Health or financial problems? One of your brood may be dabbling in the dark arts!

 

 

Spells, incantations, potions, eating human flesh and drinking human blood are just some of the outlandish accusations leveled against children in parts of Nigeria, the DRC and other African countries. Even infants can be accused of sorcery and cast out by parents or other relatives, to live or die in the filthy and dangerous city streets.

 

Thousands of kids are accused of witchcraft every year because they are thought to be responsible for family misfortune, disease and death. The ignorant, superstitious and impoverished believe a child can become possessed or bedeviled.  Such a child is thought capable of shape-shifting, transforming into a viper, cat, rat or some other vile creature bent on wreaking havoc. By abandoning these children to the streets, their evil influence can be purged from the household so health and prosperity may return unabated.

 

The Catholic church, in its own anachronistic fashion, has stood ready to lend a helping hand. You might think the church would help through education and enlightenment. That they would at least try to make these people understand demonic possession is an extremely rare occurrence in the Catholic view. You’d think all priests would use their influence with faithful parishioners to suggest family misfortune is most likely not a result of Satan inhabiting their child’s soul. Instead, some Priests pander to the superstitious and encourage belief in devils, demons, hob-goblins and evil spirits.

 

Priests routinely perform exorcisms on children thought to be pawns of Lucifer. They force them to drink large amounts of salt water. Oil is smeared on faces and intense pressure applied to eyeballs. Fingers are stuck up noses and down throats to aid in the purging. Some less fortunate kids are poked violently or simply have the devil beaten out of them. Last but not least there’s the obligatory spritzing with Holy water just for good measure.

 

Poverty has as much to do with child witchcraft accusations as ignorance and misguided religious zeal. In the DRC, misfortune like sickness, death and financial loss must always have some explanation. If no other reason is apparent, evil influences wrought by demon inhabited children must be at work. The truth is hard to hear but in a lot of cases, accusing a child of witchery is just a convenient way to get rid of another mouth a desperately poor family can’t afford to feed.

 

It goes without saying that the problem of too many mouths to feed could be positively impacted by birth control and early term abortions. Ironically, the ultimate solution is off the table since good Catholics can’t access those options and still remain good Catholics.

 

So what’s the answer? For now, the poor and faithful will just have to keep popping out kids they can’t provide for…….and heroic Catholic priests will have to keep salt watering, oiling, poking, prodding and beating the devil out of them. 

Published by Bill Hoover