Wow, please say a prayer for the Church’s spiritual warfare.
Requests for exorcists have tripled in Italy recently, with some experts estimating around half a million requests in the last year alone, according to a recent report by Vatican News.
“And do you know why?” Fr. Benigno Palilla, one of the organizers of a recent 4-day meeting of exorcists in Sicily, asked rhetorically in an interview with Vatican News. “Because the number of people engaging in occult practices, like reading tarot cards, has grown. Doing so opens the door to the demonic – including possession.”
Fr. Palilla helps train new exoricsts – training that he emphasizes is vitally important.
“A self-taught exorcist will make mistakes. New exorcists need a period of apprenticeship, as happens in other professions.”
He continues: “We priests, very often, do not know how to deal with the concrete cases presented to us. In the preparation for the priesthood, we do not talk about these things.
“And, consequently, a true evangelization is lacking. After all, people suffering from demons are the existential peripheries to which Pope Francis drives us. They are people who suffer a lot and, unfortunately, are not always known by the Church. We need to pray and intervene to help them.”
Pope Francis has frequently spoken about the reality of the demonic and the need for the Church to fight it spiritually.
“The Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness,” the Pope preached in a homily early in his pontificate, “he doesn’t want us to follow Christ.
“Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here… even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”