I lived in Saskatchewan for seven years during my elementary and high school days and it seemed like a fairly normal place. A little too normal - okay, maybe a little on the boring side. It certainly wasn't overrun with demons when I lived there.
Well last week a story ran about a man who carved the word Hell on his chest with a large knife. He was discovered by a priest making a house call (doctor's don't make house calls anymore, so I guess you get what you can.)
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.
This man is obviously deranged and needs help. Naturally, the priest or someone immediately set about getting this poor guy access to a good psychiatrist, right? No? Of course not, silly! You need an exorcist! But where are you going to find one? Well, Saskatoon church officials started exploring where to find one. Read all about this: Exorcist expertise sought after Saskatoon 'possession'.
Well, when the CFI got wind of this there was even more media frenzy. They want to investigate how the Church does exorcisms and ban them as well. The story is here: Ban exorcisms, science advocacy group urges - Listen to the audio on the page for an interview with Justin Trottier of CFI Canada. There is a video report of this: Group wants ban on exorcisms after incident in Saskatoon.
The official CFI press release is: Saskatoon Demonic Possession Claim Spurs Call to Prohibit Exorcisms...
We all know what this means:
EVIL ATHIESTs R trying to STOP us from DRIVING OUT SATAN from the souls of the possessed!!!!!1111111
Of course the writing style is meant to parody those Christians who have mental problems of their own. Although I'm reasonably certain that if you were to ask members of the Catholic diocese in Saskatoon they might just agree with the statement in principle.
Seriously though, my take on this is exorcisms are right up there with using alternative medicine to treat emergency situations. It's a kind of placebo. Like a sugar pill that might make you feel better:
Blessings were offered until his behaviour returned to normal, but the Catholic Church says no formal exorcism took place.
I really think it's a placebo affect. So this question really reduces down to a debate between modern Western medicine and ancient religious woo. The problem here is that the condition of the patient is grave and they are self-destructive. I mean, he's carving words into his chest with a big knife. It's like trying to give a manic depressive standing on a building ledge ready to jump some aroma therapy oil or a sugar pill.
I finally found some sanity in The National Post: ‘Question of demonic possession is speculative,’ Bishop says of inc...
Mental-health experts remain skeptical.
Hank Stam, a professor of psychology with the University of Calgary, said people suffering from mental illness who are also devout can often perceive their symptoms as manifestations of dark spiritual forces.
The behaviours the priest described could indicate one of several conditions, including schizophrenia, he said.
“That’s the main risk, you’re leaving what could be a very serious mental disorder, a psychotic break, or a psychotic episode, untreated and people can do damage to another person or themselves,” he said.
Can someone please yet this guy some medical help?
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