Canadian group wants curb on exorcisms
April 18, 2012
A secularist group in Canada has called for a ban on exorcisms, after a report that the Diocese of Saskatoon has been looking for a qualified exorcist.
Saskatoon Bishop Don Bolen began inquiring about trained exorcists after being informed about a local man who had shown some possible indications of demonic possession. After a frightening meeting with the man, a priest gave him a blessing, but called for police protection; he did not attempt an exorcism.
The Centre for Inquiry, a Toronto group, said that exorcisms should be restricted because they are dangerous and unscientific. The group said that behavior that might be interpreted as evidence of demonic possession can also be attributed to mental illness (a fact that the Catholic Church does not dispute). The group professed alarm at the idea that exorcisms would be performed regularly--although there is no evidence that the ritual is done.
Secular media coverage of the Centre for Inquiry's call did not address the question of religious freedom, which would obviously be curtailed by a ban on a Catholic ritual. Reporters also did not explore the possibility that some signs of demonic possession might not be explained by mental illness.
- Ban exorcisms, science advocacy group urges (CBC)
- Group calls for exorcism inquiry after Saskatoon incident (CTV)
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