See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fr. Amorth would like to lighten the restrictions on exorcism.


Desperate times - desperate measures.
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I have no way of knowing if the news report is accurate or how far 'out of context' Fr. Amorth's comments have been taken, but if what he said is true, I think it is a bit reckless.

"Do you know what I would do if I was the Pope for a moment?" he asked. "I would provide every opportunity for exorcisms. Like the Orthodox Church. There you do not need the permission of a bishop." - Source
I don't think that's going to happen, nor do I believe it's a good idea. How many priests are trained in the rite? How many priests have even studied mystical theology beyond one course? Maybe they all have, nevertheless it would still be a crazy thing to do. Wasn't it just a few years ago an Orthodox Romanian priest and a nun killed someone during an exorcism? If exorcism were permitted without the knowledge and permission of the bishop anything could happen - some parishes could get to be like Pentecostals at Wednesday night prayer meetings, slaying all the sinners in the spirit and charming snakes. Deliverance prayers and simple exorcism prayers are permitted of course, but even this practice can be sensationalized by the very, very spiritual.
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I remember stories of a visiting priest supposedly performing exorcisms at the grill of a cloistered monastery with a crazy prioress who thought just about everyone was possessed.  Seriously - they used official prayers of deliverance, so it wasn't technically an exorcism - but the whole thing was weird.  That was several years ago and Mother is gone now... living somewhere near Steubenville... I know!
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Morbid curiosity.
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Of course this Archdiocese has another well known priest who gained a reputation for his private deliverance ministry.  I believe he was transferred in an effort to break up what seemed to be something of a cult following.  He's a good priest, don't get me wrong, but one must be discreet about such activities and checking in with the bishop is a good idea when you're fighting the devil.  A lot of people, devout as they may be, can often develop a morbid fascination with that stuff, and they start seeing the devil everywhere.  Teresa of Avila liked to say she was more afraid of these types of people than the devil himself.  For good reason.
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There are extremists out there who could just go overboard on the exorcism bit.  The one priest I mentioned had admirer's whose favorite thing to do was sprinkle holy oils and exorcism salt all over town - and sometimes even in consecrated places, such as the Cathedral and Basilica, or at the four corners of sinful person's property.   
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70,000 exorcisms?
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That is how many exorcisms Fr. Amorth claims he performed.  I don't know, he's quite old.  I have a great deal of respect for Fr. Amorth and especially his more practical take on getting rid of evil - frequent confession, prayer, Mass and communion, devotion to Our Lady, and so on.  It is good that he is under obedience to the local ordinary where he acts however.
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Fr. Euteneuer of Human Life International also sees the need for exorcism.  An exorcist himself - his approach strikes me as more intelligible, or understandable for contemporary culture.  He has suggested that priests will soon be inundated with requests for exorcism or some form of deliverance prayers, due to the increase of evil in society today, as well as growing interest and participation in the occult and new age spirituality.  Euteneuer stresses, “exorcism is a pastoral ministry and the explicit form of exorcism is a liturgical rite which can only be done by priests.”
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"The Church has good reason to avoid popularizing exorcism, and affirming the sensationalist or dismissive accounts of the culture at large," said Father Euteneuer. "At the same time, this necessary discretion has led to the rite being neglected in many areas, at precisely the time when it is most needed to deliver those who have succumbed to the increasing deceptions of the devil in these troubling times."
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"Our culture is ever more saturated with enticements to the occult and other dangerous spiritual and moral choices. Clarifying what exorcism is and underlining the urgency for both clergy and the faithful is key if we're going to start confronting Satan where he is making so much headway, in our homes and communities." - Source


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Remember the disgraced former Archbishop Milingo got his 'start' in the deliverance ministry.  It's nothing to fool around with.  One should never take such a ministry on by themselves, without permission.
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And parents, don't try any of this at home.

4 comments:

  1. Austringer6:02 PM

    Terry, I think the priest you referenced was transferred, not because he developed a cultish set of groupies (though there certainly was that), but that he was public with criticism of a program that the Archbishop had set into place following the scandals (valid criticisms, no doubt, but best not aired publically). On top of the other things, it may have been enough to get him transferred. Certainly yours and mine favorite priest has a big group of groupies, and it has not been enough to get him transferred (which would do him and his groupies a world of good, as far as I'm concerned...)

    Anyway, I like what Father Euteneuer had to say. Don't know quite what to make of Fr. Amorth...never have. I don't dismiss him, but I'm not quite sure how much credence to give him either.

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  2. My parish isn't the one closest to my house and last year the associate was transferred to his own parish, which is approx. the same distance in the other direction. Someone suggested that since I like him, I could transfer to that parish. Which would be weird and creepy.

    Yesterday someone mentioned a priest groupie who had changed parishes every time the priest had moved. Weirder and creepier.

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  3. Austringer - where have you been? Thanks for the correction - although I always felt the underlying cause was the other matter.

    Nan - You should follow just for fun though. ;)

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  4. The presence of the diabolical is always, always around something good, holy and powerful.
    The obsession with the demonic and the instance that you mention, Terry, (and I know of whom you speak...scarry!)...can be just nutz...how do we sift through all of this?...
    Thankfully, the Church has given us certain norms and criterion (Archbishop Burke, God bless his soul, told me to read, meditate upon and pray over the "traditional" preface to the "traditional rite of exorcism" found in Fr. Philip Weller's English translation of the "Roman Ritual")...psychos are everywhere;
    there ARE authentic manifestations of the demonic, esp. in this day and age, but we have to be very careful...the demon would LOVE to make us fanatics, rather than true believers.
    Confession, use of the sacramentals, daily Rosary, frequent reception of Holy Communion in the state of grace; these are the authentic means of battling the Demons(Evil One)...esp. the use of Holy Water, the wearing of the Scapular of OL of Mt. Carmel, the St. Michael prayer.
    Don't be afraid of the demonic; be in the state of grace...love the Lord Jesus in His Catholic Church...love our Lady...pray to the Saints and angels...stay far from the occasions of sins and just do the works of corporal and spiritual mercy.

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