Just Another Carnival Barker

Today’s Roman Catholic hierarchy knows that the old hoodoo is a good way to bring in the crowds, so here’s one veteran doing his bit:

Father Gabriele Amorth, who for years was the Vatican’s chief exorcist and claims to have cleansed hundreds of people of evil spirits, said yoga is Satanic because it leads to a worship of Hinduism and “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation”.

Well, I give him credit for rejecting the intellectually absurd temptations of ecumenicism, but I interrupt:

Reading JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books is no less dangerous, said the 86-year-old priest, who is the honorary president for life of the International Association of Exorcists, which he founded in 1990, and whose favourite film is the 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist. The Harry Potter books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide, “seem innocuous” but in fact encourage children to believe in black magic and wizardry, Father Amorth said.

“Practising yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter,” he told a film festival in Umbria this week, where he was invited to introduce The Rite, a film about exorcism starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as a Jesuit priest.

“In Harry Potter the Devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells and curses,” said the priest, who in 1986 was appointed the chief exorcist for the Diocese of Rome.

“Satan is always hidden and what he most wants is for us not to believe in his existence. He studies every one of us and our tendencies towards good and evil, and then he offers temptations.” Science was incapable of explaining evil, said Father Amorth, who has written two books on his experiences as an exorcist. “It’s not worth a jot. The scientist simply explores what God has already created.” His views may seem extreme, but in fact reflect previous warnings by Pope Benedict XVI, when as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s enforcer of doctrinal orthodoxy. In 1999, six years before he succeeded John Paul II as Pope, he issued a document which warned Roman Catholics of the dangers of yoga, Zen, transcendental meditation and other ‘eastern’ practises. They could “degenerate into a cult of the body” that debases Christian prayer, the document said. Yoga poses could create a feeling of well-being in the body but it was erroneous to confuse that with “the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit,” the document said…

Father Amorth has previously said that people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron and have such superhuman strength that even children have to be held down by up to four people. He has also claimed that the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Catholic Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries was proof that the Anti-Christ is waging a war against the Holy See.

Satan's Little Helpers

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4 Responses to Just Another Carnival Barker

  1. John Farrell says:

    I’m going to go way out on a limb here and guess, he’s probably not a big fan of Tai Chi either….

  2. Don Kenner says:

    Interesting. The RCC took a rather dim view of “The Exorcist” (book and movie) when it came out. I believe the book was one of the last books on the Vatican’s official list of prohibited books. Now the movie is suddenly praiseworthy for Amroth and other Catholic officials.

    Also interesting is the hostility towards Hinduism, Yoga, and other heathen practices, given the constant, unrelenting, attempts by various Vatican committees to suck up to Islam, accentuating the common ground that the two faiths allegedly share.

    Of course, the Yoga folks aren’t likely to start burning churches after being criticized.

    But this settles it: I’m going to read all the Harry Potter books. My journey through Nabokov will have to wait.

  3. Narr says:

    No, do the Nabokov first!

    I agree with your point about the growing coziness between the RCC and Islam, something that bodes no good for secularism anywhere.

  4. Chris says:

    The Harry Potter books’ quality is their surest sign of devilry.

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