In case you were wondering whether religion is harmful for people’s brains

Well, look no further:

The rite of exorcism, rendered gory by Hollywood and ridiculed by many modern believers, has largely fallen out of favor in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

There are only a handful of priests in the country trained as exorcists, but they say they are overwhelmed with requests from people who fear they are possessed by the Devil.

Now, American bishops are holding a conference on Friday and Saturday to prepare more priests and bishops to respond to the demand. The purpose is not necessarily to revive the practice, the organizers say, but to help Catholic clergy members learn how to distinguish who really needs an exorcism from who really needs a psychiatrist, or perhaps some pastoral care.

That’s an easy one to answer for anyone not religiously afflicted.Psychiatrist.Or Doctor.How on earth is a Catholic qualified to make a diagnosis of psychiatric illness, especially if for them “possessed by the devil” is a valid differential ?It’s all based on science though ! Well, kind of:

Some of the classic signs of possession by a demon, Bishop Paprocki said, include speaking in a language the person has never learned; extraordinary shows of strength; a sudden aversion to spiritual things like holy water or the name of God; and severe sleeplessness, lack of appetite and cutting, scratching and biting the skin.

Yep, no doubt, must be a demon if you cut your skin or can’t sleep, duh ! How can anyone take those clowns serious anymore?

The closed-door conference is being held in Baltimore before the annual fall meeting of the nation’s bishops. Some Catholic commentators said they were puzzled why the bishops would bother with exorcisms in a year when they are facing a full plate of crises — from parish and school closings, to polls showing the loss of one of every three white baptized members, to the sexual abuse scandal flaring up again.

Well, every sane person on the planet should be puzzled by the Catholic death cult, as far as I’m concerned.But whether its canonizations or exorcisms, Catholics have always been more concerned with dead people and promoting the supernatural, than with the living.

Here’s a good one to illustrate the brain rot:

“The prayer comes from the power of Jesus’ name and the church. It doesn’t come from the power of the exorcist. The priest doesn’t have the magic power,” said Mr. Baglio, whose book has been made into a movie to be released in January, starring Anthony Hopkins.

There is plenty of cynicism among American Catholics — even among priests — about exorcism. Mr. Baglio noted that there are hucksters who prey on vulnerable believers, causing them physical or spiritual harm. As a result, he thought it was helpful that the church is making an effort to train more priests to perform the rite legitimately.

I wonder how you tell one huckster from the other.Goodness gracious.It’s 2010 !

Bishop Paprocki noted that according to Catholic belief, the Devil is a real and constant force who can intervene in people’s lives — though few of them will require an exorcism to handle it.

“The ordinary work of the Devil is temptation,” he said, “and the ordinary response is a good spiritual life, observing the sacraments and praying. The Devil doesn’t normally possess someone who is leading a good spiritual life.”

If there is an evil force at work in the world today, it’s religion.Distracting from people’s real problems for 2000 years.

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