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.