Exorcist


Exorcist

In some religions an exorcist (also called a witchman) is a person who is believed to be able to cast out the devil or other demon. A priest, a monk, a healer, a shaman or other specially prepared or instructed person can be an exorcist. An exorcist is a person who performs the ridding of demons or other supernatural beings who are alleged to have possessed a person, or (sometimes) a building or even an object.

Exorcists in various religions

Catholicism

Since the Council of Trent, "Exorcist" was one of the four minor orders in the ministry Roman Catholic Church, received after the tonsure. At the time this order was formally defined and confined exclusively to exorcism of the catechumen in the rite of Baptism, leaving exorcisms of demons to priests; but its role was later expanded. By the twentieth century, the order had become purely ceremonial. As a minor order, Exorcists wore the surplice. The office of Exorcist was not a part of the sacrament of Holy Orders but as a sacramental was instead first conferred on those who had the special charism to perform its duties and later to those studying for the priesthood. [web cite|url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05711a.htm|title=Exorcist|work=Catholic Encyclopedia]

The Exorcist order was suppressed during the reforms of the minor orders after the Second Vatican Council by Paul VI. It remains in societies which use the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite (also called "Ecclesia Dei communities"), such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Some believe that attainment of the position of Acolyte in post-Council practices implies ordination to the minor orders which used to be below it, such as Exorcist and Porter, although this has not been officially defined (although Canon Law section 1009 does specifically state that the only "orders are the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate").

Recently, many dioceses have formally appointed priests to the function of Exorcist as a result of reaffirmation of exorcism as a necessary ritual by Pope John Paul II (who reportedly performed three exorcisms himself during his pontificate) and Pope Benedict XVI. Gabriele Amorth is the chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, and founder of the International Association of Exorcists.

Islam

"Exorcism" in Islam signifies ridding the human body of jinn possession (Christians would be familiar with the term demonic possession) by means of using halal (permissible) means. The "halal" means "centered around ruqya" and it essentially involves reciting the Quran in the presence of the possessed person. There are "ahadith" (plural of hadith) which claim that Muhammad did perform "exorcisms" - i.e., rid human beings suffering from jinn possession, and the use of ruqya (Quranic recitations) is not confined to getting rid of jinn but also to heal other ailments.

Here's a bit of a background: The jinn, along with human beings, are one of the two accountable creations that will have to render an account of their life on the Day of Judgement. Like human beings, they will either be successful or doomed in hell in the Hereafter, based on their deeds in their worldly lives. Therefore, just as in the case of human beings, there are good jinn who follow the right path and there are evil jinn who commit sins. Possessing a human being is an evil act, and jinn who engage in this behaviour are committing a wrong. Jinn also have different religions just like human beings (Jews, Christian, Muslims), and just as a Jewish, Christian or Muslim human may commit sins, so may a Jewish, Christian or Muslim jinn possess a human being.

In fact, Satan ("Shaytan" in Arabic, a.k.a. the devil, or beelzebub, in Arabic: "azazeel") is a jinn who refused to follow God's order and prostrate to Adam. He was arrogant and felt that as he was created from fire (the material of origin for jinn) and Adam was created from clay he did not want to prostrate before Adam as he was commanded. For this arrogance and sin of his, he became an outcast and asked God to give him a respite till the Day of Judgement. His request was granted, and so began the age-old, ancient and eternal enmity between Satan and human beings. While Adam and Hawa (English: Eve) repented for falling into Satan's temptations to taste from the forbidden tree, Satan continues to try to corrupt humans with his sneaky whisperings and will continue to do so till the Last Day.

Some human beings, bent on evil, forge alliances with evil jinns, and therefore you have things like witchcraft, black magic, etc. As an extension of this corrupt and unnatural alliance, some humans resort to "haram" (forbidden) means to get rid of jinns. For example, a person suffering from jinn possession may end up going to a "healer" who may use means other than the permissible "ruqya".

The jinn are mentioned in the Quran, and belief in jinn is an integral part of Islam: they are part of the unseen world (to human beings) created by God just as angels - they exist, but cannot be seen. Exorcisms using "ruqya" (permissible) are not stopped or blocked in Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It is in fact the "haram" (forbidden) means used by wizards, witches, sorcerers, and those indulging in the dark side that the authorities try to clamp down against and purge. For example, many charlatans offer love potions, love spells, freedom from jinn possession by using despicable means, and so it is the crackdown against these activities (which are anti-sharia and haram) that sometimes gets misinterpreted by others that Islamic countries and Islam do not recognize possession or "exorcism".

Finally it may be noted that the exorcism experiences reported in the Christian tradition are identical to those experienced and recorded by witnesses in an "Islamic exorcisms": after some moments of recitation of the Quran, the possessed human begins to talk in a very different voice and often scary voice (e.g. possessed man starting to speak in a different language or a very hoarse female voice when the female jinn starts speaking). The recitation of the Quran troubles and burns the jinn possessing the body, and so they start "coming clean" so to speak in an attempt to stop the pain they are feeling. Similarly, it is well known in the Christian tradition, that sometimes possessed persons (possessed by demons) would get physically hurt as the priests would hold them back, or restrain them, etc. but when they would recover, they would have no signs of pain or injuries and they would not remember anything from the exorcisms (the screaming, shouting they did, the evil voice they spoke in, etc.), it is the same thing in "Islamic exorcisms" : once the jinn leaves (Christians would say once the demons depart) the person comes around and does not recollect what went on during the exorcisms.

Hinduism

Beliefs and practices pertaining to the practice of exorcism are prominently connected with the ancient Dravidians in the south. Of the four Vedas (holy books of the Hindus), the Atharva Veda is said to contain the secrets related to magic and medicine. Many of the spells described in this book are for casting out demons and evil spirits. These beliefs are particularly strong and practiced in West Bengal, Orissa and southern states like Kerala.

The basic means of exorcism are the mantra and the yajna used in both Vedic and Tantric traditions.

Vaishnava traditions also employ a recitation of names of Narasimha and reading scriptures (notably Bhagavata Purana) aloud. According to Gita Mahatmya of Padma Purana, reading the 3rd, 7th and 8th chapter of Bhagavad Gita and mentally offering the result to departed persons helps them to get released from their ghostly situation. Kirtan, continuous playing of mantras, keeping scriptures and holy pictures (esp. of Narasimha) in the house, burning incense offered during a puja, sprinkling water from holy rivers, and blowing conches used in "puja" are other effective practices.

Main Vedic resource on ghost- and death-related information is Garuda Purana.

See also

* Parapsychology

References

External links

* [http://www.definingmoment.tv/defining-moment-shows/index-230.html Interview with the later excommunicated Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo about Exorcism & Healing]
* [http://www.quranichealing.com/bpi.asp?caid=146&cid=1248 List of Muslim exorcists and spiritual healers]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Exorcist — • (1) In general, any one who exorcises or professes to exorcise demons (cf. Acts 19:13); (2) in particular, one ordained by a bishop for this office, ordination to which is the second of the four minor orders of the Western Church Catholic… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • exorcist — EXORCÍST, Ă, exorcişti, te, adj., s.m. şi f. (Persoană) care practică exorcismul. – Din lat. exorcista, fr. exorciste. Trimis de claudia, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  exorcíst adj. m., s. m …   Dicționar Român

  • Exorcist — Ex or*cist ( s[i^]st), n. [L. exorcista, Gr. exorkisth s: cf. F. exorciste.] 1. One who expels evil spirits by conjuration or exorcism. [1913 Webster] Certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists. Acts xix. 13. [1913 Webster] 2. A conjurer who can… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • exorcist — one who drives out evil spirits, late 14c., from L.L. exorcista, from Ecclesiastical Gk. exorkistes an exorcist, from exorkizein (see EXORCISM (Cf. exorcism)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • exorcist — [eks′ôrsist, eks′ərsist] n. [ME < LL exorcista < Gr exorcistēs] 1. a person who exorcises 2. R.C.Ch. a member of the second highest of the four former minor orders …   English World dictionary

  • exorcist —    A person who expels DEMONs. Most exorcists are priests, clergy, or adepts; some laypersons call themselves exorcists. Exorcists use specific prayers and rituals to cause demons to leave people and/or places, either of their own volition or by… …   Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology

  • exorcist — UK [ˈeksɔː(r)sɪst] / US [ˈeksɔrsɪst] noun [countable] Word forms exorcist : singular exorcist plural exorcists someone who gets rid of evil spirits for other people …   English dictionary

  • Exorcist —    (Acts 19:13). In that sceptical and therefore superstitious age professional exorcist abounded. Many of these professional exorcists were disreputable Jews, like Simon in Samaria and Elymas in Cyprus (8:9; 13:6). Other references to exorcism… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • exorcist — [[t]e̱ksɔː(r)sɪst[/t]] exorcists N COUNT An exorcist is someone who performs exorcisms …   English dictionary

  • exorcist —    This term refers to a priest who has special permission to perform an exorcism. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, the minor order of exorcist was conferred on candidates for the priesthood …   Glossary of theological terms


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