Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Who ya gonna call?

A total of 300 members of the International Association of Ghostbusters* Exorcists attended a meeting at the Vatican this week to focus on the impact of the occult and Satanism on people today, the Catholic Sun reported. The IAE, founded in 1990 by Father Gabriele Amorth, the diocese of Rome’s own exorcist, was formally recognized by the Vatican just this last June. The Vatican’s approval and recognition for the International Association of Exorcists was a “cause for joy not only for the association, but for the whole Church,” said Father Francesco Bamonte, the president of the IAE.

In a message written to Father Bamonte, Pope Francis said that priests who practice exorcism “manifest the Church’s love and acceptance of those who suffer because of the devil’s works.”

The writer finds it odd that 'Pope Francis is, in many ways, seen as a completely modern, progressive leader of the Catholic Church, but he still wholly approves of the need for exorcists within his church.' I'm not sure it's quite so paradoxical as it seems.

Core doctrine hasn't changed that much, (although far more than Church apologists would like to admit**), but there's a more striking difference between the modern Church and the old-fashioned version. The modern Church wields little, if any, coercive power over the general population. When the Church was in its pomp, inquisitors and informers could sniff out dissent, heresy, atheism and other forms of non-approved thought, so that offenders could be shunned, excommunicated, re-educated, de-radicalised, tortured, or, in extreme cases, handed over to the secular arm for exemplary judicial killing. Less dramatic, but still horrific, examples of the Church's coercive power existed within living memory, which is only just beginning to fade.

Trying to have some sort of nebulous, immaterial influence on ill-defined supernatural forces which allegedly have something to do with human well-being, or lack of it, can be a modern form of consolation for those who've been pushed out of the mainstream and have little  real power or influence left.

In this sense, the Church, which is slowly, but surely, moving towards the fringe of relevance, is like those disillusioned hippy types who've left behind any hope of changing the world by challenging power structures, activism and political engagement and are reduced to trying to achieve world peace and universal harmony via the ineffectual New Age toolkit of spiritual development, crystals and sending out lovely waves of healing Reiki energy.

So I'm not that alarmed by a Church that calls the Ghostbusters, rather then the Inquisition, whenever there's something strange in your neighbourhood.

I'm more concerned about the modern secular arm, currently hyping up its own "battle against evil" in a transparent attempt to police the morals, thoughts and lives of the laity with a thoroughness which would have impressed the most rigorous inquisitor:
Technology giants such as Facebook and Twitter have become "the command and control networks of choice" for terrorists and criminals but are "in denial" about the scale of the problem, the new head of GCHQ has said.

Robert Hannigan said that Isil terrorists in Syria and Iraq have "embraced the web" and are using it to intimidate people and inspire "would-be jihadis" from all over the world to join them.

He urged the companies to work more closely with the security services, arguing that it is time for them to confront "some uncomfortable truths" and that privacy is not an "absolute right".
The Telegraph

Nikolai Bukharin allegedly called Stalin 'Genghis Khan with a telephone.' If the Robert Hannigans of this world get their way, we can look forward to Torquemada with the Internet. I ain't afraid of no ghosts, but that prospect scares the hell out of me.

*my snark

**Cardinal Newman's attempt to retrospectively define innovations or changes in doctrine as "clarifications", which only made explicit doctrines which already existed implicitly within Divine Revelations which had been there ever since the founding of the Church, is an ingenious, if unconvincing, example of such attempts to deny the objective reality of doctrinal change.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andrew King said...

I've deleted an anonymous comment to the effect that you shouldn't date American women, on grounds of insuffient submissiveness, from this post.

Although there's a link to a web site proclaiming the general unsuitability of American women, I'm not sure that this necessarily counts as comment spam.

I wouldn't normally delete comments, even ones that I dislike, but this was so completely off topic that, spam or not, I'm binning it.