A bit capuche-tip to Dr. Peters of In the Light of the Law blog, who referred me to this wonderful article by professor Slyke at Kenrick-Glennon seminary. The article compares the liturgical rites of exorcism before and after the Second Vatican Council, both historically in terms of their textual origins and in terms of the language used in either rite. It was the first article I’ve ever read that goes into such detail over the textual differentia between the old and new rite exorcisms; everything else I’ve read has been off-the-cuff remarks by the crackpot Fr. Gabriele Amorth (self-proclaimed chief exorcist of the Catholic Church). Fr. Gabriele is good for a laugh or two, like when he claims to have done 70,000 exorcisms over the course of his priestly career – which equals about 12 a day. That’s about as ridiculous as this.
Anyway, the article illustrates certain very bad decisions made by some liturgists. In particular, the post-Vatican II treatment of the rite of exorcism was particularly humorous; one of the funniest remarks in the whole article was:
“The rite of major exorcism of Ex 1999 can be summarized in one word: celebratio or “celebration.””
Which leads me to ask myself:
Is a demonic possession a sort of a party?
Now that I think about it, there are a lot of parallels:
You get to have a lot of house-guests over, I imagine (not having myself been invited to such an event).
Certainly, there’d be no shortage of ribs or bacon – and what’s a party without bacon?
There will always be fun activities for the whole family, like fortune-telling…
You’d always have a winner at Limbo.
I think we need to recover the ancient 70s-era Christian theology of exorcism as a celebration!
Yours in Christ,
Br. James Dominic, OP