Category: Religion

Don’t forget to say please

The Italian Bishops Conference has recently agonised about how to address the devil during exorcisms following a Vatican decision to translate into Italian the venerable Latin formula, Vade retro Satanas.

Bishops were unsure which form of “you” to use – the familiar “tu” or formal “lei”.

The full story is about Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, 66, the archbishop of Genoa, and a leading candidate to be the next Pope. Here are his controversial Ten Rules on Resisting Satan.

The betting market has Tettamanzi as a 5 to 4 favorite to win the Papal election.

Addendum: One reader wrote and asked why I found the rules for resisting the devil so controversial. As I understand the controversy, it has provoked controversy among Catholics, many of whom feel that the devil should not be so prominent in theology.

Kissing Cousins (More)

A John Tierney article in today’s NYTimes argues that the Iraqi tradition of cousin marriage and consequent clan loyalties make it difficult to establish democracy. (See Tyler’s earlier post for a map and some other links.) Most interesting claim is that the Western taboo against cousin marriage was promoted by the church explicitly in order to reduce loyalty to the clan and promote universal love. Key quote:

Cousin marriage was once the norm throughout the world, but it became taboo in Europe after a long campaign by the Roman Catholic Church. Theologians like St. Augustine and St. Thomas argued that the practice promoted family loyalties at the expense of universal love and social harmony. Eliminating it was seen as a way to reduce clan warfare and promote loyalty to larger social institutions – like the church.

By the way, recent genetic research indicates that cousin marriage does not lead to dramatically higher abnormalities in children.