I remember reading a story a few years back about the old boys at the Vatican getting their skirts in a bunch over Harry Potter and Twilight. One self-proclaimed exorcist for the Vatican went to the media and ranted about the corruption of our youth. The only thing I got out of the kerfuffle was HA! The Vatican still has exorcists?!
Nooo, I was assured by my Catholic colleagues and friends. This guy is fringe, he’s silly, but the Vatican doesn’t actually still employ exorcists, like, to do exorcisms! It’s something that is dying out, he’s probably the last official “exorcist” on the payroll. And now that I’m told that this new Pope is so liberal and carefree, there wont be a single exorcist left, amirite?
Well, then I came across this story, and I laughed so hard I had to make sure it wasn’t published by the Onion.
Exorcists are in urgent demand as a result of a sharp rise in people dabbling in Satanism and the occult, experts from the Catholic Church in Italy and the US said.
Well, at least they seem to agree on both sides of the pond! Let’s continue.
Valter Cascioli, a psychologist and scientific consultant to the International Association of Exorcists, which is endorsed by the Vatican, described as an “emergency” the lack of priests capable of fighting the forces of evil.
“The lack of exorcists is a real emergency. There is a pastoral emergency as a result of a significant increase in the number of diabolical possessions that exorcist priests are confronting,” he told La Stampa newspaper.
Guys, there is an International Association of Exorcists. I can’t even. I wonder if they have a website?
Dr Cascioli teaches courses in exorcism at the Pontifical University of Regina Apostolorum, a Vatican-backed university in Rome. “The number of exorcists has increased in recent years, but there are still not enough to deal with a dramatic situation that affects, above all, young people who use the internet a lot.
Well, website or not, you can take University courses in exorcism! How fun is that?
The fact of the matter is, exorcists are far from being a dying breed in the Catholic Church. The International Association of Exorcists apparently sports over 250 members in 30 countries, and not only was it approved by the Vatican, Pope Francis himself has been credited with a rise in membership and demand, and has personally praised them for combating the Devil’s works.
Remind me again how this Pope is liberal, evolved and not bogged down in the old-fashioned again? Looks like his PR man, former Fox News correspondent, is earning his paycheck nicely, as that remains his reputation thus far.
But before I wrap this up, I’d like to leave you with a few more parting words from our dear Exorcist in Chief, Valter Cascioli.
Whereas belief in Satan was common among Christians centuries ago, fewer people now believe in the concept of outright evil.
That was the Devil’s sly intention – to fool people into believing that he does not really exist, said Dr Cascioli.
“His trickery is to make us believe that he does not exist. But the point is the same – to deaden people’s faith.”
The risks of dabbling with the dark arts were often underestimated, he said.
“People whose faith is lukewarm don’t pay enough attention to demonic activity, and the temptation to engage in it.”
Well, the expression isn’t “that sly Devil” for nothing!
Seriously though, don’t believe the hype around Pope Francis. Just because his predecessor looked like, and had the reputation of a Sith Lord, that doesn’t mean that the current Pope is any less superstitious, or any less keen to promote ignorance.
It just means that he did a much better job at hiring people who know PR.