Saturday, December 29, 2007
The Pope & why Satan can breathe a sigh of relief
I got quite excited this morning when I read in the Mail that "The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism."
The 82-year-old "exorcist-in-chief", Father Gabriele Amorth*, told the online Catholic news service Petrus: "Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on. Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil. You have to hunt high and low for a properly trained exorcist. Thankfully, Benedict XVI believes in the existence and danger of evil."
Alas, this news proved too sexy for the Vatican. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, has now flatly denied the Petrus report. The papal spokesman said: "Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of ordering local bishops to bring in garrisons of exorcists to fight demonic possession.”
Just as well. The 1973 movie The Exorcist demonstrated well enough how the Catholic Church is run by bookish scholars and intellectuals who blush at the very idea of evil spirits (preferring to speak of the cop-out "spirit of evil"): old Ratzi would have to mount a purge of robed, post-faith academics first if he ever intended to unleash a new generation of Lankester Merrins on Satanists, their demon friends and, er, Mick Jagger-types.
*For Father Gabriele Amorth's horoscope (and his interview with, yes!, Gyles Brandreth) click here
Fr Gabriele Amorth: "Almost always, in cases of evil presence, the eyes look completely white. Even with the help of both hands, we can barely discern whether the pupils are towards the top or the bottom of the eye. If the pupils are looking up, the demons in possession are scorpions. If looking down, they are serpents."