Pope Francis is asking exorcists to manifest the love of the Church for those “suffering due to the work of the Evil One.”
The Pope said this in a message to Father Francesco Bamonte, the director of the International Association of Exorcists (AIE). About 300 exorcists attended a course last weekend in Rome.
Exorcists ”in the particular ministry exercised, in communion with their Bishops” must manifest “the love and hospitality of the Church to those suffering due to the work of the Evil One,” the Pope wrote to them.
The AIE was given juridical recognition by the Congregation of the Clergy last June.
In an interview on Vatican Radio, psychiatrist Valer Casciolli, official spokesman of the Association, explained that the number of people who engage in Satanic practices, with grave social, psychological, spiritual and moral damages, is constantly growing and, as a consequence, there is “an increase of extraordinary demonic activity, in a particular way, harassing, obsessions, and above all diabolic possessions.”
Moreover, he explained in the interview, “we live at a particularly critical historic time, where speed, superficiality, exasperated individualism, and secularization seems to dominate our society.” The Association’s spokesman explained that this is due clearly to the direct action of God’s enemy, to the weakening of faith, the lack of values, and to cultural relativism.
On the other hand, the psychiatrist warned that sometimes the risks of these practices are underestimated and he pointed out among the causes the constant proliferation of media messages, books, television programs, movie programs that in some way, in the wake of sensationalism and of spectacles, give incentive especially to the new generations to be concerned with occultism and Satanism, and at times to practice it.
Finally he stressed that the devil’s cunning is precisely to make us believe that he does not exist and he specified that a certain secularism spread in our society aids the devil’s cunning. Moreover, he observed that he is much affected by the incidence that these phenomena have in the extraordinary demonic activity, especially on the young generations and also on families.
And he concluded: “We know that the one who divides – the devil – not only separates us from God, but separates persons, families; he also separates one from reality, because sometimes we have situations of alienation, also mental, which are secondary to the extraordinary demonic activity.”
The International Association of Exorcists was founded by one of the best known exorcists at the international level – Father Gabriele Amorth. The idea of gathering the exorcists in an Association arose in Father Amorth in the decade of the 80s, to be able to share experiences and reflections and to help in a more concrete and effective way persons who turned to them.
Therefore, in 1991 the Italian Association of Exorcists was born. In 1993 Father Amorth and other Italian exorcists took part in a Congress organized by the French exorcist Rene Chenessau and theologian Rene Laurentin. The experience was positive and was repeated in 1994 in the Italian locality of Ariccia, where it was decided to give continuity to these international meetings biennially. Father Amorth was elected President. He resigned in the year 2000 and proposed as his successor Don Giancarlo Gramolazzo, who was at the head of it during three successive mandates. When Father Gramolazzo died in 2010, the Capuchin Cipriano de Meo took over until 2012, when he was substituted by Father Francesco Bamonte, exorcist of the Diocese of Rome. Today the Association has 250 exorcists of 30 different countries.
Last July, with the approval of the International Association by the Holy See, Bamonte stated in L’Osservatore Romano that the news was “reason for joy, not only for those associated, but also for the whole Church.”
On that same occasion, he also pointed out that “exorcism is a form of charity, for the benefit of persons who are suffering; this is included, without a doubt, among the works of corporal and spiritual mercy.”
Pope Francis today spoke about the devil in his morning homily, making the same point made by Casciolli: that a lack of recognition of the devil’s existence makes it easier for him to work.