Monday, 31 October 2005

Exorcism today

An article a few days ago in The Australian (27/10/05, p. 11) discusses the contemporary practice of exorcism. A Roman Catholic expert on exorcism, Sydney bishop Julian Porteous, says that Italy has experienced an increase in requests for exorcism in recent years, as a parallel to increasing occult activity.

This year, Rome’s Pontifical Academy Regina Apostolorum even introduced a new course in demonology and exorcism. Julian Porteous explains that the signs of possession can include speaking in unknown languages and recoiling from symbols such as the cross and holy water.

Clearly there are evils in the world. There are even overarching supra-human structures of malevolent evil that can rightly be described as “demonic.” The church really does have something to say about such evils; but it seems to me that mythological talk of ghosts and holy water can all too easily become an evasion of our true task of confronting evil with the gospel of Christus victor.

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