Excorcism in Saskatoon? Say it ain’t so!

Exorcism seems like one of those quirky things that should only exist in the realm of fiction. Sadly, since many people insist on believing a god can exert power over a populace, and hold the opposing belief that demons can manifest a similar ability to wreak havoc, it means many people can believe an exorcism will solve that problem. Including people in the somewhat metropolitan Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Via CBC, the headline– Exorcist expertise sought after Saskatoon ‘possession’:

According to church officials, a priest was called to a Saskatoon home by a woman who said her uncle showed signs of being possessed by the devil. The woman believed a priest’s blessing could help the distraught man.

At the home, the priest encountered a shirtless middle-aged man, slouched on a couch and holding his head in his hands.

The man had used a sharp instrument to carve the word Hell on his chest.

When the priest entered the room, the man spoke in the third person, saying “He belongs to me. Get out of here,” using a strange voice.

The priest told CBC News that he had never seen anything like this and was concerned enough to call police, for safety reasons.

Why wouldn’t the first assumption be mental illness? There are people who’ll self mutilate and hell, my teacher in grade 3 talked to us in the third person all the time. “Mr. Y. would like you to open your Language Arts books now…” (That is third person, right? Perhaps I need a Language Arts refresher.) I went to a catholic school and nobody went to find a priest in the hopes of ridding him of demons. He was just weird.

He said he then blessed the man, saying he belonged to the good side, to Jesus. With that, the man’s voice returned to normal for a short time.

The unusual voice returned when police arrived, and the priest continued to bless the man until he resumed a more normal composure.

So the possibility that the guy was doing all this just for a bit of attention isn’t worth considering? Over the top, granted. He could have just stripped down and flashed his neighbours or masturbated at the library (as some have been known to do).

CBC News followed up on the incident to learn if an exorcism had been performed, but church officials said a formal exorcism did not happen.

Bishop Don Bolen explained that the ritual of exorcism is a very structured exercise. He said it was not clear if the Saskatoon man was possessed or experiencing a mental breakdown.

Well, that’s something, at least. Good of him to admit there’s difficulty telling the difference. Of course, it requires the belief that possession is actually possible, sadly. The guy should be treated by medical professionals to see if there’s something they can do for him that will rid him of whatever delusions he’s living under. The problem I see with the “very structured exercise” is the need for said exorcist to buy into the delusion, too, and cater to it. It’s like people who truly believe dowsing rods work, or that they have psychic ability.

“I would think there are perhaps more stories about exorcisms in Hollywood than there are on the ground,” Bolen said. “But the Catholic Church teaches that there is a force of darkness, and that God is stronger than that darkness.”

Church leaders in Saskatoon have been considering whether Saskatoon needs a trained exorcist.

Sorry, but that’s just stupid. Stop encouraging people into believing these dark forces exist. This is the 21st century. Lay that superstition to rest already. Encourage the power of prayer, because you would anyway, but it would do so much more good to push these people toward medical help instead of engaging in spiritual fluffery as a supposed solution. If exorcism does anything, it does it like a placebo would; by tricking the mind into thinking that shit works.

Regina has no expert in this field, the article goes on, but mentions Saskatoon’s retired Rev. Joseph Bisztyo who’d been trained in the “art.”

Anglican priest Colin Clay, who has worked with Bisztyo, told CBC News the topic of exorcism touches on questions that go back centuries.

The issues revolve around the nature of evil and how to respond to people who claim they have the devil in them.

“The churches have to respond,” Clay said. “And they’ll either do it by saying — some churches will say — ‘Well that’s the devil, and the devil is at work in the world and we’ve got to deal with it,’ or the churches will say, ‘Well there’s certainly evil in the world, whether there’s an actual Satan or devil, there’s certainly evil in the world, and it has a terrible effect on people’s lives,’ and so we’ve got to respond to it.”

Clay said he does not dismiss how evil can affect people.

People in general are capable of tremendous good and extraordinary wickedness. Sometimes the same person can achieve both within a half hour, I’m sure. I don’t think wickedness ought to be explained using demonic possession as a possible reason for it, though. If some churches are still pushing that scenario, why aren’t the others speaking out against it more often? Why do ideas like that still persist? What use do they have beyond keeping people tense and scared? Better church attendance records when people think the devil might get them in their sleep? Or their children? Lunacy. Wouldn’t education would protect people better than Armor of God pajamas?

I hope it’s decided that an exorcism expert is unnecessary for the city. Surely there are better uses for their time and money.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
This entry was posted in religiosity, skepticism and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Excorcism in Saskatoon? Say it ain’t so!

  1. Hey Minions,

    Great post on the Saskatoon Exorcist. You know, the entire deliverance and exorcism field is enthralling. I spent years in a charismatic church, casting demons out of innocent hosts as a part of a spiritual warfare team. Along the way I learned a ton about human behaviour, belief associated manifestations, and about myself. I won’t go into every one of those aspects of this complex issue here but I will mention a little bit on the human behavior.

    Exorcism and deliverance are both the same…Catholicism propagates the latter while Charismatica as I like to call it( Protestantism) is an advocate for the former. Both of these dramatic engagements however stem from the same core processes in the human interactions. The parties involved cause the behavior to develop.

    If We Both Believe It We Both Make It Happen

    The long and short of it is this; For an exorcism or deliverance to become what is typical of exorcisms or deliverance, both parties must enter the arena with the belief demons are real. In most cases a person is taught to believe they have a demon in them, that person is then presented to a “spiritual authority” of some denomination who also believes a demon is likely inhabiting the person’s soul. Both parties, the possessed and the exorcist, “know” how a demon would likely manifest in a possessed person; then the dance begins. The event now takes on all the characteristics that a belief fueled by the powers of suggestion will bring. The “possessed” behaves in exactly the erratic, mysterious, and offensive way he or she has been taught a possessed person will behave. While at the same time the hypnotist, oops sorry I meant to say the exorcist, applies his or her expectations to the situation. The feedback is now swirling around the event in a circle of responsive behaviors. You do this possessed person and I do this as the exorcists, which in turn gets you the possessed person to do this, which in turn gets me the deliverance minister to respond like this; and on and on until both parties come to an unspoken agreement. An agreement only detectable in the nuances of human behavior that the episode shall now come to an end. The demonized then exhibits the signs of a release, the exorcist exhibits the signs of a victorious spiritual warrior, and both parties seemingly point to heir God to give Him credit.

    Now no one ever mentions the feebleness of that God and why he or she refused to instantly remove the demon upon recitation or application of the magical name of Jesus and His Blood. But the real victims, the unwitting bystanders or audience, ingest the charade as a supernatural encounter between a now vanquished demon and the all-powerful Jesus of Christendom. If only, as you suggest Minion, other faith groups with clout would oppose those who practice such chicanery, we might see an honest assessment of all the aspects of this side show power-grab. sadly, churches don’t oppose churches as much as they should. Why is this, well as a lifetime Charismatic up until a dozen years ago, I can say the lack of Church on Church challenges is because they are all too worried about making Jesus look bi-polar instead of worried about the truth.

    I am reading an excellent book called Jesus the Village Psychiatrist, By Donald Capps. It in no way minimizes rather it challenges the way religion decides on interpreting those stories. Capp puts forth a compelling argument for the exorcisms and healing that Jesus is said to have performed, as being wonders of psychology and not supernatural phenomenon. This has been a long buried point of view but many are examining the veracity of it as we all realize how things in the Bible could not have taken place the way Christendom asserts they did.

    Oh I suppose as long as the Church has power to indoctrinate the masses there will be people who believe they can be inhabited by demons. I would like to recommend having a listen to one or two of my podcasts on this topic, The links will be pasted below. for now though, I offer my services as an exorcist to the world of the demonized. But be warned, I bring no antics, no theatrics, no power struggles or loud shouts about the Power of Jesus; I just bring the most liberating of all available tools in the arsenal of the “demon buster” I bring you the truth…The truth that there are no demons, no Satan, no Hell, and no unclean spirits. If one is somehow led to believe demons are possessing him or her… well then, they just need to find out the truth about why we believe the arcane tripe of the historical church fathers. There are fewer axioms that us bible studiers like to bank on more than the one about truth. If the truth is there are no demons and a person with “demons” is just in that spot because of their mis-informed beliefs, well then I guarantee that if they want to be free of demons forever, The Truth Shall Set Them Free. One of the most telling things I was ever told from a single mom who learned the truth about demons is this,
    “ When I stopped believing in Satan demons stopped chasing me!’
    What better way to freedom can there be than to find out how the lies we believe are the demons that chain us to our self-possession

    Jim Brayshaw Jr..

    The Devil Inside Us – Can Be Exorcised!

    How To Cast Out Devils…It’s Easier Than You Think

    The Exorcism Of the Pope

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    Thanks for the links, Jim. I’ll make sure I check those out.

Comments are closed.