It seems that everything today is a cheap knock-off, even exorcisms. Officials in Florence believe that Father Saverio Bazzoffi has amassed £3 million by performing staged exorcisms. From a legal perspective, I can understand how one could prove a staged exorcism but how does one prove a fake one?
Father Bazzoffi appears to have become a sensation with exorcisms performed like Vegas shows before hundreds, with aides pretending to be possessed by the devil. One witness said: “During Mass, the priest spoke in Aramaic, and strange things happened. I do not know if it was group hysteria or our suggestibility, but I remember one old woman screaming in a man’s voice while five big guys held her down.”
Bazzoffi heads the matrimony office of the diocese of Florence, but has been told by the church to stop with the exorcisms, which are restricted to a cadre of trained exorcists. Indeed, recently demands for exorcisms has been so brisk, that the church is looking for a few good exorcists to fill the gap, click here and here.
Recently, Hindi leaders also faced their own scandal over ancient rites when a leading Indian Tantrik failed to kill a man on live television, click here
In the case of Father Bazzoffi, his problems are not more earth-bound. He is accused to fraud and can also presumably be sued civilly by bilked citizens. These cases are quite interesting since services of faith do not usually promise concrete results like suing a faith healer over unhealed ailments. Father Bazzoffi, however, allegedly crossed the line with plants and staging.
For the full story, click here.