywood image of cross-wielding exorcists engaged in dramatic conflicts with demons the Church intends to show the complicated and often more mundane world of exorcism.
Father Grefkowicz stressed that the most of the time exorcism required quiet prayer.
Quiet prayer? I was hoping it would be a bit more like this…