… is this really true? “We haven’t received any complaints so far, so there’s no problem.”. Apparently exorcizing a thousand students is just fine if nobody complains, right? Students described the ordeal using words like “crying for help”, “scary”, “mental asylum” and other strong words. Hundreds of websites, newspapers and other media just exploded in a cry of outrage. Barbaric, isn’t it? Let me just say my usual thing – bullshit. This one’s right-on bullshit. Why? Well now, since you asked (or because you didn’t ask), here’s how to prove it…
Ask yerself – what does the newspaper want to be true? What’s the easiest contradiction you can find? The article begins with “School children have been left screaming and sobbing after a priest carried out a mass exorcism on them at a religious camp”. It ends (well, it’s close to the bottom anyway) with “The methods presented were similar to those in religious sects.”. It was at a religious camp so what the hell would you expect? Basic trigonometry lessons? Quantum physics? Genetic engineering and stem-cell research? Dude, something like that just blows the whole article. Ring-a-ding-ding. Apparently the newspaper wants to make an analogy between religious sects (I mean, you’re supposed to believe they’re bad, right?) and catholic camp. It’s supposed to make you equal catholic (or well, perhaps christian) bible study camps to something akin to Islamic State – they’re also a sect, right? So this just makes my common sense tingle. Wait, I must have ment my fictional spidey sense.
It’s a manipulative and misleading article from a tabloid – something that apparently won’t make other “quality” sources doubt things. Let’s put it through the bullshit detector and see what we come up with. We google – do we find any Polish results? None, I can’t find any. Strike one. We google the names of the priest – no match, the mother – no match, the school psychologist – no match. Strike two. Let’s get physical then.
Everywhere you look, the only source for this information is the internet edition of a newspaper – a tabloid– The daily mirror. No link to somewhere else– not even one hit in a Polish article, even if you’d expect one. Especially since the way the article is structured is to make you think that. I mean, there had to be a bit of controversy for the school psychologist to be asked to give his opinion and for the church spokesman to issue a statement. By the way, where is that statement?
There are names in there, even the age of a concerned mother – what’s the point of it all? To add credibility to the whole thing because I doubt we’ll find that piece of sh.. news.. anywhere in Poland with the possible exception of newspapers and poles grinding their collective teeth at the sheer audacity of the brits to publish such crap. So we have a piece of news about something in Poland but all the wires and links point to a made-in-the-UK tabloid. No outgoing links from there, unless you dig a bit deeper and find Central European News and Europics Photo Agency (which requires login, but is still a british provider of photo material).
One more small thing a catholic would raise an eyebrow at – why does the priest have a beard? Roman Catholics typically don’t have beards, you’d know that if you were say Irish. If he were a Franciscan warrior monk, I’d get it. Also the painting behind him looks very much Greek (catholic). All in all, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were a picture of a Greek-catholic priest they snatched from somewhere and made up a name that just screams Poland. Because brits aren’t catholic so can’t be arsed to do a nice, thorough manipulation. Besides, who knows Poland’s main type of Catholicism is Latin and not eastern? Or hell, who’d care?
Allright. Since I got so worked up, here’s the thing – I was bored enough to get to the bottom of this. We got some bullshit even old commie jokes would be proud of:
Is it true Ivan Vasilievici received a new car from the government?
Yes, it is, only it wasn’t new – it was rather old, it wasn’t a car – it was a bycicle and the government didn’t give it to him, they took it from him.
That sort of story. The fun part is this:
- The priest’s name is not Tomas Wieczorek, it is Tomasz Worobec;
- That’s not his picture, the one you find in the article – this is his picture. I got no ideea who the fellow with the beard is – I’d wager the newspaper doesn’t know either;
- You can’t find the mother anywhere in the original story – instead of a mother called Magda Rutkowska you have a teacher of religion called Magdalena Halak, but on the other side of the fence;
- The original source of the story is a tabloid (yes, another one), called superportal24.pl – who ran the story (on march 25th) a wee bit differently – acusing them of “strange rites” and “middle school students in trance” – but all of this is just something they’ve published a few days before. They even describe lent rites and chanting as psychedelic and I’m like rolling on the floor laughing. This is a catholic country, innit? What would they describe hassidic rituals then?
- The newspaper appears to be already biased, describing two earlier (within 2 weeks) stories accusing the priest of extortion and of turning a student towards religion while ignoring his mother wishes.
Awesome, innit? It’s actually funny if you look at it that way. I only wish I knew the language, damn google translate makes things a hell of a lot more complicated.
If it took a fellow like me 4 hours of digging to get to the truth, with no other resources but internet access and google translate – how much time would have kept an experienced journalist occupied? Half an hour? Now do a simple “gryfice exorcism” google search and see how many results you get.