Utne reports on the vast increase in the number of Catholic exorcists running around the United States doing … well, something. Pretending to throw out “demons” and such, I guess.
The challenges now confronting the Catholic Church in the United States are legion: the sex abuse scandal, a secularizing society, and a restive flock that, studies show, loses one out of three adult Catholics, to name just a few. Exorcism reasserts the relevance of the church and its inimitable power over human destiny. Who else is going to help when the devil comes for you?Pope John Paul II, who is rumored to have performed several exorcisms, frequently warned Catholics that Satan is very real and very dangerous. In a similar vein, Pope Benedict XVI praised a group of Italian exorcists in 2005, encouraging them to pursue their “important ministry.”
In the latter half of John Paul’s papacy, the number of official exorcists in the United States ballooned from 1 to 19, according to sociologist Michael Cuneo. The number has grown to about 30 under Benedict. Many of the new exorcists are theologically conservative priests chosen by like-minded bishops who share the late pontiff’s belief that the church is battling cosmic forces of evil.
All those people running around battling demons and yet John Tesh still exists. Maybe their aim is off.