About 300 exorcists are gathered at the Vatican, officially recognized by the Catholic Church and blessed by Pope Francis to "manifest the church's love and acceptance of those who suffer because of the devil's works."
reports that by hosting a convention of the International Association of Exorcists, the church continues its acceptance and approval of the works of exorcism performed by members of the group, which received official Catholic Church recognition on June 13.
Far from being relegated to history, exorcists see their calling today as more necessary than ever, given the bustling of society, the omnipresence of temptation in the media, and the increased practice of Satanism, which, they believe, can lead the faithful into demonic possession.
Dr. Valter Cascioli, spokesman for the group and a psychiatrist, told Vatican Radio that interest in the occult and Satanic groups "is constantly increasing, and that worries us," citing "an extraordinary increase in demonic activity," the Catholic Sun reports.
Because of "rushing, superficiality, exaggerated individualism and secularization," he said, "the battle against evil and the devil increasingly is becoming an emergency."
Weakened faith, Cascioli said, means that "the enemy of God" is aided.
"The practice of the occult, Satanism, and abnormal things is opening the gateway to an extraordinary amount of demonic activity," the Express of London reported
Exorcists from over 30 countries attended the convention, the first held at the Vatican since the group was founded in 1990.
The Rev. Gabrielle Amorth, who served as the Vatican's chief exorcist, blamed everything from fantasy novels to yoga for opening the door to the devil, and said yoga is "satanic."
"It leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter," the Express reported.
The Rev. Francesco Bamonte, president of the organization, said the recognition of the group by the church was a "cause for joy not only for the association, but for the whole church," and said that "God calls some priests to this important ministry of exorcism and deliverance" to be able to "accompany the persons with humility, faith and charity," Breitbart News reported.
In a letter to Bamonte, Pope Francis said "mercy and love" were needed to battle Satan.
"The church welcomes those suffering from the devil's works," the Pope commented.
People are losing their belief in the existence of evil and Satan, Cascioli commented, adding, "His trickery is to make us believe that he does not exist. But the point is the same: to deaden people's faith," the International Business Times reported.
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