ROME — An Italian exorcist has denounced a steady rise in demonic activity as more and more young people abandon traditional spirituality and dabble in the occult.
“Satanism is getting much more aggressive and also diffused,” Dominican Father Francois Dermine told Crux, an online Catholic news outlet.
“Secularization leaves a void,” said the priest, who has worked as an exorcist for the Archdiocese of Ancona-Osimo since 1994. “Young people do not have anything to satisfy their spiritual and profound needs. They are thirsting for something, and the Church is not attractive anymore.”
Since the Church is no longer perceived as a valid option for many young people looking for answers, he said, “they try to find something elsewhere. This something is, many times, the demonic world.”
Satanism takes many forms, Dermine said, and many become exposed to it through forms of occult activity that seem harmless at first. Through these activities, young people risk acquiring “a Satanist mentality” in which familiarity with the demonic world becomes normalized.
“There are many groups of satanism,” the priest said, and Satanism often begins with seemingly innocuous games like the “Charlie Charlie challenge,” in which players attempt to summon a malignant Mexican spirit by balancing two pencils in the form of a cross and posing yes/no questions to “Charlie.”
This sort of game introduces children to the occult early, and such practices are becoming more widespread, Dermine said.
As an example, the priest cited the recent publication of A Children’s Book of Demons, a manual that gives kids instructions on how to summon up demons.
As Breitbart News reported last week, the International Association of Exorcists (AIE) has issued a statement warning parents of the dangers the book, which targets children aged 5-10.
The book was written by Aaron Leighton, an illustrator and “fan” of occult practices and invites children to call forth demons as a way of dealing with unpleasant problems such as chores, homework, and getting rid of bullies.
“Satanism is not always so explicit, but it is becoming more and more so, and the publication of this book is a sign of this,” Father Dermine told Crux, observing that up until a few years ago such a would have been inconceivable.
As an explanation for the growth of interest in the demonic, Dermine points to the breakdown of stable structures such marriages and families, as well as a deterioration of education.
If children had received love in their own families, “it would be much more difficult to follow these kinds of ideologies,” he said. “It would be much more difficult to penetrate their minds.”
“If the adult world does not offer alternatives, it is more difficult for younger generations to adopt a stable way of life. It’s very difficult, it’s almost a miracle,” he said.
Although many adults try to dismiss occultism as a harmless fad, Dermine insists it is very real and very dangerous.
“It’s not only a vague fear, it’s a very concrete risk,” he said. “We must not underestimate this, because violence among young people is becoming more and more diffused.”
“A violent mentality is very dangerous for our society, very, very dangerous,” he said. “Our society risks collapse if it continues like this.”