Catholic exorcists are trained to cast out the devil over the phone

Hundreds of wannabe exorcists flocked to a week-long course on how to cast out demons - even by mobile phone.

More than 200 Catholics, many of them priests, will attend lectures and talks in on Monday on a range of topics as demand for exorcisms skyrockets.

Classes include withcraft in Africa, how to tell the difference between demonic possession and mental illness, and a step-by-step guide to casting out demons.

Cardinal Ernest Simoni (pictured) explained how he would read the prayers of exorcism in Latin over the phone just as he would if performing the lengthy rite in person

Cardinal Ernest Simoni (pictured) explained how he would read the prayers of exorcism in Latin over the phone just as he would if performing the lengthy rite in person

Cardinal Ernest Simoni of Albania drew strong interest in the first session by citing the use of cellphones in exorcisms.

'They call me and we speak and that's how I do it,' he said after his address.

Cardinal Simoni explained how he would read the prayers of exorcism in Latin over the phone just as he would if performing the lengthy rite in person.

Although no official figures were available, Catholic Church officials said the number of demonic possessions was on the rise.

Professor Giuseppe Ferrari, an organiser of the 'Course on Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation' at the Vatican-approved Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in said demand was increasing.

'The number of exorcisms has definitely increased over the years, as the requests to carry out exorcisms has increased,' he said.

'This course is useful because it prepares the priests who carry out exorcisms to have a

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