If the smell of fire and brimstone has been rising in your nostrils lately, maybe it's because, according to the Roman Catholic Church, there's been a surge of young people embracing their inner hellbeast. Satanists have been growing in numbers, said Carlo Climati of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, and he thinks the Internet is to blame.
Previously, if you wanted to get in touch with the Prince of Darkness (say, to barter your soul for wealth and power or to smite your enemies), you had to pore through books and decipher texts that were probably written in Latin. But now, Climati said, "The Internet makes it much easier than in the past to find information about Satanism."
The Roman Catholic Church is actively combating this with a six-day conference. The first thing that comes to our minds, of course, is a demonstration (demon-stration! geddit?) that teaches priests how to hold back a fire-spewing Satan with the power of his crucifix. But shockingly, they're wielding the power of the scientific method.
The Telegraph wrote:
The object of seminars was to scrutinise the phenomenon of Satanism with "seriousness and scientific rigour", avoiding a "superficial or sensational approach", [Climati] said.
The conference in Rome has brought together more than 60 Catholic clergy as well as doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers and youth workers to discuss how to combat the dangers of Devil-worship.
Of course, scientific rigor collapses when you realize that the Church's premise accepts demonic possession. But it is true that there are "young people who are in difficulties or who are emotionally fragile." If these people or their families turn to a priest for help, they will benefit if their priest has learned about mental illness directly from psychologists and psychiatrists.
The good news about the Internet being responsible for the spread of Satanism: At least the Church has shifted the blame away from heavy metal music and Dungeons & Dragons.