Sunday, November 14, 2010

St. Peter the Exorcist (? to 304)

  There are only a handful of exorcists in the United States these days so the response to the growing demand prompted the Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism this weekend. It attracted 66 priests and more than 55 bishops.
  There is a canon law that states that priests can perform exorcisms with the permission of their bishop and with proper training. I'm concerned as to what's going on in this country. Why are more and more people possessed by demons?
  Some bishops are saying not to worry because even though there are more requests for exorcists many of the people in question do not need one. It is thought that the sacrament of penance can help more.
  Reports state that especially in Europe exorcisms are common. It's the influence of Hollywood movies in this country that scares the hell out of people.
  Holy water, a crucifix, and relics of saints are some of the items used in an exorcism and the person it is being performed on goes through a psychological exam. But, as in the movies, the victims speak in tongues, scratch and bite, and freak out around holy water.
  Still, exorcisms are nothing new. St. Peter the Exorcist, who was born in the third century, performed many of them. He lived in Rome, Italy and many of the people he converted to the Roman Catholic faith became saints.
  St. Peter the Exorcist died in 304 and his feast day is June 2.

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