February 21, 2007

The Catholic Church, Exorcism and Schizophrenia

A Romanian priest and four nuns were recently sentenced in the killing of a nun, Maricica Cornici, who had been treated for schizophrenia. When the ill nun relapsed and believed she heard the devil talking to her, the priest and attending nuns attempted to perform a brutal exorcism on her in an attempt to drive out the devil. This "exorcism" is what ultimately caused the nun's death, it was determined.

The church officials criticized the priest's methods, banned him from the priesthood, excommunicated the nuns, and promised reforms.

The Vatican issued new guidelines in 1999 urging priests to take modern psychiatry into account before deciding who should be exorcised. (of course, given that a typical priest's understanding of modern psychiatry and neuroscience may be a bit lacking, we would hope that anyone who tells a priest that they hear "voices" (whether they hear "angels" or "demons") would be immediately referred to a local psychologist or psychiatrist for a full evaluation).

Read the article: Romanian Priest Sentenced for Exorcism

Additional Reading: Possession by Evil Spirits?

Childhood Schizophrenia? - San Antonio Girl Talks to Angels


I think that schizophrenia is an act of God. Sometimes God pretends to be the Devil. Sometimes he pretends to be the next-door neighbour. Or my mum or dad. Or anyone he wants to pretend to be in order to test something or to teach something. For a priest to command God to stop talking to someone is at best ironic, and in this case terribly tragic.

Posted by: Colin at February 26, 2007 03:08 PM

I don't think they are God, but I picture the voices like this. When we hear someone talk as a voice, it's like a bug on the windshield. When the bug on the windshield aligns with an object in the more distant field of view, you hear a voice. By a bug on the windshield vs. a background object, I am referring to attention. The bug is in your auditory thalamus.

Posted by: Michael S. at February 28, 2007 12:14 PM

I honestly dont think the church should have anything to do with a serious condition such as schizophrenia because things like these tend to happen, they should meet with a specialist who actually knows what they are doing.

Posted by: Trey at March 29, 2007 12:58 PM

schizo is mysterious. i wonder how jehovah god and this medical condition are linked. could it be demons in someones head or a chemical imbalance. assuming demons are real, those symptoms a similar. how can one distinguish the difference. of course if you dont believe in god or demons you would say its all symptoms of schizo. i know someone who has this condition and has been treated for it, although it seems the treatments have no effect. these "voices" tell her to hurt or kill herself and when they do talk to her they talk to themselves as well. persuading her that they know whats best, that people who love or make her happy are not to be trusted. on that note- she has been severely hurt by many of the males/boyfriends in her life aka-struck, verbal abuse, mental abuse etc. could she be developing or has developed a condition in addition to her schizo that directs the voices to say things such as "people who make you happy or love you dont have your best interests or cant be trusted." but with her case these voices who are two females and one male, say things about god and certain phrases or topics that i wouldnt expect her to know about or she doesn know about. they get antsy when talking about god and try to down trodden the positive things, one particular occasion while asking them questions through her she would relate that what they were saying. such as- they were banished and that they were created by god. i dont know her religious background well so i cant determine what role her knowledge about religious subjects. that being said it could be that she knows certain things that the voices relate to her that she may have forgotten herself, stored away in her mind. i dont know if this relates to this topic very well and i do know i rambled, these were mostly fresh thoughts i had and wanted to get out. i have never researched anything about schizo or do i know much about it. these were my observances.

Posted by: randomhero at May 16, 2007 10:14 PM

I think that God lets this illness or disability occur due to the fact that we have no one but God to protect us. Whether it's a miracle or God uses it for his glory, we learn to grow and accept it and continue to do what we need for are wellbeing.

Posted by: Mark A. at August 16, 2007 02:34 PM

ive had alot of experience with demonic style hauntings and the such, and went through schizophrnia and psycosis, after being through the mental health system the best advice i got was from my local catholic preist, for me to believe my experiences were nothing more than a brain malfunction would not only be ignorant but just plain stupidity, and to convince somwon that their a malfunctioning peice of biological machinery is not good for them their self esteem and their will to live, schizophrenia to me seems to be a supernatural manipulation, when i reverted to prayer and a selfless as possible attitude, and submission to the catholic faith, it gave me a sense of worth, and any demonic manipulation, to drag me down became futile, and eventually stopped.
when i learned the catholic faith, i learned to push down the sin and grasp on to virtue, and even though its still quite a mystery, faith is the best thing that ever happened to me and i highly recomend it to anyone, but dont expect the early stages to be easy give it time, i came under heavy spiritual attack in the early stages of prayer, rosary etc, but it only resulted in more prayer.
pray for others too not just yourself selflesness is a powerful virtue, hope this helps

Posted by: Ben at May 10, 2008 07:14 PM

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