Green Room

Breaking: The Pope is, indeed, Catholic

posted at 3:26 pm on May 22, 2013 by

Who knew?  Here we thought Jorge Bergoglio was just a social-justice fan with a penchant for wearing robes, and it turns out that he’s Pope Francis.  USA Today seems shocked, shocked to discover that Catholics think the devil is an active agent in the world:

Is Pope Francis an exorcist? The question has bubbled up ever since Francis laid his hands on the head of a young man in a wheelchair after celebrating Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The young man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, shook, then slumped in his wheelchair as Francis prayed over him. …

Fueling the speculation is Francis’ obsession with Satan, a frequent subject of his homilies, and an apparent surge in demand for exorcisms among the faithful despite the irreverent treatment the rite often receives from Hollywood.

Who can forget the green vomit and the spinning head of the possessed girl in the 1973 cult classic The Exorcist?

In his very first homily as pope on March 14, Francis warned cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel the day after he was elected that “he who doesn’t pray to the Lord prays to the devil.”

He has since mentioned the devil on a handful of occasions, most recently in a May 4 homily when in his morning Mass in the Vatican hotel chapel he spoke of the need for dialogue — except with Satan.

“With the prince of this world you can’t have dialogue: Let this be clear!” he warned.

I’m pretty sure that priests of any kind, bishops and Popes included, don’t walk around offering ad hoc exorcisms.  Knowing what goes into the preparation for the rare practice (and what exorcists believe to be at stake) would warn anyone off from a casual attempt at it.  The Catholic Church in fact warns that this should be undertaken after determining that there isn’t something else at work, such as psychological illness.

The laying on of hands has a much broader application in Christian tradition for healings as well as blessings.  It’s at least as likely that Pope Francis prayed for healing  or gave a blessing than performing an exorcism; in fact, it seems a lot more obvious a choice.

Finally, USA Today’s surprise that Catholics (and Christians in general) believe the devil to be an active agent speaks more to its own ignorance of faith than “a reflection of a Catholic Church weakened by secularization.”  Kirsten Powers reached the same conclusion:

Update: AFP got the Vatican on record with a denial about the purported exorcism:

The Vatican on Tuesday denied that Pope Francis had performed an exorcism after an Italian religious television channel said footage of the pontiff blessing a boy in a wheelchair showed he had.

“The Holy Father did not intend to perform any exorcism,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement, after the claims by TV 2000, which is owned by the Italian bishops’ conference.

 

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Yep, and he lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

crrr6 on May 22, 2013 at 3:30 PM

(the father of lies, that is)

crrr6 on May 22, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Did the kid in the wheelchair get up and walk? If not, color me unimpressed.

Armin Tamzarian on May 22, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Glad we cleared that up.
///

Bitter Clinger on May 22, 2013 at 3:41 PM

BREAKING: Pope Francis believes the Bible

“It’s also alleged he may be Catholic.”

squint on May 22, 2013 at 3:42 PM

“In other news today came the shocking revelation that water may indeed, be wet.”

squint on May 22, 2013 at 3:44 PM

facepalm

ted c on May 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM

I keep waiting for the secular news media to turn on the guy. However, he said nice things about other religions and non-religious people in his morning homily today, so the love affair is back on. (Not that I mind. It quite amuses me that the Church is getting such good press.)

As for the whole “exorcism” incident, the only difference between what Francis is doing with the man in question and all the other disabled people is the man’s reaction. So for this story to be true the secular press would have had to believe in both Satan and that Francis actually expelled demons from the disabled person. Since they don’t believe in either, Occam’s razor suggests that a severely disabled man had a seizure when being blessed by the Pope. Since Francis personally greets quite a few disabled people after his Mass, this is bound to happen once-in-awhile. And yes.. A Latin American Jesuit is probably going to talk about Satan quite a bit.

Illinidiva on May 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM

“It’s also alleged he may be Catholic.”

squint on May 22, 2013 at 3:42 PM

“In other news today came the shocking revelation that water may indeed, be wet.”

squint on May 22, 2013 at 3:44 PM

I saw a bear out in the woods today. You wouldn’t believe what it was doing…

Gingotts on May 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

The amazing thing is that people think that the Pope laying hands on someone means it could be an exorcism. News flash: the laying on of hands is the norm for all sorts of prayers and blessings.

Nessuno on May 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM

“The Holy Father did not intend to perform any exorcism,”

I like that response. Doesn’t mean the evil spirits did not vacate the boy’s body when the Pope laid his hands upon the boy, just that he did not intend to do that. Who were these exorcists interviewed by the reporter? The Catholic Church does have official exorcists, but I doubt any of them were interviewed.

mbs on May 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM

A frog’s ass.

Bishop on May 22, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Why would we be remotely surprised? It seems that the media is shocked about a lot of things nowadays. Not surprising that they’d be confused that the Pope is, indeed, Catholic.

Liberal education at its best, folks.

kim roy on May 22, 2013 at 4:33 PM

LOVE KP.

Ben Hur on May 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM

DAMN! And here I thought we Lutherans had Corrupted him to come
over to the “Dark Side”.

ToddPA on May 22, 2013 at 5:04 PM

USA Today seems shocked, shocked to discover that Catholics think the devil is an active agent in the world:

The problem is not that secular society doesn’t realize that the Pope believes in the existence of the devil, it is that they do not believe. They are oblivious. Even demons believe in God and tremble.

Fenris on May 22, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Watch a thread full of adults act as if nothing is remiss here. Laying on of hands is BS. One man channeling miracles as God’s primary conduit is BS unless his name is Jesus.

Christianity is known for it’s belief in Satan’s existence. But “the Devil” is not the same as “demons.” Exorcisms are confrontations with demons, not Satan in particular.

This false-outrage is an attempt to minimize the comedy which would otherwise ensue when a grown man pretends to cast “demons” from another person’s body.

Sometimes it seems like people are afraid of their blog posts and such being used against them by God. He already knows your heart. Mollifying absurd traditions doesn’t fool you or him.

I would bet that most Catholics would not put their money on the efficacy or veracity of exorcisms. What’s the difference between this leeching? Or bathing in patchouli and sage-smoke while whirling like a dervish to the Grateful Dead?

Capitalist Hog on May 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM

This false-outrage is an attempt to minimize the comedy which would otherwise ensue when a grown man pretends to cast “demons” from another person’s body.

So you believe that the Pope is on the same level as a televangelist? Good to know.

Illinidiva on May 22, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Re Capitalist Hog on May 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Laying on of hands is BS.

Huh? Christians praying over others by laying on hands is literally as old as Christianity itself. Reread Acts or Paul’s epistles if you’re still confused.

I originally read this as you being an atheist, which is evidently not the case given what else you go on to say.

But “the Devil” is not the same as “demons.” Exorcisms are confrontations with demons, not Satan in particular.

This false-outrage is an attempt to minimize the comedy which would otherwise ensue when a grown man pretends to cast “demons” from another person’s body.

Are you denying the existence of demons or demonic possession? The exorcisms performed by Jesus were against these evil spirits–not the devil.

I will leave you with this: Mark 16:17-18

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Nessuno on May 22, 2013 at 5:21 PM

YeH, but does he shi7 innawoodz?

ronsfi on May 22, 2013 at 5:29 PM

BS

Capitalist Hog on May 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Ok, ok, so I may have edited the original post slightly. I still think I captured the gist of it.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

I would bet that most Catholics would not put their money on the efficacy or veracity of exorcisms.

And how, exactly, would we put that to the test? Do you even think about what you’re saying before you write it, or is your anti-Catholic bigotry so fervent that it overwhelms your senses?

What’s the difference between this leeching? Or bathing in patchouli and sage-smoke while whirling like a dervish to the Grateful Dead?

Capitalist Hog on May 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Well, one thing is an exorcism, and the other things are something else.

Kensington on May 22, 2013 at 7:04 PM

It really is maddening how many people believe that the Catholic Church and other Christian churches must change to fit their unChristian beliefs.

njrob on May 22, 2013 at 7:45 PM

I just stumbled across a HuffPo article (I don’t willingly seek out things on their site) that claimed that anyone who does good will be redeemed, rather than just Catholics. Now, I’m not Catholic, but isn’t it pretty much a near-universal doctrinal point amongst the more devout groups in Christianity (such as my own group of Bapists/Reformed folks) that you have to follow Christ to be saved?

I figure there’s no harm in providing the link as I’ve seen HuffPo links here before:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html

Othniel on May 22, 2013 at 7:55 PM

“The Holy Father did not intend to perform any exorcism,”

I like that response. Doesn’t mean the evil spirits did not vacate the boy’s body when the Pope laid his hands upon the boy, just that he did not intend to do that. Who were these exorcists interviewed by the reporter? The Catholic Church does have official exorcists, but I doubt any of them were interviewed.

mbs on May 22, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Additionally, the Catholic Church has a sacramental rite of exorcism usually starting with the Rituale Romanum, although exorcism is not considered a sacrament itself. Presumably, the Pope would have followed the ritual had he intended to perform an exorcism.

jix on May 22, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Create the space for a miracle to occur. You might be surprised. Otherwise, enjoy the mundane, same as it ever was.

Jocundus on May 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Finally, USA Today’s surprise that Catholics (and Christians in general) believe the devil to be an active agent speaks more to its own ignorance of faith

One well versed in theology understands that those in bed with forces of evil spend much of their time trying to convince people that the devil and demons don’t exist–it is their default mode of operation.
Understanding that makes it easy to understand why the most immoral of political leaders also dissapear when things go wrong.

Don L on May 23, 2013 at 7:58 AM

DAMN! And here I thought we Lutherans had Corrupted him to come over to the “Dark Side”.

ToddPA on May 22, 2013 at 5:04 PM

I thought so to, then read that Huff-Po article, linked above.

“Faith, not deeds” is a pretty key tennant of that old Lutheran faith.

The_Livewire on May 23, 2013 at 8:17 AM

“Look at this disturbing video…”

Oh, shut up, you cow.

princetrumpet on May 23, 2013 at 8:36 AM

I’ve seen “The Exorcist” quite a few times. That’s not something you do on the side of the road.

Odysseus on May 23, 2013 at 8:59 AM

I just stumbled across a HuffPo article (I don’t willingly seek out things on their site) that claimed that anyone who does good will be redeemed, rather than just Catholics. Now, I’m not Catholic, but isn’t it pretty much a near-universal doctrinal point amongst the more devout groups in Christianity (such as my own group of Bapists/Reformed folks) that you have to follow Christ to be saved?

I figure there’s no harm in providing the link as I’ve seen HuffPo links here before:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html

Othniel on May 22, 2013 at 7:55 PM

Francis’ sermon was just posted in the headlines. (I thought that AP might have been intrigued by that one.)

Illinidiva on May 23, 2013 at 9:09 AM

The fact that Pope Francis “laid hands” on a boy’s head while praying for him does not necessarily mean that the Pope performed an exorcism. The New Testament is full of references to Jesus or the Apostles (including Saint Peter) laying hands on people (usually on their heads or shoulders) and praying for them, sometimes resulting in physical healing or receiving the Holy Spirit, not necessarily casting out demons.

Pope Francis repeated a traditional form of prayer for healing that has been practiced in Christianity for nearly 2,000 years, not only in the Catholic Church, but also in many Protestant denominations.

Pope Francis is the elected successor of Saint Peter, the “rock” on which Jesus chose to build His Church. Why shouldn’t Pope Francis do what Saint Peter did?

Steve Z on May 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM

The fact that Pope Francis “laid hands” on a boy’s head while praying for him does not necessarily mean that the Pope performed an exorcism.

It also doesn’t necessarily mean that the boy’s demons didn’t leave him upon the occasion of a powerful prayer.

joe_doufu on May 23, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Pope Francis is the elected successor of Saint Peter, the “rock” on which Jesus chose to build His Church. Why shouldn’t Pope Francis do what Saint Peter did?

Steve Z on May 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Because considering Francis has managed to create a large and devout following in a little over two months and is generating more adulation than even JPII (i.e. the guy who everyone was demanding instant sainthood for at his funeral), I don’t think that we should be encouraging such speculation. Especially since the Vatican says that it wasn’t the case.

Illinidiva on May 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM