The Catholic Church in Rome is offering a week-long course on casting out Satan, preparing priests and some lay people on the finer points of exorcism and demonic possession. This extremely successful course, titled “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation,” is now in its 11th year and boasts over a thousand graduates.
Students are introduced into a biblical understanding of the devil as the “father of lies,” as well as being trained in distinguishing between true demonic disturbances and problems of a psychological nature. The course, which runs April 4-9, is organized by the Sacerdos Institute in collaboration with the Group for Socio-religious Research and Information (GRIS) and the International Association of Exorcists (IEA).
According to the director of the course, Father Pedro Barrajon, the curriculum endeavors to separate sensationalism from sound theology, and strives to deepen the biblical and theological basis of the nature and the actions of angels and demons, in open dialogue with other sciences such as psychology, law and medicine.
The lectures and panel discussions—which include direct Q&A with actual exorcists—aim at equipping students to recognize demonic activity and deal with it properly, including through the practice of exorcism itself and prayer of deliverance.
This year’s enrollment in the program comprises pastoral workers, psychologists, doctors, teachers, lawyers, as well as dozens of priests, and features a lineup of speakers including Vatican officials, bishops and even Riccardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome’s Jewish Community.