Contemporary Demon Hunters

While the Pope decries such modern scourges as in vitro fertilization and gay marriage, the Washington Post reported in February that it is pushing a resurgence of modern day demon hunters and exorcists. According to the Post,

Exorcism — the church rite of expelling evil spirits from tortured souls — is making a comeback in Catholic regions of Europe. Last July, more than 300 practitioners gathered in the Polish city of Czestochowa for the fourth International Congress of Exorcists.

About 70 priests serve as trained exorcists in Poland, about double the number five years ago. An estimated 300 exorcists are active in Italy.

Apparently part of the reason that so many exorcists are needed is that the bar isn’t particularly high for determining whether or not a given individual is possessed by the devil, or merely having a bad day. For example, consider the criteria that Poland’s Rev. Andrzej Trojanowksi uses to determine that  woman is possessed of the devil and in need of exorcism,

Jankowski cited the case of a woman who asked for a divorce days after renewing her wedding vows as part of a marriage counseling program. What was suspicious, he said, was how the wife suddenly developed a passionate hatred for her husband.

“According to what I could perceive, the devil was present and acting in an obvious way,” he said. “How else can you explain how a wife, in the space of a couple of weeks, could come to hate her own husband, a man who is a good person?”

Trojanowski tells the Post that he sees as many as 20 people a week who are in need of exorcism, and has plans for a full-blown exorcism center to be built on church-owned land.

And people think we atheists are a bit weird.

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