Father Gary Thomas is the official exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose.
Under order of Pope John Paul II, he traveled to Rome in 2005 to train in the Vatican-certified seminary on how to perform an exorcism.
Father Thomas was the inspiration for Anthony Hopkins’ character in the 2011 movie “The Rite.”
“Since the movie came out the number of exorcists has quadrupled,” Father Thomas said.
He works with a team and is accompanied by three medical professionals during the procedure, which he says does not happen in one day. He estimates 90-percent of the cases he sees are just mental health issues.
Catholic priests aren’t the only ones getting the requests.
Brother Carlos’ real name is Carlos Oliveira.
“I feel like I’m doing the work that Jesus Christ did 2,000 years ago,” Oliveira said.
He doesn’t charge for his services, but does take donations. He says he isn’t trained and is not part of a church.
There are MANY things to note in this story.
Father Thomas admits that the vast majority of these cases are mental health issues. How does he know that all of them are not? Do people give up because one doctor or a few medications have not worked? Sometimes it takes years to bring mental illness under control. When people believe they are possessed, they act like they are possessed and may reject conventional explanations. This is harmful.
Perhaps unintentionally, Thomas links the number of exorcists to the popularity of the movie. Is pop culture an influence? Undoubtedly. Exorcism is ALL over the place now. It’s become a standard topic in the paranormal. People think it’s real because they hear of it so often. That doesn’t make it real, it makes it popular. Fashionable, even, dare I say it. Popular and real are two entirely different things.
Brother Carlos is willing to debate people on the subject. On what the subject? That he can cast out demons from your soul, heal your illness, or just playing Jesus? He notes no one has been willing to do that. That’s because he is talking faith, which is all he needs. The reason medical professionals do not acknowledge this issue is because it’s NOT demon possession – it’s serious medical issues. People who claim to do exorcisms need to prove that there are demons first. That is an idea that science cast out long LONG ago for good reason. I think these priests need training but not the kind they are getting.
Exorcisms are ethically and morally wrong. They are harmful to the people to whom they are done and harmful to the public who hears about it. It’s nonsense. Yeah, I’ll go out on a limb here. Demons are bullshit. AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED WITH PARANORMAL GROUPS WHO DO EXORCISMS….
Ok, taking a breath. Now for a joke.
[...]the other day on his teevee show, which he definitely does not film in his mom’s basement, Gordon Klingenschmitt decided to perform an exorcism on President Obama and the demon that dwells within him. I thought you might enjoy watching that, so here you go.