Saturday, 5 April 2008

And the proof for a real exorcism would be . . . ?

Priest 'made £3m from fake exorcisms'

So this priest in Italy is being investigated for fraud because he has amassed a personal fortune as a result of the healings and exorcisms conducted in front of audiences of 400.

Father Francesco Saverio Bazzoffi's defence is that because his organisation - the House of the Sainted Archangels - is not a business, it does not have a bank account, so he opened one in his own name. The money is destined for charities in India and the Philippines.

Here are the things that surprised me from the article.
1. The Catholic Church only permits licensed exorcists to practice. ie: The church issues exorcist licenses.
2. Other rites, such as laying on of hands are also proscribed by the church.

and (most importantly)

3. The church is not under investigation for fraud for its exorcisms and related money gathering

For how do the investigators differentiate between the bogus exorcisms of Bazzoffi, and the bogus exorcisms of a licensed Catholic exorcist. Or is it just paperwork, to quote Johnny Knoxville.

12 comments:

stephen said...

If you were there during an exorcism, you'd know if it were real or not - you'd also go away believeing in God!

Stew said...

Hi Stephen.

So, all I'd have to go on are my feelings? And I'd have to trust that I wasn't being duped by people faking demon possesion (as described in the link) and trust not to be swept up in the hysteria of the moment?

Lots of people watch fakes like Sylvia Brown doing their stuff and go away believing that she can communicate with the dead. Are they mistaken? Think about it.

We cannot rely on our feelings, we have to go with carefully controlled experiment and studies.

Can you think of a way that an exorcism can be empirically tested? I think it should be possible to study this type of phenomena under controlled conditions.

Don said...

You haven't seen an actual exorcism yet that's for sure! I've already seen an actual exorcism and I think you can't fake a possess person levitate 6 ft. in the air.!

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Anonymous said...

then i guess the retrard above me has never heard of houdini

Anonymous said...

don't argue with religious people. anyone who believes there's a magic skyman watching everything they do has forgone rationality and any semblence of intelligence long ago. :)

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