Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/173

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MODERN INSTANCES OF DEMONIACAL POSSESSION.

ality of witchcraft; or the popes, bishops, and synods that have unanimously, with the necessary limitations, established it as a Catholic doctrine?"

There are doubtless many sincere Catholics, like Cantù, who repudiate the belief in demoniacal possession, but Brunengo is unquestionably right in affirming that this view is opposed to the plain teaching and actual practice of the Church on this subject. Leo XIII is justly regarded as a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and more thoroughly imbued with the modern spirit than any of his predecessors, yet he composed and issued, November 19, 1890, a formula of Exorcismus in Satanam et Angelos Apostatas worthy of a place in any mediæval collection of conjurations. His Holiness never fails to repeat this exorcism in his daily prayers, and commends it to the bishops and other clergy as a potent means of warding off the attacks of Satan and of casting out devils. In 1849 the Bishop of Passau published a Manuale Benedictionum for the same purpose; and in 1851 there was printed at Munich, in Bavaria, a work entitled Rituale Ecclesiasticum ad usum clericorum ordinis S. Francisci, by Pater Franz Xaver Lohbauer, in which the theory of demoniacal possession is maintained, and the method to be pursued in such cases minutely prescribed—Modus jurandi afflictos a dæmone. The author of this ritual distinctly declares that nearly all so-called nervous diseases, hysteria, epilepsy, insanity, and milder forms of mental alienation, are either the direct result of diabolical agencies or attended and greatly aggravated by them. A sound mind in a sound body may make a man devil-proof, but Satan is quick to take advantage of the infirmities of men in order to get possession of their persons. The adversary is constantly lying in wait watching for and trying to produce physical derangements as breaches in the wall, through which he may rush in and capture the citadel of the soul. In all cases of this sort the priest is to be called in with the physician, and the medicines are to be blessed and sprinkled with holy water before being administered. Exorcisms and conjurations are not only to be spoken over the patient, but also to be written on slips of consecrated paper and applied, like a plaster, to the parts especially affected. The physician should keep himself supplied with these written exorcisms, to be used when it is impossible for a priest to be present. As with patent medicines, the public is warned against counterfeits, and no exorcism is genuine unless it is stamped with the seal of the bishop of the diocese. According to Father Lohbauer, the demon is the efficient cause of the malady, and there can be no cure until the evil one is cast out. This is the office of the priest; the physician then heals the physical disorder, repairing the damage done to the body, and, as it were, stopping the gaps with his drugs so as to prevent the demon from getting

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