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Satan and sex scandals

I’m sure we’ve all heard plenty about the recent round of abuse scandals among the Roman Catholic clergy. Of course this isn’t exactly new, but this time around it looks like they’re letting the Vatican’s resident exorcist come up with explanations for the phenomenon:

When you’re one of the most powerful institutions in the world and you’ve got an escalating series of sex abuse scandals erupting in such far-flung locales as Ireland,  Germany, Brazil and beyond on a near daily basis, how do you even begin to do damage control? If you’re the Catholic Church, maybe you say you’re going to investigate. You issue a few letters. And then just to cover all your bases, you do a little Satan blaming. In a bold and arguably wack move, the Vatican’s normally press-shy exorcist Don Gabriele Amorth has been granting interviews left and right lately, and they are a treasure trove of WTF moments.

You say you hadn’t been aware the Vatican even had an official exorcist? Thought that stuff was just for Linda Blair movies? That’s likely because, prior to last week, the Vatican had permitted its exorcist to grant one interview in the entire last century. Now, suddenly he’s doing the rounds like he’s got a new rom-com with Gerard Butler opening Friday.

Speaking to La Republica last week, Amorth, who in fact does have a new book, “Memoirs of an Exorcist,” to shill, said, “When one speaks of ‘the smoke of Satan’ in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and pedophilia.” A few days later, he told the UK Times, “All evil is due to the intervention of the Devil, including pedophilia.” He also added that contemporary culture has “given in to the Evil One. You see it in the lack of faith, the empty churches, the collapse of the family. Compare the world of today to when I was a boy in Modena: families and parish communities were strong, women did not go out to work.”

I don’t know. If I were part of the Vatican superstructure working to get this matter settled, I don’t think I’d want this guy on my side.


  1. Dennis wrote:

    In certain aspects of Catholicism, there is a real sense of spirituality. In Amorth’s world, being an exorcist, there is a very real spiritual warfare that’s going on. So, from his perspective, there is an evil and he will likely place the blame on Satan. As a person takes steps deeper and deeper into Catholicism (I’ve gone from nominal to very orthodox), you start sensing the spiritual warfare around you. I’d imagine Amorth senses it at a level I don’t even want to think about.

    I personally think Satan is involved but only to tempt. The responsibility of the sins that these priests did throughout the world can be laid solely on the priests. If any cover ups were involved, that responsibility would lie within the hierarchy of the Church. Blaming Satan only goes so far.

    Adam and Eve blamed Satan too…they were still punished for their deeds.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
  2. kim fabricius wrote:

    It makes your head spin.

    I recently cast 60% of the devils out of my wife, who is a teacher: she’s only working two days a week now.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink
  3. Steven D wrote:

    If Satan is the responsible party for all of this, oughtn’t Amorth petition the Vatican for additional exorcists? I’m talking job creation here, they sound understaffed.

    On a serious note, I pray that the Catholic church does find a responsible and effective course of action to take. Even for non-Catholic’s these abuses reflect poorly on and hinder the entire body of Christ.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink
  4. Chris Donato wrote:

    Let’s at least not miss the forest in spite of the trees: this whole business does indeed bring joy to the evil one.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink
  5. Marvin wrote:

    Where’s the outrage?

    Why isn’t this post generating 60, 70, 100 comments flaming the Roman Catholic hierarchy the way that posts on Driscoll or God and Country Evangelicalism or vacuous liberal Protestantism do? Roman Catholicism boasts great liturgy, great theologians and a great ecclesiology–all of which seem terribly attractive to the type of youngish post-Evangelicals who seem to gather here in great numbers–but it’s also also saddled with a bureaucracy that has, ON A GLOBAL SCALE, aided and abetted in the sexual abuse of thousands of children.

    There is something deeply rotten in the Roman Catholic Church that needs to be cut out, for its own health and the health of the ecumenical Church. I think a genuine ecumenical spirit would put that concern front and center.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  6. kim fabricius wrote:

    You are right, Marvin. And a fish rots from the head down.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  7. roger flyer wrote:

    In that case, I’d hold off on further exorcism or she might leave you for the nunnery.

    Friday, March 19, 2010 at 5:46 am | Permalink
  8. roger flyer wrote:

    Because it’s not our ‘tribe’…?

    Friday, March 19, 2010 at 5:47 am | Permalink
  9. Marvin wrote:


    Didn’t Rome quit talking to the Anglicans for a while after Eugene Robinson was promoted to Bishop? Rome doesn’t have any problem passing judgment on how other tribes organize themselves. Perhaps Protestant denominations should suspend talks with Rome until the full light of day is shown on every dark corner of the sex abuse scandal.

    Friday, March 19, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
  10. Chris Donato wrote:


    Monday, March 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  11. Tonio wrote:

    This blog has degenerated into name-calling and self-righteous indignation. What a decline for Inhabitatio Dei, Halden…

    Monday, March 22, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

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