The World's Worst Catholic™ Explains the Rite of Exorcism
It's bullshit. There. Need some more explanation? Let me dish out a little theology from the Catholic Cafeteria where I have my own table (and usually sit by myself). I know the cool kids have a different perspective on exorcism and mainly just get upset when it's done "wrong" but I'm here to tell you that there is no "right" way to cast out demons simply because you can't cast out what doesn't exist. I like to think there are better explanations for unacceptably crazy behavior. The whole idea of a personified evil force is an idea so off base it should be relegated to the ash heap of history along with voodoo, witchcraft and Newt Gingrich being an intellectual force in modern thought. As my friend Charlie the Episcopalian Priest (it's ok - that's almost catholic) told me - there is God and not God. Evil only exists in the absense of the ineffable one. You can no more pin down evil than you could stuff and mount a jellyfish to your wall. Evil is entropy - the dissolution of order - death, decay - all the stuff that has to happen. Our original sin has nothing to do with choice and everything to do with the universe we live in - it is in our baser natures selected for survival. Our job, if we choose to accept it, is to identify these forces of selection and resist them. So by identifying a demon and trying through ritual, magic or force of will to cast it out you are doing nothing more than giving chaos form and creating demons to inhabit the possessed and the priest's interior worlds. No demons exist outside the boundaries of our internal mental states. Nor do any gods - but that's for another time.