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It’s amazing what gets reported as news:

THE Catholic Church has revealed how growing interest in satanism and the occult has led to a rise in exorcisms across Queensland.

Well, for starters this statement is a little misleading. To be clear, what is actually on the rise is the rate of exorcism ceremonies being carried out. There is no evidence to suggest that any of these anecdotally reported cases involves anything that could be construed as supernatural demonic possession.

One priest, who asked not to be named for fear of “reprisals”, said he was carrying out at least one exorcism a fortnight.

Reprisals from who pray tell? Satan? Demons? The police? Other, saner priests?

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If this keeps up, I’m going to have to create a new category just for the Pope. The Times Online reports that his holiness has come up with a new method of dealing with pedophilia in the Catholic church:

Pope Benedict XVI has instructed Roman Catholics to pray “in perpetuity” to cleanse the Church of paedophile clergy. All dioceses, parishes, monasteries, convents and seminaries will be expected to organise continuous daily prayers to express penitence and to purify the clergy.

WTF?

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Family

Just in case the exorcism squads weren’t embarrassing and anachronistic enough, the Pope has decided to lead in the new year by reinforcing the Catholic churches opposition to the non-traditional family on the basis of, wait for it, world peace. I kid you not.

Pope Benedict XVI ushered in the New Year by criticising policies that undermine the traditional family, saying they eroded one of the most important foundations for peace in the world.

The Catholic Church celebrates January 1 as World Day of Peace, and the pope used a midmorning Mass and a window appearance before thousands of faithful in St Peter’s Square to mark the occasion.

Traditional? Uh oh.

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South Park Satanist

The Vatican is denying reports that it plans to setup exorcism squads. They’re not saying that the idea of exorcism is a little crazy or anything, just that the pope has not ordered the action.

Paolo Scarafoni, a priest at Vatican University who teaches how to recognize and expel Satan, said exorcists increasingly are in demand because devil worship has become so common, reported ANSA, the Italian news agency. “Priests are being bombarded,” Scarafoni told ANSA.

Those nasty devil worshipers. Not only do they get possessed by Satan, but they make the Catholic church look crazy too.

Pope forms Exorcism Squad

December 30, 2007

You’ve got to be kidding me.

The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.
Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.

They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of “Godlessness.”

Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.

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From today’s Age:

POPE Benedict has strongly criticised modern atheism, saying in a major document that it had led to some of the “greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice” ever known.

Can anyone else smell a straw man? Or is it just me?

His royal Pope-ness once again wades head first into the real world:

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that pharmacists have a right to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs and told them they should also inform patients of the ethical implications of using such drugs.

Benedict said conscientious objector status would “enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia.”

The catholic church also disapproves of birth control – so what next? Contraceptives?

Great. Now we just need some Jehovah’s Witness doctors who who won’t do blood transfusions, and maybe some Christian Science paramedics who won’t do anything.