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Get thee hence!

Hell is much in the news. From a jail cell in upstate New York, where he was serving time for antiabortion activities, Roman Catholic Bishop Austin Vaughan warned Governor Mario Cuomo that he was 9n serious risk of going to hell" for supporting women's reproductive rights. The new Archbishop of Brooklyn promptly banned Cuomo from speaking about abortion in any church in his diocese, which also includes Cuomo's home borough of Queens.

Now New York's John Cardinal O'Connor, America's premier Catholic prelate, has told Sunday worshipers at St. Patrick's Cathedral that the Devil is afoot in one of his favorite haunts rock music. Performers like Ozzy Osbourne (late of Black Sabbath) have so emboldened the Fiend that at least two possessed souls in the New York area required exorcism. O'Connor read Passages from William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist to underscore his point. It's all probably predictable as finde-siecle fantasy, except that O'Connor and an increasingly reactionary American Catholic hierarchy are deadly serious about the business of social and cultural repression. They've made a pact with the most liberal elements in the land to beat Beelzebub at his own game and subvert freedom of human spirit and will.

Is this how the cold war ends, like the final scene of Don Giovanni? Bereft of secular devils and mundane evil empires, America may be homing in on the real thing. The Great Satan turns out to be - Satan.

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Title Annotation:anti-Satanism, rock music, abortion and the Catholic Church
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:editorial
Date:Mar 26, 1990
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