Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Do you do excorcisms?
So began a telephone conversation the other evening. It is not unusual to get such telephone calls here in Brighton. One of my predecessors was appointed our diocesan Exorcist. Five years into the job he claimed he had never done an exorcism. Indeed the requests I get are never, well hardly ever, from practicing Catholics, they are always from people who are on the margins of faith or spirituality. They tend to increase when a popular horror film has hit the large or small screen.
Brighton is full of shops selling tarot cards, pentangle jewelry, stuff with goats heads on it, the spirituality section of our bookshops have more on "Magic" or the occult than on Christianity. Often those involved in this type of thing use their "mystical powers" or at least talk of it to frighten their neighbours, or people who have been on the fringes of it grow in a fear that speaks to something visceral, or maybe more often childhood fears, sometimes abuse. There are covens, there are witches, both white and black around. Some people with psychiatric history and glazed eyes and dilated pupils, talk about babies being sacrificed. Someone suggested to me that the number of cats who disappear in the dead of night fall victim to these people, personally I put it down to urban foxes.
Catholics seem to be able to deal with these fears. They know that good is stronger than evil, God stronger than the Devil. The truth of the matter is that Catholics are in my experience more skeptical about the supernatural that many of Brighton's citizens.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake