There is nothing Satanic about people who wear soutanes, whether they are exorcists or not. But the play on words is as clever as it is undeserved. Even priests might smile at this deformation of Jesus’ command to the Devil to get behind Him, to be gone. Funnily enough, soutanes have in fact largely gone … out of clerical fashion. Belief in the Devil, even among the faithful (but not in the Vatican where there is a brand-new training center for exorcists) faded out even earlier. Pretty soon the Catholicism I grew up in will be totally foreign to many people, even practising Catholics. I feel like one of the Last of the Mohicans when I tell young people about obligatory fish on Friday, processions through Sydney’s suburban streets of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and incensed Benedictions of the Blessed Impanation, Jesus disguised as a wafer of bread after the miracle of transubstantiation. But the faith behind the rituals is far from extinct. Atheist iconoclasts like me know we would be fighting a losing battle if our target were Catholic Traditionalists and their Old Time Religion. My target is rather people who can not only smile at the old and odd dress-code that had priests walking the streets in their long black soutanes and effeminate white lace surplices behind a Pellegrini statue of the Virgin, but who long ago jettisoned the nonsense about Satan. What’s retaining them from rejecting the rest of the rubbish ?
P.S. I am indebted to Daniel Quillet for the pun in the title. For French readers, he offered me two others, which don’t work in English or in Latin, but which I find just as clever : “La religion n’est pas ma tasse d’athée” and “Notre Père qui est osseux”.