‘Catholic Demon-Making’

Huffington Post

May 13th, 2014 by 
Mat Schmalz

With exorcism making headlines—the Vatican just concluded its annual conference on exorcism and the satanic ‘black Mass’ at Harvard University was canceled due to protest—Mathew Schmalz, associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross, wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post about his experiences evicting demons.

He writes: “Professionally and personally, I do know something about exorcism.   I even performed an exorcism myself—albeit under duress.  Twenty-years ago, I was doing my Ph.D. research among Catholic faith healers in India.  I was recording an exchange between a Catholic exorcist and a possessed woman, when the exorcist left the room and pointed to me saying, ‘he’ll finish the job.’  Not knowing what else to do, I laid hands on the woman, who subsequently barked like a dog and then gave me a smile before she left the room.”

“I wrote about this incident for an academic journal — not to hang out my shingle as the professor who deals with devils, but to explore a dilemma common to anthropologists who become entangled with their research in unexpected and sometimes disturbing ways,” he continues. “But as much as I took an academic perspective on the incident, I did feel at once empowered and embarrassed; empowered because I felt connected — embarrassed because it all seemed so crazy.”

This “Holy Cross in the News” item by Cristal Steuer.

| More

Comments are closed.

Sort By:
or
07/30/14 Blog: Andersen ’16 Ready for the Challenge of Studying in Another Country
07/29/14 ‘Exhibit showcases German artist’s version of saintly and secular female subjects’
07/28/14 ‘Fiske Guide’ Includes Holy Cross Among ‘Best and Most Interesting’ Colleges
07/25/14 J. D. “Dave” Power III Inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame
See All
See All

Featured Videos

See video
Strong Alumni Support Makes for Record-Breaking Year in Giving to Holy Cross

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Galician Bagpiper Cristina Pato Kicks Off Arts Initiative With Rousing Performance

Watch Video >
See video
‘African community leaders call for Nigeria to respond to kidnappings’

Watch Video >
More

What’s Happening on Campus

08/15/2014

As Far As the Eye Can See

See More >
08/24/2014

Early Arrivals Mass

See More >
09/03/2014

Career Carnival

See More >
More

Holy Cross in the News

07/15/14

‘Boston student-athlete thrives after early turmoil’

Boston Globe

Attacked by her knife-wielding father when still in the womb, Yonetta Harris, a member of the College of the Holy Cross class of 2018, has built a life that touches many. In...

06/25/14

‘Sporting cold feet’

Canadian Broadcast Corporation News

With the FIFA World Cup at the center of attention around the world, Victor Matheson, professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross, offers major Canadian news...

06/20/14

‘Making it easier to fire teachers won’t get you better ones’

Los Angeles Times

In an article for the Los Angeles Times, Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross, discusses the recent California Superior Court...