Genoa Setting Up a Team for Exorcisms

Also a "School of Confessors," Says Cardinal Bertone

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GENOA, Italy, MARCH 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Genoa Archdiocese is undertaking the formation of a team of priests to care for possible cases of exorcisms. It is also establishing a "school of confessors."

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone explained the initiative in detail, in statements published today by the newspaper Avvenire. The Genoa archbishop outlined the initiative last September in his three-year pastor plan for the archdiocese.

First, the cardinal said, the archdiocese will offer "a more profound formation" for priests in the exercise of the "ministry of reconciliation and spiritual support."

The need to establish a "school of confessors" is in response to the times, which require well-prepared "confessors and genuine spiritual fathers, especially in shrines and churches visited especially for confessions."

"Unfortunately, this eminent form of pastoral charity has been left for too long to the good will of each one and to his talents from the beginning of the seminary," the archbishop said in his pastoral program. "It must no longer and cannot be like this!"

Cardinal Bertone said that priests must be formed in current issues, such as "the development of medical science, which poses new and complex questions."

The cardinal announced that progress is being made in the establishment of a diocesan team "specialized in the support of people who are suffering symptoms that are difficult to interpret, whether from the spiritual or psychological point of view, or in the framework of problems of exorcism."

Emphasizing the need for "prior discernment" in this delicate matter, the cardinal said that in the case of diabolic possession, "the person in question will be supported by an exorcist who will pronounce the prayers of the rite."

The cardinal said the names of the exorcists will not be published. He said the archdiocese will offer people the possibility of a preliminary contact, to discern those in real need, who will then be put in touch with "one of the priests in charge of this ministry."