Surge in Satanism sparks rise in demand for exorcists, says Catholic Church
A surge in Satanism fuelled by the internet has led to a sharp rise in the demand for exorcists, the Roman Catholic Church has warned.
By Nick Squires, in Rome 2:02PM BST 30 Mar 2011
The web has made it easier than ever before to access information on Devil-worshipping and the occult, experts said.
Exorcism is the subject of a six-day conference being held this week at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, which is under the Vatican's authority.
"The internet makes it much easier than in the past to find information about Satanism," said Carlo Climati, a member of the university who specialises in the dangers posed to young people by Satanism.
"In just a few minutes you can contact Satanist groups and research occultism. The conference is not about how to become an exorcist. It's to share information about exorcism, Satanism and sects. It's to give help to families and priests. There is a particular risk for young people who are in difficulties or who are emotionally fragile," said Mr Climati.
The object of seminars was to scrutinise the phenomenon of Satanism with "seriousness and scientific rigour", avoiding a "superficial or sensational approach", he said.
The conference in Rome has brought together more than 60 Catholic clergy as well as doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers and youth workers to discuss how to combat the dangers of Devil-worship.
Organisers say the rise of Satanism has been dangerously underestimated in recent years.
"There's been a revival," said Gabriele Nanni, a former exorcist and another speaker at the course.