A book by Malachi Martin< read all 3 reviews
Exorcism seems like such an archaic ritual in today's au courant times, a liturgy that is often scoffed at by atheists and the medical intelligentsia as a 'colorful' ceremony that is nothing more than Catholicism at its lordliest apex. If it was a formality that served no purpose for Martin Luthar and the Protestant branch of Christianity, how could it help the rest of humankind? One half embraced the Roman rite while the other completely dismissed it, creating, ironically, a kind of purgatory for the ritual itself. This is how one facet of Protestantism differs from Catholicism; the former believes that faith alone can surmount the impediments that inflict humanity. The latter dictates that it takes more than faith alone, for the power of man, of woman, is not as mighty as we like to believe. Faith is the sword with which to combat the ills that curse and haunt us. The shield and other armaments-baptism, the holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Penance, exorcism-are the wells of fortitude that cover for man's ineptness and his inability to see and acknowledge it.
Hostage to the Devil is an exhaustive and concentrated work of religious journalism, a book that offers to readers (via the five documented cases) an in-depth study of how possession comes about and explicitly showcases the loopholes and failures of psychiatric involvement. The case of the virgin and the girl-fixer-involving Black Mass, satanic formality and necrophilia-illustrate the point quite clearly. It must be understood that there are very defined and rigid guidelines that must be met before the rite can be approved by the bishop. Approval is not a willy-nilly procedure. It is slow, deliberate, contemplative and toilsome-a process that includes intensive psychiatric scrutiny-the latter a fact that many in the medical profession fail to admit when broached with the subject of possession and religious storm and stress. However stongly one hungers to quash science and psychiatry-as they are two fields that more often than not try to debunk any element of religiosity-their individual value to theology and doctrine is inestimable and must be acknowledged, as the research proffered to how the human mind operates has greatly streamlined for the church what battles it needs to fight and what battles it can leave to the medical experts. Even when the rite of exorcism is completed, the individuals involved are never fully the same; their souls are in intact, united with Christ, but physically they become depleted remnants of their former selves, endowed with a knowledge that was indeed very hard fought.
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"Martin is above all serious. He is not speaking about madness, about illusions or the irrational, but about the real beyond all reason.... He presents exorcism as ... a titanic clash of wills that threatens the lives, the sanity, even the souls of all attending." -- Newsweek
"Martin's polished contemporary sense of traditional theology entices even the skeptical.... Stunningly pertinent ...Will set you thinking-and thinking-and thinking." -- Detroit News
"The most shattering book on demonic possession isn't fiction at all but Malachi Martin's spellbinding work of interpretive reporting." -- New York (Sunday) Daily News