The Vatican's chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, has revealed that Pope Benedict XVI is setting up exorcism squads to deal with the rampant growth of Satanism.
He says that the decision in this regard has been taken in the wake of rising concerns among Church chiefs over growing worldwide interest in Satanism and the occult.
According to him, each Bishop will be provided with a group of priests who are experts in fighting demonic possession. Hundreds of priests will be trained as exorcists for the purpose, he says.
'You have to hunt high and low for a proper trained exorcist. Thanks be to God that we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head on,' the Sun quoted him as telling Catholic website Petrus.
Pope Benedict XVI, who became leader of the Catholic Church in 2005, is said to be a firm believer in the existence of evil ever since he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the oldest Vatican department that deals with promoting and safeguarding Roman Catholic beliefs.
Father Amorth says the Pope had asked all the exorcists to help fight evil powers during a meeting last year.
'I remember a meeting we exorcists had with the Holy Father last year, in which he implored us to follow our mission as exorcists,' the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Father Amorth has also revealed that the Pope is contemplating reinstating use of the prayer said to St Michael the Archangel, which was abolished in the 1960s, because it is believed to be the prime protector against evil.
'The prayer is useful not only for priests but for lay people. For example if a lay person knows someone who is possessed and there is no exorcist available they can intervene by saying this prayer, commanding the demon to leave that person,' he said.