Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Very Very Disturbing And Sad Story About Spirituality Gone Wrong

Fr. Amorth and his half trained disciples may wreak far more havoc in Catholicism than they ever cure.

Is it just coincidence that on the day the story breaks about Cardinal Pell becoming the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, this story also comes out of Australia?

Priest conducts 'bizarre' faith healing
Kim Macdonald, The West Australian - May 5, 2010, 2:35 am

A bizarre faith-healing ritual has prompted the Catholic Church to warn that an influx of foreign priests had created "difficulties" because they tended to have a more spiritual outlook than Westerners.

A horrified congregation watched a foreign-trained Catholic priest lay a mentally and physically disabled girl on an altar during mass at the weekend and order her to walk.

The priest was later escorted to a mental health clinic by police. The congregation is being counselled over the event, which left children and adults in tears.

Vicar-General of Perth's Catholic Archdiocese Brian O'Loughlin said while the "bizarre and unusual service" was largely due to the priest's mental condition, it highlighted that foreign-trained priests had a more spiritual approach.

Monsignor O'Loughlin said Westerners had a more logical outlook and tended to turn to the spiritual when they could not understand concepts in other ways.

He said the approach by African, Asian and Eastern European-trained priests was sometimes a "difficulty" but while it required adjustment, it was not a problem because overseas priests were an important addition and were welcomed by multicultural congregations.

Catherine Roatch, who saw the faith-healing service, said it appeared to be an attempted exorcism.

"He prayed in some gibberish and then started to demand that this girl speak as well as stand up," she said.

"The girl would not have even been able to comprehend, let alone follow instructions. It was very undignified for the young lady and she was just crying, howling at the altar.

"Then the priest just left her there and went back to the microphone and the wailing went on for at least 15 minutes.

"People were getting up and leaving. People were crying and they were angry. The children were terrified."

Ms Roatch claimed the girl's parents had put her on the altar but their support for the ritual was uncertain. They were later seen crying.

Monsignor O'Loughlin said exorcisms were a legitimate part of the Catholic religion but were not allowed in regular services and could only be performed by appointed priests.

While the Church did not condone the bizarre service, he said it was standing by the priest in his time of need, though he would not be allowed to give mass until he was better.


My heart breaks for this poor child, her parents, this congregation and this priest. Whether this was an exorcism or not, it was a clearly abusive of an unwilling individual child, a sand bagged congregation and Catholicism's most sacred ritual.

Welcome to Benedict's and Pell's church, both of whom are promoting an army of exorcists. There will be more of this. Maybe not this egregious, but there will be more. The energy unleashed will harm more naive priests and more unsuspecting laity. Exorcism is not a game. It's not a spectator sport. It should never ever be used in this fashion.

Catholicism must not take it's spirituality on the path of the Evangelicals. It is truly dangerous for the unsuspecting, the untrained, and the mentally unstable or emotionally immature. In the hands of the untrained, it harms far more than it heals.

In spite of Msgr O'Loughlin's minimising assessment, this story is a major warning for other bishops in other dioceses. One they had best heed. Abuse of power doesn't only come in sexual forms.


  1. Exorcism is Catholicism's "most sacred ritual"? Now that is scary!

  2. True "abuse of power doesn't always come in sexual forms."

    " The indicative prayer directly commands the demon to leave: ''I command you evil spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, begone.''

    The Church's priests, especially Opus Dei influenced ones, are not equipped to perform any kind of healing to anyone, let alone exorcism.

    "Then the priest just left her there and went back to the microphone and the wailing went on for at least 15 minutes."

    This says it ALL for me, that the priest just left her there!!! There is no LOVE.

    No exorcism can be performed without LOVE.

    "Faith healing" they call it? Faith in who? Faith in what?

    When the Church teaches the laity to be stupid, more of this type of stupidity will continue.

  3. I also must add, when the Church keeps its priests stupid and with a medieval mind-set, this type of nonsense will garner them lawsuits. Perhaps that is what you are alluding to Colleen?

  4. This is a very sad story about spirituality gone wrong! It is not really spirituality though. It is more about Opus Dei's & Pell's ideology and political agenda than it has to do with real spirituality.

    This is what the new OD Church has to offer! This is it folks! More wailing of children, parents and congregants and no love from the priest or princes of this failed spirituality gone wrong!

  5. TheraP -

    Yes, exorcism - in proper context, form, & done by those with a legitimate spirituality - is genuinely of Christ. We know that He gave power over demons to His Apostles. We also know from the Gospels that others (NOT of Jesus' disciples) were successfully casting out demons in Jesus' Name.

    The key to this is; genuine faith.

    Because this is NOT done by human power, but by 'tapping into' the power of God. That is only possible via real faith.

    Now...if Fr. Ogwambaj from Kenya (an Opus Dei outpost) come to the parish, posited as being a 'trained exorcist" out!

    Butterfly - you are 100% correct: the vast majority of priests, especially the OD ones, are in no way equipped to perform exorcism, much less 'healing'.

    Note: the power to physically heal was lost centuries ago- as noted by St. Francis of Assisi. The loss is due to the fact that (as a general statement) neither the Vatican organization nor the majority of priests (then or now) really believe in Christ. They believe in the Church organization, its $$ & power, and its leaders.

    If you do not believe in Christ as if ALL depends upon Him, you cannot heal. You also cannot exorcise demons.

    You might be (accidentally...we hope....) invoking them. Letting them in. Or reinforcing their hold on the person. If the person was NOT previously under demonic influence, you might be 'opening the door'.

    Even assuming the best of intentions in the new 'army of exorcists', I would strongly warn anyone to beware of them. There is a very serious reason for this.....and I do not care if anyone wishes to believe this or not. But I would be remiss if I did not point this out:

    "....Lucifer together with a large number of demons will be unloosed from hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God. They will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls........the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening in all that concerns the service of God. They will have great power over nature: there will be churches built to serve these spirits. People will be transported from one place to another by these evil spirits, even priests, for they will not have been guided by the good spirit of the Gospel, which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God. .......
    "Extraordinary prodigies will abound everywhere because the true faith has been extinguished and the false light illuminates the world. Woe to the princes of the Church who only concern themselves with the accumulation of riches upon riches, protect their authority and rule with pride.......May those in charge of religious communities be on their guard against the people they must receive, for the devil will resort to all this evil tricks to introduce sinners in to religious orders..."

    That is excerpted from the Prophecy of LaSalette - which Opus Dei has expended great effort to hide, edit, villify & dismiss. Because it points at them & their cohorts. The Prophecy is in non-lineary fashion, as is Revelations with which it has perfect coherence.

    My point: some of these 'healings' & 'exorcisms' may in fact produce the.... Inversion....of what would be their correct purpose.

    Inversion....being the Key word.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  6. Exactly, Mouse, God is Love.

    There have been a tremendous amount of bloody wars since St Francis' time, all mostly having to do with the powers of evil in this world and who wants to be in charge and in possession of the wealth of the world.

    The prophesy you mention has been fulfilled for many generations now, as far as I can see.

    It makes sense that there would be no healings from priests or anyone else due to a real lack of faith in God's power over the powers of this world.

    It truly is not modernity which has unloosed Satan into the world, as the Opus Dei right wing fascist want to point blame there. It really is the Church's lack of love for God and not putting God first, as in obeying the First Commandment. It really does come down to the basics on whether one is in alignment with the forces of good or the forces of evil.

    A choice has been made and now there is a lot of deception all around with people becoming hysterical religiously and demanding people walk and be healed, when there is no love for God.... it is an impossibility.

  7. Anon Y. Mouse:

    I'm not disputing that Jesus "cast out demons" (though today we'd call that curing mental illness, in my book).

    But "most sacred ritual"? To me, that's the Eucharist!

    If exorcism is the "most sacred ritual" why is it not even a sacrament? Ok, maybe you could say: "a sacred ritual" - but if it's not even a sacrament, "most sacred" to me seems a HUGE stretch!

  8. Has anyone seen this report of Maciel's unauthorized order of "female slaves"" Mr. TheraP ran across it in the Spanish press (El Pais) just now. Here's something in English from the Mexican press:

  9. the 'exorcism' was performed during Mass - which I believe Colleen is referring to as 'Catholicism's most sacred ritual."

  10. TheraP I was actually trying to say that this, what ever it was, was also an abuse of Catholcism's most sacred ritual--the Mass. I can see where you might have gotten the wrong idea.

    However, and exorcism done correctly is an amazing spiritual event and can result in true healing.

    Done poorly it can result in inversion, as Anon points out. Here's some info you might find interesting. A rep from Eli Lilly told us at some drug dinner that they had verifiable research that the anti psychotic Zyprexa shuts down psychic talent. I used to hear that all the time from clients.

    I wonder who paid for that research. The drug rep didn't know. He just thought it was fascinating.

  11. Thanks for the clarification. And yes, how awful to pollute the Mass by placing this child on the altar. And leaving her there!

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. I am so relieved to "get" what you meant.

    Interesting about zyprexa. And likely others. Well, they make you so you can't think! NO wonder!

  12. TheraP

    "But "most sacred ritual"? To me, that's the Eucharist!"

    You are, of course, 100% correct...and I apologize for not clarifying my remarks. I was having trouble posting that comment, thus this key element did not make it:p

    What I meant to what you have well stated: that the Eucharist is the most sacred ritual. While important, exorcism or anything else is secondary in spiritual importance.

    Sorry for the confusion!

    Anon Y. Mouse

  13. Colleen -

    You will see the connectivity between Opus Dei (perceived as the Ultra-Right) with the so called Evangelical Right in the US. The talking points of Abortion & gay-bashing are obvious common links.

    In the US, mainline Protestant churches have been emptied of parishioners - as have Catholic parishes. Where have the ppl gone?

    1) Into the loving arms of the various Evanglical entities (including the Catholic branch of the Charismatics....which link with Steubenville, Groeschel, Ralph Martin & other OD types).

    2) Into the loving arms of Opus Dei, Legion of & Liberation, Neo-Cats, etc., etc.

    3) Or they stay home. Most in this group lapse into unbelief. Though a substantial but unknown number DO increase in Faith by private prayer, reading, etc.

    The one thing 'they' do not want, is ppl who will think & ask questions. Those who use the brains God gave them have been shut out of places of Catholic worship.

    The devotees of groups #1 & 2 are there for spectacle & show. Hence faith healing, preaching by screaming, etc. fits the bill.

    And as some psychologists have noted, the Evangelical group type of service is a ripe garden for mind control. Whether it has the 'Catholic' label on it or not is a side issue.

    They are all 'singing out of the same hymnal'.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  14. I saw the connections between the two a long time ago. Under the umbrella group of the New Apostolic Reformation, patterned somewhat on the Vatican hierarchy, they too talk constantly about reformation. More than that however is their 7 mountain strategy which seems to me to be patterned exactly on Opus Dei, targeting the same two groups: wealthy social conservatives and disenfranchised spiritual seekers.

    What really bothers me though is the whole idea of Spiritual warfare, a language parotted by OD bishops like Finn and Neuman. I see it as projection in the classic Freudian sense.

    The eery similarities make one wonder as to who really is calling the shots with these supposedly different strands of Christianity. I've always thought Benedict's call for an army of priestly exorcists was a counter move to NAR's army of self appointed exorcists---who are really active in the Global South.

    In the meantime neither side says one peep about the real arms race. Gee, I wonder why that is?

  15. Colleen -

    Good observations!

    I have my own private opinion about Ratz's new 'army of exorcists;, and it gets a bit dark. And pardon me in advance if I mentioned elements of this before.

    In their (the Vatican/Opus Dei) view, they are the saviours of the church & world. Moreover, they are 'right'. Further, they would express this using the words of Ambrose of Milan:

    "Where there is Peter, there is the Church; there is God".

    Not only do they have all the answers, they are literally claiming to BE the answer, as per the above blasphemous contention. Wherein they have (literally) posited themselves as having His attributes, power, etc.

    This is demoniacally brilliant. The masses of bewildered sheep have neither the brain power nor the spiritual ability to fight this. Much less a lucid argument against it. Thus - even if presented in subtler terms - they will believe it.

    Further, using this thesis, he who dares contradict or question them (or their 'authority') must be of the Devil. As 'Rebellion against God/legitimate authority is a tool of the Devil".

    Thus, if you resist them, there 'must be something wrong with you' need 'healing' need an EXORCISM.

    I think you can see where I am going with this. It is something very old recast in new clothes.

    And as you & other have indicated, an uneeded,unwarranted, & inept 'exorcism' can have the result of Inversion: of a 'backwards exorcism'. Inserting rather then removing.

    Whether the Inversion is intentional or not becomes irrelevant, in practical reality.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  16. The papal idolatory thing is a neat little piece of circular logic.

    Actually now that I think about, self reflective circular logic is a favorite piece of their apologetics. As is plausible deniability.

    Speaking of which I just got done reading Lifesite News and their apologetics for Professor Reker's little European excursion with his rent boy. Reker was maybe set up by evil gays. :) ROFL.

    He certainly has an interesting last name.

  17. Ok, Anon E. Mouse, now I'm with you!

    To me, the huge problem here is the dictatorship, which IS the Vatican. A dictatorship is actually a very "dependent" entity - because it must have a mass of people who bow to it as to a god, who are willing to obey at best or are frightened and therefore "obey" at worst. As long as it retains a type of mythic power, which the mass of people "trust" it does not need to frighten the people into submission. But as that trust wanes, the only way to keep the people in line is to frighten them into submission.

    Since the Vatican has no "army" as such it cannot rely on earthly power. Thus the threat of being branded diabolical and the "power" of the exorcism - as a tool of FEAR.

    I have no doubt that LOVE is very powerful - in a benign sense. And that love - flowing from a holy person - can work what we would have to term "miracles" - but the opposite of that, whatever you want to term it, is a fearful and dangerous thing.

    And to me that's why I'm leery of anything that smacks of "exorcism" - because it's been misused so much in history, in the church, by therapists, by family members trying to control "wayward" individuals, likely as a "treatment" for homosexuality, etc.

    And right now I see this focus on exorcism as a tool to keep the masses from leaving the church - should they begin to doubt the Vatican - as they should!

    The confusion of any earthy institution with God is horrifying to me. Especially if some self-appointed men in long fancy garments, wearing strange hats, carrying expensive golden staffs insist that THEY are the arbiters of all TRUTH and indeed the very mouths of God - well... couple that with the threat of exorcism (which is even worse sounding than excommunication!) - and many of the sheep will simply lie down and cower - or form mobs to demand exorcisms.

    Seems to me when that kind of thing is on the verge of happening - and you've got competing exorcists, then you are far, far away from the "Reign of God" - the We-Community of the Trinity.

    So for me I'm gonna cling to God! And flee the competing exorcists! I'd rather fall into the hands of the living God than mobs of religious extremists.

    Security word: manca (in Spanish, "one-armed" - sense of "something is missing"

  18. Great post TheraP.

    Once the trust is gone the authorities always full the fear card. Which is in my opinion nothing more than yanking on the childhood fears we all still carry to some extent, of things which go bump in the night and the boogy man in the closet.

    It is primitive and can be very effective. It's like these conservative groups are trying two comparable strategies: Blather on constantly about all the sex issues and attempt to hook people in their post pubescent sexual fear and guilt, and if that doesn't work, go back even further by dragging up child hood fears.

    The conversation is never adult to adult, it is always controlling parent to fearful child.

  19. I guess its finally time to add my two cents. Colleen and all of you, I need to first say that you've been a lifeboat for me for quite some time now. As my parish devolves into cultic Catholicism, as my liberal faithful friends walk away in disgust and confusion and resentment, I've found NCR and your "work group" and others as a place to learn and grow. You've helped keep my faith and hope alive, been a vehicle of the Spirit for me, and I'm very grateful.

    TheraP touches in on my latest concern in the last post. I see the conservatives as setting faith as the opposite of doubt, rather than faith as the opposite of fear as I have come to know it. Interestingly, if faith opposes fear then doubt is in play, to be worked with. If faith opposes doubt then fear is useable, as we see in so many sermons and hierarchical programs.

    Here's the question: can we say in the history of humankind's faith development that faith opposing fear is -- better? higher? holier? -- than faith opposing doubt? I see some people prospering in their lives using the "wrong" method. I strongly believe that God can bring us to love despite our flaws and fears, if we let Her. I see both conservatives and liberals getting into the "I know Jesus better than you do" fight that the apostles started, and that Jesus labels as a non-starter. Wrong question, no answer. And ultimately, a lot of these discussions go to the evil genius answer, where good people who disagree with me are being led astray by the diabolical other. In fact, that's when I disagree most here, when this group degenerates into the stupid-sheep-of-the-OD mode. Obviously some good work is being done, even if standing in defiance of this bastardization of God's Word is as vital to me as it is to you.

    Hope that's not too much of a ramble or a tangent. God bless all of you. I guess you've exorcized a few more of my demons.

  20. mjc:

    Wow! Two good terms I've learned this morning. "Cultic Catholicism" from you. And "catholic in exile" from a commenter at Bilgrimage. Well, 3 terms, because I like your "Vehicle of the Spirit" as well.

    And your comment is so dense it nearly needs a thread to itself... whether Colleen wants to call it "work group" or "working thread" or whatever. Because it seems to me that you have struck at the "heart of the matter" in this crisis.

    I will have to ponder long and hard before I can adequately think through everything you are pointing to. But it reminds me of a wonderful professor of philosophy (30 years ago), an emeritus professor whom we were fortunate to have for an extra, summer course looking at early writers of psychotherapy - but as a philosopher would read them. This was a man who also had studied theology - under Tillich. An expert in Kierkegaard. And a beautiful person as well! I knew him in his 70's I think.

    This man had written one book - I don't think it's available anywhere (well, some university libraries) and the title was: The Faith to Doubt. And that, I think, is what you getting at. And that is key here, I think. That any TRUTH worth its salt must be open to investigation, to testing. And Jesus made clear what the test is: By their fruits you shall know them. But also we know, over and over, from scripture - especially the Old Testament - that God acts in surprising ways and can break into our human reality at any time of God's choosing. And that mostly, nearly always in fact, God chooses the most unlikely person or place to do that! (And as you say, God can bring about the fruits in spite of how others might evaluate the person God within whom God chooses to act.)

    I'm not sure what I've added to what you've written. But please weigh in more!

    And here's another piece of wisdom, that I once gleaned from a Sufi tale. About the "fruit" we're seeking to discern. It's a story about "seeking fruit" - and three different seekers. One is so busy following the rules for such an endeavor, that he totally misses the fruit - so focused was s/he on the rules, the map you could say. The next person actually found the fruit - but it was over-ripe. And that person got turned off entirely and gave up altogether. The 3rd person is us, I think. That person found the fruit, saw that it wasn't fit to eat (at that point), but realized that inside the fruit was a seed and that if s/he took the seed and planted it, eventually there would be fruit.

    I think you are outlining perhaps the difference between "rule-following" (which leads nowhere... but the seeker never even notices... so convinced are they of the AUTHORITY of the RULES!) and looking for the pearl of great price within what appears to be nothing but rot.

    I hope I've said something here. At least as a pointer... Some seek certainty - those are the seekers of AUTHORITY. Others seek the living God and that is a scary venture. I offer another blog from a bit back:

    I think it pertains...

  21. Well, wow back at you, and thanks TheraP. I'll try to keep showing up.

  22. Boy, these are really thought provoking questions.

    First off, whatever happens on the main page is me and my morning mood. Whatever happens on the comments page is most certainly a group endeavor and I never doubt that there's more to that group endeavor than meets the eye. Hence the verification words are sometimes highly relevant.

    mpc I really had to stop and think about how in my own path I have had to wrestle with doubt and fear.

    My doubts seem to be products of my intellect and education, not necessarily my faith. I don't doubt Jesus, but I have doubts about doctrine and dogma. I don't believe I'll be judged on my honest doubt.

    Fear is a different issue. Most of the spiritual mentors I've worked with didn't care much about my doubts, but they really cared about my fears. It is fear that gets in the way of relationships and communication. Doubt matters when it's a product of fear.

    Jesus places fear as a bigger threat to faith than doubt--especially after the Resurrection.
    "Be not afraid" was his standard greeting. Thomas was not afraid, he just wouldn't intellectually accept of view of reality which included returning from the dead. He had a humbling moment and had his intellectual (ego) security about the nature of reality transcended, especially the nature of reality that Jesus lived and lives.

    Doubt does not need to be a faith destroyer. It can be a faith evolver.

    Fear, that can be a faith killer. Especially if one professes a faith whose fruits are enacted and grounded in love. The kind of love Jesus demonstrated calls for openness, integrity, transparency and honest communication. Fear negatively impacts all of those attributes.

    When religious authorities make expressing intellectual doubt a fearful proposition, it's really engaging in an abusive relationship with it's membership.

    Jesus let Thomas verify with his own hand the veracity of Jesus's truth. Thomas literally touched Jesus's reality. He had no more doubts.

    It seems to me the Vatican is in a position where they have given up on the fruits of the power of love in favor of the fruits of fear. They are beginning to push the notions of exorcism as sort of a back door proof of their exalted priestly connections with Jesus.

    I happen to think this is a very dangerous strategy.

  23. I just want to add how exorcism was explained to us in the seminary--this was recently, about three years ago.
    We were told that priests shouldn't be doing exocisms unless they were specifically designated to do so via Rome. Exorcist was one of the minor orders that all seminarians were given prior to the V2 reforms. All the minor orders were discontinued in the '70s, though acolyte and reader were retained but not called minor orders anymore. (Though there were still elaborate ceremonies for both reader and acolyte--I did both and cherish them; with all the malarky to be a seminarian, these ceremonies helped make me feel I was actually on the way to becoming a priest; they were a welcomed shot in the arm.)
    Exorcism is resufacing now because the church is still figuring out how it will make cultural accommodations--mostly to African Catholics who attribute many more things to demonic possession than the Rome attributes to demonic possession. There's an issue of cultural sensitivity going on right now.

  24. Ah, yes... cultural sensitivity and African Christians. But their solution is a little like the following scenario: Suppose that acceptance of gay people meant you too should engage in homosexual sex. Well ... NO! So I can understand cultural sensitivity. But I can't understand importing aspects of another culture... And besides... why then is the Vatican not pushing polygamy? Etc.

    Ok, nobody can do exorcism unless approved by the Vatican... so... now I'm confused. Is the Vatican culturally sensitive? Or are they playing one culture against another? Or is a just a mind game?

    Gosh, every time I feel like we're headed in a useful direction, up comes the Vatican to beat its chest and say, "I'm the boss!"

    Colleen, if you get any better at this, there will need to be a blog called: The Best of EC! Or EC Digest.

  25. Someone needs to let the devil and his other inner dimensional minions know that they can't be neutralized unless the human involved wears a collar.

    Someone needs to tell those other inner dimensional beings like Michael the big AA, that same thing because they and their metaphorical big swords aren't being limited to working only with those wearing a collar.

    All joking aside, that's one of the issues I have with this notion of spirituality. It limits the laity to one side of the inner dimensional equation, and it's not the good side.

  26. Regarding this subject of exorcism, when Jesus approached the blind man on the Sabbath who never could reach the waters at the pool of Bethsaida (can't remember if this is the correct name), I recall in that reading, and in most every other reading about a healing that Jesus performed, He said "Your faith has saved you." So, it would seem to me that in an exorcism too, there would have to be Faith in the person that they could be healed from possession, as well as the love of God within the one performing the exorcism.

    In the example of this recent attempt at exorcism, it was performed on a person who was mentally and physically disabled. TheraP, I think you are on the right track, that the mental health professionals can aide with mental health issues, healing, and the Church hierarchy seems to want to take over their jobs without having any scientific understanding of the abilities of the mental health profession. That is the sense I get from this type of exorcism, which to my mind, having handicapped mentally ill persons in my own family makes me privy to what has aided them and what definitely would not aide them. An exorcism performed on them in my judgement would be utterly ridiculous and might make matters worse, for all the reasons stated in the comments about reversal of the intent to "heal."

    In my own family, the real life giving force for my handicapped siblings has been love, a consistent love.

    I believe the RCC or ODC as it is being molded and modeled as, wants so much to add a tag of "love" to their attributes. The exorcism shows the real fruit of their lack of love. The onus is really on these "leaders" or "authorities" of the Church to demonstrate they are bearing some fruit. It really is a desperate attempt and one that will not be fulfilled as long as they do not put God first and do away with all that is weighing them down and preventing the Holy Spirit.

  27. Colleen, I so much agree with you:

    "It limits the laity to one side of the inner dimensional equation, and it's not the good side."

    That is because they fear the laity. They have demonized the laity, particularly those who don't agree with them, doubt their sincerity, don't trust them.... and for good reasons, of which they will not listen... because they have denied our humanity and spirituality and gifts.

  28. well, i think the vatican is concerned about cultural sensitivity when it comes to african caholics and exorcisms.
    i also think the church wants to keep play to african catholics because they are growing in numbers and are generally much more conservative (socially conservative only, certainly not theologically or liturgically) than catholics in europe and the americas. so, yes, i think the church is playing global politics here, but i also think the church is genuinely concerned about cultural sensitivity. if africans weren't socially conservative, i don't think the church would be as disposed to display that cultural sensitivity.

  29. anonymous, are you ex opus?

  30. Colleen -

    There are minor exorcisms: such as that in the full, tradtional Rite of Baprism (e.g. as shown in 'The Godfather I'), and in the Exorcism Prayer invoking St.Michael the Archangel.

    No...the baby is not possessed! The purpose of the former is to drive away evil forces & spirits from the innocent child. The latter prayer to the AA, is one which anyone can say, for the same spiritual effect.

    But we are NOT dealing with possession in either case; nor should things like this be equated so in ppls minds.

    This hints at the core of the issue: the confusion between a so called 'prayer of minor exorcism", and the spiritual treatment of full blown possession - which if formally exorcism with Bell, Book & Candle. A VERY dangerous confusion!

    ...and for Matt's information.....No, I am not 'ex-OD'. Just one who has been in a position to know some things by much personal experience. Nothing I have said is 'conjecture'.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  31. What do you expect from a church of people who are willing to believe in each and every alleged apparition of the BVM, no matter now bizarre or obviously superstitious?

    Catholics can be some of the most gullible sheep going.

    Jim McCrea

  32. Jim, I think they are gullible because they so much need Mary and to be mothered. They certainly are not getting any mothering from the Church hierarchy. They are getting authority that is over them. They are not getting love. Their consciences are getting a flogging with inhuman rules and their thoughts are penned and gated in places where the fields have no vegetation, no growth, nothing of love to graze in.

    Some are content grazing in such fields. Some accept the bitter for the sweet. Never having the sweet, they believe the bitter is sweet.