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From Wanda Pratnicka’s book “Possessed by Ghosts - Exorcisms in 21st Century” Post: 1st If knowledge about exorcisms had been passed down from one generation to the next, then beside the votary priest there would be other priests - the master exorcists who would have many years' experience of exorcisms. He would have taught the novice, encouraged him, but above all would have cleansed him when he was possessed during the instruction. In the history of the Church there were only a few who felt the need to practice exorcism. Hundreds of people begging for help came to their door. There were, however, so few of them that they collapsed with exhaustion wanting to help them all. They had nowhere they could find models so they acted by trial and error. Many of them fell victim to possession and needed an exorcism themselves. Another priest wasn't at such case always able to help. Often he was unable to do so, and seeing his colleague's fate was afraid for his own safety. These exorcists were like lone sailors left to themselves and often ridiculed for their work.


Whether or not a priest will become an exorcist at all let alone a good one depends in large measure on the ghost which has possessed a person. If it wanted to leave after the first session then the priest scored a success and acquired faith in his abilities to do it. With every successful case it became easier for him even if he suffered a setback. An exorcist priest who fails at the first step will soon lose his enthusiasm. He may even want very much to become an exorcist and to help people but when he constantly fails he loses faith in what he's doing for ever. Discouragement may also be the result of a conviction that he is fighting against something powerful which he will never overcome. It may not even occur to him that it was only the way in which he carried out the exorcism that was unsuccessful. Either way, a defeat brings about a lack of faith in what the church exorcists are doing. Often horror starts to creep in, too. The ghosts not only refuse to leave but they also try to frighten the priest more and more. That's why many exorcist priests give it up, and many others watching them don't even start on exorcisms. Many priests are frightened of the devil, his vengeance, and they also fear possessed people. In such cases it is easier to ascribe mental diseases to every symptom and to send the patient off to a hospital just to have at least one case taken off one's hands. But these instances do not diminish, there are more and more of them.

Post: 2nd I have often asked myself why I look at the problem of ghosts so very differently from the way exorcist priests do. Is my view of the matter mistaken? I have reached the conclusion that my experience and the experience of exorcist priests were acquired in completely different ways. Our views are different because I didn't do exorcisms under compulsion. Nor did I have to think that exorcism was a battle with the devil. I was not given a strict formula telling me that the problem is a devil and, consequently, I have to act in such and such a way, say this, ask about that.


When we think of the devil as a creature (or person) then though people fear it the fear is not constructive, merely paralyzing, disarming. It brings more harm than benefits. In-stead of leading to understanding, it leads to giving up, and it shows fear among church exorcists. That is one of the reasons why there are so few exorcists in the world willing to help people. Priests performing exorcism are panic-stricken about Satan. When they understand the idea of the devil correctly then the time needed for exorcisms will shorten markedly, needless suffering experienced by the possessed person and the ghost alike will end, as it will for the exorcist priest. If the devil really did exist then God could not be God Almighty. He would rule over just a part of the Universe and Satan would rule over the other part.

Post: 3rd Besides which, the Church has often declared its faith in something which was later discredited when it turned out to be false, e.g. that the Sun moves round the Earth, or that the Earth is flat etc. Subsequent discoveries overturned the significance of those that existed previously. Is it not the case also that in the matter of the exorcisms, the devil and of the possession of people by ghosts that the Church is in error?


Summing up, since the times of Jesus every human being who believed in God could perform exorcisms for themselves and for their nearest and dearest. These exorcists were effective and no-one needed to help them do it. Later this was forbidden and people were commanded to turn exclusively to priests. Then they, too, were forbidden to do it. Fear of punishment excised very effectively the knowledge of exorcism from people's memories. Contemporary man turns to exorcist priests for exorcism. They for the most part are unable to help. So, over a period of centuries, people have gone round in a huge circle. Unable to get the exorcism from priests, contemporary man is forced to help himself, just as in Jesus' time, and to use the power that God gives to every believer. Those who are interested in studying this subject should refer to, among others, the works of Father Gabriele Amorth, who is an exorcist in the diocese of Rome and the president of the Association of Exorcists. In his books he writes about people who have come to him and who had unsuccessfully sought help over many years. He asks this question: "And how many are there who will not receive this help?". And he himself gives this reply: "Very many, and that's because there are very few priests who want or know how to do it".


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