Evidently, in 1999, the Vatican revised both the rules of and the Rite of Exorcism. The original rite, "The Roman Ritual" (or the foundation thereof) was written in 1614. The Pope frequently talks about the Devil as a real entity on Earth to test people and their faith. There are priests trained and appointed to perform exorcisms (it's not as easy as the movies make it look, of course, both to get an exorcism and to actually cast out whatever the force is).
So....how do we reconcile information like this in contrast with what I recounted about the Pope recently, and with Vatican II rulings and the Pope's recent assertation that "God is not a magician", and Science and Religion are not mutually exclusive.
I...dunno. I guess I feel like there's room in the world for both the scientific and the fantastic. I can tell you the next course on Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation is being held in Rome in April of 2015 at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum and is, by accounts I find, open to those who can attend. I can only assume it's in Italian, the (as yet undetermined) price of admission does not include lodgings, and you need to get yourself to Rome. It seems like it would be fascinating to attend; five days to cram your brain with these topics, in a sanctioned manner? Yes please.
It's hard to reconcile demonic possession with mental illness as well. There are very sad and angering stories of people with schizophrenia, or developmental disabilities, being injured and even dying during an exorcism, which is perhaps one reason it's so hard to get the Catholic Church to do one; they want to be certain without a doubt something like demonic possession is the case, and not brain chemistry. It's a terrible mistake to make, and causing more pain and suffering is never the intent (should never be the intent). I'm not sure how one ever reaches that certainty but, God willing, it will never be my job. I just like to read about it and, sometimes, write about it.
(why yes, my current novel in progress opens with an exorcism; how could you tell?)