The Pope’s Exorcist Is Not Realistic Say People Who Believe Demonic Possession Really Is A Thing

Purveyors of superstition and exploiters of delusional thinking complain that a new horror film is not realistic enough.

You learn something new every day and for me, today’s new piece of knowledge is the unexpected – and frankly unwelcome – revelation is that there is an International Association of Exorcists. Who knew? Quite what this body of witchdoctors do day-to-day – apart from exploiting the vulnerable and the mentally ill, of course – is uncertain; I do like the idea that they might have annual conferences in tacky hotels, full of guest speakers ranging from top exorcists to demons who can attest to how well they were cast out. But the Association – with 800 members and a further 120 auxiliary members (presumably people who carry out exorcisms in their spare time) is currently most exercised (ho ho) by the forthcoming release of The Pope’s Exorcist, a biopic of sorts featuring Russell Crowe as Father Gabriel Amorth, the man responsible in large part for bringing this archaic slice of superstitious bollocks out of the middle ages and back into the modern world.

The Association stated that the film – which they dismiss as “splatter cinema, a sub-genre of horror”, suggesting that they have a somewhat dated and minimal idea of just what horror cinema is – might be “contrary to historical reality, distorting and falsifying what is truly lived and experienced during the exorcism of truly possessed people.” Yes, you read that right – a group of people who carry out religious rites to cast out demons are upset that a film might distort reality. The lack of self-awareness is quite staggering. They go on to suggest that the film’s portrayal of the Vatican as a secretive and possibly sinister organisation is a damaging one, as dangerous as The Da Vinci Code – and we all know how effective the complaints and protests about that were. The makers of The Pope’s Exorcist must be praying for religious protests outside screenings and a call for a boycott – who wouldn’t want that sort of effective free publicity?

Amorth became Chief Exorcist of Rome in 1986 and carried out some 100,000 exorcisms of the unbalanced, the disturbed and the religiously delirious before his death aged 91 in 2016. He claimed to speak to the Devil – in Latin, of course – every day and presumably, if there is a Hell, he’ll be doing the same now while he serves an eternity of punishment for brutally exploiting the vulnerable for all that time. Quite how he is depicted in the film remains to be seen – for all the concerns of the exorcist community, it seems likely that the film will effectively justify his activities by presenting the idea of demonic possession as a real, plausible idea but I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. In any case, it seems that all the complaints by the exorcists, the secretive Vatican and other religious busy-bodies will simply boost the film’s public profile. In any case, we would be wise to remember that recent history has shown us that Catholic priests are far more likely to be a danger to young people than the Devil ever could be – and exorcists and religious leaders alike have been notably unwilling to cast that particular evil out…


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  1. Check out this hilarious Daily Mail article from 2014, wherein an exorcist from Rome describes his work as “another form of charity”, and the Pope and his pals are combatting the serious demonic danger of Halloween with….”Holyween”. I shit you not. Comedy gold.

    1. Holyween! These guys are the gift that keeps on giving. A shitty gift that you can’t even return for store credit, admittedly, but still…

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