Archbishop of Calcutta Henry D'Souza says Mother Teresa had an "exorcism" performed on her when she was hospitalized for heart trouble in 1997. Well, sort of. He's very clear that "Mother was not possessed … it did not hurt her sanctity," but that she received a "prayer of protection" from demons when doctors couldn't find a medical reason for her sleeplessness. "I wanted her to calm down and asked a priest, in the name of the church, to perform an exorcism prayer on her. She happily agreed. After he performed these prayers, she slept very well that night," D'Souza tells Reuters. Commentators seem surprised by the news: "I cannot believe they would have allowed that to happen,'' Notre Dame theology professor Richard McBrien tells the Associated Press. "They could have performed the rite of the anointing of the sick. That's one of the sacraments. Exorcisms aren't sacraments." Fordham University sociology professor Michael W. Cuneo, author of the new book American Exorcism, is also incredulous. "The official Roman Catholic position is that you're supposed to approach an exorcism with a great deal of skepticism," he tells Time. "One of the weirdest things about this story, if the article is correct, is that there was no evaluation on the part of the Archbishop. The order for the exorcism was just off the cuff." Even former New York mayor Ed Koch weighed in on the story. "It was a waste of time," he tells the New York Daily News. "She was as pure as driven snow, before and after." And really, that's what Christianity Today's cover story on exorcisms and deliverance ministries really needed: a quote from former New York mayor Ed Koch.
Christianity as backdrop "almost vanquished" ...1