The position of the Catholic Church on exorcisms has modified – a spiritual expert explains why

The position of the Catholic Church on exorcisms has modified – a spiritual expert explains why
26 March 2024 J.W.H

In September 2021, a 3-year-old he died during an exorcism at a small Pentecostal church in San Jose, California. During the ceremony, the kid's throat was allegedly squeezed and her head was lowered, possibly suffocating her. In May 2022, three members of the victim's family were charged with child abuse.

Several known deaths have occurred during exorcism rituals prior to now. In 1976 Anneliese Michel The German died of dehydration and malnutrition after almost 10 months of Catholic exorcisms. In 2005, Maricica Irina CorniciRomanian Orthodox nun, died in an ambulance after an exorcism during which she was chained to a cross.

While exorcism is practiced in many of the world's cultures, within the Western imagination it’s most related to Catholicism. This association has been either an asset or a liability for the Church in various periods of history.

For much of the twentieth century, exorcisms were extremely rare in Western countries and sometimes treated with reverence embarrassment by the Catholic authorities. After the discharge of William Friedkin's film “The Exorcist” in 1973, Juan Cortez, a Jesuit priest and professor of psychology at Georgetown University, said Newsweek that he didn’t imagine within the existence of demons.

Today, the Catholic Church has almost completely modified its approach to the discussion of exorcism. In 1991, church authorities allowed exorcisms on TV for ABC's “20/20.” Said Father Richard P. McBrien, who appeared on “Nightline” to query the wisdom of the choice Catholic Courier that exorcisms were presented on this option to implement a political agenda, not to save lots of souls. He stated:

“I imagine that the true purpose of this project was to assist restore that ancient religion, when everyone, especially women, knew their place, when Catholics obeyed without query all directives from on high, and when there was never any doubt that the Catholic Church was the one true Church. , which incorporates all of the answers to all of the essential questions on life, each here and within the hereafter.”

As a spiritual scholar who writes about exorcisms From a historical perspective, I imagine that the Church's changing position on exorcism has little to do with our culture's understanding of mental illness or other scientific advances and more to do with the competing visions of the Church described by McBrien.

Superstitions and stigma

Historically, the Protestant majority in America has stigmatized Catholics as “superstitious immigrants” After the Second Vatican Council, a worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops held from 1962 to 1965, there was an try and downplay the more supernatural elements of the Catholic tradition. Traditions regarding what a historian was particularly controversial were Robert Orsi calls “presence” or the idea that supernatural forces are at work amongst us fairly than in some transcendent realm.

Many church authorities believed that in the event that they didn’t “modernize”, they might lose the younger generation. As Catholic author Flannery O'Connor described the prevailing attitude in 1962: “the supernatural is a shame

An illustration of the devil attempting to capture a magician from the Thirteenth-century Chroniques de Saint Denis.
Duncan1890/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Ironically, because the Church tried to modernize, the counterculture gained increasingly more attention occultism, popularizing the books and movies that paved the way in which for “The Exorcist.” The film became a social phenomenon and suddenly priests were inundated with people demanding exorcisms. William O'Malley, a Jesuit priest who played a task within the film, described this growth to a sociologist Michael Cuneo in the next way: :

“I was teaching at a Jesuit high school in Rochester at the time, and for a while the phone wouldn't stop ringing. … They called, seeking an immediate solution – begging me to exorcise their own demons, their children's demons, and even their cats' demons. It's not that I rule out the possibility of possession. As the saying goes: “There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio, than your philosophy can dream of.” But this video seems to have given off some really weird vibes.”

Many conservative Catholics loved “The Exorcist.” Traditionalists – conservative Catholics who oppose the reforms of the Second Vatican Council – capitalized about this recent demand for exorcisms, claiming that modernization has made Catholics vulnerable to demonic attacks.

The Catholic Church also had competition: individuals who couldn’t obtain exorcisms from Catholics now had many other options. Pentecostals solid out demons for many years. There was also the environment New Age Healers offering exorcisms.

The return of the exorcists

The 1917 Code of Canon Law was the primary official comprehensive codification of church law and required each bishop to appoint an official exorcist. But most dioceses he didn't actually do itand this requirement was removed within the 1983 code update.

International Association of Exorcists was founded in 1990 to lobby the Vatican to take exorcisms more seriously. In 2004, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked dioceses around the globe to reappoint an exorcist.

These recent exorcists needed to be trained, so in 2005, a special “Regina Apostolorum” course was organized on the Vatican Seminary. One of the priests who undertook this training was Fr. Gary Thomas, whose experiences were chronicled by journalist Matt Baglio and have become the idea for the 2011 film “Rite” In the film, a priest of little faith is shipped to Rome to learn exorcisms, which culminates in a dramatic fight with the demon Baal. In 2014, the International Association of Exorcists finally received its academic degree formal recognition from the Vatican.

Francis, who assumed the papacy in 2013, is seen as favoring exorcisms. In 2017, he encouraged priests to achieve this refer parishioners to an exorcist if their discernment process has determined that it is actually needed. Paradoxically, Francis' openness to exorcisms could also be linked to his progressive agenda.

Francis is the primary Jesuit pope. The Jesuit order – the identical order that Father Karras belongs to in “The Exorcist” – emphasizes education, and the Jesuits have long had a status as freethinkers. Right-wing conspiracy theories they accused the Jesuits of supporting communism or attempting to corrupt the Church from inside. As Pope Francis, he did this relatively tolerant statements about homosexuality and criticized capitalism – moves that might alienate the conservative wing of the Church. But traditionalists can at the very least find solace in Francis' openness to exorcism and the realities of the demonic.

Historically, exorcisms were also a option to attract recent converts. Some individuals who thought they were possessed after watching “The Exorcist” became fascinated about Catholicism he began going to mass. The media described the yr of the film's release as: Catholic exorcist in San Francisco who helped a family who believed they were victims of a demon attack. As a result, one member of the family converted from Orthodox Judaism to Catholicism. Any opportunity for brand new converts have to be attractive to a church with a declining following and still clouded by clergy abuse scandals.

Exorcism and politics

Exorcism has grow to be increasingly common in Catholic culture, in addition to in Evangelical and Pentecostal cultures. This was shown by a YouGov study from 2013 51% of Americans imagine in demonic possession. But at the identical time Catholic attending church still falling. This trend reflects a broader pattern cultural polarization in America between growing secularism and an increasingly conservative religious culture.

In fact, exorcism is playing an increasingly essential role within the culture war. In 2018, he was a priest from Chicago faraway from his position by his bishop for reciting an exorcistic prayer while burning a rainbow flag.

In 2020, the Archbishop of San Francisco performed an exorcism at the location where protesters toppled a church statue of Junípero Serra, a Spanish missionary. Serra was canonized as a saint in 2015, but Native Americans weren’t accused him aiding and abetting the genocide of indigenous peoples in Spain.

As these trends proceed, time will tell how long figures like Pope Francis will have the ability to keep up center stage. Meanwhile, it is probably going that exorcisms will grow to be increasingly popular amongst each Catholics and other denominations.

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”