The 1973 film The Exorcist shocked audiences around the world, and was even banned in the UK for a period of time.
However, exorcism is actually an ancient aspect of Catholicism, and is a specialized ritual that only selected priests and bishops have the power to enact.
The Litany of the Saints is the lengthy prayer used in an exorcism, in which the priest will appeal to the Holy Trinity, Virgin Mary and the angels to rid the possessed person of the evil spirits and Satanic activity that is occupying them.
According to Catholic Answers, a Catholic magazine, there are several levels of demonic behavior that would warrant exorcism.
An infestation occurs when evil attaches itself to a building, such as a haunted house, as it may have been called upon in a ceremony or other calling. Oppression occurs when a person is filled with dread and despair, which may signal the presence of the devil. While the third type of behavior, a full possession, is rare, there have been reported cases recently in both the U.S and Romania.
During the exorcism, as well as praying, there will usually be a crucifix and holy water present, to keep the evil spirits at bay once they have been released from the building or individual.
Although modern day exorcisms are less about battles between good and evil, and increasingly concerned with giving counsel to distressed persons, it is still a requirement of Catholic canon law that there is an appointed member of the clergy responsible for the ceremony, should the need occur.
Exorcisms still seem to have a stronghold within some members of the Catholic community, with the Vatican recently recognizing an International Association of Exorcists organization, further fueling the belief in this ancient religious ritual.
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