Matt Baglio Interview – Mar 23, 2009
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Coast to Coast Summary
Exorcism & Demons
Journalist Matt Baglio discussed his recent work chronicling an American priest’s training as an exorcist, and how the exorcism ritual is used to combat demonic influence and possession. Baglio himself took a course in exorcism training offered by a Vatican-affiliated university near Rome. Italy currently has 350-400 church-appointed exorcists, he said, and some 500,000 people seek out exorcisms annually in that country. In contrast, the United States has only 14-15 official exorcists sanctioned by the Catholic church.
Baglio characterized demons as fallen angels, incorporeal beings who can manipulate matter– creating such effects as opening and closing doors, making objects move around or disappear, and changing the room temperature. People can open themselves up to demons and become tormented by them, through practicing the occult, hardened sin, curses, and cults, he detailed. While the rite of exorcism seeks to draws out the demon, some of the dangers to exorcists have been over-hyped, such as the idea that a demon can move into the priest, Baglio learned.
Interestingly, those who have become possessed through a curse are among the hardest to exorcise, Baglio said. A priest can determine if the possession is the result of a curse by touching a cross to different parts of the afflicted person’s body. When a curse is present, the possessed have been seen to vomit up unusual objects such as braids of hair, beads, 3-inch nails– even a live toad, he reported. In the case of the toad, it began to jump around the room, and when the priest caught it, it was said to dissolve into saliva.