Head of Maronite Church says exorcism 'central to faith'

Head of Maronite Church says exorcism 'central to faith'
2 min read
21 June, 2015
The head of Lebanon's Maronite Church, Bichara al-Rai has said that exorcism and the belief that spirits can possess humans are central to Christian belief.
Coptic Christians also practice exorcism [AFP]

Appearing on Lebanon's evangelical television Tele Lumiere, Bichara al-Rai, the head of Lebanon's Maronite Church, a part of the worldwide Catholic Church, stressed that the devil is very real, and could "corrupt" and "possess" humans both metaphorically and physically.

Rai suggested that those priests who deny the devil's physical existence should not speak in the name of Christianity, as their teachings contradict the Bible. "The devil is not a metaphor, and exorcising demons is not symbolic," Rai said.
 
Expounding on the subject, Rai said devils could possess sinful individuals who abandon God, reiterating the mantra that the devil's greatest trick was convincing people he did not exist.
 
Rai mentioned an incident where a couple went back home to find paranormal activity in their apartment. One morning, he said, the woman saw worms coming out of her husband's eyes, and the couple rushed to the church. "We sent a bishop, who prayed, and it was over".
 
Rai said the Maronite church would appoint an exorcist in each parish.
 
The Vatican holds similar positions on exorcism. Belief in demonic possession is shared by many Muslims. In 2011, a Palestinian woman died during an exorcism session in south Lebanon, especially when exorcists use physical techniques rather than prayers.
 
The scientific community believes symptoms of alleged demonic possession could be signs of mental disorders, but many religious authorities believe otherwise. The Vatican has specific "exorcism guidelines", detailing "symptoms" of possession" as opposed to "signs of sickness".