Violence, abuse, corpses in mass graves. What is fueling the chaos and inhumanity in Mexico? Priests say it’s the devil in the guise of a skeletal icon.
To some it may seem extraordinary, but priests say the country is under attack by Satan, and that more exorcists are needed to fight him.
This attack, they say, is showing itself in the gruesome drug-related violence, including human sacrifice, that has engulfed the country since 2006.
“We believe that behind all these big and structural evils there is a dark agent and his name is The Demon. That is why the Lord wants to have here a ministry of exorcism and liberation, for the fight against the Devil,” says Father Carlos Triana, a priest, and an exorcist, in Mexico City.
“As much as we believe that the Devil was behind Adolf Hitler, possessing and directing him, we also believe that he (the Devil) is here behind the drug cartels.”
Mexico’s exorcists say there is unprecedented demand for their services.
A preist recounts the horrendous crimes of a gang hitman who was a member the Santa Muerte cult.
“The cult is the first step into Satanism and then into this band of people [the drug traffickers], that’s why he was chosen for that job.”
“Santa Muerte is being used by all our drug dealers and those linked to these brutal murders. We’ve found that most of them, if not all, follow Santa Muerte,” he adds.
Dear Priests, I believe you’ll find things are a lot more complicated than you think.
It’s an irresponsible cop-out to blame fictional characters, the devil, demons, and saints, for the complex problems in Mexico and to assume that a ritual exorcism can fix it. The article touches on the drug culture which is entwined with the violence and economics of this part of the world. That, in turn, is guiding people away from the traditional church and to the cult of Santa Muerte or Saint Death – a strange mixture of Mesoamerican and Catholic traditions – which became prominent only in the 20th century. Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Aztecs, have a reverence towards death that is expressed in the veneration of a death figure. As this piece notes, followers are often those in poor communities outside the margins of the law such as drug dealers and prostitutes, since Saint Death will protect them from their enemies. A book by scholar R. Andrew Chesnut is available from Oxford Univ press.
It seems like the church is fighting an intrusion onto their turf, the cult they say will lead to Satanism (methinks they are misinformed about actual Satanism). But they have themselves to blame, it is noted, by the child abuse scandal. It’s not clear if people are turning away from the Catholic church solely due to that reason, however fostering a medieval solution is only going backwards and won’t do any good. This is a complex problem that requires complex solutions. Not theatrics.