BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Exorcism enters a new age
priests
The Vatican's updated manual is to help with exorcisms
The boom in "New Age" religions, ignorance of the Bible and a growth in spiritual confusion are being blamed for the rising tide of exorcisms being performed around the world.

To cope with the modern rise in demonic influences, the Vatican is promoting greater distribution of its manual on exorcism.



There are people in need and the Church is dealing with the problem more effectively.

Father Jeremy Davies
Leading exorcist Father Jeremy Davies, 65, from the Westminster Diocese, believes the Church's increased vigilance in the past 10 years had also contributed to the number of exorcisms being performed.

He told the Catholic Herald newspaper: "The incidence of the demonic on the whole is rising. At the centre of this is man's ever growing pride and attempted self-reliance."

Spiritual or medical?

Today's priests are being encouraged to work more closely with the medical profession to distinguish between cases of mental illness and demonic influence.

Father Davies, a former doctor and a co-founder of the 200-strong International Association of Exorcists, warned there was a tendency in the West to mistake the spiritual for the psychological.

This, he said, was opposed to the African continent where the reverse was true.

In Britain, each Catholic diocese has an exorcist, but they are forbidden to speak publicly about the ritual and are rarely identified.

Worldwide distribution

The 1998 manual, which replaces the one in use since 1624, is currently being translated from Latin for distribution to bishops and exorcists around the world.

The 90-page ritual, entitled De Exorcismus et Supplicantionibus Quibustam (On Every Kind of Exorcism in Supplication) encourages priests to spend more time in prayer with the possessed person.

It retains much of the symbolism of the original, but tones down the most aggressive imprecations against the devil.

A Vatican commission of theologians and liturgists has been working on the manual for the past 20 years.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

04 Oct 99 | Health
Faith 'good for mental health'
30 Oct 98 | Entertainment
The scariest movie ever made?
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories