- Published on Thursday, 23 September 2010 07:24
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2753
The Catholic Church still believes in Exorcism – yet since there are no such things as demons, they are perpetuating a primitive ritual that can only do more harm than good. Other religions also believe in it but Catholics still have an official set of rules. The last update was in 1999 when the Vatican issued new rules little changed from 1614. The main addition was a caution not to mistake psychiatric problems for diabolic possession. Further, belief in demons and the devil is not optional for Catholics – in 1999 at the time of the announcement of the new rules, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez said "The existence of the devil isn't an opinion, something to take or leave as you wish," and he added that belief in Satan is a tenet of Catholic faith.
Recently Pope Benedict has blamed the devil for the problems the Church is having with abuse of children by priests and while that seems bizarre to most people, perhaps it would be useful to try to understand this thinking.
To Catholics and many other religious people, anything evil is the work of the devil – simplistically, one can think of Satan as evil personified. Although God is “all-powerful” and stronger than Satan, apparently it’s believed that God cannot rid the world of Satan permanently which is a strange thing to believe but people do believe this stuff.
And there are many demons – not like God who is one person but everywhere, Satan has devils in his employ (fallen angels) who go around possessing people and making them do things they would otherwise not do. So if you see an evil person yet he was not always evil, then the theory is that he’s now possessed. If someone is possessed and God is more powerful than a devil, then the person can be rid of the demon by a third person (e.g. a priest) asking God to exorcise the person of the possession.
Now why it’s a big production with all the drama no one has explained. Surely either god is going to help or he’s not. Why the struggle? It would seem that the person has a mental illness and the priest is playing at being a psychiatrist without even knowing what he’s doing.
But wait, believers in exorcism say that you can tell possession from a mental illness because the sufferer has enormous strength and speaks in unknown languages. There are other cases of unnatural strength reported such as when a good Samaritan lifts a car to free someone and many people speak in “tongues” at Pentecostal meetings so these “symptoms” don’t convince me.
Because there are very few exorcisms actually performed these days, it’s clear that for some magic reason possession has dropped right off despite the fact that there is just as much evil in the world.
The real concern remaining is that although the Catholic Church tries to position itself as using god-given reason to rationalize its teachings, it still teaches that demons exist and that exorcism is occasionally necessary. And Pope Benedict made it clear recently that he does not mean that devils are just a manner of speaking about evil, he means that there really are such things.
If he believes in devils, he no doubt believes in angels and the concept of a guardian angel. If someone gets possessed by a demon, was his guardian angel asleep on the job? Or is an angel no match for a devil? Even having such a discussion seems ludicrous – but that’s the Catholic Church for you.