Catholics often say that they’re science friendly, and are really down with modern evolutionary thought. Two decades ago, John Paul II proclaimed that evolution was “more than an hypothesis,” which many saw as the Vatican’s acceptance of evolution. What they don’t mention is that John Paul added that we face “an ontological leap” when dealing with the origin of humans—something that involved “the spiritual realm.” And when you ponder the Vatican’s supposed acceptance of evolution and science, remember these three things:
- The official position of the Catholic Church, as given in Pope Pius XII’s De Humani Generis (1950) and in the Catholic Catechism, is that Adam and Eve were real people who were the ancestors of us all (and, of course, bequeathed us all original sin). In fact, the former document says that we are not allowed to see Adam and Eve as other than our historical ancestors. Modern evolutionary genetics, as I’ve written before, nullifies this claim, as the population of our ancestors was never anywhere near as low as two (more like 12,000).
- 26% of Catholics, despite their Church’s implicit endorsement of evolution, are young-earth creationists, believing that “humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” Another 33% accept evolution, but a theistic form guided by God, while only 33% accept naturalistic evolution. In contrast, 57% of religiously unaffiliated Americans accept naturalistic evolution.
- Finally, the Vatican’s official position is that there are demons who can possess people, and that those demons can be expelled by the ministrations of credentialed exorcists. Even Pope Francis has mentioned his belief in Satan several times, and approved a conference on exorcism last year. (He also appeared to inadvertently perform an exorcism.) Estimates of the number of licensed Catholics exorcists exceed 300.
Well, the Dean of Exorcists, Father Gabriele Amorth—the official exorcist for the Diocese of Rome—just died at 91. The Christian Post notes that Amorth claimed to have driven out over 160,000 demons in his long career, though 6 years ago he claimed 70,000. (That means that since then he’s driven away about 41 demons per day—5 per hour assuming he works an 8-hour day, 365 days a year.) The Christian Post also gives more fun facts about Amorth:
Amorth was also an outspoken critic of yoga and Harry Potter books and dismissed them as ungodly hobbies.
“Practicing yoga brings evil as does reading Harry Potter. They may both seem innocuous but they both deal with magic and that leads to evil,” he once said.
Referring to Harry Potter, he also said, “People think it is an innocuous book for children but it’s about magic and that leads to evil. In Harry Potter the Devil is at work in a cunning and crafty way, he is using his extraordinary powers of magic and evil… Satan is always hidden and the thing he desires more than anything is for people to believe he does not exist… He studies each and every one of us and our tendencies towards good and evil and then he tempts us.”
Amorth also insisted that both Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil.
During the papacy of Benedict XVI, Amorth said that the sex abuse scandals which engulfed the Catholic Church were proof that the Antichrist was waging a war against the Holy See. “The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences,” he said, according to The Telegraph. “He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, or even appear to be sympathetic. At times he makes fun of me. But I’m a man who is happy in his work.”
Describing people possessed by evil, Father Amorth once said, “From their mouths, anything can come out – pieces of iron as long as a finger, but also rose petals… When the possessed dribble and slobber, and need cleaning up, I do that too. Seeing people vomit doesn’t bother me. The exorcist has one principal duty – to free human beings from the fear of the Devil.”
Ugh. Well, somebody has to do it. And now that Amorth is gone, who will expel the hordes of demons just waiting to insinuate themselves into Catholic bodies?
Seriously, though, this is an embarrassment for the Catholic Church—or should be, for they seem to be beyond being embarrassed.