So here we are in the 21st century while the Catholic Church seems convinced that we're still living in the medieval age. So what else is new? It's only ten years ago that the Catholic Church acknowledged that Leonardo da Vinci was in fact correct, and even less than ten years ago that the pope said the theory about dinosaurs might have something going for it after all. Let's give them a few hundred years and maybe they will assist the rest of us in the fight against AIDS as well.
In the past thirty years we have made tremendous progress in the treatment of mental illnesses. Where we in the past mutilated the brains of people with lobotomy we can in stead offer them help in other and more effective ways. We have medications that work effectively, and with more research even the side effects can be greatly reduced. I'm sure we can all agree that the days of chasing people out of town and putting them through superstitious rituals to rid them of the demons that had possessed them are something we should be glad to have put behind us.
All, except the Catholic Church of course. They will now be teaching their priests on how to do exorcisms. No need to worry though. Father Giulio Savoldi, who has been Milan's official exorcist for more than 20 years (sic), says quote: “Those studying to become exorcists should also study psychology and know how to distinguish between a mental illness and a possession.” What a relief. Heaven forbid that one should think that so called possessions are all either imagined or signs of sever psychiatric illnesses. The father is further quoted as saying that the powers of evil make the most of human weaknesses. Or as I would put it, it never ceases to amaze me what sort of excuses people can come up with so that they won't have to take responsibility for their actions. This idea of evil as one-dimensional external force is ludicrous.
This move by the Catholic Church is made in the same week that news reports told the story of the spokeswoman for “Africans against Child Abuse” (Afruca) who said church leaders who believe in possession needed education on child protection. I would sincerely urge “Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum” to teach their students this as well.
The Catholic Church is doing this in their fight against what they perceive as young people falling prey to Satan. This pretty much means those who dabble in New Age, Satanism and other people who don't follow the Catholic doctrine. I can sympathise with the first goal. But the way to help people from becoming victims of pseudo-science and New Age is to educate and inform them. Not meeting them with even more superstition and methods that belong in the Dark Ages.
What we need is to introduce science in to our school systems. The average person just can't fathom the idea that one can actually set up generic rules, protocols and methods to prove theories and hypotheses. Because they have never been taught how scientific principles work, they have gained this attitude that science is so mysterious, or that scientists are walking around thinking they are infallible and have got the answers to everything. Because of this alienation people will tend to superstition and easy answers to their questions. And this is becoming more and more widespread. Religious fanatics are on the rise. In the US they are trying to prevent evolution from being taught in schools. In Muslim countries they are doing the same. Huge corporations are seeking astrologers guidance on which stock to invest in and what people to hire. Even some of the world's most powerful leaders are seeking help from healers and witches as well as astrologers. Not to mention all the money scheaming pyramids that are coming tumbling down these days, laying ruined families and fortunes in their wakes. The end is listless as they say.
A friend of mine, who is a proclaimed atheist, was once asked by a Christian what he believed in since he didn't believe in God. My friend answered that he believed in the human race. That we ultimately would find that following reason and science was the way to go. And that the natural human ability to do good would endure and that we would learn to treat each other with mutual respect. I wish I shared his optimism.