At least in the eyes of the Catholic Church in Mexico. Estimates by Mexican media have suggested that since 2006, approximately 70,000 people have died in the drug wars.and many thousands more have been disappeared. The church’s explanation? Demons.
“We believe that behind all these big and structural evils there is a dark agent and his name is The Demon. That is why the Lord wants to have here a ministry of exorcism and liberation, for the fight against the Devil,” says Father Carlos Triana, a priest, and an exorcist, in Mexico City.
“As much as we believe that the Devil was behind Adolf Hitler, possessing and directing him, we also believe that he (the Devil) is here behind the drug cartels.”
Father Francisco Bautista, another exorcist in Mexico City, explains furthers
Most of the cases, he explains, require a lesser form of exorcism, called liberation prayers – effective when a person still controls part of his or her mind and body.
Only rarely does the Devil possess someone completely, he says, but when that happens, the bishop of the diocese must intervene.
The drug dealers have turned to the Catholic cult of Santa Muerte. According to Bautista, the cult has been adopted by drug dealers who wish to increase profits and avoid capture. Of course, it’s not only the drugs.
Another reason for the surge in exorcisms, he argues, is the decriminalisation of abortions in Mexico City, in 2007. Both the cult and abortion have given evil spirits a foothold in the country, he insists.
“Both things are closely related. There is an infestation of demons in Mexico because we have opened our doors to Death.”
Drug wars, abortions. It’s hard to tell the difference. It’s all the devil. Father Ernesto Caro of Monterrey has been very busy.
He has exorcised several members of the drug cartels – and there is one case he cannot forget. It was a gang hitman, who confessed to horrific crimes. Father Caro said the man had been in charge of cutting the bodies into pieces and he said he enjoyed hearing them cry as he did so. Others he burned alive.
The priest says the man had committed his life to the service of Saint Death.
“The cult is the first step into Satanism and then into this band of people [the drug traffickers], that’s why he was chosen for that job.”
Followers of Santa Muerta consider themselves to still be Roman Catholics, not Satanists. They are merely looking for a saintly presence that has meaning in their lives. Many look to the church itself for the rise in membership.
“No, I also believe in God, in the Virgin, and all the saints, but I am more devout to [Saint] Death. She is the one that helps me the most,” says Jose Roberto Jaimes, a man in his 20s who’s come on his knees to thank the skull after surviving three years in jail.
I get similar answers from all of the cult followers I talk to.
Romero says the church itself bears responsibility for the rise of the cult, having shot itself in the foot with the worldwide child abuse scandal.
“They finished off our faith with the things that the priests did. What can they criticise? That we believe in Death? That is not bad. What’s bad is what they did,” says Romero.
The recent drug related carnage in Mexico is related to numerous circumstances, including poverty and the US driven war on drugs. The Mexican cartels have risen to fill the power vacuum left by the decrease in the influence of the Colombian cartels. During the so called gunwalking debacle, the US government provided weapons to Mexican drugs runners in hopes of following the marked guns back to the power sources. All it accomplished was cheap guns for the cartels.
There is plenty of blame to go around, but claiming the Devil is behind this violence has to be one of the most useless and ridiculous attempts to help.
We have to be discreet [with exorcisms] or else we may be ridiculed, even by our own followers,” adds Father Carlos Triana.
Yes, they should be ridiculed. This foolishness is about as useful as sending Rosaries and Bibles to Filipinos following the destruction of Typhoon Hainan.
If you believe it, everything can be the devil.