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Vatican launching new exorcism course as demand for it soars

According to Sicilian priest, Begigno Palilla, requests by Italians who want an exorcism has tripled to about 500,000 cases in the last few years.
According to Sicilian priest, Begigno Palilla, requests by Italians who want an exorcism has tripled to about 500,000 cases in the last few years. Dan Kitwood/Getty Image

The Vatican is launching an international exorcism training course in response to a surge in demand for the demonic service in Italy.

According to Sicilian priest, Begigno Palilla, requests by Italians who want an exorcism has tripled to about 500,000 cases in the last few years.

READ MORE: Exorcist group formally recognized by Vatican

A week-long course on exorcism is set to be held in April at a Catholic educational institute in Rome.

Palilla, who is a trained exorcist, told Vatican Radio on Thursday, the focus on the course is “to offer a rich reflection and articulation on a topic that is sometimes unspoken and controversial.”

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He said he believes the high numbers of reported exorcisms over the last few years are linked to a rise in people visiting fortune tellers and Tarot card readers, which he said, “let in the devil.”

He also said a lot of these cases are not actually related to demonic possession, but to spiritual or psychological problems.

READ MORE: Pope Francis’ obsession with Satan leads to suspicion he performed exorcism

In July 2017,  The Economist reported the “demand for exorcists was soaring,” particularly in France, where the Catholic Church neglected years of training in priests.

In 2014, the Vatican formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who say they liberate the faithful from demons.