I came across a funny-sounding news story the other day – seems that the Vatican is projecting a shortage in priests who can perform exorcisms. Yes, exorcisms. This was not The Onion. To me the seriousness with which the Catholic church seems to have taken this ceremony belies its acceptance of the non-serious belief of its audience/followers. I am not a Catholic, but I’d bet quite a few members of the church are there for traditional reasons rather than spiritual ones. Then you hear about exorcisms!
When you look at actual exorcism ceremonies, at least those allowed to be recorded, within the Russian Orthodox church, a few things jump out right away. Let’s look at a few ceremonies first:
When you look at the women afflicted by … something … in these videos, the first thing you have to think of is – mental health issues. It must be very easy to mistake a schizophrenic episode for a person possessed by a demon. Does the church not believe in psychology? I bet it doesn’t, which would explain nicely its ‘wholistic’ approach to mental health. No psychologists – priests can bring comfort. I must say the laying of hands on the victims by the priest (in the above videos) brings relief to the victims. It would be extremely interesting to have the very same women undergo therapy to see what issues they really do exhibit and how they were brought to the church to get help.
On the side of entertainment – gothic themes, demons, devils, and possession has been a favorite topic for many years. This trend started somewhere in the late 19th Century with Mary Shelley creating the first gothic horror stories for the masses. Today, a large section of this entertainment has moved on to graphic novels – comic books – which graduated from flying superheroes to more nuanced and sophisticated gothic themes. Here is a new one – The Exorcist. This is a comic series originally conceived by Victoria Unikel ( @victoriaunikel https://victoriaunikel.com ) Take a look at the video below!