World renowned actor Max von Sydow just passed away. In the 70s he played the role of a priest in the (in)famous movie “The Exorcist”. More than anything else in modern history, that specific movie shaped people’s perception of a christian Rite of capital importance: “the exorcism”.

Back in the good old days, exorcisms and blessings were quite common in the sacramental life of clergy and faithful alike. They were performed without anything weird, even for events of bad luck etc. And they were common and useful rituals of a great importance in many aspects.

After the movie everything changed. The devil thus needed to be better than Hollywood special effects and ruining people’s lives, breaking families, turn people into addictions etc was not enough. Hell changed because the Enemy, the Rebel Angel, needed to rotate the heads of the possessed, show bilingual or multilanguage skills, spit green slime and an obscene vocabulary of semi devotional blasphemy. Also wall-climbing better than the Amazing Spiderman super hero or the worse sup-hero or hentai villain character. Otherwise it wasn’t enough. Satan and old devil have been replaced or they improved to be able to keep having a job or is it all a damn farse?
And this ridiculization of an important and cardinal belief of an entire culture let ignorance and materialism won and every penny gained by the movie might mean a soul deprived of a cultural fact and experience, centuries older.
Food for thought… Anyway, R. I. P. Max, hope you won’t see the bad guys down there…

About Manuel Congo

A renowned Palero, Babalawo, Ajarn and Hougan, Manuel Congo lives in rural Italy, where he spends most of his free time touring on his custom Harley Davidson. An avid ethnographer and noted expert on Italian witchcraft, Manuel has spent decades working for elite clients around the world, conducting investigations in locales as far-flung as Togo and Thailand. He enjoys rainy days, BBQ and blondes.

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