Following the 40th anniversary of the film "The Exorcist," the Catholic Church is ramping up their training for exorcisms in dioceses across Italy and Spain and other countries. According to the Daily Telegraph, the Church states that the increase in demonic cases is a direct result of a rise of people practicing "dark arts" like black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija boards. The Church notes that many of these people have found information readily available on the internet.
The Daily Telegraph also points out that the increase in training for exorcisms is happening around the world.
"The diocese of Milan recently nominated seven new exorcists, the bishop of Naples appointed three new ones a couple of years ago and the Catholic Church in Sardinia sent three priests for exorcism training in Rome, amid concern that the Mediterranean island, particularly its mountainous, tradition-bound interior, is a hotbed of occultism."
Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid, recently picked eight priests in May of 2013 to endure rigorous training to deal with an "unprecedented rise” in cases of “demonic possession”. Also in May of 2013, Father Gabriele Amorth, a priest from Italy, spoke with the Sunday Times and alleged that he had helped preform over 160,000 exorcisms and asked Pope Francis to give all priests the right to perform exorcisms to deal with the increase in demonic possession.
The rise of exorcisms is also something that American priests have been worried about. A 2011 report from the New York Times notes that 66 American priests and 56 bishops attended a conference to help prepare them for a massive increase in the demand for exorcisms in the United States.
Another reason the Catholic Church is increasing their exorcism training is to combat the rise of impostor exorcists. Catholic Online points out that "self-appointed exorcists, even people who pose as priests, and have not undergone appropriate training to perform the rite of exorcism. The Church is cracking down on this practice by training known, qualified clergy who answer to their bishops for performing the rites."
The alleged increase in demonic possession is another debate within itself, but the reality is that the Catholic Church around the world is worried about demon ghosts that need to be hit with an exorcism, ala William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel turned 1973 Hollywood hit, "The Exorcist."