ROME, JAN. 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Recent incidents of cult deaths in Europe are pointing to a problem hitherto underestimated: the growing interest in Satanism and occultism, especially among adolescents.
That is why the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University and GRIS, an Italian group that monitors destructive sects, organized a course on “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation.” The course, which is open only to priests and seminarians, will be offered in February, March and April.
ZENIT interviewed journalist Carlo Climati, one of the instructors of the course, who specializes in the problems of youth, a topic to which he has dedicated several books.
Q: How did the ideas arise to offer a course on Satanism and exorcism?
Climati: It resulted from contact with many priests, who expressed the need to offer more information on these topics. In their pastoral activities, priests increasingly receive requests for help from parents, or are obliged to address delicate cases of youths involved in Satanic sects or occultism.
This grave problem is represented especially by nihilism, which characterizes certain phenomena. Young people are disoriented and pushed to confuse good with evil and to reject any moral boundaries.
Q: Why is there so much interest in the world of the occult?
Climati: The starting point is a certain tendency to neo-paganism, often dressed up in fashions that are apparently innocuous. Let us think of what has been happening for some years, on the date of the celebration of Halloween. Celebrations with esoteric topics are multiplied in discothèques.
In addition to dancing, young people find fortunetellers on the premises, who offer to read them their horoscope or Tarot cards. And, as if this were not enough, kiosks are filled with magazines for adolescents, with superstitious ideas such as the use of magic herbs, the supposed power of stones, the production of amulets, and even the adoration of the planet Earth, as if it were a sort of divinity.
Q: Why do many young people take recourse to magic or Satanic rites?
Climati: Because today much thought is given to the body and little to the soul. Magic and Satanism represent the search for an egotistic power to be exercised over others in order to obtain material satisfactions and follow the false models proposed by some of the media.
We are in the era of the appearance, in which aesthetic surgery, advertised in television programs, seems to solve all problems. Whoever does not look like certain actors or models, runs the risk of feeling inferior, limited. He begins to look in the mirror and to experience feelings of insecurity.
The television programs seem to compete in their offer of testimonies of families in crisis, parents who fight with their children, husbands who betray their wives and vice versa, who insult one another and lack respect for each other publicly. This mechanism produces great fear of the other. It prevents young people from believing in the promise of eternal love.
Q: Do young people today need to rediscover a relationship with God?
Climati: Of course. But, sadly, they are faced with many obstacles. Today there is a tendency to create an atheist society, dominated by moral relativism. Young people run the risk of finding themselves alone in an ever more materialistic world, deprived of that relationship of divine filiation to which they can take recourse in times of difficulty.
Whoever is conscious that he is a child of God can never feel abandoned in face of problems; thus, he will not seek quick solutions such as Satanism or neo-pagan forms of religiosity.
Q: How can young people of today be properly educated?
Climati: A culture of commitment must be promoted, which values the little efforts of daily life.
If we want to win over a girl, we must no take recourse to a magic or Satanic rite. Let’s give her a beautiful bunch of flowers, let’s talk, let’s try to be kind and sincere, let’s open our heart to her. In a word, let’s make the effort.
Moreover, it is important to promote a healthy culture of the limit, to educate youngsters so that they will understand that one cannot have everything in life. One must be able to accept one’s own limitations. It is not necessary to look like the models of the photos in order to be happy.
One must not imitate the perfect, but unreal, protagonists of advertisements. Nor is it necessary to always have in one’s pocket the latest model of mobile phone. It is enough to be oneself. This will educate young people to have a better view on life and also so to accept eventual moments of difficulty and suffering.