austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I put a spell on you, 'cause you're mine

The Vatican's Father Gabriele Amorth said recently yoga is a Satanic influence which leads to evil, much like reading Harry Potter books. At least that's what he said according to Britain's Telegraph. I'm not sure if I should believe it since I thought we stopped sending stuff by telegraph around 1960, and that's not ``recently'', but what the heck. Apparently Father Amorth is worried about people choosing to believe in non-Vatican-approved sources of evil, such as homoiousianism, Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, Internet-streamed TV commercials that use the computer's loudest volume, the word ``scraggly'', attempts to turn octopuses into food, whatever Bud Selig has done this morning, arguments about how to pluralize 'octopus', and paper cuts just underneath the fingernail. It's hard to not believe in many of these --- I personally have seen superficially convincing evidence that Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer exists and heard hints that it uses the word ``scraggly'' somewhere --- so really, anyone can understand his need to bring awareness to new sources of non-Vatican-approved evil.

According to's report, Amorth claims to have banished evil spirits from 70,000 people. Checking whether Amorth actually claims that would require me making a tiny effort so I won't. Still, considering his long service as the Vatican's Chief Exorcist, and that he's founder and honorary president for life of the International Association of Exorcists, and how his favorite movie is Demolition Man, I have to pay attention to his claim about yoga being evil, particularly as it reminds me that it's been a while since people were pointing and snickering at the Holy See.

But what interests me is this 70,000 people claim, especially if he made it. That's a lot of people. To help visualize, it's almost 1,908 people more than 68,212. Of course, it's also better than 142 people fewer than 72,880, so it's not that enormous. Still, if he's been working as an exorcist for any reasonable time that's still a lot of people: working five days a week and taking off just two weeks a year, if he's been at this forty years, then he's been exorcising seven people a day since about Apollo 15 landing.

If he's putting in eight-hour days that's just an hour and change for every exorcism, and that's got to be a strain. It takes me the better part of an hour just to get to Trenton, and I don't even have to come from Rome; add in the time for setup and preparation and cleaning up and I don't even see how he's getting new exorcism clients, much less getting the basic exorcism work done. He may have been at it more than forty years, but I bet he also had to start with just a couple clients and long stretches between referrals to new jobs, long days spent waiting for a satisfied demon-free person to give him a referral.

But he was Chief Exorcist from 1986, back when the Vatican was issuing warnings about the evil of iPod-compatible rubber yoga mats which were little-heeded. Back then they guessed an ``iPod'' was late-medieval Church Latin doggerel about kangaroos. You can't blame even the official Vatican press for paying little heed to warnings about kangaroo yoga, since only tree kangaroos even try alternate-nostril breathing. As the Chief he probably had a staff to scout clients and do paperwork, and maybe get some clients to come to him and save travel time.

Still, it looks to me like Father Amorth is making a classic freelancer's mistake, refusing to say no to potential clients. I don't care how efficiently he exorcises; he's eating up time that should be spent ministering his client's needs with overhead. He needs to do fewer, do them better, and leave himself the occasional free afternoon to read a novel or maybe take a fitness class.

Of course this is all assuming he has done that banishment from 70,000 people. If he hasn't, he's falling behind his reputation and needs to manage that. Battling evil is nice, but there are people saying silly things who need to be dealt with.

Trivia: Over the winter of 1930-31 the Ford Motor Company designed, built, and tested at least thirty different V-8 engine designs, each rejected and scrapped at Henry Ford's direction. Source: Ford: The Men And The Machine, Robert Lacey.

Currently Reading: Legacy Of Glory: The Bonaparte Kingdom of Spain 1803 - 1813, Michael Glover.

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