Monday, January 30, 2006

Canadian Priest Staying Mum About Exorcism Class

Recently, the only Canadian priest to attend the Vatican's new, month-long exorcism course was asked to share some of his knowledge. He said "no".

Father Emanuel Buttigieg, a Calgary priest for 40 years, attended the class so his diocese could benefit from the latest scholarship in demonology, but Bishop Fred Henry issued a prepared statement upon Fr. Buttigieg's return that makes it crystal clear he isn't willing to share that knowledge with anyone else. "As the devil likes to be an object of curiosity and sensationalism...I don't want to give him any more attention than he deserves," Bishop Henry explained. (1)

I don't think talking about the Vatican's exorcism course would be giving the devil his due. On the contrary, it might help restore public confidence in an ancient rite that has been seriously mishandled in recent years. The Exorcism of Emily Rose resurrected the tragic case of Anneliese Michel, a young German woman starved to death in the course of a grueling Catholic exorcism; the two priests later convicted of negligent homicide had ignored Aime's epilepsy. Then, on 15 June 2005, 23-year-old Romanian nun Maricica Irina Cornici was found dead from dehydration and suffocation in her own convent. A priest, believing she was beseiged by demons, had lashed her to a cross and stuffed a rag in her mouth as part of an effort to starve out the evil spirits. (2)

Father Buttigieg, you don't have to give us all the gory details...but please tell us you learned something in Rome!


1."Exorcists live among us, but they prefer to keep a low profile" by Niall McKenna, CanWest News Service, Edmonton Journal, Jan. 8/06

2. "Deadly Rituals: Nun Dies During Convent Exorcism" by Benjamin Radford, Skeptical Inquirer, Sept./Oct. 2005

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