"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Demons Also Believe, and Shudder

This past Friday and Saturday a group of American bishops gathered in Baltimore at a conference devoted to the subject of exorcism, and the growing need in the American church for more trained exorcists.  In an article published before the conference, Hell's Bible The New York Times explained:
The purpose is not necessarily to revive the practice, the organizers say, but to help Catholic clergy members learn how to distinguish who really needs an exorcism from who really needs a psychiatrist, or perhaps some pastoral care.

“Not everyone who thinks they need an exorcism actually does need one,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who organized the conference. “It’s only used in those cases where the Devil is involved in an extraordinary sort of way in terms of actually being in possession of the person.

“But it’s rare, it’s extraordinary, so the use of exorcism is also rare and extraordinary,” he said. “But we have to be prepared.”
Professor R. Scott Appleby of Notre Dame is quoted as saying:
It’s a strategy for saying: "We are not the Federal Reserve, and we are not the World Council of Churches. We deal with angels and demons."
Just so. Belief in evil spirits is precisely and exactly as irrational and silly as belief in God.
The Rev. Richard Vega, president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, an organization for American priests, said that when he first heard about the conference on exorcism, “My immediate reaction was to say, why?”

“People are talking about, are we taking two steps back?” Father Vega said. “My first reaction when I heard about the exorcism conference was, this is another of those trappings we’ve pulled out of the past.”


But he said that there could eventually be a rising demand for exorcism because of the influx of Hispanic and African Catholics to the United States. People from those cultures, he said, are more attuned to the experience of the supernatural.
One might have hoped that Father Vega, as a priest, was himself "attuned to the experience of the supernatural," but perhaps he is not. That would be a shame. And we can't help but detect a whiff of racism in his observation.


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