The Vatican bounces from triumph to triumph. While its US arm was rejoicing at the Catholic victory handed down by the Supreme Court, the head office was giving a huge boost to the people who hunt and torture “witches”.
Exorcists now have an extra weapon in their fight against evil – the official backing of the Catholic church. The Vatican has formally recognised the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who liberate the faithful from demons.
Notice the wording. (That’s the Associated Press saying that, published by the Guardian.) Note the absence of scare-quotes on “evil” and “demons.”
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported this week that the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy had approved the organisation’s statutes and recognised the group under canon law.
More than his predecessors, Pope Francis speaks frequently about the devil, and last year was seen placing his hands on the head of a man supposedly possessed by four demons in what exorcists said was a prayer of liberation from Satan.
The head of the association, the Rev Francesco Bamonte, said the Vatican approval was cause for joy. “Exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer,” he told L’Osservatore.
Well at least there’s a “supposedly” and a “what exorcists said was” in there.
But the point is – the evil is actually the Vatican’s. Here’s the Vatican endorsing the idea that demons exist and that they represent evil and that they can possess people and that there are exorcists and that exorcists can do something about evil demons. Here’s the Vatican doing this in a world where there are people who torture and murder children and women (and more rarely adult men) they accuse of being witches. Here’s the Vatican encouraging that kind of belief and the actions that go with it.
If you’re looking around for evil, look at the Vatican.