Mexican Exorcist Feared by Satan
A story is making the rounds about Father Francisco Lopez Sedano, a Mexican priest who has conducted over 6,000 exorcisms over the past 40 years (here). The story provides remarkably few facts about these exorcisms, but the good father assures us that the devil fears him. We previously discussed Father Gabriele Amorth (here) - Rome’s exorcist – who founded the International Association of Exorcists, blessed by Pope Francis. Much more is known about Amorth’s work.
Amorth had quite an elaborate ritual. But Father Lopez simply says: “I am nobody, but I come from Christ, your Lord and God and you leave right now – I command you in His name that you go. Out!” That apparently does the job. While Father Amorth often required months or years to treat a patient, Father Lopez apparently does not - though this is not stated explicitly. Recent popes have a mixed record at exorcism. No one can compare to Father Lopez.
Unlike Jesus and the apostles, Father Amorth did not treat the lame, the blind, or other organic diseases. He only treated what appeared to be psychological problems – though he assured us they were not. The same appears to be true of Father Lopez. He claims his cases “are outside the control of clinical medicine:” “People who live with permanent diarrhea and nothing makes it go away; people who have eye pain and ophthalmologists find nothing. These are injuries that science does not detect.” In fact, science is capable of detecting diarrhea, and is usually successful at treating it. Failure to treat diarrhea and eye pain with no organic basis suggests we are dealing with psychosomatic diseases, though neither Lopez nor the author suggests such a possibility.
Sometimes the possessed “hears voices, feels hatred or rejection of God.... Other people have a terrible backache, but doctors say that they are perfectly fine.” Some of his patients “began to shout, to bark like a dog, to scream or writhe and who squirmed like a snake on the ground. There are a thousand forms.” None of these cases seem miraculous. Father Lopez also claims: “They are able to climb the walls, yes. And fly too.” However, no cases of flight were actually recorded.
Father Lopez leaves us with several messages. First, the devil is a person, not a thing. “He brings us laziness, fatigue, sleepiness, distrust, desperation, hate; everything negative.” Father Lopez seems to imply that we would be like angels were it not for Satan’s influence. Since we all suffer to some degree from laziness, fatigue, sleepiness, distrust, desperation, and hate, could your local exorcist cure these problems, supercharge your existence, and put a smile on your face?
Presumably the seven deadly sins are also a sign of possession, though Father Lopez fails to mention them. How about pride? Claiming Satan fears you? Recall that Satan did not fear Jesus, and tempted him for forty days and nights. St. Paul claimed to suffer from a thorn of Satan – no fear there. Is the good father superior to Jesus and Paul? Is he possessed?
It seems like exorcism is becoming more popular with the Catholic press. It helps keep people’s mind off deviant and corrupt behavior, one of the basic goals of propaganda.