Exorcisms, claimed by its practitioners to save the lives of those inhabited by “demons,” are causing the deaths of those seeking psychological help via religion. Nevertheless, the Vatican is taking possession seriously.
The métier of the exorcism ceremony does not confine itself to sprinkling holy water on the “possessed,” or shouting Bible verses at them, but instead uses potentially lethal means in its current modern-day form.
Kyong-A Ha, who sought religious means to deal with his insomnia via the Jesus-Amen Ministries, was murdered by exorcists during a six hour ceremony involving physical abuse in 1995.
The leader of the California church whose members beat Ha to death was unapologetic. Jean Park, who heads the congregation, said to the police that the physical “damage to Ha was done by demons.” Exorcists and church leaders regularly justify their procedures because of the never-ending battle between God and these supposed demons.
But an exorcist who once served as state senator in Colorado stated that exorcisms do not involve physical abuse and that the media has blown exorcisms out of proportion. Former politician-turned-exorcist, Gordon Klingenshmitt explained exactly how it works.
“In my experience, modern exorcisms are very gentle, very common, and very liberating,” he said to me over the phone.”We in America have a jaded portrayal of exorcisms through the media and Hollywood. It’s not like it is in the movies.”
In opposition to these exorcists, who frequently leave those suffering from mental ailments worse off than before, the Catholic Church–best known for exorcisms–once took a more responsible approach for determining possession.
Unlike non-Catholic exorcists, Catholic priests do not consider appetite loss or scratches on the victim’s skin grounds for an exorcism whose procedures can involve physical abuse. The Catholic practice for determining the validity of an exorcism requires that the supposed victim must be first examined by a mental health expert. Even if the possession seems valid after the examination, exorcisms are not automatically green-lit. Priests take the matter under consideration from there.
In the wake of a popular resurgence in exorcisms, owing much to Hollywood, priests tasked with visiting the victims are also sought out by the supposedly possessed who demand an exorcism. Those seeking help are predominately women. According to Le Monde, a French newspaper, those seeking exorcisms to relieve their pain “75 percent are women,” who suffer from sexual abuse.
The Catholic Church, who for centuries sought to keep exorcisms in the closet and had lamented that many who were declared possessed and were the subject of exorcisms needed psychological help that exorcisms left untreated and sometimes made worse, have nevertheless come out in support of the claim that demonic possession is real and rampant throughout the world.
The Vatican, in 2014, officially supported the International Association of Exorcists, composed of priests engaging in exorcisms throughout the world; in addition, the Vatican now offers a class in how to expel so-called demons. The Vatican blames the “outbreak” of demonic possession on the Internet.
According to a written statement, the Vatican said that possession has spread because of Internet users searching topics which invite demons in such as “black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija boards.”