ROME (CNS) -- The devil is real and can possess people, but it does not happen as often as many people think, said two Italian exorcists.Complete article here.
When a person who thinks he or she is possessed approaches a priest looking for help, they said, the priest must know enough about possession to know whether a simple prayer is called for or whether he needs to refer the person to a psychologist or to the diocesan exorcist.
To prepare priests and future priests to help people in those situations, Rome's Regina Apostolorum university -- run by the Legionaries of Christ -- inaugurated a course on Satanism and exorcism Feb. 17.
Father Gabriele Nanni, an exorcist and an expert on the history of the exorcism rite, told the students that because demons are cast out in the name of Christ and his church any attempt at exorcism must follow church rules precisely and the exorcist -- always a priest -- must be explicitly assigned by the local bishop to perform the rite.
"If a priest falls victim to pride, the demon can take his power," Father Nanni said. "If you say, 'My bishop says I cannot do this exorcism, but I will anyway,' that is disobedience, and the devil rejoices."