News from the Catholic Church

It’s official. The demand for exorcists is higher than ever, and a group of priests and assorted hangers-on at a Roman Catholic university in Rome have identified the source of the problem: it’s the Internet’s fault! With modern communications, it seems, it’s easier than ever for at-risk youth to find information on Satanism and thus expose themselves to the cruel threat of diabolical invasion.

One learned hierophant informs us that ‘people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron, scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained.’ What’s more, he adds, ‘[T]he sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries, were proof that the anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See. He said Pope Benedict XVI believed “wholeheartedly” in the practice of exorcism.’

Now, I call that a neat trick: invent an invisible enemy called Satan, then blame him for your own sins. To my mind, what he describes sounds more like a conflation of (a) legitimate mental illness, necessitating psychiatric care, with (b) the entirely justified reaction of a young person at the approach of a Catholic priest. Keep trying, fellas (and they are all fellas): Get enough people to swallow this stuff and your glory days will be back before we know it.

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