- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 23, 2005

Reality of evil

“Writing in Newsweek International, Barbie Nadeau scoffs at the Vatican’s preservation of its exorcism rite. But judging by the rise of demonic cults cited in the article — ‘Interest in satanic worship has risen sharply across Europe recently; there are 5,000 Italians involved in 650 active satanic cults in the country, more than double the number a decade ago’ — the Church’s exorcism rite is needed more than ever. If enlightened Europe scoffs at Vatican exorcisms, it is not because Europeans deny the existence of Satan; it is because they don’t want to fight him.

“‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose,’ released in Europe in early October, occasioned Nadeau’s article. The movie is based on a European legal case from the 1970s. …

“But while Newsweek mocks the ancient practice of exorcism, at least a few people in Hollywood realize that the only successful movies about Catholicism are the ones that take ancient traditions like it seriously. … In ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Exorcist,’ and now in ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose,’ Hollywood recognizes that in order to rivet audiences it has to draw upon ancient traditions of the Church, which contain cultural power because they derive from a comprehension of the reality of evil rather than the liberal fatuousness upon which modern ‘reform’ is based.”

— George Neumayr, writing on “The Exorcism of Europe,” Oct. 18 in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

‘Who are you?’

“Saddam may be responsible … for as many as a million deaths. He ordered mass killings of Iraqis, and hundreds of thousands were killed in the war with Iran under his direction. … The problems of prosecuting a legitimate head of state … goes way back. Among a few Anglo-Catholics, Charles I of England is revered as a saint. Charles put the matter nicely a few days before he was deprived of his head: ‘I would know by what power I am called hither … and when I know by what lawful authority, I shall answer. Remember, I am your king, your lawful king, and what sins you bring upon your heads, and the judgment of God upon this land, think well upon it, I say, think well upon it, before you go further from one sin to a greater; therefore let me know by what lawful authority I am seated here, and I shall not be unwilling to answer. In the meantime I shall not betray my trust.’ Saddam may never have heard of Charles I, but he offered the same challenge to the judge of the tribunal. … ‘I am the legitimate president of Iraq. Who are you?’”

— Richard John Neuhaus, writing Thursday at www.firstthings.com

You go, girl

“I guess there was nothing bad to say about our soldiers in Iraq [last] week. While Iraqis voted on their new constitution and Saddam Hussein’s trial was beginning, Newsweek decided to put on its cover that old chestnut of a story: ‘How Women Lead,’ dressed up with a photo of Oprah. … The message was: See, we aren’t interested in her fame, fortune, great shoes, or after-hours shopping travails at Hermes; it’s all about her leadership. …

“The piece … works up to rolling out the oldest of cliched questions: ‘Do women lead differently than men? The conventional wisdom is that they are more intuitive, more collaborative.’ Funny one would never have used either of those adjectives about the most successful woman leader of our time, Margaret Thatcher, who celebrated her 80th birthday this week and, of course, is never mentioned in the piece.”

— Myrna Blyth, writing on “Girly Gobbledygook,” Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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