No, I still don’t like the new pope.

The super-friendly Francis is really big on… the Devil? He is evidently bringing exorcisms back into the vogue, which strikes me as  weird and wrong. Weird, because I thought we had figured out by now that evil isn’t some grand supernatural force, but rather something that exists inside us all in the form of actions which harm others. Wrong, because demons don’t exist, and in basically any scenario in which you would perform an exorcism on a person who appears possessed, you should be taking them to a hospital because they are probably suffering from mental illness. That, or they’re fine, and you’re an idiot. This article from the Washington Post has some very choice quotes. My favorite is this one:

During the conference, the Rev. Cesar Truqui, an exorcist based in Switzerland, recounted one experience he had aboard a Swissair flight. “Two lesbians,” he said, had sat behind him on the plane. Soon afterward, he said, he felt Satan’s presence. As he silently sought to repel the evil spirit through prayer, one of the women, he said, began growling demonically and threw chocolates at his head.

Asked how he knew the woman was possessed, he said that “once you hear a Satanic growl, you never forget it. It’s like smelling Margherita pizza for the first time. It’s something you never forget.””

Apparently the servants of Satan are a) about as memorable as pizza, and b) carry out the Dark Lord’s will to throw pieces of chocolate at reverends. And are also lesbians. (So evil.) So either Lucifer is super lame, or someone is harboring some delusions of grandeur.

As for why this isn’t just lunacy in a bubble, remember that spreading belief in demons and other patently wrong things can have direct effects on people’s health, as they trust charlatans with holy water for their healthcare instead of medical professionals. Additionally belief in demons simply propagates scientific illiteracy and factual inaccuracy – which I think is one of those things that we care about, right?