December 22, 2013

Top Catholic 'Angelologist' Says Secularism Has Left 'Open Door' for Devil

English: Bytča (Nagybiccse) - mosaic in the ca...
English: Bytča (Nagybiccse) - mosaic in the catholic church Slovenčina: Bytča - mozaika v katolíckej cirkvi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have you ever had the experience of watching a horror movie and having to reassure yourself (e.g., "Its only a movie") repeatedly? I haven't had this experience in awhile, but it was fairly common in my youth. In these moments, we remind ourselves that what we are seeing is not real, that it is fictional. If I were ever to become truly scared, I'd make myself think about how the filmmakers accomplished the special effects as a way of reminding myself that I was watching a movie.

Don't you suppose that most people who watch horror films (and any other genre) know that what they are seeing isn't real? I've always assumed this, but I'm not so sure lately. I am starting to think I may have been mistaken to think that most people are capable of easily distinguishing reality from fiction.

Take the example of Father Renzo Lavatori, described by Raw Story as "a top Catholic Church 'angelogist'" in a recent post. This man apparently believes in angels. For real. And the Catholic Church evidently agrees, so much so that they have different levels of "angelologists" so that it makes sense to talk about Father Lavatori being a top one.

What does this have to do with horror films? You see, Father Lavatori is no ordinary angelologist; he's also a "demonologist." Yes, he evidently believes in demons too. And not only does he believe they exist; he appears to believe that they pose some sort of legimate threat to humanity.
The widely-published Catholic clergyman is also a “demonologist” and says angels are more needed than ever because increasing secularisation and materialism in society have left an “open door” for the devil.

“There is a lot more interference from diabolical forces. That is why you see queues of people outside the exorcists’ offices in churches,” he said.
If Father Lavatori is "a top Catholic Church 'angelologist'" who is also "a 'demonologist'" and a "widely-published" one at that, it seems fairly safe to assume that his belief in angels and demons is rather mainstream within the Catholic Church, doesn't it? That is, the beliefs he expresses here are likely held by many others within the Catholic Church.

If Catholics genuinely share these medieval beliefs in demons, "diabolical forces," and the necessity of exorcism, can we really say that they can reliability distinguish reality from fantasy? When they watch a film like The Exorcist, one of my all-time favorites, do they think it is a documentary? And if they really believe that stuff like this is happening around them in real life, how do they manage to function at all?

Perhaps the possibility of secularism leaving a open door to the devil should take a back seat to the more serious concern that Catholic beliefs are providing a vast portal to primitive superstitions, ignorance, and the suffering which inevitably seems to result.

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