A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH

Increase in Cases of Demonic Possession

Statements by Exorcist Fr. Raul Salvucci

ROME, 4 AUG 1999 (ZENIT).

We live in a rational and technological society that believes it can do without faith; however, the rejection of God has been accompanied by an unheard of demand for magic and the esoteric. This was confirmed by Italian Fr. Raul Salvucci, an exorcist since 1975, who has just published a book on his experiences. The work is entitled, "What to Do with These Demons?" (Ancora, pp. 230, available only in Italian). In simple and humorous language, the author reveals the tremendous need modern man has for authentic spirituality.

Fr. Salvucci's purpose is to make known the "uncomfortable" figure of the exorcist. Exorcists make people nervous, not just in society in general, but even in the Christian community itself. "It seems that the Church's attitude today toward Satan's work in the world is embarrassment: she is ashamed to admit its reality," stated Fr. Salvucci.

Fr. Gabriele Amorth, another well-known exorcist, has made the same claim on numerous occasions. Fr. Amorth makes a direct connection between the decreasing number of exorcists in the Church and the increase in magic, esoteric and Satanic practices.

The Esoteric Bill "Up until a few years ago, I would always hear the same names of wizards and witches, but now I hear a new one every day," Salvucci wrote in his book. The author gave some figures relating to the situation in Italy. Eight years ago, a University Congress held in Perugia discovered that in Italy the esoteric has a following of some 12 million. There were about 170,000 wizards, with income amounting to $600 million. Today, however, the income from these practices has risen to close to $3 billion.

Businessmen and Performers Fr. Salvucci says people of all kinds come to him: housewives, university professors, carpenters and businessmen. "More than one business giant travel in a private plane and take full-time witches with them. In the entertainment world, the same is true. When a wizard appears quite often, one can deduce that the director consults him and gets spiritualist help to guarantee the transmission's efficacy."

Discernment The Italian exorcist does not see demons everywhere. He admits that the most difficult part of his ministry is to identify the cases of Satanic possession, and to distinguish it from other kinds of physical or psychological ailments. "This is, without a doubt, the most difficult problem to resolve: it is clearly expressed in the introduction to the Exorcism Ritual extant since 1600. Often, the priests who are charged with this responsibility have the charism of discernment. But, after 25 years of experience and, above all, after endless hours of discussion with someone who for years has followed case after case, I have come to the personal conclusion that there is a determined series of tests, similar to those used by psychologists, which allows for certainty in the diagnosis."

Speaking of those who seek the service of exorcists, Fr. Salvucci wnet on to say, "Above all, they want someone to discern whether or not there is a demonic presence. Then they ask for 'immediate liberation' through exorcism. It is a habitual pattern. When they live through things they cannot understand, they first go to the wizard, who reads the cards (and charges between $150 and $200). If the wizard perceives signs and movements of an ill omen effected by wizards, but does not succeed in altering the situation, then they move to the second stage: they go to a more powerful wizard, advertised on radio or television. In this case, some $4,000 are required. But if this does not work, then they hear about the existence of a priest who conducts exorcisms. And, although society has turned its back on God, in the collective imagination there continues an ancestral idea that the priest is a trustworthy person, so they go to the exorcist."

Yet, the trip to the exorcist is different, notes the priest. "They go to the priest with three precise mental conditions: that he receive them outside of working hours, so as not to lose time or money; that he not ask for money, in contrast to wizards; and that the effect against all hidden evil be immediate and total in efficacy. However, this last condition cannot be guaranteed by the priest, so that the endless 'via crucis' with wizards might well begin all over again."

This is, precisely, the great difficulty an exorcist faces today. "People are in a hurry, they are poorly informed on these realities and, therefore, they are also afraid. All they are looking for is a big shot who will free them immediately of everything. This mad frenzy to try every possible means is what ends up by leaving them permanently in Satan's claws," Fr. Salvucci concluded. ZE99080403

This article has been selected from the ZENIT Daily Dispatch
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