Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Lopez Sedano Exorcist or Actor?

Exorcists always become mini-celebrities.  It is hard not to be cynical.

 If there is success then good but it is success?  What if the success came at an expense?  Maybe it would have been better to have had the right counsellor or psychiatrist?

It is thought that Mexico which reports an epidemic of the possessed brought this on itself by being a haven for the worship of demonic saint Santa Muerte. 

Catholic priests and deacons do minor exorcisms.   Any cleric is allowed to do them.  The more terrifying and intense rites belong to trained exorcists.  But there is enough in the minor events to program somebody with a mental disorder to think they have a demon in them or that people might believe them if they chose to claim to be possessed. 

The fact is that trust in the priests and in the psychiatrists is rather low and justifiably so.  A large majority believe the latter do not have high ethical standards.  They are down there with bankers.  Whatever the truth is, we should not take the findings of the Church or the medics at face value.

There were cases of exorcism where when the data was checked by mental health experts they found the person was simply suffering grave mental disturbance.

Some very disturbed people have something to gain from pretending to be possessed. It gets them attention.  They think the prayers will cure them best even if they are not really possessed.  It helps them make sense of what is going on in their heads. 

Mexican Father Francisco Lopez Sedano of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit says in four decades he did at least 6,000 exorcisms.  That to any sane person is a boast.

He insists that nobody gets possessed unless they let a demon in in the first place.   “He can’t enter us if we do not open doors.  Because of this, God prohibits the practice of magic, superstition, witchcraft, sorcery, divination, consulting the dead and spirits and astrology. These are the seven lands of lies and deceit.”

If Christianity is superstition as early opponents of the early Church said, or if the sacraments are magic as Protestants say, then he is part of the problem.  Demons are manipulating him.

He includes astrology as one way to invite.  Probably the logic is that astrology needs to go with fate or with the idea that major things at least are fated this is a rejection of God's spontaneity and freedom and autonomy.  The idea is that if you get God out you get demons in.

When he says the possessed "are able to climb the walls, yes. And fly too" we know we cannot trust him.

The priest said, “The injuries of Satan are outside the control of clinical medicine.  People who live with permanent diarrhea and nothing makes it go away; people who have eye pain and ophthalmologists find nothing. These are injuries that science does not detect.”  This shows how dangerous the idea of possession is.  It is quite common for people to have some condition for no obvious reason that won't go away.

He won't tell us that belief in possession is far more harmful than witchcraft or astrology or whatever!

Prayers to Jesus for deliverance from evil are hardly effective when you consider the evil thinking behind belief in possession and exorcism.