Thursday, 3 December 2009
Newspapers and the black arts?
Several national newspapers have carried the story of an Anglican clergyman only just across the border from here who has (this according to the Guardian) warned his congregation of an increase in "satanic activity" after he found a severed sheep's head mounted on a pole outside a church in his Gloucestershire parish.
“The Rev Nick Bromfield warned that "dark forces" were on the rise in the area and revealed a series of mutilated animal carcasses had been found.
The "offerings" had been ritualistically laid out in circles or around stones in his three Forest of Dean parishes – Drybrook, Lydbrook and Ruardean.
Bromfield has issued a warning to parishioners against dabbling in occult events, even those that may seem harmless, such as crystal ball readings or pub psychic nights.
He said: "I want people to be aware of the potential damage that can be caused by this kind of activity. It might sound medieval to talk about the relationship between good and evil, but there is no middle ground on this. People need to leave well alone.
"I've been told there are people operating in a darker place and I've seen signs of satanic activity in the forest."
The vicar suggested that the geographical position of the forest close to the border between England and Wales could be a factor. "It's difficult to quantify but there is something about borders that attracts occult activity and the seclusion is also very attractive. They are allowing in forces that can do great damage."
Unfortunately Nick Bromfield has been portrayed by at least one national newspaper blogger as some kind of swivel-eyed lunatic, deluded enough to believe in a personal force of evil, the implication being that a good theological education should have driven all that nonsense out of his head.
I know him and nothing could be further from the truth. What he is quoted as saying appears to be very sane indeed.
One could go further and say that evil out here in the sticks probably takes on a rather more tame aspect than it does in the metropolitan sophistication of the capital city. But there’s no one quite so blind to the obvious truth both about human nature and the realities of the world , even the world under his nose, as a demythologising liberal Christian writing for the national press.
As a rule, Catholics (Roman or Anglo) don’t tend to make a fuss about the occult, and don’t publicise these kinds of activity unless there is a pressing reason to do so: we have the means, sacramental, theological and intellectual, to deal with them.
Having said that, there was an incident in one of my own churches a few years ago involving a dead black cat left on an altar before an early mass…
Border country again?