Today happens to be Friday the 13th, so it seems like a great opportunity to talk about something spooky like exorcisms. The Guardian covered a story on Wednesday about Father Cesar Truqui, who is heading to Rome to teach a course at the Vatican for priests who want to learn how to perform exorcism rituals.
“Christ was the first exorcist,” Truqui claimed. “The power of casting out demons was one of the signs that Christianity was a true religion." Truqui is absolutely wrong about that, just so you know. Christ was supposedly performing his exorcisms a measly 2,000 years ago, but we have records of Sumerian exorcisms dating back up to 3,500 years. The ancient Egyptians also had exorcism rituals. And yes, the Jews had their own exorcism practices, too. The first Christians were Jews, after all.
So right from the start, Truqui is making a bad case for himself as an exorcism expert by making a profoundly false statement like that. He also said he knows a priest who witnessed someone levitating during an exorcism, and that he himself performed one where Satan manifested a "satanic nail" that appeared on a table. Oooo... scary stuff.
Truqui once worked as an assistant to the late Father Gabriele Amorth, who claimed to have performed well over 100,000 exorcisms himself.
Truqui is now sharing his "knowledge" with bishops and priests who want to learn how to perform exorcisms because, as Truqui claims, there is a greater demand for the ritual. More and more clergymen are seeing it as a way to help their parishioners, apparently.
I have covered a couple of exorcism stories in the past, both of which had tragic endings, and there are plenty more stories like those. If Truqui is right, and there is a growing demand among Catholics around the world for exorcisms, then these people are suffering from mental illness. What they need is proper psychiatric and medical care. A priest saying the Lord's Prayer while holding a rosary and burning incense is not going to help.
The mere fact that you never see a non-believer possessed by demons, never see an atheist asking for an exorcism, should be proof enough that this is all in their heads.