COVID driving demand for exorcisms
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What does COVID have to do with the demand for exorcisms? Apparently, quite a lot. The demand for exorcisms is on the rise, with one priest blaming COVID. His explanation makes sense.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Fr. Gian Matter Roggio, an Italian priest and trained exorcist, says the demand for exorcism is on the rise. In an interview with The Telegraph, Fr. Roggio explained, "We have seen an increase in the request for exorcisms because the pandemic has made people more vulnerable to the idea that Satan or some evil entity has taken over their lives... People have fallen into poverty, they found themselves suffering from anxiety and depression. They feel that their lives are no longer in their own hands but in the hands of a malign force. It's a big crisis."
The explanation makes sense. Satan and his demons prey upon people when they are most vulnerable. Those facing crisis, people who are desperate, are more likely to engage in behaviors that facilitate demonic possession. Those behaviors include sinful activities, including engaging in vices and dabbling in the occult. While many people turn to their faith in times of need, some turn away, blaming God for their difficulties. When some people realize their mistake, it can already be too late. The family and Church must intervene to investigate and when appropriate, to perform an exorcism.
Not all suspected cases of demonic possession are authentic. Many cases are simply examples of mental illness, sometimes exacerbated by anxieties and pressures of pandemic living. This is why many exorcists work with doctors and mental health professionals to provide people with the help they need. However, demonic possession is real, and in such cases an exorcism is warranted.
The pandemic has cost people jobs, homes, loved ones, and threatened many lives. There are social pressures, some imposed by governments and by society itself that can cause anxiety and stress. And as mentioned, some people turn away from God, claiming to be forsaken.
As Christians, we must understand the problem of evil. This is a philosophical dilemma, posed by the fact that God is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving, yet evil exists. How can this be?
The answer has to do with free will and love. All people are created out of love. Therefore, God gives all people free will, because without the freedom to choose, love is impossible. However, to give people the freedom to choose means there must be an alternative choice. Therefore, a radical possibility of freedom is sin.
God cannot intervene and counteract the free will of persons. To do so would make all people into automatons, and render love impossible. For this reason, the evil wrought by people often takes root in the world, and touches all things.
One may ask what about miracles. Miracles happen all the time, just as they did in the time of Christ and before. Yet miracles involve God's grace and love, and can facilitate a person experiencing a conversion of the heart. But such conversion must be freely chosen. God can only invite people to turn away from evil. But He cannot force them.
Amid these problems, many people give in to temptations and fall prey to demonic possession.
Catholic Online School is teaching a class, Angels & Demons, beginning next Monday on November 1, 2021. You can learn more about the problem of evil and the angels and demons in this exciting course. You may sign up for the course by clicking here.
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