Tuesday, January 21, 2014

German Jesuit At The Center Of "Anneliese Michel Exorcism"

"In November 1972 Anneliese Michel, a young student at the University of Wurzburg, West Germany, was taken by her parents to see the parish priest in her hometown of Klimgenberg. She had developed some worrisome signs of abnormal behavior at the university-refusing to eat, flying into violent rages, screaming, and trying to attack those around her-and her parents were deeply concerned. In the priest's view, Anneliese was possessed by demons, and he recommended a ritual exorcism.
As Roman Catholic procedure requires, the case was investigated by a leading authority on exorcism and demonic possession, Father Adolf Rodewyk, an 81-year-old Jesuit. Father Rodewyk agreed with the priest’s diagnosis, and on his recommendation the regional bishop, Father Josef Stangl, gave permission for the exorcism to take place. The exorcists chosen for the task were the Reverend Arnold Renz and the Reverend Ernst Alt
By then Anneliese had been receiving medical treatment for epilepsy for four years. On July 1, 1976, after several months of exorcism, Anneliese died of malnutrition and dehydration at the age of 23. She weighed 70 pounds. On march 2 1987, the two exorcists and Anneliese’s parents were charged of negligent homicide, on the grounds that they had allowed the girls death without seeking medical help for her. Bishop Stangl, and Father Rodewyk, who seem not to have known that medical was being withheld, were not charged. In April 1978 the two priests were found guilty and were given suspended prison sentences of six months. For the Roman Catholic Church, the death of Anneliese Michel was a nightmare come true, demonstrating the dangers inherent in the ritual of exorcism and the murky distinctions between priestly and medical responsibility.
In Father Rodewyk’s own handbook on possession and exorcism, originally published in 1963 and translated into English under the title Possessed by Satan, priests are urged to consider medical explanations for apparent possession. One section of the book, in fact is titled “ Lets not Always Think of Possession!” Father Rodewyk, outlining the bishop’s responsibilities says that he “may appoint a commission of theologians and physicians to undertake a further investigation” and warns that the exorcists “Must guard against playing the role of physician when encountering physiological symptoms.” He quotes the authoritative Roman Ritual (of exorcism): “ The exorcist should avoid giving or recommending any sort of medication to the possessed; that is the physician’s task.” 
Although such statements clearly suggest that physician may sometimes be needed before and during an exorcism, there is no stipulation that a doctor must be in attendance. This deficiency in church procedure was corrected, at least in Germany, after the conviction of the two priests in the Michel case. In May 1978 the German Bishops’ Conference ruled that in future no exorcisms would be permitted unless a doctor was present.
Link (here)

"The Mysteries of the Unexplained" (Printed in 1990)

This story is the basis of the movie entitled, The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, "An enemy of the dark spirit" (here) 

1 comment:

Joseph Gemma said...