Exorcist training and conference next month in Chicago

Next month in Chicago, the Pope Leo XIII Institute will hold its annual exorcism conference for clergy. While not directly associated with or funded by the Catholic Church, the Institute was "established for the total education & training of priests in the holy ministry of exorcism and deliverance." According to the conference site, you'll learn the following:

- If the devil can read your mind or knows the future.

-How to distinguish between divinely inspired visions and those inspired by the devil.

-Common pitfalls for beginners in the spiritual life - as well as those of the most advanced.

-How the devil adapts his strategy according to where you are in the spiritual life: purgative, illuminative, and unitive stages.

-How to grow in prayer.

-What are the most effective weapons in combatting the devil - as well as those the devil uses against you to halt your progress.

From Mysterious Universe:

The independent, non-profit was founded to serve and educate Catholic bishops, priests, exorcists, deacons, and laity and offered its first conference in 2005 in response to Pope John Paul’s recommendation that every diocese appoint an exorcist.

This year’s exorcist conference will focus on the teachings of Father Cliff Ermatinger and his book The Devil’s Role in the Spiritual Life. Past conference themes have included the exploration of the Virgin Mary’s role in defeating Satan and the in-depth examination of the motives of rebellious angels. The keynote speaker of the 2016 conference was Father Gary Thomas, the real-life priest on whose experiences the 2009 book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist was based, as well as the 2011 film The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins.

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Pope urges barbers and hair stylists not to gossip

More than 200 Italian barbers and hair stylists visited the Vatican yesterday where they received a a solemn word of warning from Pope Francis:

"Avoid falling into the temptation of gossip that is easily associated with your work," he said, and do your job "with Christian style, treating clients with gentleness and courtesy, offering them always a good word and encouragement."

Francis also introduced the hairdressers to their patron saint St. Martin de Porres (d. 1639) who according to Catholic.org is the "patron of Mixed Race, Barbers, Public Health Workers, (and) Innkeepers."

(Reuters) Read the rest

Pope condemns the "wealthy few" who hoard the riches that "belongs to all"

Pope Francis continues his streak of fighting for economic justice (though he's an unrepentant monster on abortion, women's rights, and the rights of queer people). Read the rest

Pope Francis apologizes for church child abuse, vows to clean house

In an "unprecedented" letter to the the laity, Pope Francis described priestly child abuse as an atrocity and the Catholic Church's protection of abusers as complicity.

With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.

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Catholic League insists that it's only rape when priests "penetrate" children

Bill Donohue, the president of the ultra-conservative Catholic League, has called the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's report on the official coverups of the priestly rape of children an "obscene lie," insisting that rape was relatively rare, because most of the sexual abuse committed by the priesthood doesn't qualify as rape, because the priests didn't penetrate their victims. Read the rest

Catholic church launches probe into weeping Mary statue in Hobbs, N.M

Hobbs, N.M. is an oil town out in No Country For Old Men country, and I lived there for 7 years after moving to the United States. It's rarely in the papers, but thanks to a weeping Mary statue at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, it's become international news.

Church bosses have assured they are going to take a “scientific” approach to the suspected miracle.

Virgin Mary’s supposed tears were first spotted by Laura Cisneros, the church’s secretary.

She found a puddle of an “oil-like substance” had pooled at the feet of the statue during mass.

Another parishioner claims they then wiped away the tears, only for more to appear in her eyes

The church knows all the tricks to make a statue appear to weep and, at least in principle, allows only scientific mysteries to ascend to miraclehood. An unusual circumstance in Hobbs right now is that it is quite hot--well into the 100s--so if the AC down everthing is weeping something. Photo: KOBTV [Thanks, Heather!] Read the rest

The Vatican dunks on the finance industry and its "amoral culture"

The Vatican has published “‘Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones’. Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system” of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, 17.05.2018, a lengthy report on the wickedness of Wall Street, in which the finance industry is condemned in the strongest and most specific terms, accused of creating an "amoral culture" dedicated to the "profit of the strongest" instead of the "authentic good." Read the rest

The Exorcist director's new documentary about a "real" exorcism

William Friedkin, director of the classic 1973 film The Exorcist, just screened his new documentary about a "real" exorcism conducted by Father Gabriele Amorth on behest of the Vatican’s Rome Diocese. Friedkin's film is titled "The Devil and Father Amorth." From an interview with Friedkin in Variety:

What was the experience of witnessing a real exorcism so close up like?

It was terrifying. I went from being afraid of what could happen to feeling a great deal of empathy with this woman’s pain and suffering, which is obvious in the film...

You have subsequently consulted with scientists in the U.S. about what you witnessed and filmed. What did they say?

I consulted with neurologists, brain surgeons, some of the best in the United States. The brain surgeons had no idea what her affliction was and none of them would recommend an operation. They believe that everything originates in the brain but — and they say this in the film — they have never seen anything quite like these symptoms….Then the psychiatrists…all described how psychiatry now recognizes demonic possession. It’s called dissociative identity disorder/demonic possession. And if a patient comes in and says they are possessed by a demon or a devil, they don’t tell them that they are not….They do whatever psychiatric treatment they think is necessary, including medication. And they bring an exorcist in.

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Watch a real exorcism through a church keyhole

In 2014, Daniel Trochta of the small town of Vranov nad Dyji in the Czech Republic heard screaming coming from the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. He peeped through the keyhole and watch an exorcism unfold, and caught a couple minutes of it on his mobile phone camera. Sadly, Trochta seems to have missed any projectile vomiting, levitation, or head-spinning that may have occurred. From Mysterious Universe:

After Trochta posted the video, some parishioners and town residents questioned its authenticity and complained about the noise and possible danger. Local priest Father Marek Dunda finally confirmed that the video was real and implied that he was the exorcist or at least present during the ceremony.

"We were asking God to protect and to liberate the person. We used a Latin prayer asking for help. Of course it helps."

He refused to identify the woman and gave no details on her current condition. While the complaints continue, the town mayor says he’s talked to the priest and nothing illegal occurred in the church.

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Idiocraski: the apocalyptic situation in Poland after a year of trumpism

It's been a year since the Law and Justice Party won the Polish election, on familiar-sounding promises to drain the swamp and restore Poland to its former greatness: now school textbooks are being redesigned to downplay evolution and climate change and to recount a fanciful version of Poland's history; the government is mooting giving hoteliers the right to turn away customers based on sexual orientation or skin-color; a minister rejected an international accord against wife-beating because it subverted traditional gender roles; Parliament is about to get the right to choose which journalists may report from its debates; the guy in charge of national sex-ed curriculum believes that condoms give women cancer; a proposed law will virtually end opposition protests; and disloyal journalists at the "independent" state broadcaster have been purged. Read the rest

Poland's insane abortion law is back

Last month, Poland's ultra-right government collaborated with the Catholic Church to progress an extreme abortion law that would have sent doctors who performed operations to save fetuses (or their mothers) to prison. Read the rest

Polish women go on strike over insane abortion law

Poland's ultra-right government has passed an insane, incoherent ban on abortion that is so badly drafted that it potentially criminalizes miscarriage and surgeries to save the lives of fetuses. Read the rest