Signs of existential evil in society


The Independent reports on a worrying trend.

The proliferation of “beautiful young vampires” in TV series and Hollywood films including True Blood and the Twilight movies is encouraging young people to dabble with occult forces, a leading authority on demonic possession has warned a Vatican-backed exorcism course.

What’s a leading authority on demonic possession? What’s there to be a leading authority about?

“There are those who try to turn people into vampires and make them drink other people’s blood, or encourage them to have special sexual relations to obtain special powers,” said Professor Giuseppe Ferrari at the meeting in Rome, which heard that the number of such possessions is rising globally.

So he could be an authority on people who think, or pretend to think, they’re turning people into vampires. He could be a skeptic, in short…except the part about warning a Vatican-backed exorcism course doesn’t sound like a skeptic.

To Google then. Most of the top entries are related to this same conference. But there’s one item from May 2014, so let’s see what the authority was up to a year ago.

Organizers of a recent exorcism conference in Rome spoke to the Telegraph Newspaper about the growing problem of demonic possession:

…Giuseppe Ferrari, from GRIS, a Catholic research group that organized 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…

Ok, so he’s that kind of authority, the kind who takes it seriously. That makes it slightly odd that the Indy calls him an authority.

Professor Ferrari, who heads an Italian occult watchdog, The Group on Research and Socio-Religious Information, said exorcisms should only be conducted by properly trained priests. Although the Vatican regards genuine demonic possession as rare, with many suspected cases proving to be people with mental illnesses, Pope Francis has urged dioceses to ensure that they follow Catholic law and have at least one trained exorcist each.

Just in case. Demonic possession is rare, but rare isn’t the same as non-existent.

Funny, that. If it happens, then why doesn’t it happen constantly everywhere? If it’s something De Debbil can do, why doesn’t De Debbil do it full-time? Why is it rare?

Swiss exorcist Father Cesare Truqui told The Independent that this week’s course, attended by exorcists, priests and lay people, was vital in order to raise awareness and hone priests’ skills in fighting evil.

Hey, here’s an idea – they could forget about demonic possession and just look at their colleagues and themselves. They could think hard about why they’re so determined to keep women subordinate. They could think hard about why they’re so rabidly opposed to same-sex relationships.

“The ministry of performing exorcism is little known among priests. It’s like training to be a journalist without knowing how to do an interview,” he said, noting that dioceses in Italy and beyond were experiencing a surge in reports of symptoms of possession.

No, it isn’t like that, because doing an interview is real while doing an exorcism is just fantasy.

Father Cesare is a protégé of Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist for 25 years, who claims to have dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession. Father Amorth said that sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church were proof that “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican”. He took a similarly dim view of fantasy novels and yoga. Practising the latter, he once warned, was “satanic; it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter”.

Gay rights and IVF fertility treatment were listed as signs of existential evil in society by Monsignor Luigi Negri, the Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio. “There’s homosexual marriage, homosexual adoption, IVF and a host of other things. There’s the clamorous appearance of the negation of man as defined by the Bible,” he declared.

No no no. All backwards and twisted around. I know this, because I’m an authority.

Comments

  1. says

    Wait, what? Why is the vatican opposed to IVF? How does giving people the chance to create more people represent a “negation of man as defined by the bible?” That’s a totally bizarre stance. I suppose that it probably has something to do with the usual policing of sexual relations with which the church is so obsessed.

  2. Ed says

    Yes, interest in a particular type of folklore and symbolism in pop culture is surely a sign of “existential evil” at the core of society. [extreme sarcasm]

    Presumably actual evils like torture and police brutality are no big deal.

  3. Andrew B. says

    That’s fine. The training is really simple. Just have them beat Castlevania on the original NES without dying once. If they can do that, they can handle anything.

  4. iknklast says

    Wait, what? Why is the vatican opposed to IVF?

    I think it has something to do with “playing God” or with being “unnatural”. But it might be because they worry if women can procreate without having sexual relations with a man, then women might decide they don’t need men for other things – like telling them what to do. And the Vatican firmly believes men should be telling women what to do.

  5. says

    Mr FP – oh yes – that’s been the Vatican position from the beginning.

    Dignitas personae:

    The fact that the process of in vitro fertilization very frequently involves the deliberate destruction of embryos was already noted in the Instruction Donum vitae.[26] There were some who maintained that this was due to techniques which were still somewhat imperfect. Subsequent experience has shown, however, that all techniques of in vitro fertilization proceed as if the human embryo were simply a mass of cells to be used, selected and discarded.

    Etc etc. But also –

    The Church moreover holds that it is ethically unacceptable to dissociate procreation from the integrally personal context of the conjugal act:[29] human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution. The blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved in the process of in vitro fertilization vividly illustrates how the replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure – in addition to being in contradiction with the respect that is due to procreation as something that cannot be reduced to mere reproduction – leads to a weakening of the respect owed to every human being. Recognition of such respect is, on the other hand, promoted by the intimacy of husband and wife nourished by married love.

    And blah blah blah. Shut up and do what they tell you.

  6. tecolata says

    Not only does IVF often require destruction of nonviable or spare embryos, it involves masturbation. They need a man’s ejaculate, after all. And that is a sin.

    Now, raping 10 year old girls, or boys, not so much.

  7. rjw1 says

    I don’t suppose any of the Vatican apparatchiks has ever produced a real living (?) vampire.

    “…the growing problem of demonic possession:”

    The only growing problem is the increasingly demented response of the Catholic hierarchy to their totalitarian vision of the world, they are the West’s equivalent of the Muslim mad mullahs. What are “special sexual relations”, between consenting adults, perhaps?

  8. says

    Ostensibly celibate old men lecturing couples on “the conjugal act.” Classic. They cannot even get their basic terminology correct; can’t “abort” an unimplanted a zygote/protoembryo. I suppose getting things wrong is par for the course for people who are alarmed at the growing problem of “demonic possession.” Meanwhile, they deny couples the opportunity to have children (even though those couples are and have already been trying to “promote intimacy” for themselves, just not having the result of children, which they want).

  9. dmcclean says

    Not only does IVF often require destruction of nonviable or spare embryos, it involves masturbation. They need a man’s ejaculate, after all. And that is a sin.

    Not exactly, tecolata, like the sabbath elevator there is a technological solution for that. (Although unlike the sabbath elevator this one also has actually-useful niche applications.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condom#Infertility_treatment

    Even more ridiculously: “Adherents of religions that prohibit contraception, such as Catholicism, may use collection condoms with holes pricked in them.”

  10. sonofrojblake says

    If it happens, then why doesn’t it happen constantly everywhere?

    This seems a strange objection to make. Plenty of things happen, but don’t happen constantly everywhere. Tornados. Metallica concerts. Muslim terrorist atrocities.

    Personally I think if a celibate man in a frock wants to go and roleplay his batty Blatty fantasies with some compliant goths/emos, let him have his harmless fun. Better that than fiddling with kids. Of course, if any actual kids are involved then it should immediately be a matter for the authorities – but has that happened?

  11. John Morales says

    sonofrojblake @10, FFS!

    Had you quoted the entire reflection, you’d likely not have found its strangeness so remarkable.

    Try again (my emphasis):

    Just in case. Demonic possession is rare, but rare isn’t the same as non-existent.

    Funny, that. If it happens, then why doesn’t it happen constantly everywhere? If it’s something De Debbil can do, why doesn’t De Debbil do it full-time? Why is it rare?

  12. John Morales says

    sonofrojblake, it doesn’t change it, but rather provides context for the contrast.

    (“… rare isn’t the same as non-existent …”)

    Plenty of things happen, but don’t happen constantly everywhere. Tornados. Metallica concerts. Muslim terrorist atrocities.

    They happen enough — i.e. more than never. 😉

    (Documented, even!)

  13. John Morales says

    PS [pedantry]

    sonofrojblake, your examples are instances of categories; weather events, public entertainment events, terrorist events.

    (Possession events are a different category of events)

  14. hbuttle says

    In case anybody is wondering how a single man can perform 70,000 exorcisms (that’s about 4 per day for 50 years non-stop), let it be known that father Amorth is such a powerful exorcist that he can perform them even by telephone.

  15. sonofrojblake says

    They’re different categories. They’re all categories of things that happen… unless you’re saying demonic possession doesn’t happen. Say it ain’t so! Because the original post already said it does. From your precious “context” (my emphasis): “Funny, that. If it happens, then…”. The question is predicated on the acceptance that it does, indeed, happen.

    “Why doesn’t this happen constantly, everywhere?” is a daft question, and you’ve not made any sensible defence of it.

    And, while we’re at it, why is it necessary for a white woman of European ancestry, in a question apparently directed at white Europeans, to adopt a racist parody of the speech patterns of black African slaves (“de Debbil”? Really? WTF?).

  16. says

    sonofrojblake – you missed the point completely. If the devil can possess people, why would it do it only rarely? The devil is supposed to want to lure and destroy everyone, so why would demonic possession be rare? I wasn’t talking about it as a matter of random natural occurrences at all, but as a matter of agency and will, that of the devil.

    Your gloss on my presumed racism is contemptible.

  17. Blanche Quizno says

    Actually, in my experience, “da debbil” is more a nod to Ebonics (remember that?), something ethnic that has mainstreamed like remarking “Oy vey!” or “Gesundheit.”

    It’s not widely acknowledged that Christianity is *chock full* of “possession” imagery – both good AND bad. The famous Pentecost scenario has the “Holy Ghost” possessing Christians and thus enabling them to speak intelligibly in foreign languages such that the foreigners observing remarked with wonder (Acts 2). *I* wonder why it is that this never happens any more and that the “speaking in tongues” has been reduced to gibberish O_O

    And the Bible states that the devil can take people captive “at his will” – see 2 Timothy 2:26. Many examples – I’ll spare you :)

  18. Blanche Quizno says

    Having been raised intensively Evangelical Christian, I remember the “satanic panic” of the 1970s, where Christians truly believed that the Ouija Board was a “portal” leading straight to/from “hell”. Yes, Parker Brothers is mass-producing demonic portals and selling them cheap at WalMart! But it never worked for me O_O My friends used to trick me alla time O_O

    See this Jack Chick tract “Bewitched” at http://enterthejabberwock.com/2007/02/chick-dissection-bewitched/ – an enduring classic. “The sale of ouija boards has passed our wildest hopes.” Mmm hmmm.

    The Christian panic over the Harry Potter books was similar. It would be ONE thing if magic spells worked – then a book that purported to instruct people on how to use them might have some use other than pure entertainment *ahem*

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