A Catholic priest who has been performing exorcisms for 10 years says that demand for exorcists is on the rise as more and more pastors become convinced that the devil is real and needs to be fought.
“Christ was the first exorcist,” says Father César Truqui, a Mexican priest based in Switzerland. “The power of casting out demons was one of the signs that Christianity was a true religion.”
While the majority of people who come to him for help are dealing with psychological or physical problems rather than diabolical activity, Truqui said in a recent interview, a small percentage undeniably face true demonic “vexation.”
The presence of the devil becomes apparent, the priest said, when a person does what is humanly impossible, such as performing feats of superhuman strength or suddenly speaking in Hebrew or Aramaic despite never having studied the languages.
Other times their voice changes and they growl or speak in tongues, he said, while some reveal knowledge of “secret things,” such as what a person who is not present is doing or wearing. People who are possessed can be overwhelmed by feelings of discomfort when they are in places of worship, he said.
In one particular case cited by the priest the devil spoke to him directly. The possessed person “said, ‘I am the prince of this world, I am Satan’, and the hairs on my arms went up. When you listen to a satanic growl, once you listen to the devil’s voice, you can recognise it,” he said.
Father Truqui worked for four years as assistant to the late Father Gabriele Amorth, one of the most famous exorcists of the last century, who reportedly performed some 100,000 exorcisms during his years of ministry.
Beginning next Monday, the priest will help teach a course in Rome on exorcism for priests and laypeople who want to learn more about demonic activity and how to combat it. The annual course offered by the Sacerdos Institute, titled “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation,” is now in its 13th year and draws upwards of a hundred students each year.
The course is held at the Regina Apostolorum University in Rome and features speakers including Vatican officials, exorcists, psychologists, physicians and other experts.
The university is a pioneer in this subject, having been the first institution to offer such a program back in 2006. Its exorcism course draws students from diverse backgrounds, including priests, religious sisters, pastoral workers, teachers and doctors.
As Breitbart News reported last month, the demand for exorcists in Italy has tripled in recent years, reaching nearly a half million requests per year.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Sicilian exorcist Father Benigno Palilla said that more and more Italians are engaging in occult activities, which often serve as a gateway to the demonic.
Some 25 percent of Italy’s adult population regularly visits astrologers, psychics, and tarot card readers, and it is precisely these sorts of activities, Father Palilla said, that “open the door to the devil and to possession.”
Citing experts in the field, Vatican Radio said that the diabolical phenomenon has been “rising sharply.”
In a new teaching letter released this week, Pope Francis said that the “malign power” of Satan is always in our midst and “poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice.”
Satan is not “a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea,” Francis wrote in his letter called Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), and falling into this error “would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable.”
“When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families and our communities,” he said. “Like a roaring lion, he prowls around, looking for someone to devour,” he added, quoting from the New Testament first letter of Peter.
Acknowledging the existence of the devil is essential, the pontiff said, because the spiritual warfare Christians fight is not merely “a battle against the world and a worldly mentality” or a “struggle against our human weaknesses and proclivities.”
“It is also a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil,” he said.
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