Monday, January 21, 2008
The devilish church practice of exorcism
Johann Hari: The Independent (UK)
Last year, I met a drawn, defeated 14-year old girl who had been possessed by Satan, until he and his Armies of Evil were tortured out of her.
That is how her priest explained it to me. That is how she explained it to me.
They spoke as if it was all as obvious as her scars. Clarice was a tiny girl wrapped in a big white woollen cardigan. In a church in the middle of Congo's carnage she explained how she had chosen to let the demons enter her when she was twelve.
Since then, Satan had forced her to make her mother fall, breaking her leg.
Satan had forced her to jinx her father, making it impossible for him to get a job. Satan had forced her to kill her little sister, by giving her a deadly fever.
Her Pentecostalist priest, Papa Enoch Boonga, told me with pride how he had driven the demons out. They starved Clarice for four days, whipped her and threatened to burn her, until finally she "confessed."
Then they forced her to admit to everything she had done, and performed a long exorcism ceremony. They only believed it was working when her little body began to judder and howl and curse. I ask Clarice quietly if she really believed she had done all these things. "Yes," she said. "I do." And so we sigh lazily: another example of African primitivism. But no. Exorcism, even of children, is being aggressively promoted today by one of the most powerful men in the Western world, Pope Benedict XVI, in only slightly watered-down form. Presidents and Prime Ministers fawn over this man.
More after the click ...
My only question is why is it unsophisticated, unenlightened primitivism when it's in Africa but sophisticated, enlightened religion when it's in Rome? I submit that it's unsophisticated, unenlightened superstition in both places and that Papa Enoch Boonga and il Papa Benidicto XVI have far more in common with each other than they have differences.