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The Exorcism of Europe

George Neumayr

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Writing in Newsweek International, Barbie Nadeau scoffs at the Vatican's preservation of its exorcism rite. But judging by the rise of demonic cults cited in the article -- "Interest in satanic worship has risen sharply across Europe recently; there are 5,000 Italians involved in 650 active satanic cults in the country, more than double the number a decade ago" -- the Church's exorcism rite is needed more than ever. If enlightened Europe scoffs at Vatican exorcisms, it is not because Europeans deny the existence of Satan; it is because they don't want to fight him.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose, released in Europe in early October, occasioned Nadeau's article. The movie is based on a European legal case from the 1970s involving Anneliese Michel, a twentyish German woman, now something of a folk hero, who died after months of exorcisms.

The wholly secularized German legal authorities blamed her death on benighted exorcists and her reactionary Catholic parents, who considered post-Vatican II liberalism to be scandalous and stupid. (According to media accounts, Anneliese agreed with them. Before her possession began, she was doing penance for the progressive creeps rapidly filling up the Church in Germany.) If she had only been left to the ministrations of science and medicine, her death would never have happened, went the German court's reasoning, and the exorcists and parents were convicted of criminal negligence. The court declared Anneliese, who had requested the exorcists after medicine failed to help her, the victim of "Doctrinaire Induction."

The verdict illustrated secular Europe's morbid hostility to religious freedom and Germany's fanatical attempts to uphold a secularist culture that blocks out any acknowledgement of the spiritual realm. Most Germans now, including most Protestants and a third of Catholics, don't believe in life after death. And it is an open question how many Catholic bishops in Germany believe in life after death. The faithless cowards who populate much of the German episcopate offered zero help during Anneliese Michel's trial; worried that they would appear insufficiently progressive, they made sure to distance themselves from the Church's teaching on Satan and exorcism.

Read the entire article on the American Spectator website (new window will open).

Posted: 02-Nov-05



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