As we get closer to Halloween, I feel I am morally obligated to talk about spooky religious things. So this week, we will be discussing exorcisms in pop culture.
Though other Christian denominations also perform exorcisms, for the purposes of this article I will largely be focusing on exorcisms in Catholicism because those seem to be the types of exorcisms most often portrayed in pop culture.
Ironically, I find horror movies about possession and the devil to be one of the most pro-Catholic type of movies, even if they are a bit misguided. In the real world, many people are uncomfortable when the Pope, or any religious figure, says something about evil, or, specifically, the devil. Yet they seem relatively comfortable with the idea that if there ever is a real need for an exorcism, the Catholic Church can handle it. Many people try to make a belief in demons or the devil out to be superstitious and silly. I personally know some Catholics who find it embarrassing that the church still believes in such things. But whether or not you believe in demons and the devil, I think all people fear a loss of control and the unknown. And so the idea of a religious institution that battles these fears can be pretty appealing, even to those people who don’t believe.
As a religious person, what most aggravates me is how wrong exorcism movies tend to be in their portrayal of the battle between good and evil.