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St Louis Archdiocese Urges TV Exorcists Not to ‘Play Games With Satan’

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A live exorcism due to be broadcast on cable television from a house in St. Louis Friday risks exposing all involved to “hidden Satanic attack,” according to the local Catholic archdiocese.

Discovery Communications’ Destination America will air a live exorcism Friday night from a house where an exorcism was held that inspired the 1971 novel The Exorcist, which was later turned into a classic movie. The archdiocese made its feelings known in a statement Thursday.

“Any attempt to use the solemn Rite of Exorcism as entertainment exposes all participators to the danger of future hidden satanic attack,” Bishop Robert Hermann said. “We cannot play games with Satan and expect to win.”

The archdiocese further clarified that “anyone involved in this production who claims to be a member of the Catholic clergy is not affiliated with the Archdiocese of St. Louis nor are they operating under the authority of the Vatican.”

“It’s not a spoof,” Sara Helman, an executive at the channel and one of the overseers of the special, told the Wall Street Journal.

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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com