Do Clergy Believe Their Own Bullshit?



According to an article, by Nick Rees, in The Daily Telegraph, the Catholic Church conducted a conference in Rome to combat the dangers of Satanism.

A conference for demon-busters?

This is, apparently, not a joke. There were Catholic clergy, doctors, psychiatrists, teachers and social workers – ostensibly grown adults with college educations – all gathered together in a coordinated effort to do something about the insidious, dangerous, threat of devil worship.

Traditionally, any priest could perform exorcisms to cast The Devil out of a possessed person but 3 years ago the Vatican decreed that such supernatural purging should be left to professional exorcists.

Professional exorcists?

I guess parish priests aren’t up to the task. Do grown adults really believe people can be literally, physically, possessed by The Devil? Do they really believe that The Devil’s possession of a victim is so potent that only a professional exorcist can force him out? What does it take, I wonder, to become a professional exorcist? If parish priests aren’t up to the task, where does one start their quest to specialize in demon-busting?

One such specialist is Father Nanni of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He says that one should first have a “moral certainty” of an actual possession before calling in the big guns. In case you’re not sure how to identify such moral certainty, look for freaky changes in behavior or voice. Apparently, moral certainty is not an oxymoron within the church but I suspect it has become cliché with overuse.

Sudden glossolalia (speaking in tongues) often accompanies possession, so the professional exorcist must be careful to ensure he’s not mistakenly exorcising a Pentecostal charismatic. A mistake like that could lead to some really bad publicity. I guess that’s one of the reasons the Vatican requires exorcisms be performed by professionals.

The professional exorcist knows the intricacies of his craft and is undaunted by victims that “scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained”. A real pro is even prepared for supernatural phenomena like vomiting “shards of glass and pieces of iron”.

According to the Vatican’s chief exorcist, demon possessions are so insidious that Satan even lurks in the clergy and the Vatican itself. That’s right: the Anti-Christ is attacking the Holy See. As proof of this, Father Gabriele Amorth pointed to the sex abuse scandals that have engulfed the Church. Need I say more?

Exorcism is serious business at the Vatican and is “wholeheartedly” endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Scary. Isn’t it?

Views: 101

Comment by Cathy Cooper on April 2, 2011 at 12:56pm
Like faith healers and's all BS, and they know it.  I know they know it, because I have studied with them.  They get multiple explanations for biblical passages, which makes it almost impossible to be a believer once they have gone through academic study.  Many clergy I know are agnostic or atheist.  But its a cushy job that gives them clout.  If you go to and download "Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions" by TW Doane, you will find that clergy are well aware that the bible was plagiarized from other much older myths--and priests are well aware of this, as this text was used at Harvard Seminary.
Comment by Walter Maki on April 2, 2011 at 1:06pm
But its a cushy job that gives them clout.

I agree, how can one study the bible and not come out atheist. I think it is also making easy money and having control issues the keeps a lot of them in their positions.
Comment by Atheist Exile on April 2, 2011 at 2:42pm
So you've been to divinity school, Cathy?  That would be interesting, I should think.  It's amazing what a priest will admit if asked directly . . . but parishoners rarely ask.  I know they're trained in apologetics and know how to handle just about any difficult question.

But a conference on Satanism and exorcism?  Jesus!  How do they keep a straight face? :-)
Comment by Atheist Exile on April 2, 2011 at 2:43pm

Do they make good money?  Maybe I'll come out of retirement and join the clergy.
Comment by Cathy Cooper on April 2, 2011 at 3:26pm
@Atheist exile--I taught seminarians at a Methodist university, but anyone can go to a seminary and find out which books they use--which is enlightening.  I have also studied with members of other religions, such as JW's, Mormons, etc., and it is all the same--BS.
Comment by Walter Maki on April 2, 2011 at 3:29pm
@ AE, some do make good money...whatever they can squeeze out of a congregation. To me it looks like easy money no real work necessary  except keeping a straight face when talking/preaching to people...just my opinion.
Comment by Heather Spoonheim on April 2, 2011 at 4:50pm
Personally I think Christianity breeds sociopaths.  They indoctrinate children and brainwash them into believing that no matter who they hurt, all they have to do is utter a few words to an imaginary figure and they will be 100% resolved.  It's easy to see the resulting attitude of 0 accountability in the posts of the Christians who come trolling around here.
Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on April 2, 2011 at 5:53pm

Dan Dennett has conducted a study into clergy who no longer believe but keep up the pretence so as not to disappoint or upset people. It also keeps them in a job with free housing, food and possible a maid. The more I think about it.........ha

Anyway - More info here

Comment by Atheist Exile on April 2, 2011 at 11:45pm
@Cathy Cooper,

I downloaded "Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions" and will skim through it (probably will keep as a reference).

I know the Mormons train their door-knockers with their "Brown Book" of apologetics.  One time, decades ago, 2 attractive young Mormon women -- one white and one black -- came knocking on my door.  We had a long discussion about Mormonism.

At one point, I told the black girl that, while on vacation with my wife in Utah, I read the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon (it was on the night stand).  When I came to the verse where God turned Cain's descendants into negroes so that people wouldn't want to associate with them, I remarked to my wife that "There must not be many black Mormons".  I then asked the black girl how should could choose the Mormon religion when its scripture was a divinely inspired racist book.

The two girls looked through their brown books and the white girl said that the Mormon church had embraced all races and doesn't believe in prejudice.

I asked her who or what gave the Elders who made that decision the right to make it.  Who authorized them to supersede God?

I have to admit that they showed no anger or even defensiveness.  But they were clearly shaken at having failed their purpose.  To their credit, they soon left without the least sign of enmity.
Comment by Atheist Exile on April 2, 2011 at 11:47pm

@Walter Maki,

So priests are to the church as bill collectors are to collection agencies .  . . it's a dirty job but somebody has to do it :-)


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