National Catholic Reporter vs. Father Malachi Martin
The famous exorcist may be dead, but that doesn't stop the National Catholic Reporter from kicking him while he's down.
Back in the 1970s, when possession and exorcism were the cinematic and fictional flavor of the era -- one that historian Martin Marty appropriately called “the silly season” -- it fell to my lot to conduct a pre-publication review of Malachi Martin’s sensational book Hostage to the Devil. I was allied in this with an internationally celebrated clinical psychologist. Working independently, our conclusion was the same: Martin’s five “cases” were fabrications of an inventive but disturbed mind, lacking all psychological, historical, theological and pastoral credibility. Some time later, I interviewed Malachi Martin on television. A former priest, Martin had left the Jesuit order under cloudy conditions, to say the least. (The sordid details were described in Robert Blair Kaiser’s agonized 2002 memoir, Clerical Error: A True Story.) In person, I found Martin to be a clever, charming, engaging Irish rogue who evaded every effort to document the instances of possession he so graphically described. In the end, my earlier suspicion that Martin was a deeply disturbed individual was strongly reinforced.