When working on my new novel series, I thought that I could write it without a sweat with a certification in demonology. But, it turns out that possessions go more profound than we thought. Welcome to Catholic-based possessions.
Each step of Catholic Possession Obsession is now in effect but first, the warnings and triggers!
Trigger Warnings: Mental illness | Physical abuse | Mental abuse | Belief | Religion
*** Note here that we are talking about Christianity and Catholic possessions.
With that said, consider yourself warned, and let’s dive in!
When The Church Authorizes An Exorcism
When enough proof of demonic possession surfaces, the Catholic Church may authorize an exorcism. However, it goes under scrutiny. The Church doesn’t want to have an association with the devil-like it once did.
For exorcisms to receive approval is almost impossible. Many characteristics must surface, and criteria met. There must be proof of manifestation, foreign language, knowledge, and profanity.
Manifestation of strength beyond human capabilities is a start. Speaking in fluent languages that don’t exist anymore wouldn’t be possible for the victim to know.
When it comes to knowledge, the victim must have a way to demonstrate knowledge that could only belong to the person sent to identify the symptoms. It can’t be something found on the internet, something personal that only the person knows.
Finally, there is profanity, which isn’t as simple as it sounds. Often, priests use placebo crosses and holy water that aren’t blessed and wait for a reaction from the patient. The chemical response often includes froth from the mouth, tears, burns, hissing, blood, or regurgitation. It has to align with the blessed objects or water.
The Victims Of Possession
After rigorous and long periods of trials, once a case receives the seal of approval from the Church, an exorcism can take place. In Roman Catholicism, this practice belongs in the sacramental category, though not a sacrament.
A sacrament is holy and consists of a ceremony. Its characteristics as an outward sign are possible through Christ’s approval, making it an essential step in Roman Catholicism and Christianity.
Meanwhile, sacramental is a reference to an object. It could be holy water, crucifix, or a specific action, like, in this case, an exorcism.
Unlike a sacrament, the dependent success of an exorcism does not require a “to do” list of specific actions. The success depends on its legitimacy—approval from the Church—and the strength of the priests’ faith.
The Power Of Beyond Belief
In January 1999, the Catholic Church revisited the Rite of Exorcism despite its Latin version, which is still valid. The meaning behind the words is to give free will back to the victim.
“When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism.”— Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The demon tries to retain absolute control of the mind and body of the victim until it rots. To repel it, priests go through a variety of selected prayers, blessings, and invocations. They often use the document named, Of Exorcisms and Certain Supplications.
A History Of Mental Illness
Why it is harder for people to get access to an exorcism lies in the proof of psychiatric disorders. Back when neurological studies were subjects of science fiction or abomination, even mental distresses didn’t exist.
Knowledge about paranoia, schizophrenia, depression, dementia, dissociative disorders and more, was uncommon. To this day, not only the Catholic Church but other beliefs reject psychiatric disorders as accurate. However, Catholicism and Christianity are more careful than most after the exposition of their past actions.
“Superstition ought not to be confounded with religion, however much their history may be interwoven, nor magic, however white it may be, with a legitimate religious rite.”— The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1908
To gain access to an exorcism, once the priest did a first “round,” the local bishop must approve, and the request must go to the archdiocese before getting higher in the hierarchy.
Exorcism Supply And Demand
Despite the Church requiring any proof that the person doesn’t suffer from mental disorders or health conditions, the demand for exorcism rose. There was a time where the Church stepped far away from exorcisms, and the priest practitioners wanted anonymity.
However, in the last decade, the demand rose abundantly, and exorcist specialists came forward. Now, some priests are trained in exorcisms and are experts in the field.
The Church often points out drug abuse and an increase of violence for the demand of an exorcism. They point out the placebo effect. If the person believes in possession so hard, the exorcism might work.
In that fashion, priests and medical professionals work together to achieve the best result. They can get the person through the most challenging part of detoxification. It also allows the medical expert to determine what type of mental illness might be at work. Often, it is not an exorcism that occurs, but prayer sessions and comfort.
Signs Of Demonic Invasion
Signs might vary from individuals, but there are common signs. Note here that demonic possessions are often mental disorders. But, for the sake of this post, let’s entertain the idea for a moment!
A loss of appetite.
The skin is bitten, scratched, or cut.
Inhuman postures and sometimes the face of the victim might be unrecognizable.
The personality changes drastically with bursts of rage and desire to attack.
A voice change that is so radical the vocal cords shouldn’t be able to make those sounds.
Strength beyond human capabilities or the person’s build.
Speaking in languages that are foreign to that person or never studied.
Possesses knowledge of events that are impossible for the person to know.
Levitation and telekinesis.
Expelling of objects, things, or animals.
Physical reactions to blessed objects.
Antipathy when entering a blessed land or place or hearing passages from The Bible.
The Obsessions Of Exorcism
The obsession is when the victim demonstrates an unexpected outbreak. It is through irrational thinking and can show an obsession toward specific subjects they would usually disregard.
Sadly, often the victim falls under a heavy depression and becomes suicidal. They can have night terrors, and the lack of sleep may have them hallucinate.
The obsession stage of possession is almost a carbon copy of chronic depression. It can turn the victim into an aggressive person with irrational thoughts.
It is next to impossible to change their mind or try to rationalize with them. The demon is speaking to them and taking over their mind.
A Possessive Conclusion
After reading about history and the place, exorcisms had the birth of neuroscience necessary. However, it also shows that if someone’s belief is strong, sometimes, a prayer or two can go a long way for them.
Back then, people had to make sense of what they didn’t understand. It was logical to believe that someone with aggressive behavior and drastic personality changes had something inside them. To them, instead of a chemistry imbalance, it was a demon.
We know better now, but many of us swear by exorcisms, and their popularity grows each day in North America. Do we know why? Maybe it’s a subject for another article.