There is something so deliciously pagan about exorcisms. Trolls living under bridges. Leprechauns. Gnomes. So many ways to imagine demonic creatures that thwart your best laid plans, make a fool out of you, and lead you down the wrong path.
They’re not all bad, of course – don’t forget the tooth fairy – but the ones that are worth their salt certainly are. The Koran tells you man was made of earth and the genies were made of fire and are invisible. Some are good genies, but the bad ones can come get you if you’re not watchful.
When I was a kid there were prayers after the mass to Saint Michael the Archangel (and you could get slapped for asking if an archangel was to an angel what an archbishop was to a bishop, by the way). Michael, we were taught to say, “thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.” Which was confusing since I thought Satan already was in hell.
It’s no wonder the old Italian ladies I worked with at the hosiery when I was sixteen would wear garlic around their neck and hide under the table kissing repeatedly the crucifix they always wore during thunderstorms. When you teach people to fear unseen monsters, there’s no telling where they’ll take it.
You’ve got to love this pagan bishop running things in Springfield, Illinois. He’s fixin’ to get out his abracadabras and his holy water and fling some Jesus at the Cathedral they put him in charge of. “Out, damned spot!” “Away with ye, oh spirits of darkness!” Hit the road, heathens! Buzz off, Beelzebub.
I wonder how we might get tickets.
I used to piss off some of my gay friends when I came to the defense of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Just as straight people often miss the point that drag is theater and satire, not to be taken literally, and it’s not about “men who want to be women,” gay people too often miss the theatrical value of the clowns leading the homophobic mobs. Bishop Paprocki is just another Falwell. And if you sit back and give these jokers enough rope to hang themselves, you get some hilarious entertainment. Pop some popcorn, I used to say, when Robertson blamed the lesbians for hurricanes in South Carolina and Falwell and Robertson put their two quarter brains together and came up with the half-brain notion that 9/11 was brought on by homosexuality.
Paprocki made a name for himself long ago trying to drum Catholics out of his church. For years, now he has been demanding that Catholics who don’t toe the line on birth control, abortion and homosexuality have no place at the altar. Get way from the Blessed Sacrament, you heathen Democrat. Jesus is MINE!
Paprocki can weasel-talk with the best of them. I’m not telling you who to vote for, he says, just before telling you who to vote for. The exact quote is:
I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.
The Democratic Party, you may have noticed, supports a woman’s right to have an abortion; the Republican Party does not. The Democratic Party endorses LGBT rights; the Republican Party does not. Any questions?
If you were a Martian and you looked through the information you could gather from Marsgoogle on Earth People you’d no doubt be struck by their propensity to fight each other over which one had the exclusive authority to speak for the imaginary man they believed lived in the sky. And by the elaborate physical and mental structures they had built to assure their power to dominate the conversation.
You’ve got to feel sorry for the Roman Catholic clerics at the top. Running a world-sized organization is like herding cats. Heretical notions keep popping up. You’ve got these troublesome women who want to be priests. People pissed at you for getting rid of the prayers to convert the Jews. For kicking out liberation theologists and welcoming home Holocaust deniers. Your program of reminding the world that 6200 child molesters in the U.S. aren’t all that many, considering how many molesters there are out there, has fallen flat. And there is still so much work to do to fix the damage done by John XXIII at Vatican II.
And then there are all those Blessed Virgin sightings to sort out. Too late to deny Guadalupe and Lourdes and Fatima. They are mainstream by now. But there’s still work to do to take down the sighting at Medjugorje. That one was just too far over the top. 295 sightings. What a bitch. We’ve only been able to authenticate 12. Do you know how much work that took?
Almost as tough as finding the requisite number of miracles performed by the last couple of popes so we can promote them to saints. Obviously, if you can’t get God to change the laws of nature – more than once – you don’t deserve the prize.
And then there’s the matter at hand. How do you tell who the real demons are that need the services of an exorcist? So many people out there are wearing tinfoil hats these days. All those psychos with guns and knives. Deciding when to call in the shrink and when to call in the cops and when to call in the exorcist, well that work isn’t for sissies.
In this case, though, there is little doubt. When you find your parishioners supporting people who express love and affection and a desire to share both richer and poorer with each other, well, you can’t go to the cops. It’s no longer illegal in most places to love somebody. And you can’t go to the shrinks. The American Psychiatric Association back in 1973 fell for the Fallen One’s line and announced there was nothing wrong with homosexuality. Then the (weak-willed?) American Psychological Association followed suit two years later.
So much for getting help from the shrinks. Looks like it's the Exorcists by default.
And that’s where Paprocki comes in. Next week, when that sinner Governor Pat Quinn signs the same-sex marriage bill in Chicago on November 20th, Paprocki will offer prayers of exorcism at the Cathedral in Springfield.
Be there, or be square.
Bring your own popcorn.