Probably best to keep your hands off the Ouija board this Halloween...
A priest who has been approved by the Vatican to perform exorcisms is warning that a recent deluge in demonic possession around the world has resulted in a scarcity of clergymen capable of performing the process.
Valter Cascioli, who acts as the head of the International Association of Exorcists (an organisation that has received papal recognition), has warned Catholics against the dangers of dabbling with black magic. According to the priest, the sharp rise in the practice means there is now a shortage of officially recognised priests entrusted with the divine right to battle demons and satanic forces that take over naive sorcerers.
“The lack of exorcists is a real emergency,” Cascioli told the Italian newspaper La Stampa. “There is a pastoral emergency as a result of a significant increase in the in the number of diabolical possessions that exorcist priests are confronting,” the psychologist and scientific consult added.
Cascioli also recommended that the church invest in a technical training centre in one of its universities where Catholic seminaries and priests looking to upskill could learn the ropes of modern exorcism. “There doesn’t exist a training institution at university level. We need an interdisciplinary approach in which science collaborates with religion, and where psychiatrists work with demonologists and exorcists,” Cascioli said.
While exorcisms have long been viewed with scepticism by the higher echelons of the Catholic faith, under the pontifical leadership of Pope Francis the practice has come out of the dark. The pope, who often invokes Satan in her sermons, personally offered his gratitude to a convention of exorcists for their work in fending off the work of the devil in 2014.