Social media can play a role in popularising Satanist and occult groups, a theology professor has said at the start of a six-day training course on exorcism held this week in Rome.
“They can promote Satanic practices and occult rites though dedicated sites, while in the past it was harder to popularise,” Father Pedro Barrajon Muñoz told journalists on 6 May, shortly after the start of the “Course on Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation,” which is taking place at the Pontifical University of Regina Apostolorum.
More than 241 people, both lay and religious, from over 40 nations were due to attend the training course.
Now in its 14th year, the conference is this year to include an ecumenical roundtable event on 11 May that will see Lutheran, Pentecostal and Greek Orthodox religious representatives join Catholics to discuss exorcism rites and practices within the different faiths.
“The idea is to help each other, to establish best practices if you will,” said Barrajon.
The number of exorcisms in Italy is reported to have tripled in recent years, with experts predicting that around 500,000 requests are made a year in 2018.
In 2017, the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference published prayers taken from the appendix of the first official English translation of the church’s ritual on exorcism along with the first official translation of the ritual book, "Exorcisms and Related Supplications", which had previously only been available in Latin.
According to the Church’s canon law, an exorcist must be given specific permission to carry out exorcisms by his bishop and has to be a priest who has “piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life."