Exorcist calls for crusade against
|The popularity of
Edinburgh's annual Beltane
festival reveals an increasing interest in the
AN EXORCIST yesterday
called for a ‘crusade from the pulpits’ against the growing
power of the occult.
Father Jim McManus said paganism
and witchcraft were intertwined with evil and needed to be
The 62-year-old priest - the only
Catholic clergyman to perform the service of "deliverance"
regularly - said devil worship could only lead to tragedy.
The profile of paganism will get a boost next month
with two festivals and an academic conference on the subject
are held north of the Border.
Saturday, Scotland’s largest ever festival to celebrate
followers of Wicca will be held in Glasgow, and next week
Glasgow University is hosting a two-day conference to discuss
the significance of the film The Wicker Man and the rise of
|Witchcraft has as its basis
an evil source - devil worship |
It coincides with the Wicker Man Festival
in Galloway, which will culminate with the burning of a giant
pagan wicker man, as in the film.
The Pagan Federation
alone claims over 2,000 devotees in Scotland - rising by 20
per cent in the past six months.
Fr McManus said:
"Witchcraft has as its basis an evil source - devil worship.
In the end it only cons its devotees, it does them no good at
"People just stumble into this by accident. They
are fascinated by it, it hooks them and then ruins their
Fr McManus, who is a monk in the monastery of
St Mary’s in Perthshire, added: "If people are looking for a
sense of purpose and fulfilment in life, they are not going to
find it at the end of that road."
west of Scotland alone, membership of the Pagan Federation has
boomed by a fifth to around 500 this year. About half its
members are witches.
|We are no more encouraging
paganism than a conference on Steven Spielberg’s Amistad
would be promoting slavery |
The 1973 film The Wicker Man -
starring Edward Woodward as a god-fearing police sergeant who
is burned to death by pagans, shot in Galloway - has built up
a cult following.
Now Glasgow University has launched
the first academic conference, under the title Rituals,
Readings and Reactions.
Dr Benjamin Franks, a
philosophy lecturer who is organising the conference, said:
"The organisers are not promoting one theological view over
another. We are no more encouraging paganism than a conference
on Steven Spielberg’s Amistad would be promoting slavery."
Promoters of the Wicker Man Festival, at Dundrennan
near Kirkcudbright, last night denied they were promoting
paganism. This year it expects to sell 8,000 tickets over
three days. It promises an alternative festival with
attractions including extra-terrestrial artwork and a standing