Priest questioned over 13 exorcisms allegedly performed on anorexic teen

Mar 20, 2015

Photograph: Ian Dagnall/Alamy

By Ashifa Kassam

A priest has been summoned to court to answer questions about more than a dozen exorcisms he allegedly carried out on an teenage girl with anorexia.

The investigation began after the girl and members of her extended family complained to the Spanish authorities in August that she had been put through at least 13 exorcisms.

The girl, from the northern city of Burgos, told police that she began having problems with anorexia and anxiety when she was 16, which her parents saw as a “sign of her possession by the devil”.

She was undergoing psychiatric treatments at the time, in May 2012, but her parents, convinced that exorcisms would help, took her to a priest from Valladolid, who carried out several of them on her over a three-month period.

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11 comments on “Priest questioned over 13 exorcisms allegedly performed on anorexic teen

  • How many unsuccessful exorcisms does it take to convince that it is all bollox?
    I also wonder about the many attacks on mosques while all the faithful are at prayer. What are they praying for? “Please god let me be blown to smithereens”. On the other hand they maybe praying for peace on earth. In which latter case either prayer is demonstrably ineffective OR god prefers a state of murder, mayhem and splattered body parts.

    The credulity of the religious truly astounds me!

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  • @OP link – Defending the rituals, the archdiocese said: “Exorcisms are a religious practice that has been maintained as part of the church’s tradition, and is a right available to all of the faithful.”

    And apparently the “right” to be inflicted on unwilling minors!

    The exorcist at the centre of the case, it added, had been legitimately appointed by a bishop.

    Ah! – “legitimately appointed by a bishop!” I did not know that bishops had such “legal powers” in civil rights matters!

    The priest, who has not been formally charged, is expected to appear in court in the coming weeks.

    Let’s see if Spanish courts have left the dark-ages of the inquisition, and can carry out a 21st century prosecution for abuse!

    Spain has an estimated 15 priests authorised to carry out exorcisms, eight of whom were added in 2013, by the then Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio María Rouco Varela, reportedly to meet increasing demand for the practice.

    Perhaps there should be increasing provision of padded cells, so the public can be protected!

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  • What would happen if a doctor were to start practicing excorsism instead of referring people for mental problems. Unbelievable double standard.

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  • How many unsuccessful exorcisms does it take to convince that it is all bollox?

    I suppose you could also ask how many unsuccessful psychiatric interventions you try before you give up. But I suppose you should at least see some improvement.

    I remember watching Ken Russell’s movie, the Devils of Loudon. In one scene, the exorcists trap wasps under glass on a nun’s breast, and clearly greatly enjoy themselves.

    I could only see an exorcism working when on some level the patient thought they had been possessed. I don’t think that was true in this case.

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  • Mark Mar 23, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Actually it sounds unbelievable but that has happened here in the UK!

    From your link:-

    Peter Atherton, counsel for the GMC, said: “She first consulted Dr O’Brien by telephone when she was in great pain, depressed and suicidal. In the course of that telephone consultation, Dr O’Brien asked her if she had a faith and she said she didn’t he told her his wife knew of a different way that could heal her that did not involve medication.

    “She has said the doctor advised her that for religious reasons she should stop taking her medication and not go to see the psychiatrist. When he saw him he advised her that there is a better way. He is linked to the Pentecostal church.

    “He and his wife took her to a meeting and at that meeting she was advised against seeing a psychiatrist, that god was her surgeon and she should stop her medication. They also offered her an exorcism and performed it. She was made to feel as if all things going wrong were due to the devil.”

    . . . .and some people try to pretend that god-delusions are not dangerous!!!!!

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