I’ve been talking to my girls these days about some pretty weird stuff.
Not Caitlyn Jenner, although she comes up and I’m not sure yet who’s more confused on that one, them or me.
No. I’m talking about demons. And Satan. And exorcisms and all kinds of stuff I had to go on a Chatechism research binge to learn about. (Many thanks to my parish parent friends for the heads up on Charlie, Charlie.)
There’s a lot of stuff in Catholicism that doesn’t get talked about much. Exorcisms and the scarier stuff probably reside among those topics. But the Charlie, Charlie game sure has brought all that messy stuff to the surface these days.
Here’s the skinny as I understand it : Catholics believe in Satan. We believe there is a hell for the eternal damnation of some souls. We believe that Lucifer, a fallen saint who once thought himself (and probably still does) more clever than God, has his own legions for spreading discord. (See C.S Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters.) Much like God has his angels to watch over us. You don’t really want to mess with demons and you certainly don’t want to go inviting them over to our dimension for a friendly chat, ala Charlie, Charlie.
For the most part, the Church would rather you not dabble with Tarot cards, fortune tellers, voodoo, pentagrams, Wicca — even horoscopes, zodiac signs and astrology. Only God knows the future, one bishop wrote. Getting information about it, correct or incorrect, apart from God, is sinful.
Now. I can’t honestly say I have any experience with the occult past some silly “seances” and games of “light as a feather, stiff as a board” at slumber parties in junior high. I’ve had some unsettling dreams in which dead people beloved to me have shared interesting messages, but otherwise, nothing. Never saw a ghost, encountered an evil spirit, etc. I’ve run across people I could call evil – I even once had a date that could have turned deadly under the wrong circumstances. But no demons, or X-Files kind of stuff I’ve noticed.
But, like most, I’ve met people who say they’ve had these experiences. And my Church tells me, experience or no experience, scary things do exist. This is where talking to two young girls gets tricky. As a young person, these things scared me as well. They kind of do now too. I was always trying to get out of the room when someone pulled out the Ouija Board and I still haven’t seen the Exorcist in its entirety. I got so creeped out watching The Sixth Sense that I made my husband leave the theatre before we learned the horrible truth about Bruce Willis. I know. Pathetic.
So, three scardey cat “girls” talking about God, Satan and inviting demons into the world is weird at best. I did what I could to stop their imaginations from running wild. (note to self : The Book of Revelation won’t be good bedtime reading.) We talked about my very superstitious German/Romanian grandmother who believed if you changed your sheets between Christmas and New Years, someone you knew would die. She never wore red. Then there was my husband’s mother who salted all the window sills outside to keep witches from getting in. They had to count all the grains before entering, apparently. But I also gave them the truth according to the Church, and reminded them that doing good, praying and the crucifixes in each of their rooms would help keep Charlie and his ilk out.
The next day, my older daughter came home with a story of some friends playing Charlie, Charlie at school. This didn’t surprise me so much. I had friends in school fascinated by these things as well, years ago. They were always looking for ghosts and what not. My daughter has a particular buddy who has been obsessed with ghosts, vampires, werewolves and scary game apps since they were in kindergarten. They’re 10 now. I could never figure out why the kids who fed on this stuff loved being scared. It just made me grouchy.
But the story from school was more sweet than it was scary. You see, my children, if you don’t know yet from other blogs, go to Catholic school. If there is a place with more crucifixes, statues of Jesus and Mary, and people wearing religious symbols, I don’t know where it is. The school is connected to our Church physically, and has been blessed numerous times. There are priests and nuns around, and parishioners saying the Rosary at various times of the day. Doesn’t sound to me like a place Charlie would want to be.
I assured my daughters, in this case, Charlie was certainly more scared than they were.