The Telegraph is reporting that diocese in countries such as Italy and Spain are already seeing an increase in the number of exorcists assigned to help people who become afflicted by the forces of darkness after exploring popular occult practices.
"The diocese of Milan recently nominated seven new exorcists, the bishop of Naples appointed three new ones a couple of years ago and the Catholic Church in Sardinia sent three priests for exorcism training in Rome, amid concern that the Mediterranean island, particularly its mountainous, tradition-bound interior, is a hotbed of occultism," the Telegraph reports.
"In Spain, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid, chose eight priests to undergo special training in May to confront what he described as 'an unprecedented rise' in cases of 'demonic possession'. The Church in Spain was coming across many cases that 'go beyond the competence of psychologists' and they were occurring with 'a striking frequency', the archbishop said."
This fact is confirmed by Fr. Francesco Bamonte, president of the Italy-based International Association for Exorcists which was founded in 1993 by Rome's chief exorcist, Fr. Gabriele Amorth.
“Diabolical possessions are on the increase as a result of people subscribing to occultism,” Fr. Bamonte told La Republicca last month. “The few exorcists that we have in the dioceses are often not able to handle the enormous number of requests for help.”
John Allen, a reporter for the National Catholic Reporter, claims the upsurge in the number of exorcists is not just a response to public demand but to quality control.
“There are all these guys, some of them priests, who have set themselves up as exorcists. A lot of it is fairly dodgy theologically — they are self-appointed exorcists running around purporting to be acting on behalf of the Church," Allen says. “Now there is an attempt to ensure that all this is done in accordance with the Church’s official teaching. The hierarchy don’t want it going on outside the official channels.”
Pope Francis frequently mentions the devil and demonic activity in his homilies and is believed to have performed an exorcism during a Mass in St. Peter's Square last spring. A television camera recorded him laying hands on a man in a wheelchair who went into convulsions before slumping weakly in the chair. Experts claimed it was an exorcism, although the Vatican was vague about the incident, saying only that the Pope "did not intend" to perform an exorcism that day.
This report proves that many people are being seriously harmed by what they see as innocent dabbling in the occult and/or New Age practices such as Reiki that have occult aspects.
As the pope warned recently: “When we think of our enemies, we really think of the Devil first, because it’s the Devil that harms us. The Devil enjoys the atmosphere, the lifestyle of worldliness.”
Far too many people don't take the devil seriously enough - and they do so at their own peril.