Does the devil exist? — That’s the question posed by Fr. N. Schwizer (Vivicat, August 3, 2010):
In the Gospel, we often hear of Jesus expelling demons. Perhaps this fact seems somewhat strange to us because being possessed by a demon seems to us as something exclusive to those times. However, it also happens today even though it may be less frequent.
But the ultimate question for mankind today is…..does the devil exist as a person or not? As it is, modern man and inclusively the modern Christian man hardly even believes in the devil. The devil has been able to succeed today with his best maneuver: to put his existence in doubt. [more]
To illustrate the point, Fr. Richard McBrien (National Catholic Reporter) mocks a certain Bishop Thomas Paprocki for announcing a special Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism, to be held in Baltimore in early November, just before the bishops’ semiannual meeting.
That the conference would focus on “not only the theological and scriptural foundations of the rite of exorcism” but “the necessary, practical insights into the many liturgical, canonical and pastoral issues associated with exorcisms and the church’s battle against the demonic presence in the world” is, to McBrien, a subject of ridicule:
The priest who sent me a copy of this letter wrote across the top, in capital letters, “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? IN 2010.”
His question was rhetorical, of course.
Paprocki was recently appointed Bishop of Springfield, IL by Pope Benedict XVI, who has been known to take the existence of the devil — and exorcism — rather seriously himself.