On the agenda of the annual U.S. bishops' conference meeting this week in Baltimore is approval of an English-language translation of a Catholic liturgical work on how to conduct "Exorcisms and Related Supplications," The Washington Times
The ritual book, promulgated in Latin in 1999 and updated since, has never before been translated into English.
A press release from the conference reports, "The main part of this book is the rite of major exorcism and includes an introduction outlining criteria for its use, which is always the decision of the bishop alone. While this text affirms the reality of evil in the world, it even more so affirms the sovereignty of Christ to overcome any and all evil," according to the National Catholic Reporter
There are explicit rules and rituals for exorcism
in Catholicism. The exorcist must be a priest and must have the approval of the local bishop. Exorcism may be performed only if the priest is "certain the person is experiencing real demonic possession, and not some kind of emotional or psychiatric disturbance," according to the Reporter.
Catholics, like other traditional Christians, believe that the devil is a concrete reality
. Pope Francis has said, "The devil can't stand seeing the holiness of the church or the holiness of a person without trying to cause some kind of trouble," according to the Reporter.
The Vatican has denied that the pope himself has conducted exorcism, according to the BBC
. But Pope John Paul II
was said to have conducted at least one exorcism, the BBC reported.
The precise wording of the translated liturgical book has gone through modification, mostly on theological grounds. For example, the phrase "rise up to help me" has been changed to "arise in my defense."
Two-thirds of the conference would need to approve use of the book. It will also need a green light from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which deals in Rome with liturgical practices, according to the Times.
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