Carlo Climati, works for the Vatican’s Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, a university run by the Vatican in Rome. Carlo specializes in the dangers of Satanism, especially among teenagers. He feels that because of the internet, teens are particularly vulnerable to satan’s influences these days, and that the Catholic Church needs to be made aware. Recently Carlo spearheaded the effort to bring together a six-day conference in Rome to educate priests the world over on how to recognize a person possessed by satan or one of his minions, and what to do in that unfortunate event.
The convention, much like the one five months ago in Baltimore, is not to teach priests how to perform exorcisms, but to give them greater ability to tell who is actually possessed by the devil, as opposed to merely delusional, as the differences may not be apparent to the layman. Priests who find a devil-stuffed congregant are instructed to call for a Church expert to perform the rites of exorcism, which consist of reading a prayer and flinging holy water on the possessed.
Reaction to these conferences and Pope Benedict’s urging to return to the ancient traditions of the Church have been… mixed.
The Catholic Church is currently watching one of every three white members walking out the door. There is a constant drumbeat of scandal and impropriety, and schools and churches are closing world-wide. Some feel that now is not the time to be returning to medieval magical rituals. Others though, and I believe the Pope included, feel that by emphasizing the mystical, magical nature of the Church they will be able to recreate the niche in peoples’ lives they think has been lost in religion. The idea is to offer once more something that no one else can, not even in this age of iPads and internets… someone who can and will intercede on your behalf with not only the angels, but the demons too.
In general, most non-Catholics seem to think that the papists are bug-nuts crazy, and most actual Catholics don’t really believe that this is actually happening and that it’s all some kind of put-on. It’s not, but to these latter people in particular I have to ask… why? Once you have accepted the fact of the “invisible sky-god”, a magic ritual that turns crackers into the flesh of a dude that’s been dead for 2,000 years, talking snakes, fruit that makes you smarter, and the spiritual infallibility of Nazi artillery gunners, what the hell is any more “out there” about demons that just want a second childhood… in someone else’s child? Why is that any weirder than anything else you believe?
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And then Jersey Shore.