Psychologists help determine "possession?"
Posted by: glam ()
Date: February 18, 2005 01:47AM

Oy, vey:


Feb 17, 10:55 AM EST

Vatican University Debuts Satanism Classes

Associated Press Writer

ROME (AP) -- Worried about the lure of the devil, a Vatican-linked university on Thursday debuted its latest course offering: a class on Satanism, black magic and exorcism.

The class for clergy and seminarians at Rome's Pontifical Academy "Regina Apostolorum" arose from alarm about what some religious officials see as Satanic practices among young people, especially in Italy.

In one case in Italy in January, members of a heavy metal band called "Beasts of Satan" were ordered to stand trial for their alleged role in three ritual killings. One of the victims was a 19-year-old stabbed to death in 1998. She may have been targeted because her killers believed she was a personification of the Virgin Mary, prosecutors contend.

A major theme of the first day's course was how to differentiate between a person who is possessed and someone who is simply suffering psychological problems.

Rome exorcist Francesco Bamonte described how he works with a team of priests and psychologists to make the distinction before deciding whether to go through with an exorcism.

"If not, I would be inundated with requests from people who don't need me," said Bamonte, who said he performs about 20 exorcisms a year.

The Vatican is also concerned about a growing number of young people who develop what instructors called personal forms of Satanism, outside the sects that are closely monitored by police. They often learn about the devil through the Internet.

"It's a more spontaneous and hidden phenomenon, a problem of loneliness and isolation, a problem of emptiness, that is fulfilled by the values of Satanism," said one of the teachers, Carlo Climati, a specialist on youth culture and Satanism.

Climati said concerned parents had been asking for a special course for priests.

The pontifical academy is run by the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative order, and teachers for the class include exorcists and psychiatrists.

In 1999, the Vatican issued its first new guidelines since 1614 for driving out devils, offering cautions to exorcists about taking psychiatric problems into account.

The updated exorcism rite, first issued in Latin and contained in a red, leather-bound book, was a reflection of Pope John Paul II's efforts to convince the skeptical that the devil is very much in the world. At the time, he gave a series of homilies denouncing the devil as a "cosmic liar and murderer."

Among the signs of possession by the devil, according to church teaching, are speaking in unknown tongues and demonstrating physical force beyond one's natural capacity.

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Psychologists help determine "possession?"
Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: February 18, 2005 06:37AM

I grew up a catholic, and i despise Catholicism, and my mother is now involved in a cultic wing of the catholic church. These people are fanatics.

Worse, the famous M. Scott Peck, of The Road Less Travelled, is now claiming he is an EXORCIST!
These guys know that fundamentalism is on the rise, and they can scare people back into religion, and cash in from the hysteria. What a disgrace.


Glimpses of the Devil : A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption
by M. Scott Peck

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Psychologists help determine "possession?"
Posted by: Worried_Dad ()
Date: November 26, 2005 01:59AM

As a scientist I am pretty darned sceptical. I have no idea whether there is a God or a Devil, much less if it is possible for someone to be "possessed."

I do know that there is a such a thing as evil and I know that science has not completely described mental health, much less the spectrum of mental illness. Psychology is an infant science.

I suppose it is possible that there is a form of mental illness that has all the symptoms of what has come to be called "possession." And it is possible that "exorcism" might somtimes be an effective treatment. Whatever "possession" is, I tend to doubt that it is caused by "the devil," who, most likely does not exist.

Scott Peck is a good writer, though, and a well-intended person. His book [u:0d3efb1827]People of the Lie[/u:0d3efb1827] is a remarkable and humane treatment of the subject of evil. I'll probably read this latest book--when used copies are available for sale.

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Psychologists help determine "possession?"
Posted by: Vicarion ()
Date: November 29, 2005 04:26PM

I agree that there is such a thing as evil, but it is not a force. Evil is the accumulation of thoughts, words and deeds of people. When people "do evil" to others, then they become "evildoers". But to ascribe this evil or these evil deeds to the influence of some entity or force is not rational, in my opinion, and part of the problem with organized religion and churches.

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Psychologists help determine "possession?"
Posted by: bonnie ()
Date: December 07, 2005 04:43AM

I found the book "People of the Lie" very interesting in its analysis of narcissism and the evil that is committed by those who try to protect a self-image of perfection. He has some theories that seem very sound.

Unfortunately, when attempting to understand the "evil" they commit, he overlooks one basic trait that is inherent in the very group he describes; They LIE. After being around alcoholics and addicts much of my life, the subjects of his book bear a very close resemblence to alkies and addicts I have known. This is never mentioned in the book, as his subjects probably never brought it up, but I suspect that many of the people he writes about are hiding the fact that their lives are controlled by substance abuse. Just my opinion.

He then goes on to venture into the more dramatic area of demonic possession. This is all great fun and oh so exciting, but does much to discredit the more thoughtful insights of the first portion of the book.

He does add a disclaimer at the beginning, I believe. He says that calling someone evil poses a danger and might possibly even be an evil act. That's the problem with any attempt to merge scientific detachment with religious bias. His religious viewpoint gets in the way of unbiased observation and prevents him from seeing as deeply into the motives of his subjects as he might.

But it is a fascinating book, if not a very scientific one.

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Psychologists help determine "possession?"
Posted by: Vicarion ()
Date: December 07, 2005 04:53AM

I'll admit to not having read a whole lot of Peck, but what I did, I found to be rather uninspired and uninspiring.

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Psychologists help determine "possession?"
Posted by: Janus ()
Date: May 25, 2006 12:50PM

I just think it's an attempt by the Church to take the limelight off the fact that they do not try very hard to exorcise their own devils. What could be more devilish than a priest who preys on kids? Only one thing, an institution that covers up for them allowing such practices to continue. Exorcise those devils first and then they can concern themselves with the detruction of imaginary beings of their own creation.
That is not to say that I do not believe in possession, divine possession is a part of many religions including Christianity and Catholicism. Voduns practice it as well as the Sahajia sects in Hinduism, there are many others buut of course such possesions are viewed as diabolic by the Church because they involve other choices of Gods.

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