McBrien think that the only type of exorcism that matters is the pre-baptismal exorcism in the baptismal rite.
Therefore, as a propaedeutic, we can first read this, extracted from the Rite of Baptism in the older, traditional Rituale Romanum, with which McBrien was presumably baptized:
Let us pray.
Almighty, everlasting God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, look with favor on your servant, N., whom it has pleased you to call to this first step in the faith. Rid him of all inward blindness. Sever all snares of Satan which heretofore bound him. Open wide for him, Lord, the door to your fatherly love. May the seal of your wisdom so penetrate him as to cast out all tainted and foul inclinations, and let in the fragrance of your lofty teachings. Thus shall he serve you gladly in your Church and grow daily more perfect; through Christ our Lord.
And now the post-baptismal mumblings of McBrien with my emphases and comments.
Conference on exorcism will make your head spin
by Richard McBrien on Jul. 12, 2010
Many years ago, when the National Catholic Reporter was a young newspaper, it ran a feature in the left-hand column of Page 1 that highlighted embarrassingly dumb items that had recently appeared in parish bulletins and other ecclesiastical documents.
If that feature were still active, I would have an entry to submit. [So. Would. We.]
In a letter dated May 18 of this year and addressed to "Eminences" and "Excellencies" of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, self-described as "Bishop Designate of Springfield in Illinois," [Why make an issue of their titles? This is merely rudeness.] announced that the bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, of which Paprocki is chairman, is sponsoring a special Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism, to be held in Baltimore in early November, just before the bishops’ semiannual meeting.
[And now the wheels come off McBrien’s walker.]
Those with a deep interest in Catholic issues will recognize immediately how pertinent and even urgent this conference will be, given the present state of the church and the world, what with the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the tragic oil spill and loss of 11 lives in the Gulf of Mexico. [Huh?]
For those less engaged in religious matters, an exorcism is an act by which an evil spirit is expelled from a person who is demonically possessed. The act also has a less dramatic function in the baptism of adults: when candidates are enrolled in the order of catechumens, during the period of the catechumenate itself, and during the three "scrutinies" that take place on the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, prior to the catechumens’ baptism at the Easter Vigil. [Not if you are using the older Roman Ritual, in which the exorcism section is actually serious.]
The letter from Paprocki advises, "The conference is open to bishops and those priests or officials whom a bishop wishes to designate to attend," including those whom bishops have authorized to perform exorcisms, evidently apart from the sacrament of baptism. [Yes… evidently.]
However, there is one session open only to bishops. One can only speculate what sort of topics will be addressed in this closed session. [I suspect some of it will be spent convincing bishops of the reality of demonic possession.]
"The conference will address not only the theological and scriptural foundations of the rite of exorcism," the letter continues, "but it will also provide the necessary, practical insights into the many liturgical, canonical and pastoral issues associated with exorcisms and the church’s battle against the demonic presence in the world and the lives of the Christian faithful."
[This next part suggests to me that McBrien does not believe in post-baptismal demonic possession.] The fact that the conference will be less concerned with the baptismal aspects of exorcism than its more "Hollywood" dimensions is made clear by the schedule of events.
The first afternoon session will focus on "the phenomenon of evil in contemporary culture; [I believe there may be a breakout session on the National Catholic Reporter and the Notre Dame theology department.] and responses and resources available to address the presence of evil, particularly through the use of exorcism." No mention of baptism here. [McBrien is still struggling after the fundamental point: the workshop is on – wait for it – exorcism, not baptism.]
In the evening there will be a discussion of cases and responses "from a practical standpoint." As opposed to a theoretical standpoint? [McBrien probably thinks that exorcism is never necessary. He also ridicules Eucharistic Adoration.]
On the second morning, there will be a "detailed presentation of the practice and use of the rites associated with exorcism [and these rites, again, will apparently have nothing to do with the sacrament of baptism], [Apparently McBrien still hasn’t figured out that this workshop is not in fact about the rite of baptism. Rather, it is about exorcism, which is why it is billed as a workshop on exorcism.] strategies for pastoral care [how to deal with those possessed by the Devil?], [In a word, yes. Keep in mind that McBrien and his crowd generally don’t believe in the Devil. They reduce "the Devil" to a sort of metaphor for evil. Are they in for a surprise!] and an examination of other phenomena related to the presence of evil" (what these "other phenomena" might be is evidently left to the imaginations of the conference attendees). [I imagine it has something to do with, say, plagiarism and its roots.]
The session designated for bishops only (in italics), on the second afternoon of the two-day conference, will present and discuss "matters of special interest to bishops related to the phenomenon of evil and the use of the rite of exorcism."
One wonders if this session will address the scandal of sexual abuse of children and other young people by priests and the subsequent cover-up of such crimes by bishops themselves, their intimidation of victims and their families, their hiding behind lawyers, and their irresponsible movement of predatory priests from assignment to assignment, without any warning to potential victims or even to pastors. [Wasn’t there some dust up in the theology department at Notre Dame when McBrien was in charge? I don’t remember the details, but I am sure some of you readers do. And, just to stay on target, the workshop is about – wait for it – exorcism, and not about clerical sexual abuse of children. Is McBrien suggesting that bishops and priests involved in these things needed an exorcism?]
Bishops will undoubtedly be relieved to learn that there is no registration fee for those who wish to attend only this second afternoon session.
Paprocki hopes that many bishops and their designated officials will participate in this "important" conference. Those who need further assistance can contact a lay employee in the committee office or another staff person, a relatively young monsignor. He may be a fine person who will eventually be appointed a bishop himself. [What is that last bit… envy?]
The priest who sent me a copy of this letter wrote across the top, in capital letters, "CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? IN 2010."
His question was rhetorical, of course.
Perhaps what frightens McBrien so much about the Rite of Exorcism is that it includes the Athanasian Creed.
As a closer, among the mighty prayers of the older rite of exorcism:
I exorcise you, most unclean spirit, every incursion of the enemy, every phantasm, every legion, in the name of Our Lord Jesus + Christ to eradicate and put you to flight from this creature of God. + He commands you, who ordered you to go down from the heights of the heavens into the depths of the earth. He Himself commands you, who commanded the sea, wind and storms. Listen, therefore, and be afraid, Satan, foe of faith, enemy of the human race, bringer of death, snatcher of life, bender of justice, root of evils, spark of vices, seducer of men, betrayer of peoples, inciter of envy, origin of avarice, cause of discord, stirrer of sorrows: why do you stay, and resist, since as you know, the Lord Christ is undoing your paths? Fear Him, who was immolated in Isaac, given for a price in Joseph, slain in the lamb, crucified in man, and finally was the vanquisher of hell. [Tracing Crosses on the forehead of the obsessed.] Recede therefore in the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit +: give place to the Holy Spirit, through this sign of the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ our Lord: who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, for all ages of ages.