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40 Mexican bishops are taking an 'intensive' exorcism course

An Italian priest who says he's personally conducted 1,650 exorcisms is leading the course.

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Pope Francis caught on tape performing an exorcism. (Screengrab)

Some 40 Catholic bishops from various dioceses in Mexico are attending an "intensive" excorism seminar this week at the Pontifical University of Mexico, according to university rector Mario Flores Angel Ramos.

The bishops will be trained in how to perform exorcisms, which are "a reality in our society and it should be addressed from a biblical, theologic perspective with psychiatric aspects," according to Ramos.

Italian Bishop Sante Babolin, who is leading the training along with a theologian and a psychiatrist, said he has conducted 1,650 exorcisms on 150 people (each case demands a series of exorcisms). He has succeeded 50 times, he said.

Exorcisms, the cleansing of demons from a person or area, are ancient parts of several religions. In Catholicism, exorcisms are church-sanctioned — though rarely talked about — rituals done in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Mexico has been described recently in the press as a country where exorcisms are on the rise. But Babolin said not everyone who thinks they need an exorcism really does. 

"Of every 100 people who believe they need an exorcism, only 2.4 percent are found to be authentic cases," he said. "The rest are just bothered souls."

Pope Francis drew headlines not long ago for being caught on tape performing what many called an exorcism (the Vatican later denied such claims), and earlier this week, the Vatican endorsed the International Association of Exorcists, which has 250 members from 30 countries.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/world-religion/140721/40-mexican-bishops-intensive-exorcism-course