Pope Francis has told a convention of exorcists from around the world that they are doing sterling service in combating “the Devil’s works”, as the Catholic Church warned of a rise in Satanism and the occult.
The Pope, who frequently cites the fight against Satan in his sermons, said that exorcists needed to show “the love and welcome of the Church for those possessed by evil”. By treating people who were possessed, priests could demonstrate that “the Church welcomes those suffering from the Devil’s works,” he said in a message to a conference organised in Rome by the International Association of Exorcists.
The organisation, which brings together Catholic clergy and psychiatrists, was founded in 1990 by two Catholic priests and was given formal recognition by the Vatican in June.
At the conference, 300 priests and experts from around 30 countries discussed the perils of the occult and Satanism, which many in the Catholic Church believe is on the increase.