The Exorcist Files

Just when we thought reality television couldn't become any more terrifying than Sarah Palin's Alaska, Discovery announced it is partnering with the Catholic Church to create a series about exorcism and demonic possession. From Entertainment Weekly:

The Exorcist Files will recreate stories of real-life hauntings and demonic possession, based on cases investigated by the Catholic Church. The project includes access into the Vatican’s case files, as well as interviews with the organization’s top exorcists — religious experts who are rarely seen on television.


The series is slated to premiere this spring. Stay tuned.

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Peter Lakeonovich
9 years ago
And the uncharitable slight of Sarah Palin was necessary why?

I've personally enjoyed the excellent exposition of Alaska which the show has put forth.
Jim McCrea
9 years ago
I'm sure that cassocks, rosary beads, holy water and plenty of bile and gore will predominate.  All in the foreground while Gregorian chant and Latin dronings rise and fall with the intensity of the gore.
9 years ago
This topic came up about 6 weeks ago (Bishops to Discuss Exorcism) and I made the following two comments.  They are just as applicable here as in this past thread:

1. Pretty soon people will be questioning spirituality.  Will Catholics start taking the position, 'My, God, they want us to believe in spirits.'  How medieval.

Exorcism is a non issue unless one one wants to make fun of those who might believe there exists intelligences that may be spirits and that some of them might not be benign.

2. I was having lunch with a client several years ago who was an ex Catholic and made it very obvious that he was an atheist and an extremely rational person.  I kept quiet on religion and God as after all this was a business lunch and he was the client.  He was not one who liked to be challenged.  He went on jokingly saying his faith in atheism was shaken some years in the past by the Amityville horror stories and the supposedly haunted house but that he now felt comfortable with his atheism and things like Amityville were always frauds.
The last thing I wanted to do was get into an argument with him but did in a fun way say that the devil would never be so obvious as to haunt a house.  After all the devil is supposed to be one of the greatest minds in existence and would not want to give the whole thing away by being so transparent.  The devil will not come as a grotesque creature with horns, scaly skin and a tail that scares people into models of horror that could be used for church gargoyles. He is more likely to appear if he does so as someone very attractive.  So far I can not point to anyone who would meet the criteria and his presence would be subtle.
So I tend to look at exorcisms as a curiosity not because there is no devil but that he would never want his presence actually revealed to us by something so blatant.  For doing so would destroy atheism which is probably his greatest achievement in our society.  Atheism is such a stupid belief but it so wide spread and it is the culturally and intellectually elite who embrace it the most.  Which is one reason to doubt the wisdom of the elites.
Marie Rehbein
9 years ago
In the Bible Jesus cast out demons and talks about others doing so also.  However, there was no ritual to follow at that time.  I wonder how it came to be that this act became ritualized and whether following the ritual is very important to accomplishing an exorcism.
9 years ago
Dr. Ronald Modras, a highly respected Catholic theorlogian, published an article in ''Commonweal'' that called for saying goodbye to Satan. This was a comfort to me as a Catholic because I found out I am in good company in not believing in the existence of Satan. Show me one, just one, proven instance of diabolical possession and I will quit snickering at the believers in the devil out there. They are most prominent among the Pentecostals and the Jehovah's Witnesses, which might give you  a clue as to the level of inteliigence it takes to swallow such garbage. 
Kang Dole
9 years ago
Marie, I would argue tha exorcism was ritualized in the 1st Century CE, even if not via as formalized procedure as instituted by the RCC. It is interesting to note, thogh, that the gospels portray Jesus as performing exorcisms with much fewer steps/accoutrements than typical of the period.

I've always thought that any attempt to jettison belief in demons and exorcism (which, i suppose, are probably not aways the easiest parts of the tradition for many moderns to swallow) would be pretty awkward as a result of their prevelance in the gospels. I mean, if Jesus did anything, he exorcised demons.
9 years ago
''Show me one, just one, proven instance of diabolical possession and I will quit snickering at the believers in the devil out there.''

I believe in the devil, Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer or whatever you want to call him.  How do we know there is such a person or persons.  It is revealed.  Catholicism is a revealed religion and as such there are a lot of unusual things that are not known to the senses or reason that are the basis of our beliefs.  The Trinity is one.  Once you accept that there are spiritual beings, whatever that means then it is not hard to accept spiritual beings that mean us harm.  How they manifest themselves is another question but it would hard to be a Catholic and not accept them.  Temptation, the Fall and other things depend on it.
Marie Rehbein
9 years ago
JR, I think the problem people have with believing in Satan is that they believe if there is a Satan then every evil thing that humans do are beyond their control rather than that Satan is a constant tempter that most humans manage to rebuff unless they have some vulnerability like mental or physical illness (if the two can really be separated).  I would think that encountering someone actually possessed by Satan would be quite horrifying.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years ago
Satan comes in many disguises.  As one Catholic Worker put it, "Evil rides in high stirrups in the U.S. these days."

I am convinced that this Evil (and I do call it "Evil" with no qualms) is larger than any one person (or nation, or political party), like the Big Machine (The Bank, that you have to keep feeding and feeding, like a monster) that Steinbeck refers to in "Grapes of Wrath".

"The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it ...

They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat. [referring to the banks]."   -John Steinbeck, "Grapes of Wrath", Chapter 5

9 years ago
''Also, it would be helpful if someone would be clear about who the cultural and intellectual elites are so I can steer clear of them.  ''
A good start is atheists.  They are the most absurd of the elites.  Their position is based on bogus assumptions.  Agnosticism is a more principled set of beliefs.  Deism is light years more rational.  Catholicism is not a rational religion in the sense that one can reason to it alone.  One needs revelation.
I made two comments above and you chose to focus on one of them and ignore the second.  I accept the devil from revelation not from reason.  And since I accept him as real, what would be his characteristics if he exists.  That part was an attempt to be rational.  But maybe I wasn't.  Just as the mind of God is beyond our comprehension, Satan certainly represents a mind much greater than ours.   His obvious presence would change our behavior tremendously.  Look at Mr. O'Leary's comment about just having one example.  Also God's obvious presence would also change our behavior tremendously.  So much so that we would question whether we had free will or not.  Belief must be based on faith not on knowledge.  There are several magnitudes of difference between the two and it is my belief that it was designed that way.  So am I being rational about the things that cannot be subject to reason.  That was the great mistake of the Enlightenment.  They thought they could reason to everything and a lot of people swallowed that hook, line and sinker.
A caveat, I often accept the reasoning of atheists on certain topics but try to be careful to discern their intentions when doing so.  Some are very good people from a Christian sense and I wonder if they are truly atheistic or just caught up in a fashion and are just ill informed.  My experience is that most atheists resist a rational analysis of their beliefs on their position on a creator but are very rational on other things.  Interesting contradiction.
9 years ago
''The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it''

And Obama just appointed two representatives of the biggest banks to his inner circle, one from Goldman Sachs and one from JP Morgan.


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