Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Rite: Making of the Modern Exorcist - Book Review

       I am reading a book called The Rite by Matt Baglio. It's a book that basically compiles what the Catholic exorcists go through. It goes through their training, the rituals, the prayers and some of their experiences.It is also a story about the priest Gary Thomas and how he became a priest and how he learned to be an exorcists.  I am about half way done with the book and so far there really isn't much that is very appealing. Yes there are several times throughout the book where it can get a little scary, but the book seems to be lacking substance. There is just no room for the Holy Spirit and everything is too legalistic. "Possession" seems to be packed into a set of rules. Some of the stories seem too forced also. There is a story in the book that talks about a woman vomiting 8 rusty nails and that 7 of those nails melted and one of those nails the exorcist kept as some type of token. There just seems to be too much unnecessary drama. There is also another story where a nun has been going to the local exorcist for nine years battling with the same demon. If there is ultimate power in Jesus' blood, why can't the exorcist get rid of the unclean spirit? I just think that 9 years with the same demon makes Jesus' power seem weak. There is an instance in the Bible where the apostles were confused because the couldn't remove a demon from a person. Jesus then states that that particular demon can only be cast out through prayer. 
    Obviously, since the book is written by a Catholic, there is a lot of focus on holy objects. There are several stories describe the importance of having Holy water and a crucifix. There is a particular prayer also that must be used. Several times using the name of Pope John Paul II helps with exorcism. I don't remember Jesus ever asking Moses or Elijah for help whenever he commanded an unclean spirit to leave. It just seems too phony for me that Mother Teresa and a pope can come over in spirit form and help the demon-possessed person be liberated. And that using the name of a martyr is just as strong as using the name of Jesus.
    Another problem with the book that I found offensive is that it states that no one should perform an exorcism, except for trained priests. The book does state that in the early church any Christian could cast out demons, but mentions that those were different times and that anyone else trying to cast out demons is in almost mortal danger. As a Christian we all have authority over unclean spirits and the power of Jesus' name can vanquish any evil. Granted, a Christian should always be spiritually prepared to confront anything evil.
    I really was hoping on learning something from this book that would help me in my spiritual walk, but I didn't. I did learn about Catholic doctrine, but again the book seemed like it was meant for a child to read.
    I am in the middle of the book and still have another 150 pages or so to finish. I really don't think I will finish the book because I don't think it will offer any more insight than it already has.
    I did hear that there is a movie that is out already that was inspired by this book. From the looks of the previews, its super scary!!
    I know that unclean spirits exists and that they subtlely cause us spiritual and physical pain. I am just happy that I can do something about it and don't have to wait for someone else to help me out.

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