Is Pope Francis an exorcist? "The question has been swirling ever since Francis laid his hands on the head of a young man after celebrating Mass in St. Peter's Square. ["] surveyed exorcists agreed that Francis either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil. Fueling the speculation is Francis' obsession with the devil, a frequent subject of his homilies. But my question is what devil.
UPDATE: The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis intended to perform an exorcism:
"The Holy Father did not intend to perform any exorcism," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement, after the claims by TV 2000, which is owned by the Italian bishops' conference.
"As he often does with sick and suffering people who are presented to him, he simply intended to pray for the suffering person," Lombardi said."
Exorcism is a process shaped by belief that a horrendously fearsome force is at work in the world that possesses certain people and therefore must be eliminated by these religious rituals.
Well, contrary to the Vatican's official position, I think the Pope is an exorcist. One of the most important exorcists ever. I'll call him an Exorcist Extraordinaire. And he is appearing at exactly the right time in history.
Two reasons bring me to this conclusion: The Supreme Court's decision on corporate personhood and the fact that the Roman Catholic church's ritual of exorcism is designed to remove evil when it possess "people". I guess this means people of any kind, [read corporate personhood] including those caught up in this era of unfettered, predatory capitalism.
This evil, like all the evil in the world, is not an autonomous force as is represented in the concept of the devil. The anthropomorphic image of the devil works for those whose cognitive functioning won't allow abstract thinking. But for the rest of us we can see evil for what it is: the result of the actions of human beings.
And there is no place where evil is as obviously humanly instigated as the greed, when certain corporations succumb to the current form of amoral capitalism. A system that forgives any other responsibilities but to its own shareholders.
You must have noticed by now that Pope Francis has some inconvenient and painful things to say about the evil that exists in capitalism.
But why this Pope? Why not Rome's leading exorcist, the Vatican's primary teacher of the rites of exorcism, Rev. Carmine de Filippis [not related to this writer]? I think it's because Francis is in the best position to see the economic violence being done to vast numbers of innocent people all over the world and the complicity of the Church itself calls for action from the top. And he and the Jesuits, his Congregation, are sometimes referred to colloquially as "God's Marines". It's going to take Marine-like actions to rid capitalism of the evil that has invaded it.
Using the image of Satan to represent worldly evil is like capitalism blaming the poor to avoid responsibility for the economic deprivation they suffer. It takes us off the hook.
You know what I mean: Trickledown economics works, so if people remain poor it's because they're not motivated. Il Papa Francisco has had a few things to say about that.
A final note: For those challenged by complexity, I'm not condemning all capitalism. It is an inanimate system and consequently can only be made evil by human abuse. So please don't write calling me a communist. Leaning toward socialism, maybe a little. But before you condemn me, do some research on quality of life in the Scandinavian countries.
Robert De Filippis