I have just signed a contract with Cambridge University Press to write a book for the press’s new Elements Series, entitled Witchcraft and the Modern Roman Catholic Church.
Witchcraft is rarely mentioned in official documents of the contemporary Roman Catholic church, but ideas about the dangers of witchcraft and other forms of occultism underpin the recent revival of interest in exorcism in the church. The book will examine hierarchical and clerical understandings of witchcraft within the contemporary Roman Catholic church and considers the difficulties faced by clergy in parts of the developing world, where belief in witchcraft is so dominant it has the potential to undermine the church’s doctrine and authority. The book also considers the revival of interest in witchcraft and cursing among Catholic demonologists and exorcists in the developed world. The book explores whether it is possible for a global church to adopt any kind of coherent approach to a phenomenon appraised so differently across different cultures that the church’s responses to witchcraft in one context are likely to seem irrelevant in another.
Witchcraft and the Modern Roman Catholic Church is due to be published in 2021 or 2022.