Screwtape and the Marketing of Suicidism | Carrie Gress, Ph.D. | CWR blog
Temptation wouldn’t be as tempting if it wasn't disguised in so many brilliant and attractive ways
Last week in Rome, the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy hosted the tenth annual weeklong course on exorcisms for 170 clergy, religious and laity, including doctors and psychologists.
The program organizer, Fr. Pedro Barrajon, told Thomas D. Williams that actual demonic possession has particular hallmarks, such as “aversion for sacred objects, the sudden ability to speak languages that the person has never studied or had contact with, the movement of objects with no physical cause, sharp changes in mood that are not attributable to psychological reasons.” Fr. Barrajon, added, however, that Satan acts mainly through temptation, not possession, and that is “something we all experience.”
Also recently in Rome, exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amorth said that “ISIS is Satan”. Beyond personal possession, the demonic is introduced into larger populations, Fr. Amorth explained, “because evil is disguised in various ways: political, religious, cultural, and it has one source of inspiration: the devil.”
Part of the fascination of trying to understand the father of lies is that there is distinct pattern to evil, just as there is distinct pattern to holiness, seen both in individuals and entire populations. While possession is rare, the whispers of temptation are universal.
A laundry list of the previously unthinkable issues that have gained currency in the world over the last century can be studied to see how, once the right message was hit upon, entire populations fell hard for Satan’s subterfuge. The message may not even be the same from one country or community to the next as to what changes the tide of popular culture on a particular issue.
For example, one can imagine, in Screwtape Letter’s fashion, a different sort of annual conference taking place now somewhere in the depths of Hell: “Marketing Murder Through Suicide.":