AND ON ANOTHER SUBJECT
You may have missed this little item in yesterday's New York Times:
Pope Benedict XVI, who often greets religious groups visiting Rome, made a surprising welcome in his general audience: He offered best wishes to a convention of exorcists, whom he encouraged to "carry on their important work in the service of the church." Details of the convention were not released publicly, but exorcism has gained a more prominent role in the Catholic church in recent years. Pope John Paul II, who died in April, oversaw the rewriting of the ritual for exorcisms and reportedly took part in at least one himself, in 2000. Regina Apostolorum, a top Vatican university, is planning this year to offer another course in exorcism to priests; a course last year proved popular with students.
Benedict's church is clearly in a race with the various fundamentalists of Islam to see who can turn the clock back the most centuries. I really wouldn't have the nerve to make a bet on who'll win.