A longtime Catholic exorcist is warning about a strengthening of “aggressive Satanism” among young people, and attributes it to the rapid growth of cultural secularism and an absence of positive role models for young people.
Dominican Father Francois Dermine said that exposure of the young to demonic ideas and forces encourages violence, ranging from bullying to more serious manifestations. Dermine said he’s been battling the demonic for a quarter of a century, since 1994, as an exorcist for the Archdiocese of Ancona-Osimo in Italy.
“There are many groups of satanism,” Dermine said, explaining that the Internet, video games and school games such as the “Charlie Charlie challenge,” in which players cross two pencils on a grid with sectors marking “yes” or “no” and ask a supernatural being, “Charlie,” to answer the questions they ask, are normalizing demonic ideas.
“Satanism is getting much more aggressive and also diffused,” Dermine said. Speaking to the Catholic website Crux, he blamed the growth of secularism, which he said retired pontiff Benedict XVI dedicated much of his papacy to fighting, as a primary cause.
“Secularization leaves a void,” he said, explaining that alongside it is a “sort of spiritual, ideological and also cultural void. 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.”
The church is far from blameless, Dermine said. With an ever-aging population of churchgoers in Western society and widely publicized scandals, Catholicism no longer shines forth as a valid resource for youth needing answers and support, “so they try to find something elsewhere. This something is, many times, the demonic world.”
Dermine cited the recent book A Children’s Book of Demons, which was published in May and is directed to children under the age of 10. The book contains colorful illustrations of different demons and teaches children the sigils, or magic symbols, for the demons and how to call them up.
All in good fun of course.
Stressing the dangers of getting dabbling in the demonic at a young age, Dermine said the risk is in developing “a Satanist mentality” in which the demonic world becomes normal. When it does, “they risk passing from the culture to the acts. They can become evil themselves very easily.”
Part of the fault, he said, is due to the breakdown of the family structure, which often leaves children insecure, in unstable environments and without trustworthy points of reference.