Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Roman Catholic Church Seeks Exorcists

It sounds like the Roman Catholic Church wants to get in on more of the exorcism action. At a recent conference in Rome, 250 more priests were trained in the ancient art of casting out the devil. It only makes sense that the denomination that preserved the Rite of Exorcism from antiquity would never leave it to the likes of the Teen Exorcist Squad, who make doing battle with the forces of evil look a little too much like a day at the mall. But the reasoning of the conference organizers leaves something to be desired. Apparently, they believe that some substantial portion of non-religious people practice magick.

The conference, “Exorcism and Prayers of Liberation”, has also attracted psychiatrists, sociologists, doctors and criminologists in what the Church called a “multi-disciplinary” approach to exorcisms.

Giuseppe Ferrari, from GRIS, a Catholic research group that organised the conference, said there was an ever growing need for priests to be trained to perform exorcisms because of the increasing number of lay people tempted to dabble in black magic, paganism and the occult.

“We live in a disenchanted society, a secularised world that thought it was being emancipated, but where religion is being thrown out, the window is being opened to superstition and irrationality,” said Mr Ferrari.

The abandonment of religion “inevitably leads people to ask questions about the existence of evil and its origins”, he told Adnkronos, an Italian news agency. About 250 priests were trained as exorcists in Italy, but many more were needed, the conference organisers claimed.

All this shows me is that Ferrari doesn't know any actual secular atheists. What's so silly about his statements is that hardly any of the atheists I know even believe in the paranormal, let alone practice occultism, and most occultists I know are religious in some fashion. Often they're Thelemites or Pagans of some sort (and to be fair, Paganism does get a mention up there), but a few of them are even Christian. It's hard to see how Ferrari could have missed that if he spends any time on the Internet. The most vocal atheists are so smug about how rational and free of superstition they are that they would never cast a spell to save their lives - or for that matter have anything to do with an exorcist.

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Anonymous said...

When I read that 250 more priests were being trained, my first thought was: is that enough? Not sure why... but i have a feeling that it will not be enough.

Scott Stenwick said...

I don't think the church is planning on stopping at 250. Francis has offered more support to exorcists than the last two Popes and this is just one conference. Whether or not that's a good thing, though, is still an open question.

Carl Anderson knights of Columbus said...

Pope Francis wants to support Roman catholic church and has done many things in favour of Romans and I/m sure it will stop at 250.

Carl Anderson knights of Columbus

Scott Stenwick said...

I know that number of commenters online have criticized Francis over the exorcism issue, but personally I don't have a problem with priests being trained to perform them.

These days, the Roman Catholic Church has a long and arduous procedure that has to be followed in order to make sure they're not dealing with some sort of mental health issue, and as a magician I've worked with enough spirits to know that they're out there and can do things. I disagree that all such spirits are "demons" in the Christian sense, but that's an issue for another day. The point is that in effect an exorcism is the opposite of an evocation and can be an effective ritual for banishing spirits of whatever sort.

What I found worthy of criticism was the idea that because people are abandoning their spiritual and religious beliefs, they are going to get involved in "black magic" and the occult. That's just plain silly. From what I've seen, the vast majority of people who become atheists do so because they reject spiritual beliefs in general, and are therefore less likely to engage in any sort of occult practice that someone who accepts the basic premises of religion.