Centre for Inquiry

Centre for Inquiry

April 17, 2012 11:54 ET

Media Advisory: Saskatoon Demonic Possession Claim Spurs Call to Prohibit Exorcisms in Canada

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 17, 2012) - In response to a recent claim of demonic possession in Saskatoon, the Centre for Inquiry (CFI) - a national science advocacy organization - has called for a prohibition on exorcism.

In a CBC report, Saskatoon Catholic Bishop Don Bolen described the need for a trained exorcist and referred to such a commission in Calgary. "Such remarks in the modern day are more frightening than demonic possession," said CFI's National Communications Director Justin Trottier. "Exorcisms have worsened existing medical conditions, caused bodily harm, and on occasion have resulted in death."

German Anneliese Michel died after a ten-month exorcism in 1975. The incident, serving as the inspiration for the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, resulted in convictions for negligent manslaughter against two priests and the victim's parents.

"Most cases of claimed demonic possession are misdiagnoses of genuine - and often serious - mental conditions requiring real treatment," said Trottier.

CFI calls on medical authorities to prohibit exorcisms in Canada, especially on children.

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