Reports on religion become stranger by the day. A recent report in the Telegraph made me question if editors had given up on journalists altogether. How else would the following subhead have slipped into publication:
‘Pope Francis’ effect credited with rising demand for exorcisms around the world.
Excuse me? Credited? That’s like saying Jihadists are to be credited for 9/11! The whole article reads like an episode from The Twilight Zone:
States Father Cesare Truqui, chief Exorcist in Chur, Switzerland:
“Pope Francis talks about the Devil all the time and has certainly raised awareness about exorcism. But all Latin Americans have this sensibility – for them, the existence of the Devil is part of their faith.”
Truqui uses a rather broad brush here, as I’m sure that not all Latin Americans are as batshit crazy as this idiot. But he does point to a real problem: in order to shore up their dwindling numbers, the catholic church is ratcheting up a fictitious threat to scare people into staying. They obviously don’t give a damn that full-on bronze-age superstition will scare borderline psychopaths into hurting or killing others – the end justifies the menace, so to speak. After all, it is quite damning (ha, ha) evidence that satanic possession is a phenomenon that only afflicts Christians.
But what bewilders me most is how priests can state the most outrageous stupidities without reporters calling them on it. In the interview, Chief Exorcist Truqui states that
I once treated […] a man who was obsessed with masturbating – he did it every day, many times
Seriously? So when you are able to jerk off multiple times a day you are now possessed by the Devil? Hey, I wish I could do that. Exorcise your libido? Did someone perhaps confuse that word with exercise and called the wrong professional? Only the uptight, sexually dysfunctional church could find something wrong with that. Listen, you idiots, don’t you know that Pfizer has a major product line to give clients what you think is the Devil’s work? Are you really that retarded?
It gets worse. Claiming he can discern the difference between medically ill people and those truly possessed by the Devil, exorcist Truqui enthuses
There are some classic signs – people who speak in ancient tongues, for instance. Other people have supernatural strength when they are in a state of possession[…]. In some cases, people are able to levitate.
Note that Truquil carefully avoids an outright lie here – he doesn’t say that he’s ever witnessed such an event, just what would be indicative of a possesion. No reliable evidence of levitation, spontaneous language abilities, or truly superhuman strength has ever been recoded, and Truquil knows that. He just spouts these idiocies for the simple minded believers to sell his snake oil.
It’s not as if he doesn’t know it:
“A considerable number of the cases referred to us are in fact psychiatric cases”
Another narrowly avoided lie: they all are.