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For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived

For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived

By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
Exorcism is as old as Christianity itself. The New Testament has accounts of Jesus casting out demons, and it is cited in the Catholic Church’s catechism. But it is now far more popular in Europe, Africa and Latin America than in the United States. Most exorcisms are not as dramatic as the bloody scenes in films. The ritual is based on a prayer in which the priest invokes the name of Jesus. The priest also uses holy water and a cross, and can alter the prayer depending on the reaction he gets from the possessed person, said Matt Baglio, a journalist in Rome who wrote the book “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist” (Doubleday, 2009).

Roman Polanski and the Challenge of Forgiveness

Roman Polanski and the Challenge of Forgiveness

One of the most fascinating events for those interested in the relationship between religion and secularism occurred in 1997. In 1997, Geimer publicly forgave Polanski. This event has caused some scholars of religion to reflect on complex questions: Does forgiveness, a nominally “Judeo-Christian” practice, have a place in the American law system, or in the public sphere? Or is this too simple a reduction? Some might argue that forgiveness is a universal practice, one practiced across many different cultures. In either case, there seems to be a strong aversion to substituting punishment with forgiveness in the U.S. (with perhaps the exception of a presidential pardon). Our law, in general, centers around a retributive form of justice, one in which criminals have to “pay” for their crime with their time, labor, or life. Forgiveness flies in the face of this kind of justice.

Battle of the Burqa

Battle of the Burqa

By Heather Abraham Recent news reports and articles concerning France’s attempt to ban the wearing of certain modes of Islamic “veiling” in public is more than just the latest example of Western anti- Islamic sentiment.  As John Sullivan wrote in his Religion Nerd article entitled The Muslims are Coming, this  anti-Muslim sentiment has fallen in with the […]