This post is part of our series on people, places and things that have found new life in 2008.
You may not be aware that in Europe these days "you have to look high and low for a properly trained exorcist."
Have no fear. We're on top of things. For the first time in almost 400 years, the Vatican has formally revised and upheld the rite of exorcism. "To fight the devil head on," Pope Benedict XVI has sanctioned the first ever formal exorcism training, a ten-week course at Rome's Regina Apostolorum. There are sessions on rites, how to talk to the Devil and recognize his tricks. No need to be concerned that people who are mentally ill might be misdiagnosed.The course includes psychology classes where practitioners learn to distinquish between mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, and genuine cases of possession.
With more than 70 priests trained as exorcists in Poland , (where hundreds gathered for the fourth International Congress of Exorcists in July), and about 300 in Italy, it appears that we are well on our way to halting the inroads the devil has been making.
It's important to know who among us are at risk.
"Typical cases... include people who turn away from the church and embrace New Age therapies, alternative religions or the occult. Internet addicts and yoga devotees," said Rev. Wieslaw Jankowski, a Polish priest who is overseeing plans for a new exorcism center.