I’m Okay, You’re Possessed by Satan

Jason Pitzl-Waters is a better blogger than I am.

When I saw Fr. Longenecker’s post at the Catholic portal linking the Aurora theater shootings to demonic possession, I just rolled my eyes and posted a video about Bobby Jindal’s ridiculous exorcism story.

Pitzl-Waters had the presence of mind to point out the underlying purpose of such possession claims and the damage they do. A taste:

What a tempting idea, that an external evil took control of Holmes and instigated his actions. That it was an embodiment of Evil itself that guided the hand of the shooter, gunning down innocent people. However, this idea is pernicious, particularly within a Christian context, and only serves to prop up a system of abuse that targets anyone who steps out of line with a narrow idea of Christian morality and behavior.


… if someone you love is gay, into kinky sex, likes to play video games, or is Pagan, they might already be influenced by demons (and, by inference, that can lead to terrible tragedies). This isn’t simply my interpretation, it’s an assertion that has been flatly stated by Catholic exorcists.

Pitzl-Waters goes on to tie the exorcism mindset to the problems of witch hunts and witch children in Africa. It’s definitely worth a read.

Perhaps it’s just my imagination, but I’m hearing a lot more about exorcism lately. I wonder if this is a function of the credibility problems that the Church is facing. Exorcism is not something the laity can do for themselves, and the presence of demons make a strong argument for the high status of priests in the community.

Could this be an attempt, perhaps unconscious, to emphasize the authority of the priesthood in a time when their moral authority is in steep decline?