New documentary follows Vatican-approved exorcist

This new documentary titled The Exorcist in the 21st Century, is slated to be released this month. Judging by the trailer, it looks to be truly interesting:

The film’s website shows that it’s from the Swedish production company Gammaglimt AS. They offer this description:

The Exorcist in the 21st Century takes the viewer into the unknown and sinister world of exorcism in the Catholic Church.  We meet one of the few exorcists in Europe, the Vatican approved José Antonio Fortea. He travels around the world on a mission to enlighten the masses about demonic possession. Constanza, a Colombian woman, is desperately looking for Fr. Forteas help. She claims to have been possessed by demons for nearly 15 years and she goes through a ritual of exorcism before she sees the Spanish exorcist as a last hope for spiritual liberation. The film follows both their journeys and gives a unique insight into one of the world most secret and mystical rites — the catholic ritual of exorcism.

You’ll recall that last year I wrote a bit about the surge of real-life interest in exorcisms that has become a kind of cultural phenomenon lately (see “The Devil Went Down to Texas“). This documentary appears to be right in line with that trend.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on April 11, 2012, in Arts & Entertainment, Religion & Philosophy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. oh wow Matt, that looks fascinating! I hope to be able to see it when it comes out.
    what’s your take on exorcisms Matt? do you think that through ritual and prayer that demons can be cast out of a person? Do you think it’s mostly psychological?
    are we calling “demons” things that are products of our current system of living? Like what seems to be a huge number of sociopaths running businesses and governments? are they demon possessed or were they produced in by the system? Is our entire culture “demon possessed?”
    I tend to think that endless growth capitalism, disaster based capitalism are demonic systems designed to produce sociopaths, or, demon possessed people. Or could be those systems create people that are open to possession.
    just wondering out loud. LOL

    • Those are good out-loud wonderings, Pam. The question of whether demons “really exist” or are “just psychological” is an important one for the same reason that questions about the objective reality and/or ontological status of anything we frame as supernatural is important: because it focuses attention, even if only implicitly, on the more fundamental question of what exactly we mean by those categories (natural vs. supernatural, psychological or imaginary vs. objectively real) and what exactly we’re assuming when we conceptually divide the matter up in those terms.

      Yes, I think demons are real and can be cast out of a person via ritual exorcism. The cross-cultural testimony of human history as a whole provides ample evidence of this. And yes, I think demons are psychological in nature or substance. One can make a perfect case for their existence as independent, objectively existing entities. One can also make a perfect case for their existence as states of and complexes within the human psyche. These explanations are not mutually exclusive. The really wrong approach is to try to collapse or reduce either of these positions into the other, which almost everybody does. “Yes,” the supernatural true believer will say, “there’s a psychological aspect, but ultimately demons are really real!” “On the contrary,” the skeptic will counter. “Even though, yeah, sure, possession can look for all the world like the influence or presence of an objectively separate intelligence or personality, and even though it can be productive to talk about it in semi-autonomous terms by referring to dissociation and psychological complexes and all kinds of additional modes of psychological automatism, in the end and at bottom the explanation is purely psychological, and demons are just metaphors.

      Both of these positions are built on arbitrary and ultimately unverifiable assumptions about the fundamental nature of reality and the nature and position of the human mind/self/psyche within it. When pressed to explain, really and deeply, his or her reasons for adopting that particular viewpoint — in other words, when subjected to Socratic questioning — each party in the debate will end up discovering that he/she is essentially making it all up. This can be especially disconcerting to the skeptic, who long ago lulled himself into the hypnotic, false, and ego-inflating belief that his view of things, the trusty “scientific worldview” — of which, in point of fact, there can actually be no such thing — is just plain old commonsense, is the baseline of what’s obviously true when all wishful thinking and mental posing are over and done with. The skeptic likes to think the burden of proof is on everyone else, when in fact what has come to count for skepticism these days — namely, materialist-reductionist scientism — is one of the most blatantly arbitrary, assumption-based belief systems on hand.

      Is our culture shot through with demons? Absolutely. And the question of what that means is fruitful to pursue with a completely open mind.

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