Superstition Not Uncommon Among Italian Catholics

ROME, FEB. 22, 2001 ( Italian Catholics increasingly turn to tarot card readings, participate in spiritualistic sessions and, in general, have greater faith in paranormal powers than in miracles, a survey found.

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The survey, carried out by the University of Cagliari, in Sardinia, interviewed some 3,000 people between the age of 15 and 61, of different levels of education. It revealed that a large majority of Italians, 83.4%, said they were Catholics, while 13.7% said they were atheist, and 2.9% Buddhist.

The survey found that 6.4% visit wizards and fortunetellers.

Many have doubts about miracles, such as weeping or bleeding statues (33.7%). Those who are convinced are far fewer (13.1%). Moreover, 28.6% were convinced that at some point they were the target of witchcraft, and 19.4% have participated in spiritualistic sessions.

In addition, 30.9% wear amulets, and 10.9% are convinced they had a previous life, while 63.4% deny this.

The study also questioned people on the «prince of darkness»; 41.1% were convinced of his existence, 38.3% denied it, and 20.6% said the devil «might» exist.

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