I recently ordered a copy of American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty by Michael Cuneo, who teaches anthropology and sociology at Fordham University in the Bronx, here in New York City. According to various reviews (listed near the bottom of this post), Cuneo’s book is an in-depth study, from an open-mindedly skeptical point of view, of exorcism as practiced by both Catholics and Protestants here in the U.S.A.
Archive for the 'Charismatic' Category
The recent movie The Rite is loosely based on a (supposedly) nonfiction book that was published two years ago, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. The book is about an American priest who spent his sabbatical year in Italy training to be an exorcist.
As Laura Miller explains in “Eat your saints, purge your demons,” Salon, March 27, 2009:
Father Gary Thomas, Baglio’s trainee exorcist, half fell into the job; he volunteered when, in 2004, the Vatican asked every Catholic bishop to appoint an official exorcist to his diocese. This startling development can be explained by the fact that for the past decade Italy has been gripped by an intermittent satanic ritual abuse panic similar to the hysteria that swept through the U.S. in the 1980s.
Earlier I commented briefly on the nonsensical protests against the construction of a mosque several blocks from Ground Zero. Now, according to a post today by Richard Bartholomew, a Controversial Preacher Seeks to Establish “Outreach Center” Near Ground Zero. The controversial preacher is Bill Keller, who is planning to build an anti-Muslim “9/11 Christian Center at Ground Zero.”
Here on WordPress, I just now came across a blog with some fascinating, very informative, and disturbing posts about today’s African witchhunts:
- Nigerian Christians join in witchhunts – 18 December 2007
- African neopentecostals battle witchcraft in the West – 24 December 2007
- Witchcraft, African and European – 6 April 2008
They pretty much confirm what I already knew, but provide more historical details. The author is apparently South African and a believer in Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
P.S.: I just now came across an old post on Marie Ravensoul’s blog, Christian Rapper Calls for the Killing of Witches and the Slaying of Demons. It seems that the song is paralleling real-life trends, alas.
I just now came across the following:
- In Brazil, pope to face a church losing hold
Priest shortage, evangelicals represent challenges
By Monte Reel
Washington Post, via MSNBC
Updated: 4:02 a.m. ET May 9, 2007
This article said some things I expected, such as the following:
Latin America is still predominantly Catholic, but not like it used to be. In Brazil, for example, as evangelical Pentecostalism has spread, the country’s population has gone from being 89 percent Catholic in 1980 to about 64 percent today, according to a survey released this week by the Brazilian polling firm DataFolha.
But there were also some surprises (to me, anyway). In particular:
Young people have shown a greater reluctance to join the clergy, resulting in a priest shortage that is 10 times more severe regionwide than it is in North America or Europe.
“There is a trend here — even among priests — that people should be more free to follow their own conscience, and there’s a growing distance between most Catholics and the church’s hierarchy,” said the Rev. Luiz Roberto Benedetti, a Catholic priest who is a professor of social science at the Catholic University of Campinas, near Sao Paulo. “It’s a trend that goes in the complete opposite direction of the message that the pope wants to send.”
Very interesting, and quite contrary to Philip Jenkins’s characterization of the Catholicism of the southern hemisphere, in general, as a hotbed of Catholic traditionalism and love of hierarchy. (See The Next Christianity by Philip Jenkins, originally published in The Atlantic, Volume 290, No. 3, October, 2002, about the recent explosive growth of the more fanatical forms of Christianity in non-Western countries.)
I would be interested to hear from anyone who can give me solidly sourced information about religious trends in Latin America.
(For more about religious trends in general, see the many articles listed on my page about The growing number of Christians of kinds which inherently fear demons, Satanists, witches, occultists, Pagans, and atheists.)