It is an age-old battle that the Catholic Church is fighting against the devil. Troops choices of a clash timeless are the exorcists, priests to whom is entrusted the task of countering the action of evil. Still too few, considering that those enrolled in the International Association of Exorcists (IEA), the only institution in the field recognized by the Vatican, do not reach a half thousand.
404 are the exorcists in the world, to which are added 124 auxiliaries and an unknown number of exorcists outside that computes the IEA.
There are, however, reliable data on the amount of people every year are turning to their care. Are devoid of any foundation, also, the statistics showing a South Italian ignorant and superstitious in first place for requests for exorcisms, especially by women with a medium-low cultural level. The reality is quite different and there are no significant regional differences.
The presence in the dioceses. In Italy there are 240 exorcists and 62 auxiliaries. To these should be added a few dozen that are not IEA members, strongly supported Association by Don Gabriele Amorth in the early nineties and officially approved by the Congregation for the Clergy in 2014.

The small group of ordained ministers, who oversees the 225 dioceses that comprise the territory, has to deal with a question that mounts because of spread of occultism and Satanism. A cult, the latter who is highly popular in the big cities, with extensive ramifications to the strong powers. For you understand the urgent need to erect a bulwark against the spread of the action evil are the bishops who, not being able to hardly ever exercise firsthand the ministry, made up almost in every diocese the presence of one or more priests with license exorcism.
Besides them they operate auxiliaries, or trained lay people and priests without warrant. The main obstacles encountered by the bishops do not reside so much in injury because the difficulty of identifying, sometimes the suitable candidate. For the position that has been called upon to play, in fact, we need a solid and thorough spiritual care person of faith, with years of ministry behind and the willingness to work alongside an experienced exorcist.
What happens in the world. If in Italy the picture is not lush, abroad the situation no better. Except for the French case, where the exorcists are numerous but little practiced exorcisms, it is Poland's second European country with 120 exorcists (no Member IEA, but directly related to the Bishops' Conference). Following the UK (28 exorcists and 4 auxiliary), Spain (15:09), the Czech Republic and Slovakia (9:01), Lithuania (8:06), Portugal (5:03). Besides the European border, Mexico is home to almost 120 exorcists and the United States of America 21. The other nations have small numbers, at least among IEA members. For Father Francesco Bamonte, exorcist of the diocese of Rome and president of the IEA, is fundamental "A serious ongoing formation and full fidelity to liturgical and pastoral norms". No improvisation, then, but scrupulous attention to what is required by the Church:
"The ministry of the exorcist can not be practiced with superficiality and approximation or as if it were a hobby or a game. Exorcism is a struggle, sometimes very hard, against the power of Satan: a fight - said Fr. Bamonte - we can not support with our own efforts alone, but requires a profound union with the Cross of Christ. "

Guidelines. The practice of exorcism is regulated in the ritual "of exorcisms and certain supplications", amended in 2004, where there are special effects space or granguignolesche music.
The signs of demonic possession are four: fluent in unknown languages ​​or understand the person speaking; knowing hidden things; demonstrate superior forces of age or physical condition of the person; try an aversion to the sacred.
Decisive and sustained by the IEA, in the practice of ministry, then the collaboration with doctors and psychologists "competent even in spiritual things." In many cases, in fact, the symptoms are due to medical conditions. If the rules are written, however, there are difficulties when confronted with reality. To overcome this, the IEA is preparing the "Guidelines for proper practice of the ministry of exorcism" who want to summarize the main elements and be a reliable handbook which to refer in any circumstance. The aim is to avoid the questionable behavior by some exorcist who has exercised his ministry in a deliberately spectacular or ambiguous, or with dubious methods and attitudes that do not correspond to the standards with which the Church regulates the exercise of the ministry. It is the recent case of the documentary film "Free me," she wrote in a note the IEA, "it is placed far away from what the Church offers and recommends on the subject of exorcism".

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