Roman Catholic priests and others are reportedly being taught to perform exorcisms via cellphone in response to an increased demand for the services. That's according to a new report from the New York Post, which suggests the practice may not be all that uncommon. In fact, it's a method of exorcism which seems to have the full support of at least one Catholic Cardinal, Cardinal Ernest Simoni of Albania. Addressing around 200 participants in at least one crash course for the practice, the 89-year-old Cardinal is said to have explained that the use of a cellphone to expel demons from a person is actually very similar to how any other exorcism is performed. Simoni says the cell phone allows for the same discussion to happen as would happen in person. Once it is determined that an exorcism is needed, he simply reads the appropriate prayers in Latin. Presumably, that is done with the receiving phone or device's speakerphone turned on, although that wasn't specified.
It goes without saying that the exorcism course included quite a bit of teaching beyond that particular use of a cellphone. Participants also learned how to differentiate between possession and mental illness, discussed various forms of witchcraft, and the proper steps to perform a more traditional exorcism. The course itself is said to be a response to an increased number of reported possessions. According to church representatives, though, that doesn't necessarily mean there's been an increase in demonic possessions. Instead, it seems the purpose is to increase the number of well-trained individuals who are available to make the abovementioned discernments. In particular, Simoni points to a need to first ensure that there isn't an underlying medical problem, although that's a step that he says really requires a doctor.
Beyond that, the increase in demand does not mean that just anybody who completes the course is certified to perform an exorcism. According to the church, only those who are both priests and have the permission or a bishop or a license can technically perform the ritual. Other participants are only earning the right to participate alongside a Catholic priest who has met the proper conditions to perform an exorcism. In the meantime, this is at least an interesting new use of modern technology – although it may be far more interesting to see how newer emergent technology might be used for similar purposes in the future.