Increase in Satanism and exorcism seen

Feb. 15, 2004 at 6:01 PM

GENOA, Italy, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Requests for exorcism have risen sharply in Italy, probably due to the increased practice of Satanism, according to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Bertone, who is archbishop of Genoa, said he had enlisted the help of health professionals to work with exorcists in handling cases of demonic possessions.

Panels of three priests, one neurologist, one psychiatrist and one psychologist will evaluate each case to separate medical and psychological problems from spiritual ones.

"With the help of the human sciences, we ought to try to discern what is happening in each case, so that the exorcist becomes involved only in cases where the facts allow no human explanation and point to a possible possession," Bertone told the newspaper, Corriere della Sera.

Italy's bishops have commissioned 300 priests as exorcists.

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