ROME - The Catholic Church has vowed to "fight the Devil head-on" by training hundreds of priests as exorcists.
Under plans being considered, each bishop would have a group of priests in his diocese who were specially trained in exorcism and on hand to take action against "extreme Godlessness".
"Thanks be to God that we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on," Father Amorth said.
"Now bishops are to be obliged to have a number of established exorcists for their diocese. Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil. You have to hunt high and low for a proper, trained exorcist.
"Thankfully Pope Benedict XVI believes in the existence and danger of evil, from the time he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith deals with promoting and safeguarding Catholic beliefs. It was headed by the Pope when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, from 1982 until his election as Pope in 2005.
The Vatican is concerned that young people are being exposed to Satanism through the media, rock music and the internet.
All priests can perform exorcisms, but in reality only a select few are ever called on to do so. The rite involves gestures and prayers to invoke the power of God and stop the "demon" influencing its victim.
Copyright © 2007. The Sydney Morning Herald.