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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