Pope forming exorcist squads to wage war on Satan

I thought for a moment I was reading The Onion, but this story is from what at least sometimes purports to be a real newspaper, the UK’s Daily Mail:

The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.

Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.

They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of “Godlessness.”

Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.

The initiative was revealed by 82-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican “exorcist-in-chief,” to the online Catholic news service Petrus.

“Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on,” he said.

The Vatican is particularly concerned that young people are being exposed to the influence of Satanic sects through rock music and the Internet.

Looks like the Catholic Church is continuing its regression and perhaps trying to become more competitive with Pentecostalism.

UPDATE (December 31, 2007): A Catholic World News report quotes the Vatican’s press officer denying that the Pope has made such an order (thanks to commenter Jeff for the reference), but doesn’t deny that Amorth said what he did to Petrus, suggesting that Amorth was speaking out of turn. So either the Pope made such an order but finds it embarrassing to admit, or he didn’t make such an order and Amorth was confused or otherwise mistaken or confabulating, which would not be a new thing for him given his past record.

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About Jim Lippard
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06394155516712665665 CyberKitten

    I think that you’re making a fundamental error there… You called the Daily Mail a ‘real’ Newspaper… [rotflmao]

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09468191085576922813 David B. Ellis

    I know nothing about British papers and don’t know whether the DAILY MAIL is a serious paper or a tabloid equivalent. I’m inclined to regard this story as highly suspicious until I see it confirmed by reliable sources.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07724096266805744174 Billy (A Liberal Disabled Vet)

    Does this mean we are going to go through the whole back-masking thing with rock music again? How do you play an mp3 backwards? How do you play a cd backwards?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    Well, Amorth really is the Vatican’s chief exorcist and really does have crazy views.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09984679527847395031 Jeff

    From Catholic World News:

    New emphasis on exorcism? Vatican denies report

    Vatican, Dec. 28, 2007 (CWNews.com) – The Vatican has denied a report that Pope Benedict XVI (bio – news) plans a new emphasis on exorcisms…

    …But Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, flatly denied the Petrus report. The papal spokesman said: “Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of ordering local bishops to bring in garrisons of exorcists to fight demonic possession.”…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04504908587114395374 Andrew

    Am I the only person who thinks that Amorth would be a great name for a Satanic black-metal band?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01421411089734393933 Bishadi

    Well, the Pope should be worried.

    When the species ‘Understands’ the oppression of religious enterprises will be extinct.

    And not by the guy with the birth month/yr but by the people whom have been decieved.

    We are One!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03180227979456654479 parkdalian

    This is old news and maybe that’s part of the reason for the denial. It’s already been done.

    By Philip Pullella
    December 9, 2004

    “A Vatican university said on Thursday it will hold a special “theoretical
    and practical” course for Roman Catholic priests on Satanism and exorcism in response to what the Church says is a worrying interest in the occult, particularly among the young.”

    “The Regina Apostolorum, one of Rome’s most prestigious pontifical
    universities, said in a statement that such episodes should be seen as an
    “alarm bell to take seriously a problem which is still far too

    “The official Roman Catholic exorcism starts with prayers, a blessing and
    sprinkling of holy water, the laying on of hands on the possessed, and the
    making of the sign of the cross.

    It ends with an “imperative formula” in which the devil is ordered to leave
    the possessed.”