Exorcism has become so popular worldwide that now it’s not only performed on tormented individuals but also on entire nations. A few months ago Mexico, the second largest Catholic country, was exorcised of its demons in an unprecedented rite of exorcismo magno performed in secret in the city of San Luis Potosí.
On May 20, the renowned Spanish exorcist Fr José Antonio Fortea, author of the book El Exorcismo Magno, joined Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Guadalajara, and a cadre of trained exorcists to perform the maximum type of exorcism, reserved for nations and dioceses, on the Mexican Republic itself. Fr Fortea explained that exorcismo magno is “useful in situations in which great violence has been unleashed in a country”.
Mexico has been plagued by hyper-violence since 2006, when former president Felipe Calderón launched an unprecedented assault on some of the major drug cartels. Since then an estimated 151,000 Mexicans have died and another 26,000 have disappeared in the ongoing battles over access to the largest drug market on earth: the US.
Francis, the first Latin American pope, has paid special attention to the conflict in Mexico and will visit the embattled nation early next year.
The chief reason the Pope recently raised Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda of Morelia to the rank of cardinal was his condemnation of the narco-violence plaguing his home state of Michoacan. The Pontiff even got himself in a bit of hot water with his recent warning to his native Argentina to avoid “Mexicanisation” (rising narco-violence). And if the Mexican folk saint, Santa Muerte (Saint Death), has been condemned by the Vatican and is denounced on a weekly basis in Mexico, it’s because the Church views the skeleton saint as the poster child of the narco-culture of death. A cadre of Catholic exorcists in Mexico, and even an American bishop in Texas, now specialise in performing exorcisms on parishioners who have been possessed by the spirit of the skeletal folk saint.
Demand for both Pentecostal and Catholic exorcism was already booming worldwide well before Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope. His informal exorcism performed on a Mexican parishioner in a wheelchair two years ago has made the rite of demonic deliverance even more popular. The Mexican priest who brought the afflicted parishioner to Rome presented him to the Pope as demon-possessed. Having observed hundreds of such exorcisms during the course of my research in Latin America, I recognised the Pope’s firm and determined laying of both hands on the head of the afflicted young man as an informal exorcism in the form of a deliverance prayer.
SOURCE: Andrew Chesnut