Students also attend classes in psychology so that priests can distinguish between "real cases" of satanic possession and illnesses such as schizophrenia.
And that's good, because we would hate to have yet another case in which a schizophrenic nutcase sought religious assistance instead of medical assistance, therefore resulting in the deaths of either themselves, or nearby innocents, like their children. Andrea Yates, Dena Schlosser, or Anneliese Michel (whose story served as inspiration for the recent movie "The Exorcism of Emily Rose") come to mind.
Apparently the Vatican still thinks demonic possession is a big problem. That's funny, because I couldn't find any Government statistics on demonic possession anywhere (anywhere outside the Vatican website, that is). First I ran a search for "demonic possession" over at FirstGov.gov, the United States Government web portal. I found nothing relevant, just some stuff about drug possession, which is hardly the same thing. Why isn't the United States Government tracking this serious issue? Maybe the United States Government is in cahoots with the demons? Maybe the United States Government is itself possessed? Or is it possible that the theory of demonic possession is just as legitimate as Phrenology?
My quest for Government statistics on demonic possession had experienced a small setback, but it was by no means over. I figured my next best place to look would be at the Europa website, which calls itself the "Gateway to the European Union." The European Union currently represents twenty-five European nations that have served as the traditional and historical backbone of superstitious afterlife-belief (mostly of the Christian variety) for over a thousand years. Surely they would be intelligent enough to track vital demon possession statistics! I ran a search, and surprisingly got these results:
Your search on "demonic possession" matched 0 of 2051163 documents
Zero results out of two million, fifty one thousand, one hundred and sixty three documents? Well this certainly doesn't solve my problem! All it does is increase the extreme nature of my two possible explanations: Either there is a really, really big conspiracy of demonic possession that stretches across the Atlantic, or the Vatican is full of monster-in-the-closet, afraid-of-their-own-shadow, retards.
Finally I decided to search the official Vatican Website itself. I entered my search phrase, again "demonic possession," and I found six hundred and eighty eight results! They were mostly relevant results too, unlike the irrelevant drug possession results that Firstgov gave me. But what does this say? Well, it says we can at least know that the Vatican believes their own shit.
If the Vatican thinks that demonic possession warrants a call for new exorcists, then obviously they think it’s a significant problem in the world. And if the Vatican is a sovereign nation-state, then shouldn't other Vatican-friendly governments be tracking this kind of phenomena as well? Shouldn't the US and the EU be cooperating in detecting and fighting demonic possession? Shouldn't the US and EU at least release some information, or maybe pass legislation, on what constitutes demonic possession so that their citizens can be informed of the facts?
Or, is it just possible in some crazy way, that the Vatican doesn't have any evidence to back up its apparent view that demonic possession is a real phenomena? I think that if the Vatican does properly diagnose who is demonically possessed and who is just nuts, they won't need any exorcists ever again. It is clear that all these recent cases had religion serve as an impediment to proper treatment, and if medical care was administered instead of religious voodoo, these people (and their children) would still be alive.
If the only difference between a case of schizophrenia and a victim of demonic possession is an aversion to religious objects and speaking in funny tongues, then I'm afraid that many more Andrea Yates, Dena Schlosser, and Anneliese Michel cases will pop up in the future.