Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"My name is legion, for we are many."

One of the classic exorcisms of the New Testament starts with an interrogation. A man posessed, a demented vagrant haunting a cemetery, falls at Jesus' feet.

"What is your name?" Jesus asked.
"My name is legion, for we are many," replied the man.

No exorcism is a bland occurance, but this one is especially wierd. A conversation between Jesus and the unclean spirit, followed by a choice of fate: the spirits are banished to a herd of pigs that meets a watery death.

Exegetes have labored long and hard to interpret Mark 5, but as far as a definitive understanding of the passage goes, well, the jury's still out. Even us seasoned exorcists switch to some votive Mass reading when this story sneaks up on us in the daily liturgy. The whole gashing-on-tombstones, spitting-and-thrashing, pigs-off-the cliff scenario is way too much at 7 am, before our morning caffeine fix has allowed valor to kick in...

Anyway, all of the above has really nothing to do with the gist of this post, except maybe for maintaining the exorcism motif of the blog and giving me a few words to play with.

Mark's demons came together in a legion. But let not all legions be demonized.

One of the subtexts being developed in the media beneath all the coverage of John Paul II's passing and Benedict XVI's rising concerns a series of accusations against the Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder and, until January of this year, superior general of a religious congregation of priests called the Legion of Christ.

Yesterday a number of pieces were released by press sources as diverse as the Boston Globe, La Jornada (Mexico) and Rainbow Network, a gay/lesbian activist newsite. The Hartford Courant spoke of the matter in two different articles on April 20, ABC News ran a story on April 21 and the NY Times has published at least three different references between April 23 and May 1.

The story is not going away because those behind it will not let it go away. It's time Fr. Karras gave his opinion on all this.

(to be continued...)