Demonology and Exorcisms in the Catholic Church Essay

Demonology – the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons; a branch of theology relating to supernatural beings who are not gods. Demonology “Is taught by the demons, it teaches about the demons, and it leads to the demons,” as said by St. Albertus Magnus.

According to some societies, all the affairs of life are supposed to be under the control of spirits – each ruling a certain “element” or even on object in some cases, and themselves in subjection to a greater spirit.In ancient Babylon, demonology had an influence on even the most mundane elements of life, from petty annoyances to emotions such as love and hatred. The numerous demonic spirits were given charge over various parts of the human body, one for the head, one for the neck, and so on and so forth. Many important figures in society -the Greek philosophers, such as Porphyry and the Fathers of the Christian Church- upheld the belief that spirits were spread throughout and present in the world. They also helped to advance the belief that demons received worship that was directed at pagan gods.While there are said to be demons among us that are malevolent and wish to do harm and possess us, there are also ways to expel them once they have a host under possession.

Exorcism – the expulsion, or attempted expulsion, of devils and demons from their human vessels and host i. e. the possessed.

Some may wonder ‘how do you know if you are possessed? ‘ or ‘what are the signs that an exorcism is needed’? The signs for this are sometimes subtle and sometimes they can be alarmingly noticeable.Since a demon, once in possession of someone, can use the body they are in possession of that means that the host or vessel may act out of the ordinary if they truly are possessed and an exorcism is needed. Signs that one is needed are as followed; •Lack of appetite. •Cutting, scratching, and/ or biting of skin. •A cold feeling in the room. •Unnatural bodily postures.

•The possessed losing control of their normal personality and entering into a frenzy or rage, and/or attacking others. •A change in the person’s voice. •Supernatural strength not subject to that person’s gender or age. The possessed speaks in another language which they had never learned before •Violent rejection toward all religious objects or items. •Antipathy towards entering a church, speaking Jesus name or hearing scripture.

These are signs that are watched out for when it comes to demonic possession.These signs – if a number of them are seen in a single individual- suggest that a person may be possessed and in need of an exorcism. According to the Vatican’s guidelines issued in 1999, “the person who claims to be possessed must be evaluated by doctors to rule out a mental or physical illness.

A majority of reported cases do not require an exorcism because genuine demonic possession is regarded as an awfully rare happening that is easily confused with naturally occurring mental disturbances. And although these guidelines may have been issued in 1999, it is believed that somewhat similar guidelines were used to govern as to whom received an exorcism even back then, although during the time period they did not have as large a grasp upon the concept of mental illness. Demons, demonology, and exorcisms have played role throughout history- mainly through religion.The concept of demons came about with the rise in religion – specifically Christianity.

One of the first ever recordings of an exorcism being performed on a possessed individual were recorded in the Holy Bible- a religious book that is the seen as the stories of God in the Christian religion. One of the first exorcisms that is recorded in the Holy Bible was performed by Jesus Christ. In Luke 8 there is mention of “a man from the city who had demons; for a long time he had worn no clothes and he lived not in a house but amongst the tombs.When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said in a loud voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech you, do not torment me. ‘ For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (for many a time it had seized him; he was kept under guard, bound with chains and fetters, but he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the desert. ) Jesus then asked him ‘What is your name? ‘ And he said, ‘Legion; for we are many.

And they begged him not to command them to depart to the abyss…. Then the demons came out of the man. ” This is one of the first exorcisms ever being recorded and performed.

The expulsion of demons from a human has been evolving, using prayers and rituals. There is a process in which to follow when a Catholic Priest is performing an exorcism. In the process of an exorcisim, the possessed person must be restrained as so they do no harm to themselves or another person present.The exorcist prays and commands for the demons to leave the possessed. The Catholic Priest recites certain prayers while following procedures taught to them. An exorcist who has performed many exorcisms usually starts with the Rituale Romanum to start instead of following the procedures exactly. The Rituale Romanum is one of the official ritual works of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, and it may be one of the most recognized with popular culture, as it was used in the 1973 film The Exorcist.

It contains all of the services which may be performed by a priest or deacon which are not contained within either the Missale Romanum or the Breviarium Romanum. The book also contains some of the rites which are contained in only one of these books for convenience. Going back to the process of an exorcism, The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained describes and explains that an exorcism was a confrontation, not simply a prayer and that once it has begun it has to be finished no matter how long it takes.

If the exorcist stops the rite for any reason at all, then the demon will pursue him which is why the process of an exorcism needs to be finished. Although not all exorcisms are successful the first time and it may take days, weeks, or months of constant prayer and rituals, after all is said and done, and the exorcism is finished and the demon is expelled from the possessed, it is said that the formerly possessed person feels a “release of guilt” as well as “reborn and freed of sin. “


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