Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Sympathy for the devil: inside the world of exorcisms

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Anthony Hopkins in The Rite (2011)
I just had to share something I found via the Catholic Herald earlier today. The current number one film at the US box office is a horror movie called The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins as a Catholic exorcist tasked with training a sceptical young priest (the last article I read about it, prior to today, was an amusing piece entitled "The Seven Types of Roles Older British Actors Can Always Sell Out With, From Priest to Pagan God"). The Catholic Herald was pointing readers to an interview with Father Gary Thomas, the Californian priest on whom Hopkins's character is based.

As you might imagine the interview, from the Catholic World Report, provides a fascinating insight into one of the most bizarre elements of Catholicism (even many Catholics would agree, surely?), and contains some real gems. I urge you to go and read it yourselves, but to give you a sample, here's one of my favourite bits:
"I think it takes more than just saying, “In name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave.” We have a rite that’s recognized, even by the demons, as legitimate. Spontaneous prayers of deliverance are not the same thing as the official rite of exorcism."
I don't know about you, but I just love the idea of demons recognising something as legitimate. It's as if they've looked at the rites of the Catholic Church, assessed them, and agreed: yes, those are legitimate. Brilliant.

In the piece, you'll also learn how the recent increase in demonic possessions has been caused by the internet. Enjoy.
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