The Devil is in the Vatican and is behind the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church, says the Pope’s chief exorcist.
Satan’s work could also be seen in cardinals who ‘do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon,’ said Father Gabriele Amorth.
‘When one speaks of “the smoke of Satan” [a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI in 1972] in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and paedophilia,’ he told La Repubblica newspaper.
A series of sex abuse scandals, in countries including Ireland, have hit the Catholic Church recently.
And earlier this week, the Pope’s brother, the Rev Georg Ratzinger, admitted hitting choirboys after he took over a renowned German choir in the 1960s.
Mr Ratzinger said he was also aware of allegations of physical abuse at a school linked to the choir. Fr Amorth is said to have carried out more than 30,000 exorcisms and has been the top man in his field for 25 years.
The 85-year-old, who is president of the International Association of Exorcists, once spoke out against the Harry Potter series of books, saying they opened children’s minds to the occult and black magic.
He said the stories attempted to make a false distinction between black and white magic, a difference that ‘does not exist because magic is always a turn to the Devil’.
Fr Amorth has also said Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were possessed by Satan and the incident last year in which a mentally ill woman threw herself at the Pope was the work of the Devil.
His favourite film, according to the Italian press, is The Exorcist, a ‘substantially exact’ but ‘exaggerated’ portrayal of possession.