In 1815 the Vicar Apostolic of the London District, William Poynter, became embroiled in a case of alleged demonic possession. In the face of considerable pressure from the family of Peter Moore, the alleged demoniac, Poynter prevented a proposed exorcism on the grounds that it would bring adverse publicity to the still fragile Catholic Church in England. Drawing on the surviving correspondence between Poynter and his officials and Peter Moore’s family, this article examines the stance adopted by Poynter on the issue of exorcism within the wider context of ‘Catholic Enlightenment’ thought on demonic possession, and argues that the political circumstances of Catholics in England ensured that Poynter’s cautious approach to exorcism ultimately won out against the desire of other Catholics—including another Vicar Apostolic, John Milner—to publicise the rite as a means of promoting the Catholic faith.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.
Usage data cannot currently be displayed