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By Francis Young

This publication lines the advance of exorcism in Catholic Christianity from the fourth century to the current day, and seeks to provide an explanation for why exorcism remains to be rather a lot popular. this is often the 1st paintings in English to track the advance of the liturgy, perform and authorisation of exorcisms in Latin Christianity. The ceremony of exorcism, and the declare through Roman Catholic clergymen in order to force demons from the possessed, is still a permanent resource of well known fascination, however the origins and background of this arguable ceremony were little explored. Arguing that trust within the want for exorcism often re-emerges at classes of situation for the church, Francis younger explores the moving limitations among authorized exorcisms and unauthorised magic all through Christian heritage, from Augustine of Hippo to Pope Francis. This publication bargains the historic history to – and indicates purposes for – the present resurgence of exorcism within the worldwide Catholic Church.

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Extra resources for A History of Exorcism in Catholic Christianity

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120. 30 On the origins and date of Ordo XI see OR, vol.  409–13.  201–7. 32 Ordo XI 4–5 (OR vol.  418–19). 33 Ordo XI 14 (OR vol.  421): … Ergo, maledicte diabole, recognosce sentenciam tuam et da honorem Deo vivo et vero, da honorem Iesu Christo filio eius et spiritui sancto, recede ab his famulis Dei, quia istos sibi Deus et dominus noster Iesus Christus ad suam sanctam gratiam et EXORCISM IN THE EARLY CHRISTIAN WEST, 300–900 35 Therefore, accursed devil, recognise your sentence and give honour to the living and true God, give honour to Jesus Christ his Son, draw back from this servant of God, because God himself and our Lord Jesus Christ deigns to call these [catechumens] to his holy grace and blessing, the font, and the gift of baptism; by this sign of the cross on their foreheads, which we give, and which you, accursed devil, may never dare to violate.

16 F. YOUNG evil are technically distinct from exorcism itself, even though apotropaic words and gestures such as the sign of the cross form part of the rites of exorcism. Apotropaic words and gestures, whilst not exorcistic in themselves, can easily become exorcistic through adaptation for the purpose of expelling evil. 51 One interpretative issue facing the historian of exorcism is whether exorcism should be defined by an underlying human need to cast out evil, or whether it should be defined in terms of specific religious beliefs and therefore by religious leaders.

56 Amirav has argued that this demonstrated the extent to which early Christianity was suffused with the vocabulary of magic. Christians claimed that the religious identity of the exorcist, rather than his or her skill, was the determining factor in the exorcism’s success,57 but this is true of much ritual magic as well: many medieval and early modern grimoires require the operator to be a priest, a cleric or at the very least a baptized Christian. 58 Amirav’s interpretation is based on a controversial reading of Acts 19:13–20 as advocating revision of the way in which magical formulas should be used, rather than a rejection of all magic.

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