A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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earliest record of the special ordination of exorcists is the seventh canon of the Council of Carthage (a.d. 256). 1 When they are ordained', it runs, ' they receive from the hand of the bishop a little book in which the exorcisms are written, receiving power to lay hands on the ener-gumeni, whether baptized or catechumens/
Exorcist was the third grade in the minor orders of the clergy, coming between those of acolyte and reader in the Catholic Church. The ancient rite of exorcism in connection with baptism is still retained in the Roman ritual, as is also a form of service for the exorcising of possessed persons. The exorcist makes the sign of the Cross on the possessed person, desires him to kneel, and sprinkles him with holy water; after which the exorcist asks the devil his name, and adjures him by the holy mysteries of the Christian religion not to afflict the person possessed any more. Then, laying his right hand on the demoniac's head, he repeats the form of exorcism as follows, ' I exorcise thee, unclean spirit, in the Name of Jesus Christ ; tremble, O Satan, thou enemy of the faith, thou foe of mankind, who hast brought death into the world, who hast deprived men of life, and hast rebelled against justice, thou seducer of mankind, thou root of evil, thou source of avarice, discord and envy \ Exorcists had to be careful when evil spirits were being cast out to keep their mouths closed, for fear the imps should jump into them from the mouths of the patients. Devils took possession of their victims either by means of food or while the mouth was opened for breathing. Even so well-educated a man as Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) solemnly related that a nun swallowed a devil with some lettuce which she had eaten without first having made the sign of the Cross, and that when it was commanded by a holy man to come forth it replied, ' How