Back to exorcism class

The National Catholic Register blog takes notice of a recent Time magazine article on exorcism and praises the piece for covering a Catholic topic in a way that “neither ridicules nor sensationalizes the subject.” The blog includes a picture of Linda Blair from “The Exorcist.”

The Time magazine article is an interview with journalist Matt Baglio, who recently wrote ‘The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist.”

The book  recounts the experiences of an American priest, Father Gary Thomas, who took an exorcism class at Rome’s Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum, run by the Legionaries of Christ.

The three-month class, “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation,” is not something new. It’s been around since 2005. Catholic News Service reported on it when the class was first announced and again when classes began.

Father Paolo Scarafoni, a member of the Legionaries of Christ and rector of the university, told reporters at the time that course was designed to “give priests the information they need for initial discernment and referral.”

He noted that generally 85 percent to 90 percent of people who say they are possessed by the devil simply “need someone to listen. They need a prayer. They need a long walk and a glass of water.”

Baglio, who joined the class when it was initially open to journalists, told Time what he learned from the course material and from talking with Father Thomas and others.

He said most priests don’t like to talk about the rite and what takes place during them is often low-key. Only rarely is it the dramatic stuff of movies.

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