Vatican university offers priests a course on defeating Satanism

The Scotsman/December 10, 2004
By Philip Pullellain

Forget the new Exorcist film, the Vatican is offering the real thing.

A Vatican university said yesterday 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.

This year, Italy was gripped by the story of two teenage members of a heavy metal rock band called the Beasts of Satan, who were killed by other band members in a human sacrifice.

The Regina Apostolorum, a prestigious university, said in a statement that such episodes should be seen as an "alarm bell to take seriously a problem which is still far too underestimated".

The two-month course, which begins in February and will be limited to priests and advanced students of theology, will include themes such as Satanism, diabolic possession and "prayers of liberation".

Satanism, the statement said, aimed to sow confusion among the young and promote a world without moral rules.

According to some estimates, up to 5,000 people are thought to be members of Satanic cults in Italy, with 17- to 25-year-olds making up three,quarters of them.

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